Salento Travel Guide

  • inquisitive Motmot
    inquisitive Motmot
    by richiecdisc
  • from the park
    from the park
    by richiecdisc
  • Salento
    by mircaskirca

Salento Things to Do

  • Valle de Cocora

    While Salento is quite stunning in its own right, most who venture to the small town are here to visit the justifiably famous Valle de Cocora. This nature reserve is home to Colombia's national tree, the wax palm, which just happens to be the tallest palm in the world at heights of up to 60 meters!. A trip to see this amazing trees is on just about...

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  • a resident Motmot

    While staying at The Plantation House we got our second view of the Motmot on our first morning there. It is indeed a colorful bird, with a near electric blue crown and equally stunning long tail. The large bird can reach 50 centimeters and is found in highland forests from Mexico to central South America. Colombia is a prime place to spot one and...

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  • Calle Real

    Calle Real (Carerra 6) is the main drag of town and runs from Plaza Bolivar up to a hilltop lookout. Though primarily lined with artisan shops selling local wares, it retains an authentic enough flair with the town's hallmark colorful paisa architecture. Though Salento is a small and simple town, it does have beautiful well-preserved typical paisa...

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  • coffee tours

    One of the highlights of visiting Salento is certainly doing a coffee plantation tour. There are many to choose from and most are obviously in Spanish. We had done an impromptu one with the owner of Reserva Natural Sacha Mama. Though it was not at his plantation, we got the gist of the coffee world according to him, and though it was very...

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  • Alto de la Cruz

    At the far end of Calle Real is a set of stairs leading to Alto de la Cruz, a hill with the ubiquitous cross well worth climbing. From the top, you get grand views of the town itself and surrounding verdant hills. It is said that on a clear day snow capped volcanoes can be seen but while we had very nice weather while in town, it was never totally...

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  • Nuestra Señora del Carmen

    The key feature of Plaza Bolivar is Nuestra Señora del Carmen, the town's only church. Though simple from the outside, the interior has a beautiful wood ceiling and overall, it has a light airy feeling to it. The park just out front is the focal point of Plaza Bolivar and provides not only a great place to sit down and relax but also a great...

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Salento Hotels

  • Hostel Tralala

    Carrera 7 No 6 - 45, Salento, Colombia

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

Salento Restaurants

  • Amazing Little Restaurant in Salento

    This little restaurant located off of the main street (about 50 feet) at calle 4, Numero 5 - 54, was recommended by our hostel. We tried it once and ended up eating dinner there 3 times during our 4 night stay. After 2 weeks of plato-typico we were craving something a little bit different. This little restaurant is ridiculously lovely. You look in...

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  • Restaurant in Salento

    This little restaurant located off of the main street (about 50 feet) at calle 4, Numero 5 - 54, was recommended by our hostel. We tried it once and ended up eating dinner there 3 times during our 4 night stay. After 2 weeks of plato-typico we were craving something a little bit different. This little restaurant is ridiculously lovely. You look in...

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  • Arty Café with a Nice Homey Atmosphere

    In the morning I visited coffee finca of Don Elias. I wanted to buy organic coffee from his farm to take with me. Unfortunately he did not sell it but he recommended a good place where I could get it. He explained me where the place was. I expected a family home or a shop, but found a lovely Café Jesús Martín instead. It was only opened in August...

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Salento Nightlife

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    by richiecdisc Written Dec 12, 2010

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    Just to show that Calle Real is still real and not just a conglomeration of smart shops peddling handicrafts and upscale coffee, there are two real bars that cater to Salento's version of the blue collar worker: the farmer. We walked by these places every day and no matter what time it was, there was always a group of men sitting at a table, in various stages of being in a stupor. The man in a stupor would often change from one hour to next as if one would revive himself in time for another to get really “relaxed” and nod off, head resting on the table once reserved for cards. By and large, these places are for men, and men alone but after shunning places like (though not quite like) these in El Cocuy, I really wanted to venture in. My wife, being a great sport, agreed and one evening we found no groups of men nodding off, just a few shooting billiards so it wasn't so intimidating. We grabbed a table next to the door and I went up to the bar to order a couple beers, glad that the bartender had offered us small glasses rather than make us drink from the bottle.

    Bar Quindio was much like a western cowboy bar in the western US, even the music would have fit in if only in Spanish. No one paid us much notice despite Doreen being not only the prettiest girl in town but also the only girl in the bar. Ok, it probably helped that she was dressed like a backpacker and as such may as well as been in disguise as a boy since it's not likely the locals ever see their women-folk not in a dress unless of course they are undressed. The beer was Pilsen and oddly enough after avoiding it due to a poor reputation, it turned out as good as most of the rest of the Colombian swill we'd been swilling the previous six weeks. Two beers were 3600 COP ($1.80). No need for a second. I'd had my taste and D had done her duty. Our room was calling and we answered it promptly.

    D's the only girl tonight quiet in the morning
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Budget Travel
    • Beer Tasting

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Salento Transportation

  • flying to save time can make sense...

    For such a small town, Salento is well connected at least to the surrounding towns of the Zona Cafetera of which it is one of the area's true gems. We were coming from the Caribbean Coast of Colombia so flew from Santa Marta to Armenia on Avianca. After shopping around, we got a flight for 205,000 COP ($102) each one-way. Though we had initially...

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  • From Salento to Cali

    To get from Salento to Cali you take a minibus to Armenia first. Buses depart from the main square. They also stop by the fire station at the end of the town if you find this more convenient. The journey takes about 50 minutes and you buy the ticket in the bus. In Armenia I had to change for another bus to Cali. I went to Expreso Palmira office to...

