Cocora- Magical Palms in Cloud Forest

Trip Start Apr 28, 2009
Trip End Mar 26, 2010

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Flag of Colombia  , Tolima,
Monday, October 19, 2009

We drove the short but steep drive up towards Armenia, making our way to the Valle de Cocora.  According to the Lonely Planet, the bible of cheap travel, this valley was a very unique place in the world.  It sits at about 3,000 mts. so the hills are surrounding in cloud forest.  The valley is lush green with tall mountain peaks on either side.  The Switzerland of Colombia.  The unique thing about this valley is there are many Wax Palms that thrive here.  So the mountains, which are covered in clouds, are also covered in Palms!  Devin and I were very excited to see this amazing and rare sight.

As we drove into the valley it was pouring rain and very cold.  According to the bible we should be seeing these palms about 5 minutes after we passed the cute and quaint village of Salento.  However, we werenīt really seeing many palms.  We kept driving.  A few times we almost turned back thinking we had missed something.  Also, the road was getting pretty rough for Wesley.  Luckily, we kept going and about 25 minutes later we were rewarded with the most amazing sight... it was breathtaking!  The view, vistas, farms, and general feel of the valley was ten times better than anything I could have imagined... and we had the whole place to ourselves!  We quickly found a great place to camp for the night, again with an inspiring view.  Just as we parked and set-up camp the rain stopped and the sun started to shine.  We headed off into the jungle.  

We took a long leisurely walk down the road, East of town, and through the jungle.  It was absolutely magical.  Devin and I sometimes have to pinch ourselves to remember how lucky we are to be living this waking dream.  We took several pictures but, as always, the pictures never do the scene justice.  We will just have to remember that afternoon and itīs magic forever in our hearts.

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