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The Quindío wax palm with its impressive 60 meters, is the national tree and official symbol of Colombia. We took a weekend to visit Salento and the Cocora valley, in the Colombian coffee district, where the majority of the protected wax palms are found.

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We took a jeep from Salento at 8 am and started our walk early. We took the longer, and much nicer, path up the mountain so that we’d have the Cocora valley below us when we eventually reached it.

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The rain had poured down the night before, but the mud was still walkable with good shoes.

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The trail goes through the characteristic Colombian emerald-green forests.

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Crossing six deadly dangerous bridges.

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Over a beautiful stream.

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And indeed, after some hours of walking we reached the valley. We didn’t check the time as we usually do, but it might have been some three hours walk.

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The weather changed constantly. You might want to bring something to protect you from the rain as well as sun screen.

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The valley owes its name to the Quimbayan princess “Cocora”, “star of water” in quimbayan language, the daughter of the chief Acaime of a no longer present tribe.

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On a Sunday, the Cocora valley becomes a popular place for picnics among the locals. You might want to be there early to get a peaceful experience. Before noon is definitely the best time.

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Loads of hummingbirds.

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