Here we are in Salento, our last stop in our Colombia trip.
Salento is a tiny village, nestled among green, blooming mountains in the middle of the coffee triangle, the main region producing coffee in Colombia.
We hesitated to add this last stop to our trip as we could only have one and a half day there, but I heard so many beautiful things about this region & I really wanted to visit the Cocora valley & the huge palm trees that only exist there… Plus, I thought that after Bogota & the Caribbean coast, Salento would have shown us still a different side of the country.
So on an early morning, we jumped on a plane from Cartagena to Pereira.
There are 2 main entrances to the coffee triangle: the towns of Pereira & Armenia. From there you can take a public bus or private transportation to your final destinations, either Salento or one of the other little villages up in the mountains.
As we were short in time, we booked private transportation through The Plantation House. The Plantation House is a coffee plantation & a bed & breakfast. Even if you’re not staying there – which we didn’t – they can organize airport pick-ups. Which is a good option as other guesthouses aren’t used to organize such transportation.
It’s also possible to visit the coffee farm at the Plantation House, which we did the day after our arrival, & we absolutely loved the visit! I’ll tell you more about this later.
We settled down at our cute hotel, Posada Casa Salento. A new, family-run posada, which was one of the nicest places we stayed in in Colombia!
We made a beeline to the main square to go to Cocora valley.
To go to Cocora valley from Salento is super easy: you just have to go to the main square & take one of the jeeps waiting there. The car leaves as soon as it’s full.
The main square is also full of food stalls if you need to pick things for a picnic lunch for instance.
& don’t forget to take one of those wonderful fruit juices!! Try Guanabana it’s really delicious!! Just look at Mick’s face & how happy he is at the idea of drinking such fruit juice! 😉
While waiting for the jeep to get full, we wandered the colorful main square & took a peek at calle Real, a colorful little street full of art-craft shops, which we would explore more in the evening.
We had a pleasant ride with some Colombian tourists, that talked about their country & also suggested a restaurant for us to have dinner & finally arrived at the bottom of Cocora valley.
There’s a loop you can hike by foot or you can rent a horse for the first section of the path.
We rode a horse for the first part & it turned out to be a very wise decision! 😉
As always in Colombia, the path was much stiffer & difficult than what people tell you.
We were also surprised by a heavy rain & we were happy not to have to walk in the mud 😉
Although, we had to walk a bit in the mud to reach the first stop of the hike: Acaime, a humming-birds sanctuary.
There’s a small entrance fee (5.000 cop, less than 2€), & you’ll be welcomed with a bowl of hot chocolate or aguapanela (a sweet drink made from sugar cans).
& you’ll enjoy a well-needed break while observing hundreds of humming-birds flying around! Just stunning!!
The hike continues among the cloud forest…
to the highest point, Finca de la Montana.
What it’s really amazing is to see the changing vegetation while going higher.
& we also saw the red & white mushroom I only saw before in cartoons! ;p
From Finca de la Montana the hike descends again to the bottom of the valley.
The views over the valley are breathtaking!
You’ll pass through the famous wax palm trees, that can reach 80 meters! It’s impressive.
^Little me among giant palm trees! ;p
A bit lower, you’ll start seeing cows among the palm trees. So weird! 😉
And I confirm, to climb a palm tree is super difficult, even impossible!
This second portion of the hike among the wax palm trees was one of the things we enjoyed the most in Colombia!
We arrived at the bottom of the valley just in time to take the last jeep back to Salento – be aware the last jeep departs at 6pm!
& to end this perfect day, we had a lovely evening in Salento! 🙂
But as always I have way too many pics, so I’ll tell you more tomorrow! 😉