Discover Salento, Colombia

| by Aracely | 7 Comments » | Colombia, South America

Wax Palms of Valle de Cocora

Wax Palms of Valle de Cocora

Located in the heart of the Colombian coffee region and tucked between Pereira and Armenia rests Salento, a small and pleasant town which offers visitors a warm relaxing setting.  If you’re making your way south to Cali from Medellin or Bogota, or traveling north on the reverse route, Salento is an ideal place to take a break from the bustling cities of Colombia.  Relax in town, or venture out to Valle de Cocora for some outdoor trekking adventure where you will see the largest palm trees in the world.

Aracely in Salento, Colombia

Aracely in Salento, Colombia

Salento’s most popular street is lined with artisan shops, fondas (Colombian cantinas), and local restaurants serving typical Colombian dishes.  By 9:00pm, most shops close and restaurants are only serving quick dishes of chorizo and empanadas.  You will only find fondas and bars opened later in the evening.

Hang off the side of an original Jeep Willy during an exciting 30 minute ride to Valle de Cocora, a valley located in the central Andean mountains. Valle de Cocora is home of the wax palm (Ceroxylon quindiuense), a Colombian national symbol and the tallest palm tree in the world.  Since the implementation of law 61 in 1985 the palm has been a legally protected species, but still faces many threats of extinction. The wax palm has an extremely slow growth and can live up to a hundred years.

La Montana in Valle de Cocora

La Montana in Valle de Cocora

From the drop off point there are various hiking routes that take its visitors through rolling hills of green landscape and winding shallow rivers.  The most popular route is to Acaime, a rest point where you can enjoy a traditional snack from the area called Aguapanela or cane juice and cheese for $3,000 pesos or $1.50 USD, all while admiring the beautiful humming birds flying around you.  From Acaime, most visitors will hike the La Montana route back to the park’s entrance. La Montana provides some of the most beautiful views of the of the valley and its majestic palms.

For Budget Travelers

When you arrive at the parks entrance you will have several options to tour the area.  Avoid horseback, and guided tours and instead take a photo of the large wooden map and use it for reference while hiking on your own.  The trails are well marked and you shouldn’t have any problems finding your way.

Click here to see more PHOTOS of Salento.

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Written by Aracely

Co-founder of Aracely has been traveling, writing and taking photos since 2024, when she departed on his first year long travel backpacking journey. When she isn't seeking new adventures, Aracely is usually building Excel models as a financial analyst professional. Visit my website

7 Responses to “Discover Salento, Colombia”

  1. Wow, I never heard of Salento, must serve a great cup of coffee….I’ll need to check it out next time I venture to Colombia.

    Stay Adventurous,
    .-= Craig Zabransky´s last blog ..StayAdventurous: Trust me – Its better than White Zin. RT @kirsten_al – Heard of but never seen Coppola bottle of wine. Taste? =-.

    • Jason says:

      Craig, this place is wonderfully peaceful. A great town to enjoy some local food and drink. Then of course if the one day trek through the valley which is full of flowers, tall palm trees and humming birds.

  2. Me too, I want to taste the coffee of Columbia and try to compare the coffee of Catalonia.
    .-= Timeshare Relief´s last blog ..Breaking Down Timeshare Costs =-.

  3. Andre says:

    Loved this place! so relaxing.

  4. Mankinimalph says:

    One of my favourite places in Colombia this. The walk through Valle de Coroca up to the humming bird sanctuary is breathtaking.

    Also from The Plantation House hostel you get some amazing sunsets over the tranquilo town and rolling coffee fields. I reckon it’s better to coffee tour here than Manizales up the road a few hours that is a little too city.

    However note that all the best Colombian coffee is exported and they keep the bad stuff to drink locally – they obviously make more money that way. The region is suffering in lower coffee harvests too due to a warmer climate. Places like China (is there anything they don’t make?) apparantly are on the up as their climate better suits the growing of coffee.

    There’s a bike ride you can do out of Salento around the area too. While the English guy running it is a lovely chap, it’s really not worth doing. You don’t really see too much and it’s quite an effort (and I’m fairly fit).

    Defintiely go to Salento though if you have the chance!
    .-= Mankinimalph´s last blog ..Borat’s Mankini Swimsuit a Hit in Japan =-.

    • Jason says:

      Thanks for the additional tips. The trek through the Valle de Coroca was awesome. We also got amazing photos of the hummingbirds up top.

  5. Stephen says:

    I agree, Salento is a great place to stop and rest and a nice place to get away from Colombian cities. Although I just visited when it was rainy season and it was quite cool and wet, but that just makes sipping coffee in the coffee shops around town that much better.

    Also I would recommend taking a coffee farm tour while you are there. I visited a small family-run farm called Don Elias. They are super friendly and give a nice tour and tasting for 5,000 pesos.

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