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  • Willys Jeep to Valle de Cocora

    Gorgeous Valle de Cocora (Cocora Valley) is about 11 km from Salento. To get there you can take a Willys jeep (an old jeep model typically used for people and coffee transport in the region) from the main plaza in Salento to the small village of Cocora. The jeep drops you by the restaurant where the trek starts. Horses can also be arranged here....

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Salento Shopping

  • colombiantraveler's Profile Photo

    by colombiantraveler Updated Feb 21, 2008

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    What to buy: There are several things that you can buy here, everything related to handcraft sort of things. Therefore, you will find regional hats (see picture), necklaces, t-shirts painted by local people, among others, and the prices are very low.

    Julian Clavijo

    Local Craftsmen Local shop Doing a necklace

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Salento Local Customs

  • a bean by other name would be just a...

    We learned quite a bit about coffee while in Salento. We had been relatively disappointed with the coffee scene in Colombia before coming here. Even though we managed to find some decent java prior, it always took a lot of effort and it was only at more upscale places that we were satisfied. One thing we learned was the difference between Arabica...

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  • Billiard Halls and Bars

    Along Calle Real there are a couple of Billiard halls and bars with Bar Quindío being the most popular among them. It has a couple of pool tables and lots of billiard tables. These places look like something out of a western movie, and they were often full of drunk Colombian cowboys. Most of the customers are men wearing ponchos, boots and cowboy...

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  • Cafequipe - Coffee Caramel Spread

    Arequipe (or dulce de leche in Spanish) is a popular Colombian dessert which is prepared by slowly heating sweetened milk to make a cream that is similar in taste to caramel. It is used to flavour candies, pastries or desserts, such as cakes, cookies or ice cream and flan. It is also a popular spread on toast and filling in oblea. In Quindío you...

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Salento Warnings and Dangers

  • colombiantraveler's Profile Photo

    by colombiantraveler Updated Feb 21, 2008

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    Salento, is not an unsafe place, but as a personal recommendation ask to local authorities if security issues around the area is ok. Is just to be completely sure that nothing bad happens. This doesn't mean that you have to be scared, not at all....dont worry come here but check first..

    Julian Clavijo

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Salento What to Pack

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    by richiecdisc Written Dec 12, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: Though this is still primarily a Colombia getaway, it has all the makings of a gringo backpacker paradise. It also has some real backpacking possibilities in the vicinity so bringing that big bag might not be all show and tell.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Hiking boots are a must for Valle de Cocora and comfy shoes for walking around town will come in handy too. A sweater is a good idea as it gets cool in the evenings and rain gear is likely to come in handy in this area noted for cloud forests full of hummingbirds.

    Photo Equipment: A wide angle is great for bringing objects into your foreground, making photos more interesting. A zoom is great for taking photos of barnyard animals, cats, and beans for that matter.

    Miscellaneous: Thanks to D for being a great romantic partner in this very romantic town.

    cute cat on coffee tour he really took to us D during our candlelight lunch
    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Photography
    • Budget Travel

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Salento Off The Beaten Path

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo

    by mircaskirca Updated Apr 14, 2009

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    Termales de Santa Rosa de Cabal is a charming and unspoiled place in the department of Risaralda where you can enjoy medicinal hot springs surrounded by ecological paths and 170m waterfall. They were not really on my way. But since I was somehow in the area I tried to include this thermal springs in my itinerary.

    During the week there are three buses a day from Salento to Pereira. They live from the main plaza. I took a morning bus and the ticket was 4.700 COP (December 2008). There are buses departing Pereira every ten minutes or so to Santa Rosa de Cabal. The journey takes about 20 minutes and the cost was 1.500 COP (December 2008). Once in the town of Santa Rosa de Cablal there are chivas that take you to Termales (8 km). They go three three times a day, the trip is mostly up, and it takes almost an hour. The first chiva only left in an hour. If I wanted to catch the last bus from Pereira to Salento I would have to leave Termales to Santa Rosa de Cabal almost immediately. I thought it was not worth a journey and decided I better leave it for my next visit of Colombia and then perhaps stay overnight.

    So my day trip to Termales changed to short visits of Santa Rosa de Cabal and Pereira, the capital of the department. Santa Rosa de Cabal is a pleasant small town with some colonial architecture and an attractive Plaza de Bolívar overlooked by the main church Iglesia las Victorias.

    Santa Rosa de Cabal unloading a plantain truck Santa Rosa de Cabal chiva Pereira
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

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Salento Sports & Outdoors

  • Exploring the nature

    Some people are afraid of horses some other not, but Salento will seduce you and will make all those fears go away. In this place there are no excuses, you have to explore every corner and horse riding is a good way to do it, there are several places where horses can be rented, with or without a tour guide (it depends on your needs) and the price...

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  • Climbing the amazing mountains of...

    If you are a climbing fan, please come to Salento, the views you'll explore in this small town are something unforgetable. Even though is a small place, the variety of views you will see are going to stick in your mind forever. Is amazing how nature lets you feel its power and its beauty.Julian Clavijo There are no special things you will need for...

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  • Salento Hotels

    1 Hotels in Salento

Salento Favorites

  • and incredibly again

    Later, on waking her for breakfast, she was a bit peeved that I had not woken her to see the magical birdbut knew deep down she knew I was probably right for letting her sleep in with an early wake-up call the next morning. That night, lying in bed in the dark looking at the photos of that day which had become a custom, she was a bit upset again...

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  • on spotting the Motmot again

    As small as Salento was, it seemed to have it all. Nice architecture, interesting food, and nature-oriented excursions close at hand. Most of all, it was a great place to relax since everything was close at hand and not overwhelming. Staying at hostels can be overbearing if you are not in the mood to socialize but by the time we got to Salento, we...

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