What can I do in Salento Quindío? 10 incredible activities

👤 Elizabeth Dávila
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📅 September 14, 2023

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Quindio, Nature, Landscapes, Salento Colombia, cocora valley

Welcome to Salento! One of the most wonderful destinations in Colombia and the world that offers a unique and memorable experience for travelers looking for a mix of nature, culture, adventure and village tours. In this travel blog, we will explore the charms of this town, from its vibrant historic center to the surrounding valleys and mountains.

Where is Salento?

Salento is a city in the department of Quindío, located in the heart of the Colombian Coffee Axis. It is located 24 kilometers from Armenia, the capital of the department, and is known for its natural landscapes and rich culture. Salento is an ideal destination, without a doubt, for those who are looking for an escape from the city and want to enjoy the tranquility and beauty of nature. Salento is part of the Coffee Cultural Landscape declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011. This achievement can be attributed to the work of more than 10 years, of an entire community that exalts the work of coffee growers who have cultivated the tradition of Colombians.

How to get to Salento?

Salento Colombia

To this town you can arrive from any country, where you must first land in Colombia, and then arrive in one of its main cities, either Bogota, Medellin or Cali.

From there you can take a plane to the city of Armenia, where you will land at the El Edén International Airportor you can travel to Pereira and arrive at the Matecaña International Airport.

On your trip to Salento, you also have the option of taking a intermunicipal bus from Bogota, Medellin or Cali to Armenia, this to save costs if you do not want to spend money on another flight.

Colombia, Salento town, Quindio, Nature, Eje Cafetero

The buses It can take between 5 to 7.5 hours to get to Armenia, depending on which major city you are going from.

If you plan to travel in auto to get to Salento, remember that from Cali it is 4 hours, from Medellin it is 7 hours and from Bogota 7 hours and a half, this also depends on the traffic on the way. The road is fully paved and if you do not have a vehicle, you can rent one during the time of your trip.

10 incredible activities in Salento Quindío

1.Visit the Calle Real and the historic center of Salento.

Colombia, Salento, City

The historic center of Salento Quindío is a gem worth exploring. The colorful colonial town is filled with old Spanish-style houses with red-tiled roofs, carved wooden balconies and vibrantly colored doors. The main square, called Plaza de Bolivar, is a popular place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding landscape, where you can stroll the streets and enjoy the wonderful weather. Here you can find a neo-Gothic church, a monument dedicated to the Liberator Simón Bolívar and a handicraft market where local products are sold, where you can interact with its inhabitants, friendly and welcoming people.

Salento, Colombia, Calle Real

Calle Real is the main street of the historic center of Salento, and is known for its well-preserved architecture inherited from the Antioquian colonization. It is an ideal place to take a stroll, enjoy the handicraft stores and taste the local gastronomy.

As for gastronomy, the town offers a wide variety of options for all tastes. One of the most typical dishes in the region is the paisa traywhich consists of rice, beans, chicharrón, chorizo, avocado and ripe plantain. You can also try la troutThe tamales, which are grown in the rivers of the region, or the famous tamales from Tolima, which are served with a delicious chili bell pepper sauce.

Meet the wonderful Cocora Valley in Salento Colombia.

Colombia, El Bosque De Palmas, Palmeras

De los principales planes para hacer en Salento Quindío es visitar el Cocora Valley, el alma del Quindío, ubicado a unos 20 minutos en carro del pueblo. El valle es famoso por sus altas palmas de cera, que pueden alcanzar hasta los 60 metros de altura y son el árbol nacional de Colombia. El paisaje del Valle de Cocora es impresionante, con colinas verdes y onduladas, ríos cristalinos y la vista panorámica de las palmas de cera.

Cocora Valley, Salento, Siluetas, la Palma

The best time to make this plan is early in the morning, when the clouds still cover the hills and the sunlight begins to illuminate the valley. A hike through the valley will take you across wooded trails and suspension bridges that will allow you to cross the river and reach the top of a hill for breathtaking views. Also on your trip to the Cocora Valley you can take a horseback ride through the valley, which is a fun and exciting way to explore the landscape.

Colombia, El Bosque De la Palma de cera, Salento Quindío

What to do in the Cocora Valley?

In the Cocora Valley you will find two trails that connect with each other and end at the Acaime Natural Reserve, also known as the House of the Hummingbirds.

The first trail you find as soon as you reach the Cocora Valley, at the entrance of the trout farms, this will take you through a path surrounded by wax palms and through the forest, and you will have to cross several suspension bridges to reach the Casa de los Colibríes (Hummingbird House).

The second trail starts at Finca La Esperanza, and you will recognize it immediately because it is where the giant letters of the Cocora Valley are found, and this trail leads to the viewpoints of the palm forest and the House of the hummingbirds, and connects with the trail of the trout farm.

