Salento may be a small village, but it is one of the main tourist attractions of Colombia. The village, that is located in the coffee region, is full of colorful colonial houses and is surrounded by green hills. Many travelers stay in Salento to visit the nearby Cocora Valley. In this article you will find information about the activities and attractions in and around Salento.
We stayed for two nights at Casa Borbon, a nice accommodation located about 200 meters from the main square Plaza de Bolívar Salento.
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How to get to Salento
Are you traveling from Bogotá to Salento? Then flying from Bogotá to Pereira or Armenia is the fastest option.
The flight lasted one hour. In Pereira we took a taxi to Salento for 40 euros. That journey also took about an hour. Are you traveling by yourself and is a taxi too expensive? Then you could also do this last part by bus.From the airport you can take a bus to Pereira. This ride wil last approximately 25 minutes. Then you walk, in about 15 minutes, to the bus station of Pereira, where the bus to Salento leaves. There you take the bus to Salento. This journey takes about one hour.
Do you have a lot of time and/or not such a big budget? Then traveling by bus is a the best option. From Bogotá there is no direct bus, so you will have to change busses in Armenia. Expreso Palmira runs from Terminal Salitre in Bogotá to Armenia in about 7.5 hours. This ride costs about 15 euros per person. In Armenia you’ll have to take the bus to Salento. This ride takes about an hour and fifteen minutes and costs a few euros per person.
Also from Medellín, flying to Pereira or Armenia is the fastest option. The flight takes about 45 minutes and ticket prices vary between 50 and 150 euros per person. In Pereira or Armenia you will have to take a taxi or a bus to Salento.
Where to stay in Salento
We chose to stay at Casa Borbon, because this accommodation is located in the center of Salento, just 200 meters from the main square. Casa Borbon is a fine accommodation and has clean bed- and bathrooms. Keep in mind that the rooms are not that big.
Do you have a bigger budget and do you not want to stay in the city center of Salento necessarily? Then take a look at Hotel Kawa Mountain Retreat. This hotel has spacious rooms from where you have a beautiful view of the mountains.
Things to do in Salento
Visit the city center of Salento
The historic city center of Salento is listed as a World Heritage Side in 2011. We completely understand why! Don’t forget your camera, because you will find all kinds of colorful colonial houses here.
In the middle of Salento you will find Plaza de Bolívar Salento, the main square of the town. You will find lots of nice restaurants and terraces. On weekends there is a market.Do you want to play a game of Tejo? Visit one of the many bars.
At the end of Calle Real, a street with all kinds of souvenir shops, shops and restaurants, you will find a staircase that takes you to a so-called mirador (a viewpoint). From here you have a beautiful view over the village and the mountains.
Fun fact: Did you know that the Disney movie Encanto is also partly based on Salento?
Cocora Valley (Valle de Cocora)
Cocora Valley, also called Valle de Cocora, is one the main attractions nearby Salento. This valley is part of the Los Nevados National Park and is located in the Andes Mountains at an altitude of 1,800 to 2,400 meters. The tallest wax palms in the world grow here. The wax palm is the national tree of Colombia and can grow up to 45 meters high.
The valley is truly stunning! Beautiful green hills and countless palm trees. To enjoy the “famous” views, you will have to hike through the valley. You can choose between two different hikes, a short hike (1.5 hours) and a long hike (5 hours).
During our visit the long route was closed due to a broken bridge, so we chose for the short hike. Nevertheless, this route was beautiful and we were able to enjoy the most famous viewpoints over the valley. Do you opt for the long hike? Then you will also hike through a small piece of jungle with hanging bridges, past Casa de los Colobris, a cafe where hummingbirds fly around, and a finca.
How to get to Cocora Valley from Salento
You can easily travel from the city center of Salento to the Cocora Valley. Buy a ticket for a Willys (jeep taxi) at the main square of Salento (Plaza Bolivar) and wait for it to leave. The jeeps will leave when they are full. There is room for about 10 people in the jeep and there can stand 4 people on the back. The first Willys leave around 7:00 am. The price for a return ticket is about 2 euros per person.
Visit a coffee finca
Are you crazy about coffee? Then Salento is the place to be! This village is located in the middle of the coffee triangle of Colombia, also called El Triangulo del Café. The coffee triangle is formed by 3 provinces, namely Caldas, Risaralda and Quindio. The climate and geographical features of this region are perfect for growing coffee.
If you visit Salento, a visit to a coffee finca should not be missed. In the area you will find several coffee farms, such as Finca El Ocaso, Finca El Recuerdo and Finca Las Acacias. We ourselves opted for a tour at Finca El Ocaso, one of the popular fincas in the area. They offer tours in Spanish, but also in English. The guide tells about the history of the coffee region and explains all about the entire process of making coffee. The tour is very interactive. At the end of the tour you can enjoy a nice cup of Colombian coffee!
How do you get to Finca El Ocaso and the other fincas?
Dozens of Willys (Jeep taxis) are waiting on the central square, Plaza Bolivar. At the counter you can indicate where you want to go. If there are enough people to fill the Willy, he will leave. You can buy your entrance ticket at this counter, but we ourselves bought it at the Finca. We paid about 7.50 euros per person for the tour. The ride cost about 2 euros per person return.
Food and drinks in Salento
In Salento you will find lots of nice restaurants where you can have something to eat and/or drink. Below restaurants are our favorites:
- Coco Bowls (Breakfast)
Brunch de Salento (International)