When you think about tropics and paradise, probably some exotic palms with a coconut cocktail in a sandy beach jumps to your mind. What it is a little more unknown to some people is that palms can also grow among mountains, at high altitudes, such as the case of our beloved wax palm who is the celebrity in this story.
The Ceroxylon is a palm kind that grows in mountains, specifically in the tropical Andes between 2.000 and 3.100-meter altitude and it can be found distributed in 11 different species around Colombia, Venezuela, and Bolivia.
Colombia has seven different wax palm species, being the Ceroxylon quindiuense our pampered sort. This palms species is characterized by having a single trunk, lacking thorns, which grows up to 60 meters and whose leaves can reach 4 meters large. Considering its elegance, usefulness, and connotation as endemic species, it was declared our national three in 1986.
Aside it is biological uniqueness, definitely, wax palms are the protagonists of idyllic compositions either on sunny or foggy days. Being so, the wax palms is one of the must-sees when visiting the coffee cultural landscape, and the most common route is traveling along the impressive Cocora Valley; a green-dotted valley named in honor to the Cocora Princess, the daughter of Cacique Calarca who lived in that area remoting to the precolombian times.
Even though wax palm is dispersed along the two slopes of this Cordillera, for many, local and tourists, the wax palms can only be appreciated in the lovely Cocora Valley. The reason to recognized wax palms mostly in the Cocora valley is because the first time it was documented was during the Alexander Humbolt explorations, receiving the name as "Palma de Cera del Quindio" or Ceroxylon quindiuense. Since then, the Quindio department eclipsed the attention to this extraordinary palm, sometimes ignoring another amazing location where this palm can be appreciated.
So, moving us a little away from the common path and putting eyes on the other side of the mountain, over the Tolima department side, there is also a marvelous terrain to explore. Indeed the largest wax palm forest in Colombia is located there, in Toche, a small village located 30 kilometers northwest Ibague or 80 kilometers from Armenia. One of the particularities of this forest is the exuberance and healthy state that the wax palms family enjoys there. Meanwhile, in other areas such as Antioquia or Quindio departments, wax palms had been dislodged by the force of agriculture, in the Toche village palms can be appreciated in a higher density as in other locations.
But beyond visiting this wax palm sanctuary, there are other tremendous attractive landscapes that can be reached near to The Toche village. Also, it is possible to observe the deep-green Machin volcano area or involve into the spirit of Cajamarca, a charming farmer town to taste the most heavenly-sweet and fresh fruits ever such as granadilla, blueberries or avocados, not for less, this town is called "the Colombian agricultural pantry". Although this town is not listed into the popular tourist attractions, it reveals the daily flow of a Colombian town and the chance of seeing a little village nestled into the mountains as Cajamarca is simply picturesque.
If you are appealed to grasp people souls and moved to appreciate nature in all its greatness you can certainly relish these scenes. Considering that this route is not so popular or it is scarcely mentioned in the official travel guides (so far), a beautiful suggestion is simple follow the Madremonte trail, a fascinating alternative path to immerse into abundant wax palm forest, witness the majestic view of the central cordillera slopes, feel the flair of a typical farmer town which is not so colorful as other nearby towns but tastes as beautifully authentic.
For extra information about the Madremonte Trail check this link or reach us through any of our available contact channels that I listed here below.