Experience The Best Of Salento In 48 Hours

Whether you have two days or two weeks to travel, our Salento city guide covers the must see sites, local food recommendations, where to stay, how much the city will cost, an example itinerary, and how to get around the city - including how to get to and from the bus terminal.

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Getting To & From The Bus Terminal

The bus terminal that serves Salento is located in the capital city of the Provence Salento is located within - Armenia.
There are two bus companies that go to Salento from Armenia: Expreso Alcala and Cootracir. The buses run from 5:30AM to 8PM every 20 minutes and cost $1.50 USD. There might also be a Willys jeep (see picture below) that can take to you Salento from the bus terminal.

There are 2 ways to get into Salento from the Armenia Bus Terminal:

1. Bus (This is the cheapest option). The journey takes just 45 minutes.
Cost: $1.50 USD

2. Taxi/Willy's Jeep (This is the fastest option). The journey will take you around 35 minutes.
Cost: Unknown

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First Things First - What/Where To Eat?

Colombia doesn’t really have an international reputation for its food but we found ourselves enjoying and exploring every dish we tried. Colombian food is also pretty incredibly cheap — you can eat very well on a budget here. If you are a adventurous backpacker, then Colombia is a perfect destination for you, and Colombian food is just another adventurous reason to explore and love this country even more. 

Arepa  - The arepa is an iconic food in Colombia with over 75 different variations. In 2006, the arepa was named the cultural symbol of Colombia and is considered a "symbol of national gastronomic unity." Make sure to try the different variations as you travel through the country.

Arepa - The arepa is an iconic food in Colombia with over 75 different variations. In 2006, the arepa was named the cultural symbol of Colombia and is considered a "symbol of national gastronomic unity." Make sure to try the different variations as you travel through the country.

Empanada  - Known as the “King of street food” in Colombia, these empanadas are our personal favorite in all of South America. Of course there are many filling options, but our personal favorite is filled with minced meat, egg, cheese, and vegetables, and served with a mouthwatering chili salsa (also pictured).

Empanada - Known as the “King of street food” in Colombia, these empanadas are our personal favorite in all of South America. Of course there are many filling options, but our personal favorite is filled with minced meat, egg, cheese, and vegetables, and served with a mouthwatering chili salsa (also pictured).

Bar Danubio  -  (Photo Credit:    J Davidson   ) -  Though this place may not be where you would expect us to recommend, this pool hall, bar, coffee shop has an enchanting atmosphere, cool views from the back, great coffee, cheap beer, and well maintained pool tables.

Bar Danubio - (Photo Credit: J Davidson) - Though this place may not be where you would expect us to recommend, this pool hall, bar, coffee shop has an enchanting atmosphere, cool views from the back, great coffee, cheap beer, and well maintained pool tables.

Restaurante Llillo's  - Located on the corner of the town square, this restaurant offers delicious, home cooked, savory and sweet breakfast items every morning. Fresh, cheap, filling, and authentically Colombian.

Restaurante Llillo's - Located on the corner of the town square, this restaurant offers delicious, home cooked, savory and sweet breakfast items every morning. Fresh, cheap, filling, and authentically Colombian.


Must-See's Of Salento

Salento is one of the most popular cities in all of Colombia. With the right plan, the city can be explored and mastered in 48 hours. Here are the must see sights of Salento that you can explore and conquer in 48 hours. There are 6 must see attractions in the city that have come to define the city's wide spread popularity. From the iconic coffee plantations and tours, the colorful streets filled with amazing restaurants and souvenir's, to Tejo, the Willy's Jeep tours of Cocora Valley or the picturesque waterfalls - it's all broken down below.  

Explore Calle Real  -   The most famous and picturesque street in all of Salento. Here you will find some of the best restaurants and artisan shops, as well as that "perfect" Salento picture you see on everyone's travel blog. At the end of the road there are 250 stairs that will lead you to the Mirador and swing.

Explore Calle Real - The most famous and picturesque street in all of Salento. Here you will find some of the best restaurants and artisan shops, as well as that "perfect" Salento picture you see on everyone's travel blog. At the end of the road there are 250 stairs that will lead you to the Mirador and swing.

Tour a Coffee Plantation   - Cost $5 -  This is the main reason most people visit this region of the Andes Mountains. We personally enjoyed the Don Elisa’s Finca Coffee Tour (rated #8 of TripAdvisor). It truly is amazing to see your cup of coffee be made from fresh bean to roasted bean, right in front of your eyes.

