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Salento: ready to backpack Colombia? Go to Salento! The Cocora valley & Coffee region! Close to Pereira

Salento: ready to backpack Colombia? Go to Salento! The Cocora valley 🚙🌴 & Coffee region 👩‍🌾☕🌳! Close to Pereira

Backpacking Colombia and wondering what things to do in Colombia and places to visit? Make sure to also get to Salento. It is nót a big city like Bogota or Medellín, but a smaller village located in the mountains. Salento is surrounded by beautiful nature. The best places to visit in Colombia are for sure the Cocora Valley (Valle de Cocora) - with the highest palm trees of the world and the coffee region. Salento lays in the region to visit both! Don’t get mistaken by the name of the Cocora Valley though, this will be a good opportunity for hiking in Colombia! Salento is easy to reach by bus from Bogotá or Medellín.

➡ Click here to read all about visiting a coffee farm in the coffee area of Salento ☕👩‍🌾

➡ Click here to read all about The Cocora Valley / Valle de Cocora! 🌄🌴

How to get to Salento, Colombia

Salento is easy reachable by bus from Bogotá or Medellín.

Go from Bogotá to Salento by bus – or vice versa

First: big bus from Bogotá to Armenia: company Bolivariano – really comfortable

From Bogotá you first need to take the bus to Armenia. Best company to travel with is Bolivariano. I recommend buying bus tickets on forehand via, as at the website from Bolivariano you need to make an account with a Colombian ID. Busbud charges 3 or 4 dollars for the service, but it’s really easy. Make sure to print your tickets on paper!! Buy tickets 1 day in advance to get the best price, then they will be around 15 euros per person.

From Armenia to Salento by local bus

From Armenia you take a local bus (it’s easy peasy) to Salento. When you get out of the big Bolivariano bus, walk all the way to the other side of the bus terminal. Follow the sign for the local busses and take the one with the sign ‘Salento’. This bus will take you in an hour to Salento for about 2 US dollars.

The ride: time and comfort

We took the 8am bus in the morning, reached Armenia at about 4.30pm and arrived in Salento at around 6pm. The Bolivariano bus was a comfortable bus with toilet, wifi and personal TV-screens. The bus stops for lunch. The little bus to Salento was quite all right for a local bus, like a minivan.

Go from Medellín to Salento by bus – or vice versa

Even more easy peasy is to travel between Medellín and Salento. There is a direct bus service that operates this connection. The company is called Flota Occidental. You make a stop at the Pereira bus terminal but you – and your luggage – can just stay in the bus. Make sure to buy your tickets on forehand at the bus station.

The ride: time and comfort

You will travel in a big minibus that takes 17 people. Really comfortable chairs. There is also wifi in the bus! Not thé best connection, but well enough to send some messages here and there. We took the 8am bus from Salento and we arrived in Medellín at around 4pm – the bus stops for lunch. The travel time was longer than usual as they are working to make a better road (January 2019). So, guess when the new road is finished this will take you a lot less time 😊

Things to do and best places to visit in Salento, Colombia: Cocora Valley and a coffee farm

I love to write about Colombia at my travel blog, as tourism is so upcoming in Colombia and I really love to share my experiences. There are many top places to visit in Colombia. Visiting Salento means at least two things: visit the Valley of Cocora or Cocora Valley (Valle de Cocora) and visit a coffee farm in thé coffee region in Colombia. I’ll will tell you how to! Bonus: there is also a beautiful viewpoint in Salento!

➡ Click here to read all about visiting a coffee farm in the coffee area of Salento ☕👩‍🌾

General information about Salento

I would recommend spending at least 3 nights in Salento. This will give you 2 full days to explore the area. The village itself is little and touristy, but has a great vibe to it. No high buildings, just old little houses painted in different amazing colours. Nice people, good fruit juices, good food. Don’t miss it.

Visit the coffee region in Colombia: go to a coffee farm!

There are more than 1 coffee farm that you can visit. The most advertised one is the Ocaso Coffee farm. This is the biggest one and a lot of tourists go here. We decided not to visit this one but a slight less commercialised one because of the smaller groups, and it was a bit cheaper and authentic too 😊. It's called Las Acacias coffee farm. Click here to read all about it - including a great walk to combine it with.

➡ Click here to read all about visiting a coffee farm in the coffee area of Salento ☕👩‍🌾

Go to the Cocora Valley (Valle de Cocora) for hiking in Colombia

Heading to Salento definitely means heading to the Cocora valley to make a beautiful hike. Read all about what to wear and take, the timetable, the costs, the route (including pictures) here.

➡ Click here to read all about The Cocora Valley / Valle de Cocora! 🌄🌴

Other great things to do in Salento Colombia

Play Tejo: throwing rocks and make explosions with gun powder

The game to play in Salento is Tejo! Head to ‘Los Amigos’ and check out your Tejo talent! It is basically a game where you throw rocks in the clay, and whoever is closest to the middle gets one point. If you are ín the middle you will get six points and hitting the gunpowder gives you three points. The one that scores 21 points wins the game! Good luck 😊

Costs for Tejo in Salento Colombia
The game per person is 5000 COP and you need to buy a drink there too for 5000 COP. So, depending on the amount of drinks 😉 It will cost you a minimum of 10.000 COP (around 3 euro / 3,20 US dollar).

Visit the 2 viewpoints in Salento

There are 2 viewpoints close to each other in Salento, these are called miradors. Head to ‘Mirador De Salento’ in the north-east of Salento by walking to the end of Carrera 4. When you are up here, grab yourself a great smoothie and enjoy the beautiful views.
After you have fully enjoyed the views of nature, go to the right. Walk alongside a fence and you will get to the second viewpoint. From here you can will have a great view of the town of Salento. You can take the stairs down here to get in the main street of the town.

Where & what to eat and drink in Salento Colombia

Drink a fruit juice

Warm countries mean: good fruits mean: fruit juices (jugos)! Head to the main square and take a delicious one with mango, pineapple (piña) or go exotic with lulo or passion fruit (maracuja)! No spanish? No need. Just point at the fruit 😊
Guess they will be around 3.000 COP = 0,80 euro / 0,90 US dollar.

Eat fish: Trucha

We had trucha a couple of times. Its trout and a must eat in this region. We ate it at Donde Laurita in Salento and after the hike through the Cocora Valley. They prepare different kind of dishes with it, from drowned in cheese (queso), or ‘just’ grilled with herbs. You can’t go wrong!

Trucha at Donde Laurita

Prices of the trucha range from 20.000 COP to 28.000 COP, so that is between 5,5€-7,5€ / $6,3-$8,9.

Restaurant El Tejadito

Love the vibe of this restaurant, it is kind of dark, feels like a pub. We headed here after dinner to get some beers, hot chocolate with marshmallows and some great brownie with ice. Love the vibe here. The candles are amazing, they also serve food and cocktails.

5-43 Burger (+ beers & burritos)

Not really diving into local traditional food 😉 But the prices, the food, and the atmosphere are good! The burgers are around 13.000 COP (3,60 EUR / 4,10 USD), burrito (small) for 8.000 (2,22 euro / 2,50 USD). Place feels like a fancy barn!

Cheap and local: El Ricon de Lucy

We enjoyed our local breakfast here! Want to enjoy the local food for a local price, definitely get to this place. It is not fancy, it’s just cheap and local 😊 A great experience.

Parrilla y vinos Juan Esteban: at the main square

Cheers! We came in for a drink and a snack. Enjoyed the Poker beer, empanadas and some coffee and water. We paid less than 10€ for three people. It’s a spacious restaurant with these big wooden tables. For diner their specialty is meat from the parrilla: grill.

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