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April 13th 2006
Published: April 21st 2006
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Medellin - Salento

Salento lies within the Coffee region of Colombia which as the name suggests is the main area for growing the famous Colombian coffee. Despite the fact that Colombia produces some of the finest Coffees in the world the coffee here is not that great as the really good stuff is exported and too expensive for the locals.

Salento is another very tranquil place to hang out without too many major attractions. The town itself lies in an altitude of 2200m which means that even if the days are nice and warm (it is also very close to the equator) the nights are cold.

I stayed in another backpacker hostel which is run by an English Expat. Most of the backpackers here are actually run by some European, Australian or New Zealander and are mostly really good. The Hostels can be everything from a guy who rents out room in his flat, a huge house to old farms.

The main reason (apart from relaxing) to come to Salento is to visit the Corcora Valley. This valley is famous for the forest of wax palms which only grows around this area. The wax palm is not only Colombia’s national tree
Salento from aboveSalento from aboveSalento from above

As I said not the most exciting town but nice enough to hang out
it is also the worlds tallest palm tree with up to 60m height. The view is quite impressive as the jungle which the palm normally stands in has been cut down in a lot of places and the only tree standing is the palm itself. The trunk of the palm is unusually thin for its height which makes it even look bigger. I did also a horse trek (how can anyone like riding by the way?) to a Finca higher up in the jungle which surrounds the valley. The Finca is famous for the amount and variety of hummingbirds which are attracted to feeding stations (basically a plate with sugar water).

As mentioned Salento lies within the Coffee region so it was quite logical to have a look where the brown stuff comes from. Luckily a local coffee grower realized that he can make a few bucks of backpackers by offering guided tours through his organic coffee plantation. I always thought that coffee plantations would look like all other crops that are grown en masse but somehow this looked different. There are coffee trees (or bushes?) but mixed in are banana trees, many nice looking bushes and lots of
The local pool hallThe local pool hallThe local pool hall

Very funky with all the gauchos around
flowers. I asked why they have al the flowers and the answer was because they look good. Can’t argue with that.
If you see how the organic coffee is grown I think you wouldn’t mind paying the extra money. Not that much of the extra money reaches the grower as the price for organic cafe is slightly higher than the one for normal coffee which is around USD 1.20 per kilo

Next stop the archaeological sites of San Agustin and Tierradentro

Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


This is the coffee plantation!This is the coffee plantation!
This is the coffee plantation!

Quite nice isn’t it
Spot the humanSpot the human
Spot the human

A wax palm and if you look closely you can see a person standing next to it.
Action shot from the horseAction shot from the horse
Action shot from the horse

3 hours on the beast up and down slippery paths.
The police is everywhereThe police is everywhere
The police is everywhere

And they carry the big guns. There is more and more police and military visible once you head down south. There seems to be more Guerrilla and paramilitary activity in the south of Colombia.

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