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May 25 2015

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Zona Cafetera (again and again)

The next stop on this Colombian trip was Salento, in the heart of Zona Cafetera. Salento is a small town with typical architecture paisa, a “far west” feeling and with beautiful views of the surrounding valleys, a must of Colombia!

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In this region, a coffee tour is almost compulsory so I decided to visit the small plantation linked to my hostel. In this plantation they grow Arabiga coffee (traditional and modern way). It was low season so the tour turned to be a private tour where I could see all the process from the plant to the cup.

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On Saturday afternoon it was “tejo time”, considered by some the “national sport” of Colombia, followed by some dancing at the town’s bar. What a pity that people in Salento don’t like salsa that much!

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No matter how much I have travelled, Valle del Cocora is still my favourite place in this world. This natural cloud forest part of Parque Nacional Los Nevados is famous for its wax palms (Ceroxylon quindiuense), the tallest palms in the world growing up to 70m. These palms combined with a bluish-greenish light and a little bit of mist create in Cocora Valley a unique (and I would say) magical landscape.

This is an easy day hike that can be done from Salento. The drive to Valle del Cocora on the colorful (and crowded) Willys is stunning and the landscape gets more and more beautiful the closer you get to the Valley.

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The first part of the hike went through the forest, crossing the river several times, and with a final climb up to 2860m.

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After a lunch stop on the top we walked down the valley and it was there when the wax palms appeared to us.

YX6A4856WebYX6A5026WebYX6A4999WebNo matter how many times I will visit this place, this first view of the palms popping up from the mist will always be magical 🙂

You can see more pictures of this area (my 2012 Colombian trip) here and here.

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