Hiking between the wax palms (Valle de Cocora)

Our next destination was Valle de Cocora (English: Cocora Valley). The Valley became a part of the Los Nevados National Natural Park in 1985. The Valley is located at an altitude between 1800-2400 meters, which means that the temperatures vary dramatically, even within one day. The average annual temperature is 15 °C (59 °F), with a maximum of 25 °C (77 °F) and a minimum of −2 °C (28 °F). The Valley is famous for its wax palms which can grow to a height of 45-60 meters. The wax palm is the national tree in Columbia (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocora_Valley)

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It is rare that the wax palm reaches a height of 60 meters, but in Valle de Cocora you can see some of the tallest in the world. The trunk is cylindrical, smooth, light colored, covered with wax and the leaf scars forming dark rings around the trunk. The leaves are dark green and grayish, 185–540 cm long, with a petiole (the petiole is the transition between the stem and the leaf blade) up to 80 cm long (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceroxylon_quindiuense). From Salento we drove the last kilometers to Valle de Cocora, and sat up our NEMO Moki 3P tent. In the right picture you can already see the wax palms around the wooden house to the left.

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The next morning we got up and went for a day hike into the valley with the goal to reach the hummingbird reserve. Starting with climbing from a height of 2400 to almost 3000 meters.

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Stopping to find the right trail and enjoying nature

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Taking in the view of the mountains – appreciating the good weather wlEmoticon-sun Hiking between the wax palms (Valle de Cocora) 

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We got to the hummingbird reserve at noon, where we ate our own lunch. We paid 5000 pesos per person, which included a warm drink. To be honest we were disappointed of the hummingbird reserve. The place is just a house, that has set up 3-4 hummingbird feeders, and it had nothing to do with a reserve. A few posters with all kinds of birds, but no explanations about the hummingbirds. We saw 4-5 different kinds of hummingbirds, but they are hard to catch on camera. Here are a few of the good pictures.

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The hummingbirds were teasing each other

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After visiting the hummingbird reserve we followed the river back. We carry our hiking boots and trekking poles with us on our motorcycles, and it is worth it. Walking through water, mud and laughing of all the other tourist that were walking in their snickers. 

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On the way back we crossed several old bridges

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Watch your step Esben!

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A lot of all the other tourists were walking the other way following the river to the hummingbird reservation, and several wanted to go over the mountain and down through the valley on their way back. If you want to take our advise walk the route with the clock, like we did. In total we walked 15,85 kilometer, which to us 5 hours including taking pictures. We also spend 1 hour at the hummingbird reserve.

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But were are al the wax palms? Well if you want to se the nation tree of Columbia, you don’t have to walk that far. The wax palms are only a 20-30 minutes walk from the campground or were the local Taxi’s a Willys Jeep drops all the tourist of… is it a “selfie-tourist” standing on the back of the Willys Jeep? wlEmoticon-camera Hiking between the wax palms (Valle de Cocora)

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The wax palms are amazing, and prefect for taking pictures using our new wide-angle lens for the Olympus camera. They all so tall that it is hard to get everything in the picture.

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Just having fun between the wax palms

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So way is it called a wax palm? There are 11 different kinds of the wax palm (Latin: Ceroxylon). The wax palm in Columbia is easy to recognize because of the white trunk, which is covered with a layer of wax. In the old days the wax was scraped of the palms and used for making candlelights.

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After all that hiking we needed something to eat and some rest. More about that in the next post… camping, food over a fire and the Danish twisted bread on a stick (“Snobrød”).

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