Where is the Cocora Valley

Quindio wax palm in the Valle del Cocora

Hike to the Cascada del Quindio

According to our program, we should have a free lunch in Salento. Accordingly, a hike through that was for the morning Valle del Cocora planned and we should not visit the coffee plantation until tomorrow, before we continue our journey. In fact, we were looking forward to strolling through the alleys of Salento up to the viewpoint above the city, breathing the colonial flair that has been preserved to this day and maybe dancing some salsa in the evening.

But tomorrow it's on to Medellin. "The drive from Salento to Medellin is very long again," explains Cilfredo. So we would arrive in Medellin sometime after midnight or we would have very little time for the coffee plantation. So we complete both program points in just one day and there is no free afternoon in Salento. It's a shame actually.

Unfortunately, after a short lunch break, it also starts to rain. Nevertheless, the next Willys pick us up at the Hotel Solento Real on time. During the journey we are at odds about what makes us wet more, from rain or from spray water on the road?

So we sit in the jeeps and, despite the roof, open the umbrellas to at least protect ourselves a little from the wet. If the rain continues, we finally come to the Cocora valley at.

On site we are amazed at how tough the Colombians are. It's Sunday, and on Sundays you go out with the family, regardless of the weather. In short, all hell is going on back here. The cars are packed in the parking lot,

and the restaurant right on the street is also at the limit of its capacity. But when you're back here, you want to experience something. Even horse farmers can find plenty of work thanks to the adventurous rain-trippers.

You can tell by now that Cilfredo is getting too much. But he postponed the hike to this time himself, so he has to go through it for better or for worse. At least two of the group - we of course - want to go.

There are also two nuns standing nearby, taking photos of themselves. And that without an umbrella! Or do you suspect something? As soon as they have their snapshots in the box, it stops raining. Vámonos!

Hike through the Valle del Cocora

At the end of the paved road we walk down to the Quindio river. From now on, this will accompany us more or less closely. And Cilfredo declares his waterfall further upstream as the destination of the tour. Unfortunately, the mountain peaks are covered by the low rain clouds. Also the Palma de cera that Quindio wax palm, which is considered to be a botanical specialty of the valley, looks better when the weather is nice than it does today.

In 1801 Alexander von Humboldt discovered this palm species, which only occurs in Colombia. It should be up to 50 meters in height, more rarely even up to 60 meters tallest palm tree in the world be. We can gladly believe that. For example, we only see the trunks of some plants, while their crowns wag like shadows in the clouds.

Anyway, we still like it back here. And because everyone can choose their own pace, the group soon falls behind us. The path is separate for hikers and riders, although the equestrian path sometimes looks a lot better than the mud path we wade over. Halfway through we have to wait. A herd of cows is fetched from the pasture or driven into the stable on the other side of the path for milking.

A few moments later, the cattle and hiking trail intersection has turned into a new mud hole that can only be mastered with great difficulty. How Lars manages to bypass not only this but also all of the following mud holes and to keep his shoes clean until the end of the hike is one of the great mysteries of this trip.

At the Quindio's cask girl

Soon after, we dive into the cloud forest and the path becomes rockier. When the terrain also becomes noticeably steeper, we suddenly hear Cilfredo behind us. We have no idea how he did it, but somehow he caught up with us. And for a good reason. We are of the opinion that such a waterfall cannot be missed.

Here, however, it is different. The Cascada del Quindio is just a slim little girl that is all too easy to miss. The access is also little more than a beaten path that disappears into the undergrowth to the left of the path. If we had kept running, we would have set out on a longer tour, which is less worthwhile in such hazy weather.

What is worthwhile, however, is the descent to the cascade. Because the access leads over several small steps, you may have to climb a little. But the waterfall pool is really pretty. And also interesting, because just as we arrived two fishermen were climbing along the rock faces and hoping for a big fish on the line. Soon it will be time for the way back, which follows the same path. Dark clouds are gathering again.

Nevertheless, we really liked the tour through the lush green of Colombia. We even make it back to the Willys before the next rain shower. It's just stupid that now, in the late afternoon, many other guests want to go to Salento again and there is no special treatment for groups. So we have to wait in line with the umbrella for over half an hour before we can finally start our return journey.

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La Pintada - drive to Medellin »