Colombia’s stunning coffee region is an absolute must-do on any trip to this part of the world. With post-card like views, incredible hikes, even more impressive coffee and the world’s tallest palm trees, here’s all the things to do in Salento Colombia before you leave.
1. hike the cocora valley
The biggest drawcard of Salento Colombia has to be the incredible Cocora Valley (or Valle de Cocora in Spanish). It’s home to the world’s biggest palm trees which tower some 60 meters above your head as you hike through the stunning valley. There are two options for the hike. The long version, which takes about 6 hours and takes you through the jungle across rickety rope bridges and all the way up to the top of the valley. Here you can get yourself a snack while watching hummingbirds sip at the sweet water people have put out for them. Then you continue on and come down through the Cocora Valley and through the palm trees. Or, the short version, which takes about 2.5 hours and just takes you up and then back down the valley.
GETTING THERE: From town take a jeep to the Valle de Cócora ($3,800 cop per person). If you want to take the long route walk up the path and go right through the blue gate. If you want to take the short route keep walking up the path.
COST: $6,000 COP for entry and $7,600 COP for your transport. Total about $4.50 USD.
2. sip the delish coffee at jesus martin
Jesus Martin is a cute little cafe just outside of the main square. And sitting here sipping coffee is one of the most relaxing things to do in Salento Colombia. Not only are they serving up amazing local coffee. Their selection of cakes and sandwiches are to die for. My pick would be the brownie served with ice-cream and slathered in a thick layer of coffee flavoured arequipe (A Colombian version of dulche-de-leche).
GETTING THERE: Jesus Martin is located on Cra. 6 #6 – 14. A 2 minute walk from the main plaza.
3. take a tour of a legit coffee farm
You can’t go to the best coffee region in the world without stopping in to see the incredible hard work and effort that goes into making it. We took a lovely tour with Las Acacias Coffee Farm and learned the process from growing the coffee trees to drying the beans. All polished off with a delicious complementary espresso tasting. Make sure you try the awesome cakes they have on sale too. Muy rico!
GETTING THERE: Take the road out-of-town that heads towards La Serrana Hostel. When you reach the last fork in the road. Take the right hand side and keep walking until you come to the coffee farm, which is opposite a beautiful mirador.
COST: $6,000 COP for the tour.
4. eat amazing gringo food at brunch cafe
Sometimes when travelling you just need a really good burger…. Amiright!? Well add Brunch Cafe to your Salento Travel bucket list and you won’t be disappointed. With delicious American style food and super generous portions I ate here almost once a day. The peanut butter brownie is their signature dish and a must-try. And they even make huge lunch packs for any hikes you might do in the area.
GETTING THERE: Brunch Cafe is locate on Calle 6 No. 3-25. It’s a 2 minute walk from the plaza.
5. beer and gunpowder! try your hand at tejo
One of the most unusual things to do in Salento Colombia is heading to the local pub – Los Amigos for a game of Tejo. Colombia’s answer to exploding snap. It’s pretty similar to lawn bowls only your throwing a smooth rock at a pile of gunpowder that explodes when you hit it. Intrigued? I highly recommend you check it out.
GETTING THERE: Los Amigos is a little further from the plaza. A 5 minute walk max. Located in Cra. 6 #6/21.
COST: $5,000 for a game plus a
compulsory beer for $3,000.
6. take a trip in a vintage jeep
There are no taxis in Salento. Instead all travel is done packed into old school vintage Jeep. And when I say packed in, I mean it. We managed to fit 12 people in one with a few people hanging off the back.
GETTING THERE: Head to the main square look for the spot where all the Jeeps park.
COST: $3,800 COP per person per trip.
7. check out salento’s miradors
Just above the town square are a couple of miradors that overlook both the Cócora Valley and the town. And while they aren’t stunning a walk to both of these is still one of the most lovely things to do in Salento Colombia.
GETTING THERE: If you head to the plaza and look at the surrounding area you’ll see some colourful stairs. Walk up the stairs and you’ll reach the first mirador looking over the town. Then follow the path to the left for five minutes where you’ll find the second mirador.
8. eat trout in the main square
When I was investigating what to do in Salento Colombia I was surprised to learn that eating trout was on almost every list. It wasn’t until I headed to the mean square to try the trucha con patacon – the signature dish of perfectly cooked trout baked in a creamy, garlicky sauce and topped with lots of cheese that I realised why it was a must-try.
GETTING THERE: Head to the main square and look for a spot that’s full of locals.
COST: $15,000+ COP
9. try the incredible limonada de coco
We had heard about Limonada De Coco from a few people while traveling Salento Colombia but hadn’t thought too much of it. It wasn’t until we visited the miradors and saw a few sellers that we gave it a try and haven’t looked back. The tangy flavour of the lime mixed with the creamy coconut milk and ice makes for an incredibly refreshing and delicious beverage.
GETTING THERE: The best Limonada De Coco can be found at the small seller near the Cocora Valley mirador.
COST: $6,000 COP
10. take a horse-riding tour
Over the course of this trip I’ve realised I’m a sucker for horses. And lucky for me horse-riding is one of the best things to do in Salento Colombia. We booked our tour through La Serana Hostel ($55,000 cop per person) and spent a lovely three hours trotting around the fields and forests of Salento. Finishing with a pretty view of one of the waterfalls. Our horses were calm and healthy albeit a little lazy, and the ride traversed rivers, mud and steep hills.
GETTING THERE: Your guide will collect you from your hostel.
COST: $55,000 COP so about $18 USD.
WHERE I STAYED: LA SERRANA is an awesome hostel. And a stay here is one of the best things to do in salento colombia. it’s a 15 minute walk from the centre of town. a super generous breakfast is included in the price and they have family dinners for $18,000 COP. The hostel is lovely and social and the views of the surrounding country side are spectacular. the staff are really helpful and friendly as well.
DAILY BUDGET: WITHOUT ACTIVITIES YOU’LL NEED AROUND $20USD PER DAY.
GETTING IN AND AWAY: salento is a little difficult to get to as there are very few direct buses. the most common way is to take a bus to armenia. then buses leave from the main bus station to salento every 20 minutes. for $5,000 COP. There are also direct buses from medellin at 9, 11 and 1 with Flota Occidental. they take 7 hours and cost $45,000 COP.
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