The village of Salento is located in the heart of the Colombian coffee region. The colourful colonial architecture, the delicious local food, and the beautiful nature made our visit to this town can one of the highlights of our Colombia trip. These were the ingredients that made our time in Salento unforgettable and that you shouldn’t miss!
#1 Hiking among the highest palm trees in the world
A visit to Salento is almost always combined with a trip to the famous Valle de Cocora. The meter-high palm trees of Valle de Cocora are one of the most beautiful sights of Colombia. The enormous palm trees in this lush green valley will make you feel very small. The hike to the trees leads you through a beautiful green valley, a jungle with rope bridges and high mountains to finish at this magical piece of Colombian nature. Do you wanna know more? In this blog, we give you the best tips and information about the valley and the hike!
#2 The colorful architecture
Salento is not big and you can easily walk from one end to the other in no time. Therefore, take your time to walk around the village to enjoy the colorful houses and colonial architecture.
#3 A game of tejo
We already mentioned the traditional game of tejo in our blog about what you really should do and see in Colombia. And Salento is one of the places where you can join this game! Only Colombians know how to make a game out of throwing explosives. In special tejo halls, you throw rocks at a clay pit. In there is a small explosive that explodes if you manage to hit it with your stone. It is very difficult, we can tell you from experience! Try for yourself? Go to the tejo hall of Los Amigos and let us know how many points you scored!
#4 Visit a coffee farm
During a visit to the coffee region of a coffee country such as Colombia, you cannot leave without joining a tour at a coffee finca. Many hotels and hostels offer an excursion to one of the fincas in the area, but you can also go to one yourself and ask for a tour. During a tour, you will get an explanation about the long and laborious process of turning the bean of a coffee plant into a cup of coffee. Of course, you will get the chance to try the result right away!
#5 Have lunch at El Rincon
This was my favorite lunch in Colombia! Entering somewhere where it is full of locals and then only being given the choice “pollo, chorizo o truche?”. No matter what you choose, you will get a delicious plate of food and some soup as a starter. Nom nom! You can find El Rincon near the central square.
#6 Explore the area on a horseback
The coffee region is extremely beautiful. There is of course much more to see here than just Salento itself and the famous Valle de Cocora. A great way to explore the area is on a horseback. We made a half-day horse riding trip through the area and enjoyed the green hills, winding roads, rail tunnels, and beautiful waterfalls.
#7 Get driven around in a willy
The brightly colored jeeps are part of the local culture in the region around Salento. The sturdy cars are perfect for transporting people, animals or cargo on the bumpy roads of the coffee region. You will also learn that a willy is never really full, as there is always another place in, on or on the car. The best place for your willy trip is thus not in, but on the jeep. You will probably take a willy for the short drive from Salento to the Valle de Cocora, but you can also use on to get to your hostel or hotel outside of town or to visit a coffee plantation. You can find the jeeps in the square in the middle of the town.
#8 Spend the night at the most beautiful hostels and hotels in Colombia
In Salento, you have chosen between the best hotels and hostels, from sleeping on a coffee finca to an idyllic eco hostel with delicious food! Popular and highly recommended places are The Plantation House with its own coffee plantation, the beautiful Coffee Tree Boutique Hostel, and the colorful El Jardin. And if you go outside the village, you will find the most beautiful eco-hostels and a beautiful glamping hotel. Check this blog with the best sleeping places in Salento (online soon)!
#9 Join the locals at the village square on Sundays
The best day to visit Salento is Sunday. The village is quiet and peaceful the rest of the week and you will mainly see travelers walking around town, but on Sundays, the village is flooded with locals on a weekend trip. That is why on Sundays the central village square is transformed into a sort of street market where everyone eats at long tables on the street. Just join the locals and enjoy the atmosphere!
#10 And order trucha
A local specialty is trucha, or: trout. This is the perfect choice when sitting down with the locals at the long tables at the main square. Trucha is served in Salento in many ways. With all kinds of sauces and vegetables, but also fried or marinated. The fish is almost always served with some fried banana chips – we like! – and a salad on the side.
The My Maps map above summarizes all our tips. The menu on the menu has separate layers that mark the best coffee spots, sleeping places and highlights. Click on the star to save the map to your own Google Maps or open the map in a new window for a larger version. Enjoy!