On our third day of exploration of the coffee region, we visited the most touristic places like Valle del Cocora and the colonial town Salento!
Since 25 years Valle del Cocora has been a touristic site. Here you can go for a nice hike in the beautiful surroundings of the wax palms which can grow up to 70 meters! Actually here you have the possibility to go for a small hike of 1-2 hours or a trekking for the whole day or even a couple of days where you can stay at farmer houses for the night! Unfortunately we didn’t have time for that option but at least we enjoyed a hike of about 2 hours through the wax palms.
At an altitude of 2450 meters, people from more than 90 different countries have planted about 5000 wax palm trees here. In 2011 it was declares a Unesco World Heritage Site. We were lucky enough that we could now also connect with our earth “pachamama” by planting a wax palm tree in this amazing environment! The wax palms grow about 3cm per year. So when we return in a couple of years, we will be happy if we can see just a very small growth of our self-planted wax palm. I guess we will need to make sure that our grandchildren tell their grandchildren where this wax palm tree was planted.
After such a hike, you will definitely return with an empty stomach. But there is a delicious solution because in Salento and its surroundings you will find the best trout and “patacon” which is a must to try! Of course, we enjoyed a delicious one in a restaurant in Salento! After this tasty lunch we went to the Café Jesus Martin where we enjoyed a great coffee! Here they also show more about the process of their coffee and a coffee tasting can be enjoyed! Then we wandered a little bit through the colorful streets of this little town where you can also invest a lot of money in beautiful handicrafts!
Then we had some more time to discover this beautiful colorful town. Salento used to be on the main route from Popayan and Cali to Bogotá. But once this route was diverted, this little village became isolated and therefore kept most of its traditional colonial architecture and nowadays counts to one of the most beautiful towns in the coffee triangle. It has become a very touristy place and paradise for backpackers which most likely end up staying here more days than planned before. And this lovely atmosphere is also created by its amazingly friendly inhabitants which doesn’t make you want to leave.