7 Amazing things to do in Salento
Salento – a beautiful colonial town with a mystique and calm sense over itself. Her you can walk alone until sunrise and nobody would bother you or maybe some of the streets dogs for some love, but that’s all.
Salento is in the heart of the Colombian Coffee district. This is the place to go when you want to taste the best coffee in Colombia. Or if Bogota starts to get overwhelming and the humidity in Cartagena de Indias is strangling you. Salento is the home for some of the tallest wax palms in the World and the best coffee in Colombia.
It is a small town but there are things to do in this little oasis in the middle of nowhere and it is only 45 minutes from Armenia & Pereira, two city’s that really don’t offer much to tourists. Armenia & Pereira is the transport hubs for getting in and out of Salento.
7 amazing things to do in Salento
1. Café Jesus Martin in Salento
Important things first is Café Jesus Martin in Salento! This is an outstanding Café with amazing coffee. They even make it more spectacular by adding Arequipe right in your coffee – coffee and dessert in one cup. Heaven on earth or at least in Salento, Colombia.
I went there everyday for my morning coffee. Finally a place in Colombia where they have a real machine that brings out the high quality of the beans and gives the flavors of Colombia right in your cup. It costs a bit more than the coffee you buy on the streets for 200 COP. I will assure you the taste is 10 times better. If not we can talk about it.
2. Viewpoint or the Mirador in Spanish
When walking around in the town center you will at some point get pulled to the hill. We all like a great viewpoint to see the city or town from another perspective. Walk up those colored stairs for a breathtaking view of the lush green valley and mountains surrounding Salento. When you are at the top, don’t stop! Take left and walk until the view gets sensational.
3. Walk to the Coffee Plantation Tour
Because it is out of this world beautiful. If anyone have been to Sri Lanka and the highlands where the tea plantations are: Then the walk to the coffee plantations in Salento kinda reminds you of this. Obviously it has changed to coffee plantations. Lushly green everywhere and the mystique fog hanging over and making Salento even a bit more mysterious.
Then along on the road you meet people from all over the world, France, Germany, USA and Norway. Of course we are all walking, because it’s free and a beautiful scenery. Then if you are lucky this really cute puppy comes along for the day as your friend. Hanging around asking for love and playtime. The walking takes around one hour to the Coffee Plantations.
When you are done with the coffee tour, you can easily share a car with fellow tour mates and get back to the city with a 20 minutes crazy ride up-hill to the town center. It will sett you back around 6 000 COP or something close to that depending on how many are sharing the ride.
5. Do the Coffee Plantation Tour
Salento one of the three Colombian areas that creates the Coffee Triangle, along with Risaralda and Caldas. This is why it is one of the best places to learn about Colombian coffee and the elaborate processes from the green to the read beans, the drying, the burning and finally the delicious life saving coffee.
On your walk down to the coffee plantations there are different coffee tours to pick; Finca El Ocaso, Don Elias and the Plantation House hostel. On my trip, I went on the Don Elias Tour, it has the tours in English and I preferred it since they where doing it the organic way. We had this young 20 something tour guide which was amazing! He had a true passion for his family farm and the coffee that they grow. I was surprised on how much care the coffee plants need, that they made the compost from eggs, banana, coffee leftovers and everything was a part of composing the perfect earth for the coffee growing on site. They used Papaya trees for shades and protections for the Coffee threes.
The tour takes around 30 minutes and that is a perfect amount of time if you are a curious person and don’t want to become a coffee expert. After getting to know the entire process it was finally coffee tasting of Don Elias Beans. That was an experience for this Norwegian girl who is very used to the filter coffee and not used to having coffee grinds in the cup. It tasted good, but maybe not the best. It was a great experience for 7 000 COP and you can’t visit Salento and not visit one of the coffee tours. That is like being in Paris and not eating croissant, which is impossible.
6. Watch the Hummingbird in Cocora Valley
In Salento, bird watching can be done anywhere since Colombia have more species of birds than any other country in the world. Great advice is bird watching at the Cocora Valley Hike, which you must do! Go hiking to the Hummingbird Sanctuary where you can sit and enjoy some of the most magnificent birds on the planet. Remember to not just look, but to listen as well. The sound of them are just as amazing as their colorful feathers.
7. Hike the Cocora Valley in Salento
This is the main reason why we went, or is it not? Si or No 😉 – The Cocora Valley is home to the wax palms which are the tallest palm trees in the world. How amazing is it not to have seen them, walked among them and hugged them? For me this was one of the best things I did in Salento and in Colombia. How to perform the Cocora Valley Hike can be done in many options. Make sure you are doing it your way and how you want it to be. Then hug a three for yourself and one for me!
Going to Salento or already been in Salento?