How to get to the Cocora Valley?

From the main park in Salento you can take a Jeep directly to the Cocora Valley, each trip takes about 25 minutes and each ticket costs approximately $10,000 Colombian pesos.

Get to know one of the most famous farms in Salento: Finca del Café el Ocaso.

El ocaso farm, Salento Quindío, Farms in the Coffee Growing Zone

Salento is one of the most famous places for its high quality coffee and there is no better place to learn about coffee production than at La Finca del Café el Ocaso. The farm is a coffee plantation where you can learn about the whole process of growing, harvesting, roasting and grinding. You can also taste different types of coffee and learn about the differences in taste and quality.

The tour of the farm begins with a walk through the coffee fields and a detailed explanation of the cultivation process. Then, you can observe the selection of the beans and the cleaning of impurities. The next stop is the roasting area, where you can see how the coffee beans are roasted and prepared for grinding. Finally, you can enjoy a cup of coffee and learn about the different ways to prepare and serve this beverage.

This is the map to get to the farm:

In addition to this experience, La Finca also offers a beautiful view of the surrounding landscape and an opportunity to relax in a peaceful environment. There is also a gift store where you can buy local products.

Another option for those who want to try different types of coffees in the area is the Jesús Martín store, a small place in the center of Salento that offers a wide variety of specialty coffees, including the famous Geisha, which is grown in the Risaralda region and is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. In addition to enjoying this delicious beverage, you can learn about its history in the region and the preparation process.

4.Visit the wonderful Los Nevados National Natural Park.

Los Nevados National Natural Park - Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia

Los Nevados National Natural Park is one of the must-see plans for adventurous travelers and nature lovers. It is located in the Eje Cafetero about three and a half hours by car from Salento and offers a breathtaking view, which is totally worth it. The park has more than 5,000 species of plants and animals, including spectacled bears, condors and pumas.

What to do in Los Nevados Park?

The park has several hiking and trekking trails, each with different levels of difficulty and duration. The most popular trail is the Laguna del Otún trail, a 5-hour hike that takes you through beautiful mountain scenery and allows you to see an impressive lagoon at the end of the trail.

How to get to Los Nevados Park?

PhotographyNevado Santa Isabel - Los Nevados Natural Park - Colombia - Trekking - High Mountain (31) - Nevado Santa Isabel - Parque Nacional Natural los Nevados - Colombia -
  1. Travel to the city of Manizales, Pereira or Armenia, depending on your point of departure.

  2. From any of these cities, take a bus or van from the transportation terminal to the town of Salento.

  3. From Salento, take another bus or van to the town of Santa Rosa de Cabal.

  4. In Santa Rosa de Cabal, take another bus or van to the town of Villamaría.

  5. In Villamaría, you can take a cab or a pick-up truck to the entrance of Los Nevados National Natural Park in the La Esperanza trail.

  6. Once at the park entrance, you must pay the entrance fee and follow the instructions of the park staff to begin your adventure.

It is important to mention that access to Los Nevados Park is subject to weather and security conditions. Therefore, it is advisable to inform yourself in advance about road and weather conditions before starting your trip.

An important thing to keep in mind before going to the park is to make sure you wear suitable clothes and shoes for walking, as well as a good amount of water and food. It is also important to It is advisable to hire a local guide to accompany you and help you navigate the trails.

Do you want to enjoy the wonderful Parque los Nevados? Reserve your Plan Nevado del Ruiz from Pereira or Manizales

5.Know the wax palm forest of La Carbonera.

Photography Andes Occidentales bets on the conservation of the Wax Palm - Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia

Wax palms are not only found in the Cocora Valley, in fact we can see the largest concentration of palms in the world in La Carbonera, which is a farm located in the town of Toche, rural area of the municipality of Ibague, Tolima, there tourists can also enjoy this beautiful natural concentration, but with fewer people nearby. This is one of the best natural plans to do if you also want to test your fitness and enjoy the mountain view.

Wax Palm of Quindio | National Tree of Colombia Valle... | Flickr

How to get to La Carbonera?

The most fun way to get there is by bicycle from Salento, on this route you will pass through the old National Road through several viewpoints and end up in the immense wax palm forest.

The difficulty level of this route is intermediate, the maximum altitude reached is 3,280 meters above sea level and the average distance covered is 20 kilometers.


Viewpoint of Salento, Quindío

One of the most common activities to do in Salento is to climb up to the viewpoint of the Alto de la Cruz, through the more than 200 steps that start where the Calle Real de Salento ends. When accessing this site gives a view of the magnitude of the Cocora Valley and its beautiful wax palms, which at the same time offers a panoramic view of the town.