Tour a Coffee Plantation - Cost $5 - This is the main reason most people visit this region of the Andes Mountains. We personally enjoyed the Don Elisa’s Finca Coffee Tour (rated #8 of TripAdvisor). It truly is amazing to see your cup of coffee be made from fresh bean to roasted bean, right in front of your eyes.

Explore Cocora Valley  -  (Photo credit:    Joshua Cripps   ) -  Most people travel to Salento for the purpose coffee or this: hiking the Valle de Cocora. This National Park is full of these cartoon-like trees. This tree, the Wax Palm, stands at 60 meters high and is the tallest palm tree in the world.

Explore Cocora Valley - (Photo credit: Joshua Cripps) - Most people travel to Salento for the purpose coffee or this: hiking the Valle de Cocora. This National Park is full of these cartoon-like trees. This tree, the Wax Palm, stands at 60 meters high and is the tallest palm tree in the world.

Play Tejo  -  $3 -  This is Colombia's National sport. The object of the game is pretty simple: members of two teams throw heavy metal discs (or rock) - called tejos - across the room to a clay base. On the clay base are paper triangles filled with explosives that go off with a big bang when they’re hit at the correct angle. So fun!

Play Tejo - $3 - This is Colombia's National sport. The object of the game is pretty simple: members of two teams throw heavy metal discs (or rock) - called tejos - across the room to a clay base. On the clay base are paper triangles filled with explosives that go off with a big bang when they’re hit at the correct angle. So fun!

Cascada Santa Rita  - Located all around Salento is lush forest full of amazing hikes, and waterfalls. We recommend you rent a mountain bike for a day and take the long ride to this hidden waterfall. The waterfall is actually located on private property (though is on every city map you will see in town - making it easy to find). The owners charge $3000 COP per person to reach the waterfall.

Cascada Santa Rita - Located all around Salento is lush forest full of amazing hikes, and waterfalls. We recommend you rent a mountain bike for a day and take the long ride to this hidden waterfall. The waterfall is actually located on private property (though is on every city map you will see in town - making it easy to find). The owners charge $3000 COP per person to reach the waterfall.

Climb the stairs & swing over the city  - (Photo Credit:  Justapack )  -  Though it may look childish, the swing is so much fun! You feel as if you could fly out over-top the city. This is a great place to enjoy a sunset. The swing is located just across the road from the Mirador and at the top of the colorful stairs at the end of Calle Real.

Climb the stairs & swing over the city - (Photo Credit: Justapack) - Though it may look childish, the swing is so much fun! You feel as if you could fly out over-top the city. This is a great place to enjoy a sunset. The swing is located just across the road from the Mirador and at the top of the colorful stairs at the end of Calle Real.


Salento Is The Coffee Capital Of Colombia

Nestled in the foothills of the Andes, halfway between the towns of Armenia and Pereira, Salento is in the heart of Colombian coffee country. Conveniently located some 6-8 hours by bus from Medellin, 7-9 hours from Bogota and 4-5 hours from Cali, Salento is the perfect stop off point to explore Colombia´s coffee country.

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Don Elisa’s Finca Coffee Tour
(Ranked #8 on TripAdvisor)

Though there are multiple choices/coffee plantations to choose from, we personally enjoyed the Don Elisa’s Finca Coffee Tour. 
We took a nearly two hour tour of the organic coffee plantation. The guided tour is available in English as well as Spanish and is very informative. The tour ends with the group watching the tour guide make everyone a fresh cup, which is unbelievable.
And of course you can buy bags of freshly ground coffee or beans for 17,000 COP ($5.75 USD).

Tours are available every day from 10-3pm.

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Where We Stay

There are tons of accommodation options in Salento, from hostels, Airbnb, or bed & breakfasts.

With a Hostelworld rating of 8.4, we chose to stay at La Floresta hostel. For us, the staff was the best part of this hostel. We came back from a 20 mile bike ride obviously exhausted and sweaty. The moment we walked into the hostel we were greeted with fresh squeezed lemonade. At the time when we stayed here (July 2016) there was an option to stay in tents that were fully equipped with a mattress, blankets, and pillows. We highly recommend this, but we are not sure that it is still an option. There was unlimited coffee and kitchen facilities that were really clean. The location is quiet with a great view of the surrounding mountains.
($10/night for a 6 bed mixed dorm or $25/night for a private double room).

