Salento Colombia was not on my list when I originally started to plan my trip to Colombia. If I am completely honest, I had never heard of this small town in the coffee triangle of Colombia. Saying that though I cannot imagine a visit to Colombia without visiting what has become my favorite small town in the entire world.
Most people end up stumbling upon Salento when seeing photos of the world’s tallest palm trees all over Instagram. These palm trees are in the Valle de Cocora where trees can reach heights of 200 feet and are sheltered in an amazing valley.
After seeing these photos and being mesmerized by this valley we knew we needed to make Salento a mandatory stop for our trip.
I recently posted about how we go to Salento and a few alternatives on how to get to this hidden town in Colombia. While there is no quick way to get to Salento there are some options that make it easier if taking a bus is not your cup of tea. You can see my write up on travelling to Salento here.
When we first got to Salento, we had only planned on spending 2 days but after the first day we knew we would need to extend our trip.
Where to stay
We decided to stay at El Viajero Salento Hostel which I cannot recommend enough to anyone coming through town. I know most people have this idea that hostels are giant dorm rooms, without A/C and party travelers but not all hostels are alike. El Viajero Salento Hostel is one of my favorite hostels to date and honestly almost felt like a hotel.
The hostel is in a corner of town giving amazing views of the countryside. If you get a private room like we did you also get to enjoy amazing privacy while also being able to meet plenty of travelers from all over the world. I will surely go into more detail on El Viajero Salento Hostel in another post to make sure everyone understand hostels are not alike.
What to do in Salento
Our original plan when visiting Salento mostly included a coffee plantation tour and seeing the Valle de Cocora then stopping for the day. This completely changed after our first day out in Salento and learning all the fun things we could do in this town.
We ended up meeting some travelers form Europe during our time at the hostel and decided to sync up with them for most of if not all our time in Salento.
Coffee Farms “Fincas”
You are mad if you come to Salento and do not do a coffee tour. Most people think of two things when they think of Colombia coffee or cocaine drug lords. I originally spoke about the drug lord and drug wars in an earlier post and why that is in the past and how safe it is in Colombia, Here.
Coffee is part of a long history of Colombia and something anyone visiting this region of the country needs to experience. There are a variety of coffee farms or fincas as they are called in Spanish all around Salento. My best piece of advice is to ask your hotel or hostel front desk which ones they recommend and how to get there.
The main reason I recommend contacting the front desk and the staff there is that coffee farms can alter schedules due to a multitude of issues. The coffee farms also sometimes run on a tour schedule so this way you can go when they have time slots for you.
We visited two farms on our first day in town and by what I experienced they mostly all offer the same kind of tour and experience. I have read many articles from other bloggers raving about one coffee farm over the other but personally I could not lean either way.
I will say the tours we took where amazing and offered a great perspective and introduction into how coffee is farmed, processed, and sold. This was eye opening to myself since like many things that we consume daily we just do not know the labor that goes into them.
Tejos (The Gun Powder Game)
Tejos is something that might come up if you ever talk to someone who travelled extensively through Colombia. I had heard of this game while researching things to do in Colombia but never actually thought I would end up playing it.
The best way I could explain Tejos at least if you are an American is that it is a corn hole backyard game with gunpowder added for fun. The premise of the game is you throw a metal disc at a clay ramp on the other side of the room that has a lead ring with small envelopes of gun powder. If the disc hits the gun powder at the right angle on the lead ring, then BOOM!
If I am honest, I have no idea how the point system works and due to cheap and plentiful aguardientes I forgot to ask for more details on the rules.
This is necessary to do if you are in Salento or anywhere in Colombia where it is played. This turned into one of the funniest nights of the entire trip!
Valle de Cocora
The Valle de Cocora was the crown jewel and main reason for our trip to Salento and let me tell you, it does not disappoint.
The Cocora Valley hike is honestly top 5 if not one of my favorite hikes of all time. I recommend planning an entire day out just for this hike unless you are in top tier shape since the terrain is not forgiving.
I will be doing a full breakdown of this hike including which route I recommend, what you should take and how to even get to the start of the hike.
Salento is a special place and somewhere that will be hard to top for a lot of reasons. There is just a certain vibe in Salento that the locals and travelers coming through town all get. Salento is a must stop in Colombia for anyone looking for something special and not just the flashy cities of Bogota and Medellin.
Stay tuned for a breakdown of the Cocora Valley Hike and why it is and will always be one of my favorite hikes in the world.
Have you ever been to Salento? Did you play Tejos anywhere in Colombia? Is the Cocora Valley Hike on your list?
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