Colombia, Photography Mirador De Salento, Salento, panoramic view, Salento

The images of the Way of the Cross that Jesus traveled on his way to Mount Calvary appear during the breaks in the tour. The viewpoint, besides being a tourist attraction, is a permanent pilgrimage destination.

The view from the lookout is spectacular, especially at sunset, when the sun sets behind the mountains and the sky is filled with golden and orange tones.

Do you want to know more about plans and trips to the coffee-growing region of Colombia? Here your plan to the coffee axis

7. Bird watching in Salento Quindío and Cocora Valley.

Photography Nature, Bird, Bird, Salento Quindío, Quindío

One of the activities to do in Salento if you are a fan of nature and the species that inhabit it, is definitely to see and photograph birds, the most interesting thing is that there are different places where they are housed. For example, the high canyon of the Quindio River is the habitat of endemic species, and specimens that captivate with their colors, shapes and behaviors. In the vicinity of the Cocora Valley, near the canyon, there are walks where you can observe birds such as the torrent duck and the blackbird.

Quindío River - La Nota Positiva

Along this same route, going up on horseback, the Acaime nature reserve is home to birds of the category of the chusquero jumper, the paramuno parakeet and the mountain chicken. Other special birds can be observed along the Estrella de Agua, La Montaña and La Picota nature reserves, considered one of the best corridors for bird watching.

The ocellated tapaculo, the mountain jay, the Andean terlaque or the Andean tororoi chusquero, are special birds that fly through this landscape.

8.Visit the Quimbaya Gold Museum.

Photograph Museo del Oro Quimbaya, Eje Cafetero, Colombia.

The Quimbaya Gold Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Salento Quindio, located in the historic center of the city. This museum is considered one of the most important in Colombia, not only for its collection of Quimbaya gold objects, but also for its cultural and archaeological importance in the world.

The Quimbaya culture, which inhabited what is now the department of Quindío, in the Coffee Axis of Colombia, was characterized by its ability to work gold and ceramics. The Quimbaya Gold Museum is the perfect place to get to know this culture and learn about its art and history.

Quimbaya Gold Museum : The Cultural Network of the Banco de la Republica

The museum has an impressive collection of Quimbaya gold objects, including animal figures, jewelry, vessels and ritual objects. These objects were discovered in different parts of the region and date from the 5th to 10th centuries.

One of the most interesting aspects of the museum is the way it presents the gold objects. Instead of simply displaying them in showcases, the museum uses modern technology to offer an interactive experience to its visitors. The objects are displayed on different levels, with lights and shadows, so that visitors can appreciate the details and beauty of each piece.

The museum also has a section dedicated to the history and culture of the Quimbaya Indians. Here you can learn about their way of life, customs, rituals and art. In addition, the museum has a temporary exhibition hall, where Colombian culture and art exhibits are presented.

The Quimbaya Gold Museum is an ideal place to visit as a family or group. Children can enjoy the interactive activities and learn about the history and culture of the Quimbayas. Adults, meanwhile, can appreciate the beauty of the gold objects and learn about the cultural richness of Colombia.

The museum offers guided tours in different languages for tourists, which is ideal for those who want to learn more about the Quimbaya culture and the history of Colombia. In addition, the museum has a gift store where you can buy art objects and local handicrafts.

9.Enjoy the relaxing hot springs.

Colombia, Termales de Santa Rosa Eje Cafetero

If you are looking for a more relaxing plan, near Salento there are several options of hot springs to enjoy a hot and relaxing bath in contact with nature. One of the most popular options is the Termas de Santa Rosa de Cabal, with a journey of approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes from Salento in the municipality of Santa Rosa de Cabal on the Eje Cafetero. The hot springs have several thermal pools with different temperatures, waterfalls and rest areas surrounded by a beautiful natural environment.

Another option for hot springs is the Spa and Hotel Termales Santa Isabel, located in the Los Nevados National Natural Park. The hotel has several pools of thermal waters, a spa with relaxing treatments and a spectacular view of the snow-capped mountains, without a doubt one of the trips you must make if you are in Salento or the Eje Cafetero.

10.Meet the church of Salento: Nuestra Señora del Carmen.

Another plan to do in Salento is to visit this church, which is one of the most emblematic tourist attractions of Salento and is considered a representative example of colonial architecture in Colombia. Its white facade and yellow towers are impressive and its interior is equally impressive, with paintings and religious decorations, it is located on Salento's Calle Real.

As you can see Salento is one of the most beautiful towns in Colombia and the world, for its beautiful natural places, its interesting culture, its rich gastronomy, its beautiful architecture and of course the kindness of its people, is one of the favorite destinations to relax in the Eje Cafetero. It is a corner full of magic, which is traveled through the road of Quindio and that keeps in its colorful streets the soul of the coffee settlers. Taking a tour through Salento is an unforgettable experience, which is becoming more and more popular every day.

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