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Travel Tips & Helpful Hints

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Do I need a visa? Pretty much every western country in the world is granted visa-free access to Colombia for 30 days.

What is the power voltage? Colombia uses 110v - same as the US and Canada.

What about smoking weed or drinking in the streets? Weed is not legal, though easily found. Drinking on the streets, go nuts!

Cocaine! Ok guys, yes, Colombia is famous (thanks to Pablo) for Cocaine. Can you find it? Yep. Is it cheap? Yep. Will it blow your socks off? Probably. Just think about the kind of traveler you want to be. Is it fun and harmless or is it perpetuating the problem of drug tourism?

What is the currency and its value? The currency used in Colombia is called the Colombian Peso (COP). The current value (July 2018) is 3,000 COP = $1 USD.

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48 hours in Salento Example Itinerary:

Day One:

First things first, grab some breakfast and head to Calle Real. This is a fun road to explore in the morning as you get better light for photo's and the street is substantially less crowded.  

Window shop, take lots of pictures and explore the surrounding area. Once you have seen enough of the streets, climb the stairs and head to the swing and the Mirador. Up here you will find amazing views of the city and surrounding nature.

Head back down into town and find yourself some empanandas for lunch. Maybe even a Club Colombia or Aguila Cerveza, too.

After lunch, this is a perfect time hail a Willy's Jeep and head to Cocora Valley for some amazing hikes and for the sunset picture of this breathtaking valley. 

After you have explored the Cocora Valley and have hailed a ride back into town from a Willy's Jeep, head back to your hostel, change your clothes, and head back to Calle Real. Grab some Troucha (trout) for dinner and enjoy people watching from your table.

End your night with a game (or 8 - like we did) of Tejo. There is a local Tejo bar located just down the road from calle Real. Ask any local and they will show you the way.

Day Two:

If you're not too hungover from last nights Tejo adventure, wake up early, grab some breakfast and rent a bike. The early morning temperature is the best if you are wanting to go on a bike ride through the nature. This is also the best way to get to any of the coffee farms to take a tour. Even if you do not want to rent a bike, the earlier mornings are best for the coffee tours as it gets quite hot in the middle of the day.

Once you have made it back, grab yourself some lunch from any of the restaurants in town.

After you coffee tour, if you're still feeling adventurous and have rented a bicycle, head to Cascada Santa Rita for a swim in the cold waters.

Head back to your hostel, change your clothes, and head back to Calle Real for some dinner. Head back to the the Mirador or swing for some beautiful sunset pictures of the town or surrounding nature. 

Explore more, play another game of Tejo, window shop, hit up a discotheque or find a cool local bar or pool hall like Bar Danubio.

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So What's It Going To Cost?

Here is how much we spent, and what we spent it on, in 48 hours. 

Food: Breakfast: We spent an average of $2 USD each morning at Restaurante Llillio's. 
Lunch: We spent an average of $3 USD each day at local restaurants.  
Dinner: We spent an average of $5 USD each evening.
Total for Food = $10 USD each/per day.

Beer: We bought from the convenient stores, at Tejo, and from the hostel. We spent anywhere from $1 -$1.50 per beer.
Total for Beer = $8 USD each/per day.

Accommodation: La Floresta Hostel is one of the best rated hostels in town. It has a great atmosphere and super comfortable beds, which make the value per night outstanding ($10 USD per night, per person).
For 2 people to stay 2 nights, we spent $40.

Transportation (Including getting to and from the bus terminal): We took the bus to and from the bus terminal via bus which cost $1.50 per person, each way. One day we rented bicycles from our hostel in order to ride to the nearby waterfall and coffee tour - this cost us $3 for the entire day. Otgher than that, we walked everywhere. the town is so small you don't need a motor to get around. However, Salento is very hilly, so be ready for a good workout!
Total for Transportation = $6 USD each.

Activities: We basically walked around a bunch and found the free activities to do: like exploring the beautiful streets, watching the sunset from atop the Mirador, and explored Cascada Santa Rita. As far as activities we had to pay for: we played Tejo one night, rented bicycles for a day to explore, took a coffee tour, and ate Troucha (trout) one night for dinner - Salento is famous for its trout!
Total for Activities = $15 USD each.

So, What Did We Spend In 48 Hours?

$154 USD for 2 people. That's $38.50 USD per person, per day.

Where's Your Money Going?


A Few More Pics From The Lens Of SMP

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Enjoy Your Trip!


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