by Diana Proemm
Our anticipation of hiking into a cloud forest in the Cocora Valley near Salento, Colombia was high and finally the day had come for us to be on our way. We caught the 7:30am antique Willy’s Jeep taxi into the valley with breath taking views of the surrounding scenery. These Willy Jeeps are very common as taxis in many of the mountain towns in the coffee region. After being dropped off at a tourist point, we departed down the trail into the Colombian jungle.
During our meandering through the cloud forest we came along many “Indiana Jones” swing bridges that, yes, seemed sketchy to walk across. Trevor and his engineering/risk & safety brain stopped to check out all the makings of these bridges while I photographed them. The palm trees towering some 45m -60m above us were a ‘pain in the neck’ from continuously looking up at them. These are no ordinary palm trees, but rather Quindío wax palm trees which are the largest in the world, serve as the national tree for Colombia, and grow at 7,000+ feet.
We hiked a full loop of 8.5 miles, climbing over 3000ft and reached a height of around 10,000ft. Surrounding scenery was sweet candy to all the senses. The surroundings had a calming effect on ewhile I was here and I didn’t want to leave. Dancing through this delicate green wilderness, with tall palms and jungle are always what the doctor orders when traveling.
We hiked down into this valley (pictured above) with the palms continuing to tower above us. The top of our hike had views like the one pictured with Trevor pictured above as well. I think this was by far one of my favorite places in Colombia so far.
Now let’s play a game. Can you find Trevor in this photo? He’s there!
If you guessed approximately in the center of the photo leaning next to a palm, you guessed right! I promise that he is taller than the majority of the Colombians.
The town of Salento where we stayed is touristy, for good reasons, as it is a quaint little colonial town with stunning vistas of the mountains. We visited by chance during the week of Semana Santa which is a holy Easter week for Colombians and also their version of spring break. The town was over-filled with local Colombians and tourists, and other countries and lodging was hard to come by.
If you make it to Colombia, this town and area is definitely worth a visit. The only way to get here is by bus from Medellin, Cali, or any of the towns inbetween. The bus rides to arrive are long and roll through continuous, never ending zigzagging roads, so bring dramamine and an empty plastic bag. The long and winding road trip to get here is will not disappoint you.
Until next time friends, much love, Diana
The Bigger Picture uses my love for photography to capture real people using recreation to gain wellness and happiness. Diana Proemm is a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS) with a photography and travel problem. She provides RT consulting and photography services throughout the USA and beyond.