Easy methods to go to Colombia’s Cocora Valley, the enchanting inspiration behind Disney’s ‘Encanto’


Towering palm timber welcome you to the Cocora Valley, in Salento, Colombia. The slim timber pepper the verdant, wild panorama, surrounded on all sides by inexperienced mountains. Coming into this Colombian espresso area hotspot feels as if you’re being welcomed by sort giants to an enchanted land filled with wealthy historical past and overflowing with splendor. It’s a magical valley, making it a really perfect backdrop for Disney’s new animated characteristic Encanto.

Cocora Valley is house to the world’s tallest palm timber and a number of the most spectacular mountain-based views in all of Latin America. It’s no surprise Disney selected it because the setting of the movie. Nonetheless, exploring the real-life Colombian valley may simply serve to be extra enchanting than viewing the movie itself. Right here’s what to find out about real-life enchanted Colombia behind the movie and how one can expertise the luxurious fantastic thing about Cocora Valley in particular person.

How the Cocora Valley impressed Disney’s Encanto


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Encanto is scheduled to be theatrically launched on November 24, 2021. Within the movie’s first teaser trailer, a butterfly guides you towards a colourful house and right into a mystical world that appears conspicuously much like the Cocora Valley — full with these skinny, towering palm timber the valley is legendary for. The trailer additionally options the locally-iconic cumbia tune “Colombia Tierra Querida.”

Whereas Disney hasn’t confirmed but that the movie is about particularly within the Cocora Valley, the colossal palm timber and plush panorama counsel that it’s, a minimum of partly, impressed by the nation’s espresso area (made up of the departments of Risaralda, Caldas, and Quindío, all of that are a part of the UNESCO World Heritage espresso cultural panorama). At present, we all know that the animated characteristic movie can be a musical directed by Byron Howard and Jared Bush of Zootopia fame with music by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Government Director of Walt Disney Animation Studios Jennifer Lee advised the Latin American Publish, “Magical realism units the musical stage as we journey to Colombia, the place a magical household lives in an equally magical house.”

The true Cocora Valley


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Years in the past, Colombia’s authorities invested in a advertising marketing campaign which marketed the concept that “Colombia is magical realism.” The marketing campaign appeared to have labored, with overseas guests to Colombia rising 300 % between 2006 and 2019. Encanto guarantees to assist promote this concept of the enchanted Colombian panorama because it turns into one of many hottest vacationer locations in Latin America.

Vacationers and locals alike are handled to the completely different flavors of Colombia’s fascinating magic once they go to completely different cities equivalent to Cartagena, Guatapé, and Villa de Leyva, however few rival the surroundings one encounters within the espresso area. It’s house to a number of the nation’s (and maybe the world’s) friendliest locals, scrumptious espresso, mouth-watering eats, música guasca, and, after all, the Cocora Valley, amongst different pure wonders.

Salento is the gateway to the Cocora Valley, and one of many hottest stops on any backpacker route by Colombia, making it a must-visit for a minimum of an evening or two whilst you’re within the space. The city is tiny, sufficiently small to stroll round in about half an hour, however caters to vacationers with hostels, cafes, journey excursions, and fashionable eating places. To get to Salento, you may have three important choices.

Attending to Salento from Armenia


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To go to the Cocora Valley, most vacationers should first arrive in one of many espresso area’s three main cities, Armenia (capital of Quindío), Pereira (capital of Risaralda), or Manizales (capital of Caldas). Every of those cities presents buses headed straight to Salento, however the journey from Armenia to Salento is the shortest at round 45 minutes. When you arrive on the Armenia bus station, you’ll be searching for the Cootracir bus to Salento. A one-way ticket ought to price about 5,000 Colombian pesos, or round $1.50. Salento is 15 miles north of Armenia and only a brief Jeep journey away from the Cocora Valley.

Pereira is larger than Armenia however farther away from Salento. If you happen to’re touring to Salento from Pereira, head to the bus terminal the place you’ll discover ticket home windows with huge indicators on them. Search for Expreso Alcala or any Salento signal. One-way tickets ought to price not more than 10,000 pesos, or simply beneath $3. Whereas Colombian buses are identified to reach and depart late, buses depart for Salento about each half-hour.

Manizales is the espresso area’s school city and properly price testing in case you have the time. The town’s cable system is much like the one you’ll discover in Medellín and makes for a fantastic vantage level for touring photographers. It’s, nevertheless, the furthest away from Salento of the three capital espresso area cities.

The method of attending to Salento from Manizales is completely different in that you simply’ll head to the Manizales bus terminal however search for a bus straight to Pereira. From there, comply with the directions for the best way to journey to Salento from Pereira. There are at the moment no direct buses from Manizales to Salento.

Attending to the Cocora Valley from Salento


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You’ve made it to Salento. Now, it’s time for the principle occasion. Jeep Willys heading straight for the Cocora Valley depart from the city’s Plaza Bolivar Park all through the day at 6:10 AM, 7:30 AM, 9:00 AM, and 10:00 AM. A one-way journey ought to price round 3,500 pesos, which is at the moment simply over $1. If you happen to’re searching for Encanto-esque views as you enter the valley, ask to face on the again of the Jeep and let the mountains tower over you as you journey with the wind blowing by your hair.

What to do in Salento and the Cocora Valley


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The plush panorama of the Cocora Valley provides off severe Jurassic Park vibes. As an alternative of strolling amongst dinosaurs, nevertheless, you’re strolling amongst hovering palm timber. A journey deeper into the valley leads you right into a panorama that includes cascading waterfalls, streams, and plush flora.

Lively vacationers ought to, certainly, be ready to do the full Cocora Valley hike. It’s the one solution to actually witness the wonders hidden contained in the panorama, and it’s the choice with probably the most rewarding views of the magical realism that Encanto evokes. The hike ends excessive up in a real-life cloud forest as you peer down onto the valley beneath. You’ll be virtually eye-to-eye with the palm timber, immersed in a storybook setting that appears as in case you’ve been dropped straight into the Encanto trailer.

After a hike by the valley, which takes about three to 5 hours relying in your tempo, you’ll be able to take a Jeep Willy again to the city of Salento (the final one leaves at 5:00 PM, so plan forward) and delight your style buds by attempting trucha, the native trout specialty that’s cooked to perfection straight from the stream. End all of it off with a cup of recent espresso (ask for a “pintadito” if you would like espresso with milk or order a “tinto” for black espresso) or strive the native sizzling chocolate (which is served with a slice of cheese you plop into the cup).

Whereas the city is stuffed with loads of choices for hungry vacationers, Brunch is likely one of the greatest eating places in Salento for these simply ending the rewarding but arduous hike. There, you’ll discover the whole lot from veggie burgers to nacho plates the scale of your head. Save room for its world-famous peanut butter brownies and depart a be aware on the art-covered wall for different vacationers.

You’ll stroll out of Brunch virtually too full to maneuver, so head over to Café Jesús Martín for the very best espresso on the town. If you happen to’re searching for dinner plans, Donde Laurita presents a novel paisa-themed expertise not like anything in Salento. Earlier than you permit, remember to e book a spot for the highly-recommended espresso farm tour at Finca El Ocaso (a should for any espresso fanatic).

This extremely anticipated movie will certainly depart you eager to expertise all that Colombia has to supply firsthand. From its lush landscapes to its vibrant tradition and delicacies, this magical nation has loads of journey to supply. Colombia’s enchanting Cocora Valley waits to be found by vacationers trying to discover what occurs whenever you blur the strains between magic and actuality.

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