8 Things to Do in Salento, Colombia

8 Things to Do in Salento, Colombia

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Salento, Colombia sits in the heart of the Coffee Triangle — Eje Cafetero — just a short drive from the city of Armenia or Pereira. I’ve visited lots of little towns all across Colombia, but Salento stands out as one of the best — quaint and beautiful, friendly, and fun. You could easily spend a few days or even a week taking in the town and surrounding area, thanks to all the awesome things to do in Salento Colombia.

Things to Do in Salento Colombia

Here are a few ideas for what to do in Salento on your next visit.

Things to do in Salento Colombia

Hiking in Cocora Valley

We might as well get this one out of the way first — Valle de Cocora is the real draw of Salento.

To visit, you can just hop in the shared Jeeps in the main square and take the half hour ride to visit these towering wax palms that stand nearly 60-meters above the verdant green valley floor.

The Cocora Valley is truly one-of-a-kind and should be at the top of the list for any visit to Salento.

See my more detailed guide to hiking the Cocora Valley for more information.

Hiking in Valle de Cocora near Salento, Colombia - Things to do in Salento Colombia

Acaime – Hummingbird House

Along the backside of the Cocora Valley loop, there is a brief, 2km out-and-back hike to Acaime, the hummingbird house.

The house itself is a modest place nestled into the deep woods (at least two hours hiking) where you will see tons and tons of hummingbirds of all types.

There are little fluffy ones, colorful ones, bright ones with big long tails. Hummingbirds are pretty cool little species, and it was incredible to see so many of them in one place, and not fighting — at least not fighting too much.

Acaime is a private reserve and costs 5.000 pesos per person to enter, but that entrance fee comes with a free drink (try the hot chocolate and cheese) and you can hang out as long as time allows you.

Acaime Hummingbird house - Things to do in Salento Colombia

Explore Calle Real

Along NE corner of the main plaza you will find a mostly pedestrian street — cars are allowed, it’s just not a main thoroughfare — with tons of shops, restaurants, and cafes.

This is where everybody comes to stroll in the early evenings.

While the stores are mostly full of tourist knick-knacks, jewelry, and Wayuu bags, it’s an enjoyable place to go for a walk and enjoy pueblo-life.

Calle Real - Things to do in Salento Colombia

Side note: the Wayuu bags, by the way, are quite handy. I use mine all the time while traveling. Prices are around 85.000 for a bag in Salento, depending on quality. To test it, you should set the bag upright on a table and it should stand up like a bucket, rather than collapse in on itself. That’s how you know you have a quality bag.

Climb up to the Mirador

At the end of Calle Real rises a steep series of colorful steps that lead up the hillside, at the top lies the mirador.

Salento Mirador - Things to do in Salento Colombia

The view immediately at the top of the stairs isn’t out of this world, but if you hike further off to the left, you’ll be offered a better view.

While hiking up at sunset is great, you might not want to hang around in the dark. While Salento is safe generally speaking, I have heard accounts of robberies at night thanks to the growing tourist trade.

Salento as night falls - Things to do in Salento Colombia

Eat Trout

Trout is pretty much the most popular dish in town, served in virtually every restaurant. If you, like Andrea, don’t eat fish, you can still find other options like chicken, pork, or beef, in most restaurants.

The trout is served up in a variety of means, from friend to soupy, garlicky dish. Personally, I love trout, and found the local options to be fresh and delicious.

Tip: if you’re on a budget, be sure to visit Rincon de Lucy, located along Calle Real. While the place doesn’t look like much, it serves up some really, really good food, lots of it, and for cheap.

The fried trout came with rice, salad, beans, soup, juice, and a fried choclo ball, for just 8.000 pesos — less than $3.

(Psst... Wanna know the "secret" to traveling forever or being free to do what you love? Here's the answer, in five simple steps)

Eating trout in Salento - Things to do in Salento Colombia

Eat at the Food Trucks

If you’re feeling like something a little different than the typical menu of the day, be sure to check out the food truck block, and you’ll feel like you’re in Portland or somewhere similar.

