#ColombianSeries: What’s like to horse-ride all the way up the Cocora Valley

How’s like to horse-ride all the way up the Cocora Valley

If you are heading to Colombia, you will (most likely) spend time in Bogota and Cartagena and would have (certainly) hear/read/dream of visiting the stunning ‘Valle del Cocora’, an unique place where you get to be surrounded by the highest palm-trees in the world. Sounds tempting? It is!

The Cocora Valley is an unreal, magical and unique place in the world, 24km from Armenia. In the Valley you’ll get to be surrounded by thousands and thousands of palm trees growing within mesmerizing green mountains. As part of the ‘Parque Nacional Natural de los Nevados‘, this Valley is home to the Quindio Wax Palm, Colombia’s national tree-symbol and the highest palm tree in the world (70m high!) that grows… only in Colombia and only in the Cocora Valley!

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The Cocora Valley (Valle del Cocora) in Colombia, home to the Palma del Quindio, the tallest palm tree in the world and Colombia’s national tree.

You can explore the Valley in a 3-day trek (talk to my friends from On These Roads for more info) to enjoy the in-depth marvels of nature, in just a few hours walk to enjoy the view or in a day horse-ride adventure.

We chose the latter for time and effort convenience. Your hotel (or directly in Salento or Cocora) can arrange horses for you and your squad so you can climb the Valley all the way up to the Bosque de Niebla or Bosque de Colibries, that is the ‘Fog Forest’ or the ‘Hummingbirds Forest’. Consider a 6-hour (up and down) non-stop ride from the Cocora Valley to the Bosque de Niebla.

In our case, our host at Reserva El Cairo helped us “book” our  horses (25USD +/- per horse with a local guide) to come pick us up after breakfast to where we were sleeping. We started the ride roughly at 8 A.M. It took us pretty much one hour to ride 10km to Cocora, since we had to share the narrowy and zig-zagy route with cars, Yipaos and bikes. If you have a car or can get by car directly to the little town known as Cocora, that might save you 1 hour on the horse… From the “Cocora Town” to the “Humming Bird Farm” count 2-3 hours depending on your pace and weather.

During the ride, you will go through coffee farms, will cross 7 (!!!!) times the Quindio river, get to see and hear birds of all kinds and be immersed in a thick green forest as you climb up.

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Entering the Cocora Valley by horse, you will cross 7 (!!!) times the Quindio river on your way up !

So… what’s up in the “House of the Hummingbirds”?

Honestly, not much besides a farm of sugar-junkies hummingbirds… That zone of the forest used to be a natural reserve and it is now private property.

You will be stopped at a fence and asked 3000 COP (1USD) to climb up. If you are thirsty and tired and want to rest, go ahead and have a bottle of water by the hummingbirds, otherwise there is not much else to do/see.

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BONUS : le horse and moi 🙂

Six hours later, we were back home: muddy, sore and sunburnt, but it was definitely worthy !

TIP : Do not forget to wear sunscreen, mosquitoes repellent, water and comfortable shoes (and trousers, if horse-riding, don’t do shorts like I did). If traveling with kids ask for a horse unless you are the experienced carrying-toddlers-hiker type… you might find some serious climbing !

Book your horse-riding experience directly at Cocora Town or ask your hosts, they’ll be glad to help you 🙂

Picture Disclaimer: All the photos featured in this blog belong to myself. Do you like them? Great! Be kind and link them back here and/or credit. Thanks 🙂

Planning a trip to Cocora Valley? Do you have more tips to explore the valley? Please share! Your thoughts on the comments box below 👇

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