Salento, A Place Suspended in Time


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South America » Colombia » Quindío » Salento
January 19th 2015
Published: January 19th 2015
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Traveling to Salento is like going back in time. It preserves most of its original colonial architecture and its location provides amazing views of the Colombian mountains.

Even though I was born and raised in Colombia, I discovered Salento just a few years ago after living in the States for several years. Ever since I found this hidden gem, when I think of Colombia I’m always longing to go back to this little old town nestled among rolling hills in the Colombia's coffee region of Quindio.

A typical day in Salento could be either packed with adventure or contemplation. For me, just hiking Salento’s old roads and trails, breathing the pure air, and contemplating the beauty of nature that abounds here does it. Life in Salento is slow, relaxed, and full of beauty.

When I am in Salento, I like going to the Cocora Valley. The towering wax palm trees of this striking forest can be viewed from Salento’s Mirador (lookout point). A red old jeep, Salento’s traditional way of transportation, will take you to a surreal landscape. The tall wax palm trees look like giants guarding this piece of paradise. The Cocora Valley is the beginning of Los Nevados National Park, where hiking opportunities abound. I usually eat trout at the beginning of the park in one of the restaurants on the side of the road to fuel for the hike. After walking through grassland and crisscrossing a creek into a cloud forest the jeep takes me back to town in the company of some of the many travelers from around the globe that visit Salento.

One of the highlights of my last trip was going to Finca la Azarcia, an organic coffee farm where Don Libardo, the owner, greets you with a wide smile and shares with you the entire coffee process. Don Libardo is passionate about his farm and its crop. It is a delight to walk the rows of coffee plants while he tells you the story behind the cup of coffee that you get to enjoy at the end of the tour.

Salento has become a favorite spot for backpackers; it is safe, beautiful, laid back, adventure packed, and very inexpensive. There are accommodation options for every budget, but specially a number of hostels where you can stay for as little as $8 a night. I feel like I'm spending less

View from El Mirador
money in Salento than what I do at home; $3 buys you a complete and delicious meal in town! In my last trip I stayed at Estrella de Agua in a private room with its own bathroom for $25 a night. The hostel is clean and quaint with an ethnic and bright colored décor. The hostel staff treats you like royalty and does whatever it takes to make you feel comfortable.

When I go to Salento I don’t want to leave. It’s hard to say goodbye to my morning hikes where I feel like I am walking on a postcard. It’s hard to say goodbye to the mountains, the creeks, the sounds of nature, the smell of freshly ground coffee, and it is especially difficult to say goodbye to a stress-free life.


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Sunday at the squareSunday at the square
Sunday at the square

The lively Sunday's market at the main square
El MiradorEl Mirador
El Mirador

Salento's lookout point
Rolling hillsRolling hills
Rolling hills

from El Mirador

Sleepy townSleepy town
Sleepy town

The town guarded by the Army

TransportationTransportation
Transportation

Old jeeps are the transportation mode in town.
Back from Cocora ValleyBack from Cocora Valley
Back from Cocora Valley

We shared the ride with travelers from all over
Finca La AzarciaFinca La Azarcia
Finca La Azarcia

Don Libardo explaining the coffee harvesting


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