It’s an open air food truck court with a fireplace, central seating, and a variety of places to choose from. You’ll find Venezuelan arepas, hamburgers, Mexican or Arabic food, and much more.

The place is kind of hidden because it isn’t located in the central part of downtown, so unless your hotel or hostel is nearby, you might miss this awesome spot.

The block sits along the road into town, just before you exit. If it’s nighttime, you can see the overhead lights glowing in the distance.

Salento Food Trucks - Things to do in Salento Colombia

Coffee Farm Tour

Salento sits in the heart of coffee country, so it would be a crime to visit the area without indulging in the local coffee or taking a coffee farm tour.

The El Ocaso Coffee Farm sits just outside of town and will give you a tour that will teach you about the entire process (except roasting) from seed to cup.

In total the tour lasts around two hours, and even though I thought I knew a lot about coffee, I still learned a ton during the brief tour.

You will finish off the tour, of course, with a tasting of their very own coffee.

I went on a private tour thanks to Uncover Colombia, but you can join the group tours at El Ocaso any day of the week.

Read more about my experience touring a coffee farm in Salento here.

El Ocaso Coffee Farm Tour Salento Colombia - Things to do in Salento Colombia

Drink Coffee at Jesus Martin

Speaking of coffee, whether you do the coffee tour or not, I would highly recommend a visit to Jesus Martin, Salento’s best coffee shop.

It is located along the same street as Calle Real, but opposite the main plaza.

The ambiance of the place is pretty cool, and their coffee is excellent, the workers truly take pride in featuring great, local, Colombian coffee.

While Colombia and coffee go hand-in-hand, coffee consumption culture is still a relatively new phenomenon, but Jesus Martin is a great place to visit.

Jesus Martin Coffee Shop - Things to do in Salento Colombia

Where to Stay in Salento Colombia

If you’re on a budget, I’d highly recommend Hostel Los Girasoles which sits just at the entry into town. It is kind of hidden, sitting at the bottom of a hill, but we liked the place.

It was only 45.000 pesos per night with private bath and decent WiFi. While the rooms were nothing to write home about, the owners were very friendly, and the view along the backside was amazing… Even better than the town’s Mirador.

Awesome view from our hostel - Things to do in Salento Colombia

For just 5.000 pesos per person, Dona Martha makes a hearty homemade breakfast in the morning.

But there are plenty of places to choose from in Salento, it’s pretty popular not only among foreign tourists, but local Colombian travelers as well. Expect it to be pretty crowded on the weekends — reservations are recommended.

Traveling to Salento on your next trip? Book the perfect room on Booking.com today!

Salento Colombia Map


USEFUL TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR COLOMBIA

Colombia Travel – Plan your trip around Colombia with my other articles.
Itinerary Planning & Advice – Get off the beaten path with personalized trip planning by a local Colombian expert.
Booking.com – Book affordable hotels or hostels in Colombia.
Skyscanner – Book cheap flights to Colombia.
Recommended Guidebook: Lonely Planet Colombia
Budget Travel Tips – My tips and tricks for traveling better on a budget in Colombia and beyond.

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8 things you should absolutely see and do while visiting Salento, Colombia...

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8 Things to Do in Salento, Colombia

Ryan

Author, Writer, and Head Honcho at Desk to Dirtbag
Ryan is an author, adventurer, perpetual wanderer, and self-proclaimed dirtbag (but that might not mean what you think). Originally from Seattle, he headed to Washington D.C. where he spent five years working for Congress before heeding the call of the wild. He set out living in his pickup truck to road trip across the American West. Since then he backpacked through Colombia, drove across all of Central America, and also wrote a best selling book: Big Travel, Small Budget. He just finished driving his old truck across all of South America -- support the adventures by visiting the D2D Shop. Follow the adventures on social media or read more about me.

Comments 5

  1. You are just mentioning what every other blog mentions. Its either you have not been to Colombia or you have not really been to Colombia.

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