A Different Guide To Cocora Valley
Visiting Cocora Valley and the less known La Carbonara is an experience not to be missed when in Colombia.
You have probably heard about Cocora Valley and its world’s tallest palm trees. It’s a beautiful land with unparalleled views and wonderful hikes.
What you might not know is that the wax palms that characterise this part of Colombia are endangered and Cocora Valley is actually on its way to die.
Behind this sad story lies the careless conservation efforts of the owner of Cocora Valley, which yes, it’s a private property. The palms are dying and they are not being replanted. Moreover, a big part of the land has been now dedicated to dairy farming and avocado farming.
To make it worst (or as a fair punishment from Mother Nature), the yellow eared parrot, which is the only bird responsible for spreading the seed of the wax palm, is endangered and doesn’t live in the valley anymore.
But don’t despair, there is an happy ending to this story!
The happy ending starts with two guys and an old lady. The old lady in this story is the hero and she doesn’t even really realise it. She owns a 17,000 acres of land called La Carbonara where millions of wax palms grow undisturbed and live happily and in symbiosis with their yellow eared parrots. She only rents the land to very few farmers and leave nature doing its course.
The two guys, who love their country and this land, few years ago created an agency called Salento Cycling and asked the old lady if they could show to the rest of the world the secret valley and its centenary palms. She said yes, and today we have the privilege to be able to admire the wild, untouched beauty of La Carbonera.
Seeing La Carbonera is a real gift and in our opinion you might even skip Cocora Valley if you had to choose to visit only one of the two. The Salento Cycling tour stars in town by the agency, where, after getting assigned a mountain bike, you jump on the back of buggy in a small group of six people and make your way up to the peak of the close-by hills. After an hour or so of very scenic drive you get off the car and cycle for short while until you reach La Carbonera. Thousands and thousands of wax palms stretch up into the clouds, covering the green hills in collected patches. The landscape is idilliac and fairytale like.
After a walk amongst the hills, picnic is set up on top of a viewpoint. Make sure to have a small breakfast to leave space for the delicious meal. Once your belly is full you jump on the bike and ride all the way down to Salento, a 25km down-hill fun ride.
The guys from Salento Cycling have a dream. Their dream is to buy the entirety of the land owned by the old lady and do absolutely nothing with it. Just let it be, conserve it and make sure that the wax palms and the yellow eared parrot can live there happily ever after.
We hope their dream will come true soon, so that also future generations will be able to admire the beauty of this part of Colombia.