Two Days in Salento: Coffee Farms and Cocora Valley
Salento is a colorful town west of Bogota, known for its coffee farms and the nearby Cocora Valley. Your two days in Salento will be the highlight of your trip to Colombia, filled with beautiful views, colorful houses, and great hikes. Salento is the perfect place to get away from the busy cities and take some time to relax. Two days in Salento is the perfect amount of time to see the highlights of Salento and the surrounding sights.
How to Get to Salento From Bogota or Medellin
How to Get to Salento by Plane
I recommend flying in order to save time, especially if you are only planning to spend 2 days in Salento, you don’t want to spend a day getting there and a day getting back. There is no airport in Salento so you would need to fly to either Armenia or Pereira and then take a bus or taxi from there. We chose to fly into Pereira because the airport is closer to Salento and there were better and cheaper flights. The busses from Pereira to Salento only run until about 6 pm, so if you land any later your only option would be taking a taxi or arranging transportation with your hotel beforehand. The busses from Pereira leave from the main Pereira bus terminal (Terminal de Transportes de Pereira) which is about a 20 minute drive from the airport. A taxi from the Pereira airport to the bus terminal costs about 15,000 COP. The flights from Bogota to Salento are very cheap, we flew with EasyFly for about 40 USD which includes a 15 Kg bag, and then from Salento to Medellin for another 40 USD. The EasyFly flights from Pereira to Medellin fly into the closer airport right in the city, so flying to Medellin is definitely worth it. In order to get back to the airport take the bus from Salento to Pereira or Armenia, and then fly from there. The bus station in Salento is located in the northwest corner of the town, near the intersection of Carrera 1a Norte and Calle 6 Norte.
How to Get to Salento by Bus
There is no direct bus from Bogota to Salento, so you would need to take a bus to Pereira or Armenia and then take another bus from there to Salento. The bus from Bogota can take about 6-8 hours depending on traffic. There is a direct bus Medellin to Salento which will take about 6.5 hours. The bus station in Salento is located in the northwest corner of the town, near the intersection of Carrera 1a Norte and Calle 6 Norte. The bus is definitely a cheaper option but it takes a lot longer.
Where to Stay in Salento
I recommend staying in the town of Salento so you can easily walk to the main square, restaurants and shops. There are some accommodations further away, but the only way to really get around is by walking or taking a jeep, so unless you have a car with you I don’t recommend staying outside of the town. Booking.com is a great option for reserving your hotel, guesthouse, or hostel in Salento.
Day 1 in Salento: Visit a Coffee Farm and Explore Salento
Visit a Coffee Farm: Finca El Ocaso
There are many coffee farms near Salento that you can choose from. The coffee farm that we decided to visit and that I highly recommend is Finca El Ocaso, located about 5 km from the main square in Salento. The traditional coffee tour costs 20,000 COP and is offered in English several times a day: 9 am, 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, 2 pm, and 4 pm (times can change so check their website). This tour has a limit of 20 people and you can reserve your tour online in advance or wait until you get there and do the next available tour. The 1.5 hour coffee tour at Finca El Ocaso during your two days in Salento is a must-do!
How to Get to the Coffee Farm
There are jeeps that leave from Salento’s main square, Plaza De Bolivar, to take people to the fincas (coffee farms). The jeeps leave every hour starting at 8 am until 5 pm and cost 3,000 COP each way. If you go to Finca Buenos Aires which is further it costs 4,000 COP each way. The ride takes about 20 minutes to get to the main coffee farms. When you get on the jeep make sure to let the driver know which coffee farm you are going to so you get off at the right one. For Finca El Ocaso they dropped us off at the bottom of the long road leading to the coffee farm, and we had to walk about 5 minutes up the road to get there. On the way back we were told that we need to walk back down that road to the main road to wait for a jeep, but there ended up being a jeep waiting right behind the building. As the day goes on there should be more jeeps coming by to take you back, not just every hour.
Relax at the Cafe and Take in the View
Get to the coffee farm early or stay there longer after your tour to drink a cup of coffee and eat some pastries while enjoying the view. There are tables in the cafe or around the garden where you can sit.
Finca El Ocaso traditional coffee tour started with an introduction on how the beans are grown before we were given baskets to use to pick coffee beans. Unfortunately, we were not there during the high season so the good beans were scarce, but we were given some time to try to pick the right coffee beans: either completely yellow or completely red. If you want to be here right in the peak season for coffee bean picking you should come between March and June or October and December.
Next our guide explained the rest of the coffee process and showed their facilities. I won’t go into too much detail so you can learn about it while you are there!
We then learned about the different factors that contribute to the varying taste in coffee and got to taste coffee. The coffee was weaker than I expected, but very good (and I’m not usually a coffee drinker!). The tour was very interesting and an exciting experience to be able to learn about coffee in Colombia.
Salento is a relaxing and colorful town that is definitely worth a visit! Spend time walking around the town, checking out different stores and restaurants. The main square, Plaza De Bolivar, has some booths where you can purchase souvenirs and at night there are also food stalls. Carrera 6 has a lot of shops with unique crafts, hats, and souvenirs. At the end of this road you can also climb up to the mirador, where you can see a nice view. During your two days in Salento you should have plenty of time to explore the town.
Day 2 in Salento: Hike Cocora Valley
Spend the day hiking the incredible Cocora Valley and seeing the famous wax palms towering above. Cocora Valley is a short 30 minute jeep ride from Salento. This 5 hour hike takes you through a forest of palms, a lush forest, along a river and through a pasture. Hike Cocora Valley clockwise so you can get to the forest of palms first and enjoy your time there. Throughout the 12 km hike you will see many viewpoints of the valley and surrounding mountains. Continue to our guide to hiking Cocora Valley for more information.
How to Get from Salento to Cocora Valley
The best way to get to Cocora Valley from Salento is to take a Jeep from Plaza de Bolivar in Salento which takes 30 minutes. The jeeps start at 6 am and leave every hour or when they are full. Typically around 8:30 am and later they start to get full fast so they leave very often. The jeeps cost 3,000 COP per person each way and you can purchase your ticket in the small ticket booth next to the jeeps in the main square in Salento.
To get back from Cocora Valley back to Salento you will find a line behind the information booth near where the Jeep dropped you off. You will need to wait in line until the next available jeep. In the afternoon they come pretty often and they leave when they are full.
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