Top Things To Do In Salento, Colombia
The town of Salento is located at the heart of the Eje Cafetero in the department of Quindio, Colombia. Don’t let the size of this town fool you, although small, there is plenty to do here to keep you busy for a few days. If you have the time, Salento is not to be missed. You will be able to see a very different Colombia from the busy cities or the Caribbean coastline. Another main attraction of Salento is the famous Cocora Valley. Let’s start with our top recommendations for Salento:
Visit the Cocora Valley
Quite frankly, this might be the main reason for your visit to Salento in the first place. This 5-6 hr hike through the luscious green valley with 60m tall palm trees is famous for a reason. There is no doubt, it’s a beauty! Click here for everything you need to know to prepare for a Day Trip To Cocora Valley.
Ride a Willy
This is by far the cutest transportation in the Eje Cafetero region! You will most likely end up riding one if you visit the Cocora Valley or take a trip to the nearby town of Filandia. Make sure to hold on and enjoy this bumpy ride!
Go on a Coffee Tour
Did you even visit Colombia if you didn’t go to a coffee tour?! Since we’ve already established that coffee is life…head over to one of the many coffee fincas for the freshest and best coffee of your life. After all, you are in the heart of the Eje Cafetero! You will find many options for coffee tours. Our biggest recommendation is walk to one of the coffee plantations and book the tour on the spot. Tours are offered throughout the day and you should not have any big challenges finding one. We walked an hour away from Salento and paid $10,000 COP ($3.15 USD) per person for the tour.
Grab a Drink at a Local Bar
The small town vibes are undeniable in Salento, you’ll hear music blaring from the local cantinas. Grab a drink and enjoy some old school Vicente Fernandez and Antonio Aguilar, while people watching at the main plaza. This is definitely a must during the weekend! The town becomes very lively during the weekend and you don’t want to miss any of the action! Sit down and enjoy an Aguila beer… or maybe 5!
Make some Colombian friends and have them take you out on a night of playing Tejo! The rules are pretty simple and the game is very fun. Besides, how often can you play with explosives and have a beer at the same time?! This was definitely one of Ricky’s favorite activities in Colombia. The best part is that you can play Tejo for FREE as long as you keep drinking. I mean… who are we to stay no to beers and some Tejo with our new friends?! Do yourself a favor and give Tejo a try!
Visit the Top of The Cross Viewpoint
Walk up 238 steps to get breathtaking sights of Salento. Trust us, it’s worth the climb. You can also grab snacks or drinks when you get to the top. The day we went there were a couple of older men playing some instruments and dancing the afternoon away. You will also find another view point if you turn to your left once you arrive to the top.
Shop the Many Artsy Boutiques
Salento isn’t the cheapest place to shop because it’s very touristy, but it does have many cute crafts and things all in one place! It is totally worth wandering the streets and checking them out.
Enjoy the Picturesque Streets
It’s no secret that Salento is literally eye candy! You will find colorful streets full of charm everywhere you turn. Visit Calle Real for the cutest street in town.
Eat Trucha at Restaurante Andrea
Visit Doña Amparo and have her cook you up the trout special! They have the best trout served in many different ways. Our favorite was “al ajillo especial con champinones y camarones”. We paid $20,000 COP ($6.30 USD) per person. The portions are huge and will fill you up for most of the day. Their prices are very reasonable and their service is great! This was our favorite dinner in all of Salento… a must visit!
Eat giant patacones
Try the largest patacones you will ever have with hogao. They sell for about $4,000 COP ($1.30 USD) at any restaurant around the main plaza. They reminded us of a big tostada con salsa. If you are like Ricky, you will finish all the spicy sauces provided with no issue!
Enjoy a night out
Salento is full of life! Wether it’s grabbing a beer and listening to music at the local bar or enjoying some street performances, hit up the town at night for a piece of this lively action!
How To Get To Salento
We were traveling from Cali to Salento. The easiest way to get here is by local transportation. You will have to first take a bus from Cali to the town of Armenia, then another bus from Armenia to Salento:
Take a taxi to the Cali bus terminal. We took a taxi from Barrio San Antonio to Cali Bus Terminal for an estimated $10,000 COP ($3.15 USD).
Book a bus from Cali to the Armenia bus terminal. We didn't make reservations in advance since there are many buses that leave the terminal and best of all you can negotiate prices! We asked all of our top bus picks and Tax Belalcazar gave us the best price of $20,000 COP ($6.30 USD p/p). Buses leave frequently from the Cali terminal to Armenia. There are options to take a microbus (16-18 person seats) or a bigger bus that accommodates more people. The small microbus gets you to your destination quicker with no stops. The total bus ride from Cali to Armenia is an estimated 3 hrs.
Bus from Armenia to Salento. Ask anyone to direct you to the Salento buses and you will be led outside to the right hand side to a small microbus with a sign that reads “Salento”. It costs $4,500 COP ($1.42 USD p/p) . These buses leave every 20-30 minutes. The total drive time is an estimated 30-45 minutes.
Salento to your accommodation. Salento is a very small town which makes it very walkable!
Tips For Accommodation in Salento
There are many great accommodations in Salento, in fact there are so many you will have a hard time choosing where to stay. You will find that almost all are priced around the same price, but we did get lucky and found a gem of a place! Posada Elenita was walking distance to the center. The wifi and shower worked great and the host was the kindest person we met in Salento.