The picturesque mountain town of Salento has a long history and a rich cultural heritage which is apparent to even those just passing through. With just around 7,000 residents, Salento is packed to the brim with endless things to do and see making it the perfect town to visit when you don’t know where to go in Colombia. Salento’s location in the heart of the Coffee Triangle makes it a popular tourist destination, but this charming locale has so much more to offer than a cup of joe.
Have a look below at some of the best things to do in Salento. From wandering beneath towering wax palms to chowing down on local treats, Salento has a little something for everyone.
Is Salento safe?
If you’re Googling the city and pull up articles more than a few years old, you might be worried about safety in Salento. However, these problems are mostly a thing of the past, and now Salento is one of Colombia’s fastest-growing tourist destinations. As with most places in Colombia, and South America in general, keep your wits about you and avoid deserted streets after dark, and you should have a grand time in this coffee-growing haven.
For more information click here: Is traveling to Colombia safe?
The Best Things to do in Salento
Take a hike through Valle de Cocora
Wax palms are a national symbol of Colombia and literally cannot be missed by any visitor. The slender trunks of the trees soar up to 200 feet into the fresh mountain air near Salento with many eco-tourists making the trek to the town simply to see these natural wonders. Valle de Cocora is the perfect place to walk amongst the looming giants. After being threatened to near extinction, the Colombian government designated the valley a protected park in order to save the endangered wax palms. Many rare birds have also made their homes in the high fronds of the trees.
A quick 4×4 ride from the outskirts of Salento takes you to Valle de Cocora. The popular Valle de Cocora loop takes around six hours to complete and takes you on a journey through the jungle, up into the clouds, and down below the wax palms.
Play Tejo at Cancha de Tejo Los Amigos
One of Colombia’s most popular and certainly one of its most well-known pastimes is the game of Tejo. Mix a bit of gunpowder and the toss of an iron weight and you have a recipe for a wild night. Locals congregate in the evenings at game halls to drink and play. Travellers are welcome to drop in and participate or hang out and observe. Just five minutes from the main plaza in Salento is Cancha de Tejo Los Amigos. This tourist-friendly game hall is the perfect place to test your skills! Remember, the rules of the game are fairly straightforward but endless fun generally ensues on a Tejo night.
Tour a coffee plantation in the Coffee Triangle
If you’re in search of a pick-me-up after playing a round (or five) of Tejo, partake in one of the top things to do in Salento and tour a coffee plantation. There are many coffee farms in the area all offering a little different experience. Don Elias is a small, family-run outfit that produces organic coffee on the property. Tours of coffee farms in the area are usually offered in both English and Spanish.
Try the trout
The local specialty is trout and it’s almost impossible to leave without trying a bite. Prepared a variety of different ways, you’re sure to find the perfect match (or should we say, the perfect catch?).
How long do you need in Salento?
Whether you’re just passing through or staying for a while, Salento will captivate you and leave you wanting more. The colorful colonial buildings are perfectly preserved and within them are endless restaurants, bars and coffee shops. Spend a day in nature, add a day to explore the town, and then add a few more days because we know you won’t want to leave. It all depends on what you’d like to do!
How do I get to Salento?
Before you can enjoy this Andean oasis, it’s important to know how to get there. Many people travel from Medellin to Salento to get a taste of mountain life while others depart Salento to Medellin after a relaxing small-town stay.
Direct flights leave Medellin daily while buses stop in nearby Armenia before heading to Salento. It’s recommended to take a private transfer service such as Daytrip rather than navigate the roads in a rental vehicle. Any way you get there, you’ll enjoy the stay.