Salento is a small town located in the coffee region of Colombia, nestled in the Andean mountains at a height of around 1900 meters. It is known for its charming colonial architecture, beautiful countryside, and delicious coffee.
How to get from Bogotà to Salento?
There are two ways to go from Bogotà to Salento.
By bus: this is the cheapest choice, in Bogotà you can take the bus from the Terminal de Transporte to Armenia, what will take about 7 hours. In Armenia you need to take another bus to Salento, which will take one more hour.
By plane: a little more expensive but if you book in advance it's still quite cheap. Viva Air & Avianca are good local airlines. The flight is only one hour to Armenia or Pereira. From there you can take a taxi to Salento. It' s a one hour drive.
TIP: Ask your accommodation to order a taxi upon arrival at the airport so you can leave right away. It will cost you around 25-30 €
How many days in Salento?
I would advise to stay 2 days/3 nights in Salento to discover the main things to do.
Things to do in and around Salento
Go hiking in the Valle de Cocora
One of the main attractions in Salento is the Valle de Cocora, a stunning valley filled with towering wax palms, the national tree of Colombia. These trees can become around 60 meters high and are the tallest palm trees in the world.
You can take a hike through the valley and admire the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests. Choose between the short or long hike:
The short hike will take you about 1,5 hours and will only show you the valley and palmtrees.
The long hike takes around 5 hours and is definitely our favorite! The jeep will drop you off at the entrance and then you start your walk towards the cloud forest where you will cross several small suspension bridges. After reaching the finca on top (which is now a private house, but still possible to go the toilet or ask for a drink) you will walk downwards through the valley with its amazing beauty.
How to get to the Valle de Cocora from Salento? At the main Plaza de Bolivar in Salento all jeeps depart towards the different activities in the surroundings. The colorful and completely packed Willy jeeps will bring you to the Valley in approximately 30 minutes and the ride will cost around 1 € (4000 pesos), the first jeeps will leave around 7 am as the weather is usually better in the morning it's a good idea to leave early.
TIPS: As people sometimes get lost during the hike, it's a good idea to download a map on the app: maps.me.
Don't forget your sunscreen, rain clothes, enough water, some snacks, good hiking shoes and some toilet paper.
Visit a coffee farm
Another popular activity in Salento is visiting a finca, or coffee farm, to learn about the process of growing and harvesting coffee. Many fincas offer tours and tastings, allowing visitors to try some of the best coffee in the country. We visited Finca El Ocaso.
Take a view on Salento from above
In Salento you can walk to the viewpoint 'Mirador Alto de la Cruz' where you will have a nice view on the village and surroundings. You will need to climb around 200 steps. Especially at sunrise or sunset this is a good idea.
Stroll through the streets in Salento or go shopping
In addition to its natural beauty and coffee culture, Salento is also known for its vibrant arts and crafts scene. The town is home to many artisanal workshops and galleries showcasing the work of local artists and craftspeople.
Where to stay in Salento?
There are a lot of accommodations in and around Salento, we stayed at Ecohotel La Cabana, this hotel is a bit outside the city of Salento but the owner is happy to take you to Salento in his car for free. This operating farm is located on the way from Salento towards Valle de Cocora. They arranged the Willy jeep to pick us up in front of the hotel! Breakfast and dinner are full of local farm products. If you like horse riding, they also offer horse riding tours through the valley. Coffee is available all day at the farm and occasionally they offer a bbq, which was a real treat.
Overall, Salento is a charming and picturesque destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you're interested in outdoor adventure, cultural experiences, or simply relaxing and enjoying the beauty of the countryside, Salento is sure to delight.