We tend to be nonplussed about visiting ‘nature’. There’s lots of that at home. We tend to prioritise the things that we have less of at home: people, history and interesting animals.
We’re especially skeptical about waterfalls. Your ‘draw card’ waterfall is going to have to be really impressive to beat what we’ve seen in Milford of Huka, guidebook. And in general, your landscape is going to have to be very impressive to beat our childhoods of Christmas holidays in the middle of nowhere.
So we were hesitant about tripping out of Salento, in the coffee axis, to visit the Valle de Cocora. We weren’t much impressed with our first couple of hours of walking. It was pretty enough forest beside a pretty enough stream but it felt like home. The main difference was the swing bridges were less well maintained.
But the Valle delivered. At the head of the trail there was a rest house which had bird feeders patronised by dozens of humming birds. Humming birds definitely fit the interesting animal category. They’re excellent. They move so quickly they’re not afraid of you being around. they probably also know they’re exceptionally hard to photograph. The thrumming sound they make as they fly is like a tiny helicopter. The helicopter is the only man made thing that can fly backwards; the hummingbird the only bird. They’re really quite charming.
And walking back again we were treated to the views that has made the valley famous. Towering palm trees, as tall as sixty metres, dot the opening farm land. They’re elegant, statuesque and really, really tall. And they’re ever so slightly martian.