After Bogota, Salento was our second stop. We took a flight (cost: 75 euro per person) from Bogota to Pereira, and a taxi from Pereira to Salento. Salento is a small village surrounded by mountains and a lot of green. Most tourists & backpackers visit Salento to go to the Cocora Valley, which is known for having the world’s tallest palm trees. Couldn’t miss this one as a palm tree lover 🙂 We stayed two full days in Salento; one day to visit the Cocora Valley and the other to explore & relax in Salento.
The village itself is cute & colorful. The weather in Salento changes every day. We visited Salento in May during the rainy season, therefor we prepared for the worst but got really lucky with the weather. We stayed at Hotel El Jardin, which was located right behind the main square of the city. Nice, clean hotel with a breathtaking view! Get a €15,- discount on your stay with the code E0TANA81 if you book via Booking.com.
How to get there?
You can get a ride to the entrance of the Cocora Valley at the main square. There are several colored jeeps that will take you there. Just buy a ticket at the booth near the jeeps and you will leave as soon as the jeep is full.
What to bring?
- The weather changes a lot in Salento. Therefor, I would recommend to dress in layers. This way you can change your outfit depending on the temperature.
- Enough food & water, especially if you’re doing the long hike!
- Good walking shoes. Please don’t do this hike in your all stars or flip-flops.
- A raincoat or poncho.
At the entrance of the Cocora Valley you can take two routes:
- Left: you go straight to the valley with the high palm trees. This is the best option if you’re not fit or don’t feel like going for a big hike.
- Right: you will hike to the top of the valley and walk down to the valley with the high palm trees.
We did the second route and I would definitely recommend it if you’re fit and want the full experience! It rained a lot the day before we went to the Cocora Valley so our whole trial was really muddy. That didn’t stop us though! Our hike was muddy & steep but worth it. The valley with all the palm trees was the finishing touch to a long hike (+/- 5 hours).
Half way into the hike you’ll see a sign with a red arrow that points toward a (steep) trail that leads to the Acaima Hummingbird Sanctuary. We were curious and heard great stories about it and decided to visit the sanctuary. You end up at a house/cottage (which was full with other hikers) where you can get something to drink or eat and watch the hummingbirds. Honestly, if you’ve seen hummingbirds before, this is not worth your time. I would recommend to continue your trail to the valley and go left when you see the sign.
After 5 hours, we arrived at the valley with high wax palm trees. It was cloudy and raining a little when we arrived, but I actually liked the smoggy look!
On our second day in Salento we walked around in the town and recovered from our hike the previous day. You can also visit a coffee farm and walk to the viewpoint (Mirador De Salento).
Mirador de Salento
Where to eat in Salento?
Not only is the food cheap in Colombia, it’s also really good (probably one of the reasons I liked Colombia so much)! We had dinner at two restaurants which both are worth visiting:
- Bernabe: this restaurant is not far from the main square. The food was excellent and culinary worthy! We paid €30 (including a tip) for 2 main courses & drinks. Tip: try one of the homemade lemonades on the menu 🙂
- Makao: Good food, nice interior & great for drinks! Something you have to try during your stay in Salento is trout. And it’s de-li-cious at Makao. We had one starter, two main courses & drinks (including wine & rum) for only €27,-
We also found the cutest lunchspot on our last day: L’Kfee
Homemade breakfast or lunch at this cute cafe is definitely a must do. Scones, quiches, salads, soups, banana bread.. everything is fresh. This place is also ideal for people who want/need to work during their trip because of the strong wifi!
Please don’t skip Salento when you’re traveling in Colombia. It was one of our favorite places we visited in Colombia!