In this article, you will find the best things to do in Salento.
I will also share some of my favourite restaurants and cafes, as well as other useful tips and recommendations.
Everything you need to know about Salento!
Things to do in Salento
The best food, drink and wi-fi places in Salento
How to get to Salento
How to get around Salento
Where to stay in Salento
Things to do in Salento
Salento is well known for producing some of the best coffee in Colombia. That is why we didn’t do coffee tours in other towns and cities but we waited until we arrived in Salento to do it here as Salento is part of the big coffee triangle. We did a tour with ‘Finca El Ocaso’ and can highly recommend them. The coffee farm is just a 20-minute drive away from Salento town. Located in a beautiful valley, the finca not only offers a great tour but a wonderful ambience. They have a cafe there too, so you can stay after the tour and enjoy some of their specialities and the view.
They offer two types of tours - normal and premium. We did the normal one and I believe I learnt enough. It cost 30.000 COP per person (~ 7 EUR / 6 GBP / 8 USD). We went through the whole process from the moment the seed is planted until we were actually drinking the coffee. More about the tour types and differences between them you can find on their website.
Cocora Valley hike is a must-do when in Salento. The views are incredible! This is the place where you will find the world's tallest palm trees - the wax palm trees. They can reach up to 65 meters in height and live for around 150 years.
The loop hike is around 5 hours long and will take you through the valley of palm trees, forest and you can also visit a hummingbird farm on your way. Unfortunately on the weekend when we were there, a landslide happened and we couldn’t do the whole 5-hour hike, but we still managed to do a shorter 2 hour one.
There is also a 2km extra route if you want to see some waterfalls. So basically you can plan out your day and hike in the Cocora Valley as you wish.
Note, that there will be an entrance fee on your way of 10.000 COP per person (~ 2.40 EUR / 2 GBP / 2.60 USD).
Another way how to explore the Cocora Valley is by horse riding. Once you reach the valley, you will find a few people offering to do one of the horse riding routes.
I personally recommend doing both, because a horse ride in the valley is an unforgettable experience, but you can’t go everywhere with a horse, so the rest you need to hike.
The price depends on the route you pick, so the prices can vary from 30.000 COP (~ 4.80 EUR / 4 GBP / 5.20 USD) to 120.000 COP (~ 29 EUR / 24 GBP / 31 USD) per person.
Explore Salento Town
Salento town itself is a very cute place to be. Colourful houses, artisan shops, lovely cafes and restaurants with balconies overlooking the main square.
Salento felt very safe. It feels like everyone knows each other and it is a great community to be a part of. First place in Colombia, where during the late hours we felt completely safe to walk around.
Make sure to check out Salento's main Mirador (viewpoint). You will find a lot of stairs going up at the end of the main street. Up there are some cafes or you can watch the sunset for free.
The best food, drink and wifi places in Salento
The number one cafe I recommend is 'Summer Cafe'. I can't find any links to it online as I think it is fairly new, but you will find it in the main square, on the left of the church. The food was wonderful and they have different coffees and cocktails to choose from. The prices are cheap and most importantly they have amazing wifi. We found this place on the first day and I think we went there all 3 days, as we worked there too.
Another great food and wifi place is 'Fika Cafe'. They are on the 2nd floor so offers a beautiful view of the main square.
A further outstanding place with a wonderful view is ‘El Patio de mi casa’. Also great food and drinks. I think this place is perfect for a proper dinner.
For sunset-watching, I recommend 'Botanica'. We walked around to find the best sunset spot and I think they have one of the best ones. Prices were reasonable for such a special place. They also offer food too, but we didn’t try as we went up there only for a drink.
How to get to Salento
There is no airport in Salento. The 2 closest airports are Armenia and Pereira. So from there then you can get a direct bus to Salento. There are also buses, for example from Bogota to Armenia or Pereira, so all you need to do is get to Armenia or Pereira and then from there get a small local direct bus to Salento.
The company we used coming from Pereira was ‘Alcala’ and one ticket cost 9.000 COP (~ 2.10 EUR / 1.80 GBP / 2.30 USD). They go every hour from Pereira.
Taxi in this case will be quite expensive. We enquired and it would cost around 30 EUR from Pereira to Salento, so if you are 4 people it might work out but we took a bus and I can’t complain about my experience. It left 20 minutes late, but that is just standard Colombian time, so if you are fine with that then the bus is definitely the way to go.
How to get Around Salento
The main Salento bus station is at the end of one side of the town. That bus station is only used for long drives - like Pereira and Armenia.
Once you have reached Salento you literally can walk everywhere. From one end of the town to another, you can walk in 10 minutes.
When you want to go to Cocora Valley or any finca (hotel, tour, etc) outside the town the whole traffic is run by ‘Willys’ - little jeeps. They all go to places from the main square. Where they are parked you will find a little hut selling tickets. The official timetable says that a jeep goes every hour, but in reality, once they fill the jeep with 10 people they leave, so there will be a jeep leaving every 10 minutes. Prices are around 4.000 COP (~1.20 EUR / 1 GBP / 1.40 USD) one way per person. The jeeps offer private shuttle too, but that will be more expensive - 36.000 COP (~8.60 EUR / 7.25 GBP / 9.40 USD) per ride.
Where to stay in Salento
In Salento town, you won’t find fancy 5-star hotels. There are only hostels and guest houses.
You can also stay outside the town in one of the fincas that will offer mesmerising surroundings where you can submerge yourself in nature. If you want to get out of the city rush then a relaxing weekend in one of those countryside homes could be an ideal choice.
For a bit more of a unique experience, you can try one of the clamping camps. There are a few in the surrounding area.
For me, Salento is the best travel destination in Colombia! I highly, highly recommend you to add it to your list!
If you are planning a trip to Colombia, I highly recommend you to watch this video of 25 things you should know before travelling to Colombia:
All my favourite travel destinations in Colombia and the safety situation in each of them see in the video below: