Valle de Cocora

We were up the next morning ready to catch a Jeep the 12kms to do a little hiking in the Cocora Valley. We arrived for the 9.30am Jeep and soon discovered that our seats were actually standing positions on a platform at the back of the Jeep. Apparently this was the locals position so on we hopped and held on. Tim and I had the most amazing views of the surrounding country side while the others were all cramped in the Jeep. It was so much fun!

As per usual for South America, the map for the trek was non existent and we were told by our hostel owner to just use the maps.me app. So armed with that we set off and soon discovered that out of our group Tim and I were the only ones going our way. It was a loop so we were happy with that as it meant we had the trail to ourselves and no doubt we would pass the others sometime along the trail.

The views were spectacular, made so by rolling green hills and wax palms which grow up to 60 metres tall. They really make the views so unusual. We soon found ourselves in jungle and were following the path nicely. That was until the map said take a right turn yet all we could find 100 metres in each direction on the right was jungle. Not to be deterred we decided to follow the well trodden path straight and see where it took us. That was straight up a mountain. Upon coming to another crossroad where we thought we had to take a right we came across 3 other travelers who had gone straight for a good hour only to be told by a local that is was the wrong way. So they joined up with us and we continued on going directly up and over the mountain. The forest was lovely but very eery as fog had descended all around us. Unfortunately this also meant we didn’t really get to see the valley from up high with the palms as you could barely see 10 metres in front of you.

After losing the path briefly again we managed to link up with the main path and we were back just the two of us as the others had decided to take the short route home. We soon ran into the other group who were from our Jeep which was a relief as we knew were still on the correct loop. 

At about this time the heavens decided to open up. We got absolutely soaked to the bone which was not that pleasant but luckily it wasn’t cold. We proceeded to slip and slide ourselves down the muddy path which again had stunning forest views and some very rickety and ingenious bridges that were really fun to cross.

We came out the other side of the forest and back into the valley just as the sun came out, so we got to dry off a little. We were back in the Jeep going home a little over 5 hours after starting. My wonderful Panama hat didn’t fair too well in the rain and seemed to turn into a bit of a lamp shade but I am hoping it will dry back into shape. Things are not looking good at the moment though! 

We decided we had earned a nice meal after that so went to what was touted as the best restaurant. It didn’t disappoint with some unusual yet delicious meals. Tim had the pork loin with a passion fruit and coffee sauce which worked surprisingly well. I had a wonderful steak and the bottle of Argentinian Malbec went down a treat as well. All for an easy $30. Man I love Colombia!

We then ran into Joe, one of the guys who was on our Jeep who I forgot to mention before was from Breckenridge Colorado. It is a very small world we live in! So off we went for a drink with him at the pool hall from last night and we introduced him to the billiards game the locals play. By then Tim and I thought we had figured out the rules. Turns out Tim is pretty bloody good at it and even got a few head nods from the old men sitting around the edge of the hall. 

From there we caught up with some other randoms that Joe knew for some more Tejo (gun powder game). All in all a pretty good day. So good in fact that we decided not to leave tomorrow and stay another day in Salento. S

   
The trip up on the back of the Jeep!

 The view of the wax palms at the start of the walk. Quite eerie.

   
    
One of the locals we came across. His colouring was spectacular.

 Tim being very brave crossing one of the many rickety bridges.

   
  
 We managed to get some great nature shots along the way.

   
My turn now!

 The fog started closing in!

  
 
  Both of us absolutely drenched! My poor hat.
    
Stunning scenery.

    

  
 A few shots out the other side of the jungle and back into the valley.

   
    
 

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