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Cocora valley is a valley in Colombia considered a wildlife sanctuary. The valley is located in the central Andean mountains. It has been acknowledged by the Colombian government as the sanctuary of the national symbol, the wax palm (Ceroxylon quindiuense).
Cocora valley belongs to a wider national park, known as Parque nacional de Los Nevados (National park of Snow Mountains), Snow Mountain of Quindio, and Snow Mountain of St. Isabel are located in the centre of the park.
The Park covers approximately 590,78 km of the northern area of Quindio. It is 75 km north of Armenia, Colombia by road. It is just a few kilometers west-northwest of Estrella de Agua (Lake Watery Star). It contains a considerable part of the remaining populations of Ceroxylon quindiuense, Ognorhynchus icterotis, Spectacled bear, Andean Guan and many other endemic species.
Cocora valley is characterized by its temperate weather. The prevailing Easterly winds from the Pacific ocean stopped by the Andean mountains generate a moist environment and many cloud forests; rain falls almost daily. Temperatures vary dramatically, even within one day. The average temperature is 15 C, with a maximum of 25 C and a minimum of -2 C. On top of Snow Mountain of Quindio, snow fields can be found around the year and the summit is glaciated.
To prevent exploitation of the Wax palm, mainly due to the celebrations of palm sunday, and therefore the threats against the endemic species dependent on the palm, the government of Belisario Betancur constituted the area as a national park.
With law 61 of 1985, the Colombian Congress adopted Quindio Wax Palm Tree [ Ceroxylon quindiuense (Karsten) Wendl.], a local endangered species of high-altitude-adapted palm tree, as the National Tree. As ratified on September 16 for the current president of Colombia, Belisario Betancur, in the following terms: "1. It's declared as national tree and symbol of our fatherland the species commonly known as quindio wax palm tree, scientific name ceroxylon quindiuense. 2. National Government Is faculted to buy as many lands as needed to create wildlife sanctuaries with the purpose of preserve this national symbol and its natural environment. 3. Chopping down the wax palm tree is forbidden and punished with fine and jail"."
Cocora valley is a very popular tourist destination in Colombia. Common activities are camping, hiking, bird watching and bathing in the rivers. There is also opportunity for game fishing, mountain biking, horse riding, rafting and scenic flights. The local restaurants specialize in cooking Rainbow trout in several ways, mainly baked and served with fried plantain.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Cocora valley