Salento is home to The Best Hike in COlombia
Salento is a charming colonial town in Colombia’s coffee axis known for its beautiful landscapes and relaxed vibe. You can tour coffee farms, take on the country’s best day hike, and make new friends playing Colombia’s coolest drinking sport. The calmness of Salento offers the perfect break from the chaos in the big cities of Bogotá and Medellín. Plus, for a small town, it has fantastic restaurants. The people are incredibly friendly and will answer any question you have with a smile. After spending six weeks in Colombia, I can safely say that Salento is my favorite place in the country.
What to Do
Cocora Valley Hike – Colombia’s best hike takes 5-6 hours and ends in the valley with the famous wax palm trees. The views at the end of the hike are incredible and it’s best to do it in the morning before the clouds roll in.
The trail gets muddy because of the wet climate, so make sure to wear proper hiking shoes. The 4x4s that take you to the trailhead leave every few hours from the town square and cost 4,000 Colombian pesos (COP).
Tour a coffee farm – When in coffee country, it’s only right to pick some coffee beans, learn the process of coffee production, and do a tasting. Finca El Ocaso is highly recommended and the cost is 30,000 COP per person.
Play tejo – Tejo is a traditional Colombian drinking sport where you throw a stone at a target full of gunpowder that explodes on contact. Beer and explosions are a fantastic combination and the tejo bar in Salento is very tourist-friendly. Cancha de Tejo Los Amigos has bilingual staff and the cost is 11,000 COP which includes a beer.
Mirador de Salento – A short walk up from the town square will reward you with great views of the valley and the town.
Rent a mountain bike – If you’re looking for some adrenaline, you can rent a bike for 10,000 COP per hour or join a mountain biking tour.
Where to Eat
Camino Real Parrilla Bar – Their grilled meat platters are delicious and they also have pasta and vegetarian options. We came here in a large group and everyone enjoyed left very satisfied. Make sure to try the hot wine or cappuccino con licor.
Cumana Bistro – A Venezuelan restaurant serving traditional plates and the best arepas I’ve had in Colombia. Never pass up Venezuelan food, it’s fantastic.
Somevi Pizzeria – The best pizzeria in town and the prices are very low given the quality.
Cafe Jesús Martín – The best coffee shop in town has more varieties than I knew existed. The cozy cafe also has delicious cake.
Where to Stay
Coffee Tree Boutique Hostel – This cozy hostel has very knowledgeable staff and comfortable dorms. The large common spaces make it easy to meet people for a night of tejo.
Yambolombia Hostel – A laidback hostel with a hippie vibe, family dinners, and a pet horse. Be aware that It’s a 20-minute walk away from the town center.
How Long to Stay
Two days is enough time to see all the sights. Although, Salento might be the best place in Colombia to take a rest and recovery day.
Where to Next
Cali (5 hours by bus via Armenia) – The world capital of salsa dancing has salsa schools and raucous nightlife.
Medellín (7 hours) – Renowned for its nightlife, the city of eternal spring is famed for its history surrounding Colombia’s drug cartels.
Bogotá (10 hours via Armenia) – Capital city with great museums, the country’s tallest waterfall, and one of the most iconic nightclubs in the Americas.
Jardín (10 hours via Armenia and Riosucio) – A laidback, authentic town with great coffee and short hikes.