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Jul 11

Palms and Willies: Colombia’s Spectacular Cocora Valley.

Cocora Valley


Before I go any further with this post, I want to clear up something straight away. In what follows, when I use the term, “Willy,” I mean this:


A group of Willys

I don’t know about you, but this is the only Willy I know about.


I don’t mean this:


I hasten to add that "Colon" is derived solely from the person who's called the "discoverer" of America (Colombus), even though he thought he'd made it to India.

I hasten to add that “Colon” is derived solely from the person who’s called the “discoverer” of America (Colombus), called so even though he thought he’d made it to India.


or anything else you may happen to be thinking. I hope I’ve made this clear.

Now, after this clarification, I hope you’ll permit me to begin my discussion of Cocora Valley, clearly one of the places in the world you need to go to, if you haven’t been there already.

The Valley and its Palms.

The Valley and its Palms.

If you want some clear photos of this awwwwww inspiring place, you should probably get on top of a Willy (not a Colon) as quickly as possible.

The best way to experience the valley’s mystical grandeur is to make a day tour part of your stay amongst the colonial charm of the Coffee Triangle’s Salento, which, if you’ve been paying attention, we’ve talked about before. If you make it to Salento’s main plaza before 9, you’ll find a number of moustachioed men hiring out their beautiful little Willies. Especially on the weekends, there are a whole bunch of people trying to get their hands on these Willies, so it shouldn’t be long before the one you’ve chosen has filled up, and you’ll be on your way to Cocora and its impossibly slender, benevolently nodding guardians, the Wax Palms. Forty minutes after the Willy ride of your life, you’ll be at the foot of one of the most incredibly otherworldy valleys in the world.


Cocora Valley, Salento

Long, proud, and erect: the Wax Palms are a Colombian icon.


If you follow this advice, and get there early, you’ll have more of an opportunity to take some great photos of this valley of numberless greens, and plenty more time to take it easy on the medium-level trails going up the hill to the cloud forest. Later on, being a cloud forest, it’ll probably rain for a bit.The clouds and mists add to the mysterious glamour of Cocora, but will reduce photo opportunities. They also make it a good idea to have good, proper boots and a waterproof jacket.

If you’re not much of a hiking fan, either hang around close to the entrance with your camera and grab a bite to eat, or hire a horse and a guide for an energetic jaunt amongst those haughty emblems of Colombia, home to the beautifully named Spectacled Bear, Mountain Tapir, and endangered hummingbirds. Either way, you’ll find it hard to deny you’ve made it to one of the special places of the world, and can grip to the back of a cowboy’s Willy on returning to Salento with a smug feeling of contentment about this fact.


The stunning Cocora Valley

It’s kind of high.


Some other, slightly bigger, inhabitants of the Valley.

Some other, slightly bigger, inhabitants of the Valley.


Goodbye, Cocora; hello Willy!

Goodbye, Cocora; hello Willy!

Cocora Valley

The stunning vistas in Cocora Valley

Cocora Valley

The rolling hills of the valley


Cocora Valley

Paul and JL risk their lives for photography


Cocora Valley, in the Coffee Region

Cocora Valley, in the Coffee Region




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4 Comments on “Palms and Willies: Colombia’s Spectacular Cocora Valley.

Tina says:

The place was really beautiful, those palm trees are simply awesome…

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