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In the Valley of Cocora

we took the night bus out of Bogotá and headed to Salento. Whilst waiting at the bus station for our bus we passed the time watching Netflix’s Chef’s Table. Sidenote: Amazing show! It was great until something grabbed our attention. There was a man wandering around the station obviously drunk. When i mean drunk this guy was hammered. You ever been so drunk you look like a zombie? That kind of drunk. So without managing to catch anyone’s attention he proceeded to vomit on the floor little by little on way to the trash can. Then proceeded to vomit more.  Only Kaylyn and I noticed and froze in place. It seemed like a show just for us. People one by one, kept walking into the vomit. One person even slipped in it. As funny as it was disgusting we had to tell people. We kept warning people walking by but no avail people kept slipping in the puke. Finally an officer comes by and finds the man and makes mop up the mess. Sweet pukey justice.

We arrive to Salento early in the morning and walk to our hostel. The place was called Estrella Sin Fronteras. This place was beautiful. There were hammocks, flowers, and big fluffy dogs to pet. The guy even gave us our own dorm to ourselves. The beds were comfortable and they even had shelves to put your things on. At hostels, shelves on the bunk bed are great. We napped the morning away then went exploring in the afternoon. What a sleepy little town. This place was quite hilly but had the standard colonial town setup. Everything centered around the main square. Colorful buildings lined the plaza and a beautiful fountain laid in the middle of it all. You could eat at the restaurants and people watch for hours. Fruit stands, cute stray dogs to pet, fresh vegetables from the markets. This place was amazing. Not only was Salento famous for the tall Palms but their coffee too.

we walk down a dirt road for about half an hour. It was recommended to take a cab but Kaylyn and I are cheap and plus it was a great way to take in the scenery. We pass farms and zinc roofed houses. The path laid on top of a valley and parts when the trees and other tropical plants parted you could gaze below and see the river at the bottom. Very picturesque. It was amazing how green Colombia was. Like landscape photos coming to life. We arrive at the coffee farm and jump right into the tour. This place was an organic farm and the techniques used were natural and have been unchanged for years. Nothing was discarded and was given a second life. Coffee plants are short little bushes with very dark leaves. They produce little red berries and the darker they are the more ripe and perfect the bean was. The bean then gets milled where they are separated from the fruit then air dried. This lets them ferment. After this process they are roasted to perfection and ready for use. Coffee from Colombia is some of the best in the world. Most of it gets shipped off so the rest of the coffee is average to mediocre. This is used a lot for tinto. The word for strong black coffee in Colombia. We got to try the good stuff. It is important to pour the hot water over the grounds little by little to let the CO2 to diffuse. This blooms the coffee. Then you pour the rest over the grounds. This gives you less acidic coffee. After the tour we cut through farmlands and find a bus back Salento.

The next day we took a jeep to Valle de Cocora. They ran out of room so I rode on the back of the jeep. The wind constantly slapping me in the face while holding on for dear life. Me and two others rode like this for twenty minutes. We get there and follow some others toward the path. It wasn’t labeled too well so we didn’t exactly know where we were going. This hike was a 6-8 kilometer loop along a river through a jungle then past the meadow of the Palmas Altas. We ended up getting lost in the jungle because the paths weren’t labeled right. We go up this path and in the rain covered in mud and spot this coming down. He told us it wasn’t the path so we go back down and just stand at the bottom of this path waiting for people. Finally we get the right directions and go up and out of the jungle. We walk along the path above the meadow. The heavy fog obscured our view. We keep walking not seeing a thing and then we see the huge figures appearing through the mist. These things were giants! They were forty to sixty meters off the ground and were about 8 meters thick. It was an amazing sight and despite getting lost for two hours I highly recommend hiking the valley of Cocora in Salento.




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