11 Unmissable Things to do in Salento, Colombia
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There are many amazing things to do in Salento that will make you fall in love with the town and keep you occupied.
Located in the west of Bogota in Quindío department is Salento, a city that is beautiful beyond measure. It is magical to explore the way people have accepted their history, in a graceful manner and merged it with the traditions of their own.
It is a surprising concept that in one part of the city, you will see modern shops and machines offering the best services that are modernized and in the other parts, you will find old traditions, craftsmanship and coffee plantations carried on through generations. The natural marvels here can only be seen and experienced in Salento as people fall short of words for the same.
Here is a complete list of the very best things to do while you visit Salento, Colombia.
Best Things To Do In Salento, Colombia
1. Wander Through The Colourful Streets Of Salento
Why not begin your time in Salento with a walking tour of its cultural center. While many tourist places expect you to visit the most visited spots around so you can have the best of your time. But in Salento, the heartbeats in the local streets and day to day life. The age-old history of colonialism in this town has given it the colour of culture and traditions.
As you walk down the paved corners and streets in the city. You will find bright coloured houses, local shops and colonial buildings carefully structured against the background of trees and mountains. These streets would give you some beautiful memories to be captured on camera.
2. Go Hiking Through The Cocora Valley
One of the top things to do in Salento is going on a hike through the mesmerizing Cocora Valley. Like the rest of the regions in Colombian county, Salento also has coffee plantations on the outskirts of the city. If you find yourself there, you must follow a thorough hike through the Cocora Valley. As Salento itself is situated in the valley. Cocora Valley is just a more natural and green extension of the city.
You will start the hike by reaching a place that is 30 minutes far from the city and you can get there by shared jeeps, regionally known as ‘Willys’. You can take the jeeps from the main square of Salento. You can book your private vehicle as well. The total hike takes four to six hours to complete. The guide will always be there within reach in case of any medical emergencies or to guide you through the path.
You can book a guided trekking tour of the Cocora Valley here. This tour will be inclusive of hotel transfers.
3. Enjoy Scenic Views Of The Town From Mirador de Salento
Mirador de Salento is a popular landmark in Salento. The literal meaning of Mirador de Salento is the tower of Salento. There are stairs that lead you to the tower. The actual charm of the tower is not only in climbing it. As you reach the top, the scenic views of the entire town, lit under the bright sun, the green pastures and the mountains in the distance make it worth the visit.
The beauty of the scenery can be best enjoyed, in the finest of the weather. As the tower is open 24 hours, you can time your visit accordingly. It would be the best place in the city if you are planning a proposal for your partner.
4. Visit A Coffee Farm
Colombian coffee is different from any other coffee you fetch on your way to work. You will know it as soon as you smell the air coming from the plantations. It will certainly fascinate you, if you are someone who loves coffee. You would love to visit the nearest Coffee farm which is not just functioning but would be more than happy to offer you a complete tour of the ‘Journey of a cup of coffee.’
Don Eduardo is the coffee farm in Salento that will give you a memorable experience. There are nearby plantation centres where you can stay and have the first sip of your morning coffee gazing at the coffee plants and local farmers picking the beans.
Visiting a coffee farm is one of the most unmissable things to do in Salento, Colombia.
5. Let’s play some Tejo
Tejo is a local Colombian game and you would love to play it. Wondering why Salento is the most suitable place to play Tejo? That is because a few distance away from the centre of the city, there is a whole arena, a club, actually, where you can play Tejo free of cost. All you need to do is buy a beer.
The name of the café is Los Amigos. The little you know about the game now, the more you will be fascinated as you will watch. The locals are the ones who are brilliant at the game. You can simply witness them, flexing their best tricks to each other or you can find yourself acing a trick or two. By the end of the day, you will love and enjoy the experience.
6. Enjoy The Company Of Birds At Natural Acaime
Visiting Natural Acaime reserve is a part of a hiking tour. Once you find the beauty of this place you would love to lose yourself here. The hummingbirds at the hummingbirds’ reserve at Casa de Los Colibris love the natural habitat of Salento and prefer this as their home. They would love to share this with you for a little while.
As the little birds go around having food and water, you can simply watch them and enjoy what they do. There is a small fee for your refreshments as you spend your time here watching the birds.
You can book a full day hiking tour of Natural Acaime here.
7. Shop At Plaza de Bolivar And Calle Real
We love a shopping spree while we are travelling or are on a vacation. Plaza de Bolivar and Calle Real are the two most lively places in Salento. The locals, as well as the tourists, love these places. There are many shops where you can shop for different goods. Calle Real has many restaurants as well where you can calm your hunger while shopping. Going on a shopping spree at these places is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Salento for shopaholics.
8. Horseback Ride On The Old Town Road
If trekking is too tiring for you. You would love a visit around Salento’s beauty on a horseback. There are many companies that offer a tour of three to five hours that go around the town on horseback.
The horses would take you through forests, grounds, exploring the natural vegetation and waterfalls as you pass through the way. Cabalgatas San Pablo is the best company that provides good horses and a knowledgeable guide to take you on your journey.
