Salento & Coffee region , Colombia

When you imagine the Colombian coffee region, rolling green hills, sunlight glinting through the vegetation as you wind along the country roads - the real thing doesn't get much closer than Salento! Set amid a magnificent landscape lies this friendly and hardworking community of 10,000 formed mainly for the purpose of cultivating and processing some of the world's finest coffee.

Salento itself is a beautiful, Colonial-influenced town with lively multi-coloured buildings against a green, hilly backdrop. The large plaza with it's regular market and relaxed outdoor restaurants is a great place to sit back and soak up the atmosphere, but as nice as the town is, the real attractions lie in the surroundings.

For the coffee connoisseurs amongst us, or in fact anyone who is interested in what's behind their morning cuppa, there are various coffee fincas offering tours, all easily accessible from town.

For those who prefer something a little more active and who want to truly appreciate the natural beauty of the coffee region, the Cocora valley is considered one of the most popular treks in the region.

There are also nearby villages to visit, rivers teaming with delicious trout and excursions to Los Nevados arranged from Salento so its worth considering spending more than a couple of days in this beautiful and interesting area!
Hostels...
Casa Quimbaya
Calle 16 Norte # 14-92
Armenia
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Ciudad de Segorbe
Calle 5 No. 4-06
Salento
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Fina Don Eduardo
Finca Don Eduardo
Salento
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Hostal la Casona de Lili
Calle Real 3-45
Salento
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La Serrana
15 minutes walk from town
Via Palestina
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Las Palmas
Calle 6 No. 3-02
Salento
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Monteroca
Boquia
4km from Salento
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Plantation House
Alto del Coronel
Calle 7 No. 1-04
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Tralala
Cra 7 No. 6-45
Salento
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You might need...
Supermarket - Super Cocora on the plaza has a large enough selection to provide you with the basics. If you need to, top up your shopping with fruit and veg from any number of corner shops offering a wide variety.
Internet - The broadband in Salento is via a radio link and can occassionally be adversely affected by weather. Most of the internet locations have the same ISP so if there is a problem with one internet cafe then it's likely all the other cafes will have problems too.
Banks - There is only one ATM in Salento, it is located in the Banco Agrario on the main square. It appears to only accept Visa and Mastercard so if you are carrying any other type of card, it's best to stock un in Armenia, a 45 minute bus drive away.
Coffee Shops - Jesus Martinez which is located just off the main square. Good coffee, Good Service and a friendly little location. Also check out Alegra's for a good selection of cakes.
Restaurants - Trout is the dish of the day every day! With the river running right by the town and the freshest ingredients used, you cant really go wrong with that. A new place in town just 2 blocks down from the Fire station on the way to the square is 'Brunch' which is a US-style diner serving great food all day. "Lucy's" is on the Calle Real and tends to be packed with backpackers from 7pm onwards.




photos
Tours...
Ciclo Salento
The Plantation House
Calle 7 No. 1-04
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Don't Miss...
Coffee Fincas - It is possible to visit a number of Coffee Fincas outside of Salento. These can vary in size and scale from the small scale traditionally run family finca of Don Elias to the larger 240 hectare organic finca of Don Raul. Tours are in Spanish and involve an explanation of the coffee making process from seed to cup, a tour of the land and a delicious cup of home-grown coffee.
Cocora Valley Trek - is a landscape of rolling green hills, traditional farms and diverse scenery. This is a great day trip which begins with a jeep ride to Cocora village (3,000 Pesos) where you set off on foot to visit Acaime nature park. This 2 hour section follows a forest trail winding uphill to the park where you can get refreshments and spend a while admiring the hummingbirds. From there, the best way to return is via Finca La Montaña which involves an initial one km uphill followed by a couple of hours on a good road winding through groves of Wax Palm Trees up to 60 metres tall. Returning to Cocora, you will need to catch a jeep back to Salento.
Jardin Botanico Del Quindio - Housing over 1500 butterflies and 600 species of plants. Entry is 8,000 Pesos. Located outside of Armenia, the directions can be tricky so it's best to double check bus times before you go!
Speak Easy Bar - Australian bar, a great place to go out and have a good late laugh. They've even created a few quirky cocktails and welcome everyone with great music and a chilled-out vibe.
Festivals - In the first week of January Salento has it's festival. In the sencond week of October the nearby town of Armenia has it's festival the highlight of which is Yipao when local jeeps are loaded with all manner of objects and paraded through streets!
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