This guest house in Salento is known for good grilled steaks and cold beers.
Salento was founded in 1850 and is one of the oldest towns in the Quindío district. Salento’s colorful local architecture mixes with a distinctly laid-back approach to life that only a small town can evoke.
Located approximately seven to nine hours by bus from Bogota and six to seven hours from Medellin, Salento is the perfect location in which to base yourself while exploring Colombia`s coffee zone. The main route from Popayán and Cali to Bogotá used to pass through Salento, but when the route was diverted the town became isolated and did not develop as rapidly as the rest of the region. For this reason it has retained more of its traditional colonial architecture than almost any other town in the Colombian coffee region.
At the end of the street are stairs leading up to Alto de la Cruz, a hill topped with a cross. From here you'll see the verdant Valle de Cocora and the mountains that surround it. If the skies are clear (usually only in the morning), you can spot the snowcapped tops of the volcanoes on the horizon.
Salento is located in the Colombian coffee region (Spanish: Eje Cafetero) and is a part of the Colombian Paisa region in the rural area of Colombia. This region is known for the growing and production of a majority of the country's coffee which is considered by many as the best coffee in the world. Tourism is the now the dominant economy of the Salento, but farming and agriculture are still important with dairy farming and the production of flowers and other crops being significant.
A movable fruit cart on Salento's plaza selling fresh local produce.
A great part of the charm of Salento is just taking in its charming ambiance and slowing yourself down. This is especially wonderful if you have been exploring the many different areas and cities of Colombia and need a much-needed rest. Here are a few of my recommendations while visiting Salento which will still give you time to chill.
Take in the View from El Mirador (the lookout) of the surrounding countryside.
People watch at the main plaza in Salento.
Explore the Valle de Cocora (Cocora Valley) which is a definite must!
In a country full of beautiful landscapes, Cocora Valley is one of the most striking. It stretches east of Salento into the lower reaches of Los Nevados National Natural Park with a broad green valley framed by sharp peaks. In the rolling green foothills of the Colombian Andes the Cocora Valley is known for being one of the only places in the world to see wax palms in their natural habitat. Everywhere you will see wax palms, the largest palm in the world which can grow to 196 feet! The wax palm is Colombia's national tree and they are spectacular.
I found this description of the Cocora Valley especially lovely and would like to thank the source for it's use:
"Images of Colombia’s Cocora Valley are plastered on postcards all over the country, where peculiarly skinny, incredibly tall palm trees are set against a backdrop of glaring sun, enigmatic mist or broad Andean foothills. Wax palms – Colombia’s national tree and the world’s tallest palms – are a source of pride among locals, and reason alone to venture to this peaceful hikers’ playground. But the more time you spend in the Cocora Valley, nestled in the central Colombian coffee growing region (la zona cafetera), the more the scenery unfolds. Beyond the postcard-perfect images is an ever-changing landscape that unfolds a host of little surprises.
One of the only places on Earth to see them in their natural habitat, the wax palms in Cocora Valley can grow to 196 feet tall, and hundreds of them randomly dot the cleared grassland like floral pinwheels, towering above fields of grazing livestock. Even at the bottom, the trunks of the spindly, shag-topped trees are thin enough to wrap a good hug around, yet hard as concrete. Viewed up close or from across the valley floor, the effect is transporting; you are somewhere uncommon and arresting." BBC.COM/TRAVEL/STORY
When it's time to get off-road the colorful trucks are as delightful as the colorful town of Salento!
Salento and the Cocora Valley were a total delight. With hindsight I wish we had spent more time in this charming town absorbing it's magic, the friendliness of the people, and the beautiful surrounding countryside. Salento found a special place in our hearts and we thank you for the lovely memories.
SALENTO AND COCORA VALLEY ALBUM
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