Located in the heart of the zona cafetera and the perfect base to go on the Cocora Valley Trek, Salento is a must-see in Colombia. With beautiful mountains, typical paisa architecture, streets full of artesania and, of course, coffee, there are plenty of things to do and see in Salento. Find six below.
Scroll to the bottom of the page to find out more about where to stay, how to get there and where to eat in Salento.
- Visit the town and enjoy its colourful architecture
- Go up the Mirador
- Visit a coffee farm
- Hike Valle de Cocora and Los Nevados
- Play tejo
- Have a meal at The Brunch
Visit the town and enjoy its colourful architecture
Salento is such a nice town to just have a stroll through. We spent our first day there just walking around looking at the colourful houses and walls, having a coffee in the main square and chilling. There are few spots to just relax here, so just grab a coffee and sit in the main square or have a long walk in Calle Real. Often there will be kids dancing or people playing music. There are also a few markets where you can buy (or simply look at) artisanal products.
Go up the town’s Mirador
After this very nice walk, we went up the Mirador del Alto. Although the 250 steps are tiring enough, the view you’ll get at the top will repay you for your effort. On the top, we just spent some time looking at the mountains around, while sitting on a swing located on the top. Once on the top, you have two options: you can either go back down from the same steps, or you can continue your walk going down from a small and slippery platform on your left, which leads you to a “jungle” where you can descend all the way down to a river.
Visit a coffee farm
One of the main things to do in Salento is a day trip to a coffee farm. We went to El Ocaso coffee farm and it was a lovely day out. There are three ways of getting there:
- You can walk there – it’s only a 2km downhill walk;
- You can get a jeep from the main square for 7,000 COP (return); or
- You can take an organised tour with your hostel.
I think there is no need to go on an organised tour, and, if you do decide to walk, it is better to walk there and grab a jeep back, since going back is a lot of uphill. If you go on your own, you can just enjoy the landscape and the spaces, but you can also have a tour of the Finca that costs 15,000 COP. I do recommend taking the tour, especially if – like me – you love coffee! It is interesting to learn about how coffee is made, they let you pick coffee seeds and show you the whole process works. However, the best part of the tour is at the end, when you get to try a very nice cup of coffee.
Hike Valle de Cocora and Los Nevados
The main reason why most people visit Salento is to hike Valle de Cocora and, once you go there yourself, you understand why. Since this has been one of my favourite hikes, I will soon share a separate post about this, so stay tuned!
If you are looking for a way to spend your evenings in Salento, you have to try Colombia’s national bar game, Tejo. All you need to play this game is a stone, gun powder and a decent aim. There is a section filled with mud where you set up a circle made of small triangular bags containing gun powder. The goal of the game is to hit the triangles with your stone and make them explode. There is a perfect spot in Salento to play this game, a bar called Los Amigos, where you can play it for free. Gun powder and beer, what could go wrong, right? However, this game is not as easy as it sounds, and it becomes very addictive/ frustrating after a while.
Have a meal at the Brunch
A very popular place in Salento, and a must visit when you are very hungry, is the Brunch. We read very good reviews and we decided to try it but after that, we couldn’t stop going back. This place offers breakfast, lunch and dinner all day and it has such a big menu that even the pickiest mouths like me will find something they love, including lots of vegetarian options. Portions are huge and prices are low!
OTHER BITS AND PIECES
Where to stay in Salento
If you are looking for a place to stay in Salento, La Serrana seems to be the most popular and a must in Salento, despite being a bit outside the centre. When we were there, however, we stayed in a hostel called Tralala and it has been one of the best hostel experiences we have had during our travels. Definitely not a party hostel, it has a nice and relaxed vibe where you can still meet people! The staff is incredibly nice, they have laundry, a book exchange service, a dvd room and a big fluffy black cat. We ended up going back to Tralala also the second time we went back to Salento.
Where to eat in Salento
On top of the Brunch that I mentioned above, there are other little coffee places and restaurants that are worth trying in Salento.
One of the days we came across a little cafe I’m the corner called La esquina del sabor, where not only they serve a delicious breakfast for only 3,000 COP, but they also have delicious coffee and they let you choose if you want it light, medium or strong… definitely go for the strong one!
How to get to Salento
There are a few buses leaving for different places from the Salento bus station. We were going to Medellin from there and, even though it was low season, most buses were full. So, it is better to book your ticket at least the day before, since it looks it would be impossible to get a seat if you just show up on the day.
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