9. Enjoy The Company Of Artists At Aldea del Artesano
If you are an art lover and prefer your free Sundays to be spent at museums admiring the work of great artists. You will find something extremely raw and natural in Salento. An artists’ village called Aldea del Artesano, which literally translates as ‘the village of the artists’. There are marvellous handicrafts, potteries, knitted wall hangings, old paintings, ceramics, clay – the village has everything. The artists here live in small huts and their work would also be displayed in the most natural environment. You would love to get something for your home decorations or offices.
As you witness the art and artistry you would find yourself the loss of words and time to be in this village.
10. The Willy Jeep Ride
If you are on a short tour to Salento and want to explore more places in little time. Then Willy Jeep is the best option for you. It is considered the Colombian tradition. During World War II, soldiers used Willy Jeeps to do rounds around the city or to carry various goods from one place to another. Though Jeeps are a colonial thing, the regionals accepted it as one of their own.
In the present time, it is the most useful tool for tourists and visitors to go around the city with little effort. The travel guide drive’s the jeep as you enjoy the breeze and open skies being carefree. This definitely counts for an experience.
11. Fresh Fish at Salento
One of the best things to do in Salento is to enjoy the local food. Salento is every foodie’s paradise. You are already aware of the local fresh coffee and the multiple ranges of it that is offered at cafés around the city. But there are other delicious cuisines of different kinds that are offered at the regional restaurants and eateries.
Fresh Trout or Trucha is a special dish, you will find everywhere. You can get it exclusively made as per your preference like baked, fried or grilled with toppings of your choice. Fresh juices, organic vegetables and fruits are also some of the things you will find lip-smacking in Salento. Donde Laurita, El Rincon de Lucy and Restaurante Andrea are some of the famous restaurants in the city.
Where To Stay In Salento, Colombia
While planning your trip to Salento in Colombia, one of the first things to do would be booking a suitable accomodation to stay in. You can either stay within the town or in the scenic outskirts. If you are here for a work trip or a short getaway, you would like to check out accomodations within Salento. Else, if you are here for leisure or a romantic vacation and want to have the best time, you should book your stay in one of the ecohotels or resorts in Salento. Below you will find our favorite picks to stay in while you are visiting Salento.
Hostel : Hostel Tralala offers a comfortable stay for budget travellers and backpackers in Salento. It is located just one block away from the central town square. At close proximity from the hostel is a regional coffee farm and an ideal starting point for the trek towards Cocora Valley. The rooms are clean, relaxing and equipped with well functioning facilities. There are dormitories available too.
For Mid-Range Budget : Ecohotel Piedemonte is a charming and sustainable hotel located at a 10 minutes drive from Salento. The hotel features beautiful rooms, cottages, suite rooms with spa and family rooms. Fabulous views, spacious rooms and the feeling of serenity attracts many travellers to this hotel. Free WiFi, delicious breakfast, airport shuttle service, kid-friendly playground and spa services are other facilities provided by Ecohotel Piedemonte.
For Glamping : Looking for a dreamy retreat? Glamping Lumbre is a perfect option for those who find comfort and fascination amongst nature. The stay is extremely comforting and glamorous at the same time. This glamping spot is set in a breathtakingly picturesque place. The views of the mountains, garden and greenness will keep you awestruck during your stay. Glamping Lumbre serves its guests with gourmet breakfast, and a la carte menu. Other facilities include airport shuttle, spa packages, play area, on site restaurant, coffee house, walking tours, hiking tours, packed lunches and free WiFi.
For more accomodation options, find best accomodation in Salento on booking.com.
How To Get Around Salento, Colombia
Salento is a very small town, so you will be able to explore it by walking around. This area is hilly so for some paths or outskirt excursions you may need to hire motor taxis or Willy jeeps.
If you are going to arrive at the Pereira Airport, which is the closest airport to Salento, we recommend you to book a private airport transfer in advance. The distance between the airport and Salento is 27 kms. So, make sure to check with the hotel you are staying at if they provide an airport shuttle. If they do not provide one, you can book a very convenient private car here.
Essentials To Pack : Salento, Colombia
Below is a list of essentials that you should not forget to pack for a trip to Salento, Colombia.
- Portable charger – For battery backup. This one from Anker PowerCore is our favorite as it comes with triple USB ports, speedy charging capability and great backup
- Comfortable walking shoes – Sketchers is our go to brand for ultra comfortable walking shoes, specially for travels. Here is our favorite pick.
- Hiking shoes
- Shoe covers – These will come handy on rainy days.
- Rain coat and umbrella
- Water bottle
- Steripen – For water purification
- A good sunscreen
- Sun hat with good coverage
- Osprey daypack – For trekking or hiking tours
There are so many things to do in Salento that you may want to stay here for a couple of days. We hope that now you will be able to plan your trip better. If you have any questions or if you would like to share anything about your trip to Salento, Colombia, do write to us in the comments section below.