What it´s all about ... Cafe
After an early flight to Pereira, a three hour wait in the bus terminal (although in a lovely cafe where the owber let us sit as long as we wanted) we finally boarded a local bus for Salento. The one hour ride cost $5,000 COP and took us through some of the most spectacular scenary I had witnessed in a while. The undulating hills go on forever and the wax palms and pine tress that cover them are so lush and green they look painted on. In amongst all this natural beauty sits Salento. Built on a hilltop in the middle of beautiful countryside, it emodies the image of a small local town and has more character than you can shake a stick at.
We were heer on a weekend so fortunately there were a lot of people around as the locals come from Bogota for the weekend.
Relaxing with a coffee
The small main plaza was teeming with people and food stalls and there was a great festival atmosphere. The other lovely thing about this place is that everyone says hello to each other and when you walk into a shop there is always a smile and a "Mucho Gusto". Its just so friendly. The buildings here are painted in a traditional style and have doors with small windows in them that the locals lean out of to pass the time of day with each other. It just oozes characrter and charm.
The hghlight of this place is the Cocora Valley. An area covered in tall Wax Palms that leads to a cloud forest. So thats how we came to board a small jeep for $3,000 COP to take us out to the valley. Its a 30 min ride away and the jeep quickly fiolls up inside, and outside, with people.
Salento by night
Its also a great way to meet other hikers too. So very quickly our twosome became a 7some and we started the 3 hour round trip to Acaime, the most popular hike on the circuit as it leads up to a lodge near an Orchid Farm and has hundreds of Humming Birds along the way. Its a beautiful walk watching the silent wax palms sway in the breeze against blue skies. Its all the more spectacular when the cloud forest section kicks in and you have to cross rivers over rickety pieces of wood, climb muddy hills and dodge horse poo. It was great to have such a large group of us as one very lovely young Colombian guy would help all the ladies over teh water passes and make sure we were always ok. I can just see that happening in England!
After a very tiring walk we made it to Acaime where hot chocolate and a seat were waiting for us. For a small entrance fee you get a drink of choice and if you pay extra there is food too. Fortunately the sceneary and sense of achievemnt are free!
Salento Hotels & Accommodations review
A decent enough place to base yourself. No breakfast or internet and to be honest a rather basic place. The mozzies here are hungry too. Tim hoevere… read entire review