Surrounded by coffee trees and beautiful, green rolling hills, peaceful farm life, Jeeps that remind you of Jurassic park… this is Salento, it’s a very relaxing place that feels somewhat unchanged compared to the rest of Colombian life.
Here’s my Top 5 things you must do when you visit Salento, and for coffee lovers… this place is an absolute must! ➡️ You can also read my Salento quick guide, helping you to plan for everything you need to know before going.
What to do in Salento!?
1. Visit a proper coffee farm
This is coffee territory (my heaven), so you really need to visit a coffee farm and experience the ‘bean to cup’ process. Coffee plantations truly create unique landscapes, mixed with the misty weather and colourful houses it really makes the trip special. There are a few coffee farms here, though some are very touristy, focusing more on dressing you up in traditional outfits rather than what the coffee is all about.
I recommend booking a tour that covers these 3 main points:
1 – Most importantly, choose a sustainable coffee farm. One that talks about how it’s sustainable and what it does to limit / reduce it environmental impact
2 – Make sure you get to see the plantations & a walk through the coffee making process
3 – Try & book a tour that includes a coffee tasting masterclass so you leave an expert!
The guys at Ocaso are doing a great job with their eco farm and they have a pro tour that left the coffee-haters impressed! I really recommend this place & you can also stay at the farm. Cost: $20,000COP/$6.5USD or $65,000COP/$20.5USD (premium tour or not) + $6,000COP/$2USD jeep ride there & back.
2. Trek the Cócora valley
Get your hiking boots on and get ready for one incredible view! It’s probably the most instagrammed landscape in Colombia, and believe me when I say it’s breathtaking. This trek takes you around the mountains surrounding the river Cócora with amazing viewpoints that will leave you speechless.
The star of the trek is the group of the tallest palm trees in the world, some of them reaching 60ft tall! It’s an amazing and very peaceful place, you can also choose to trek for longer and visit a hummingbird sanctuary in the valley, they give you this option when you arrive. Cost willy: $4,000COP/$1.3USD pp,one way. Cost entry : $2,000COP/$0.60USD pp for the palm tree trek, $6,000COP/$2USD pp for the whole loop.
3. Ride on a Jurassic park Willys jeep!
The main method of transport in Salento and I loved it! These retro 4x4s are exactly what’s needed for the mountain terrain and often muddy roads. You can either jump in the back benches or stand on the grill, obviously my favourite was standing!
They have fixed rates (great!) and you’ll find them located in the main square (Plaza de Armas), with a booth where you can book your trip. Bear in mind that they work as ‘colectivos’ rather than taxis: they usually wait for more passengers heading the same way, so they can fill up the car. Your accommodation can also book one for you with a quick call, at no extra cost. Cost: rides start at $6,000COP/$2USD
4. Stay in a farmhouse hostel
You may know by now that I love finding places with a bit more character and not in the middle of it all, but not far enough to feel I’m missing out. I found the best farmhouse hostel in Salento: La Serrana.
A place to really relax, surrounded by lush hills, tall trees and a a great atmosphere, it came as some much needed chill time and I’d really recommend staying here. Check out La Serrana here. Cost: $95,000COP/$30USD for a private room.
5. Explore the colourful streets of Salento
I won’t lie: it’s very touristy and a bit strange in terms of feeling like a centre purely for tourism, though you have to explore it. Colourful houses and cosy cafes line the streets, where you can indulge in the art of Colombian coffee (or hot chocolate!). Put on a trendy outfit and get your camera out, you’ll be taking lots of pics. Cost: Free
That’s my Top 5 for Salento, a coffee lover’s dream! Have you found any other things you’d add to the list? If you’re thinking of going and have any questions, just message or WhatsApp me and I’ll help you out.