How to make the most of your 3 days in Salento, Colombia
Spend 3 days in Salento in Colombia for the perfect adventure!
Are you looking for a truly unique experience? If so, then come along with me on a journey to Salento, Colombia – one of the most beautiful destinations in Colombia.
During my visit to Salento in May 2023 I had the opportunity to explore the local coffee plantations and hike through Cocora Valley. And now I want to share with you my knowledge on how best to enjoy a 3-day adventure in this stunning destination.
Each day of your trip will be packed full of exciting activities that are perfect for adventurous travellers. With this itinerary, you’ll be able to experience all that Salento has to offer – providing you with plenty of unforgettable memories of your time here.
How to get to Salento, Colombia
Getting to Salento is your first adventure on your Salento journey. And luckily, it’s quite easy. You can fly into Pereira and take a bus from there or you can take a bus directly from Bogota, Cali, or Medellin.
Where is Salento in Colombia?
Salento is a picturesque town about 155 miles (250km) south of Medellin, and 185 miles (300km) west of Bogota. It is part of the famous coffee region of Colombia.
Getting to Salento, Colombia by Bus
Taking a bus from any of the major cities in Colombia is a good way to reach Salento.
If you’re looking to take a bus from Medellin to Salento, the most convenient option is Flota Occidental. The bus will take you from Medellin all the way to Salento, with a few stops on the way.
The journey will take around 6 hours, however, it’s best to plan for 8 hours in case of delays. It’s Colombia after all!
The price of a ticket is $18 if you book online or cheaper at the bus terminal, although there’s always the chance it could be full. So make sure you plan ahead and book online!
Buses leave from Terminal del Sur. If you book online, make sure you go to the ticket office to print out your actual bus ticket. Busbud tells you the ticket needs to be printed, which is true, but they only send you a confirmation and not the actual ticket. So avoid delays and head to the ticket office for your printed ticket.
Travelling from Bogota to Salento is also quite easy. While there is no direct bus, you can take a bus from Bogota to Armenia, then switch to another one that will take you directly to Salento. The journey takes around 6-8 hours depending on the traffic and ticket prices range between $15-$16.
The bus companies are either Expreso Palmira or Bolivariano. Bus tickets can be purchased online or at the bus terminal in Bogota. Just make sure to get your ticket printed at the ticket office if you pre-book one online – there’s no paperless service here!
If you want to go from Cali to Salento, you also have to take a bus to Armenia. It costs around $10 and takes about 4-6 hours depending on the traffic. You can buy a ticket online or at the bus terminal in Cali. Make sure to get your ticket printed if you bought it online so there are no delays.
Getting to Salento by plane
If you’re looking to travel quickly and easily from Colombia’s major cities to Salento, then taking a plane to Pereira is the best option. With direct flights from Medellin, Cartagena and Bogota, it won’t take more than an hour or two to get there!
From the airport, you can then take a taxi or a bus to Salento. Buses leave from the Pereira bus terminal and cost COP 9,700, or $2.23.
And of course, do all this the other way around after spending 3 days in Salento, Colombia!
Perfect Itinerary for 3 days in Salento
Now that we’ve arrived in Salento, let’s figure out the itinerary.
Day 1 in Salento
On arriving in Salento, you’ll find the town quite charming with its colonial architecture, colourful buildings and cobblestone streets. Take some time to explore and wander around the town, taking in all the sights and sounds of this quaint little village. You’ll be able to visit local artisan stores and try out some delicious food at restaurants and cafés.
In the evening, you can head to one of Salento’s local bars for some drinks and music. This is a great way to meet locals and make friends in this small town.
Day 2 in Salento
On day 2, you can take a trip out to the nearby coffee plantations. Here, you’ll be able to try some of the freshest coffee and learn more about the history of Colombian coffee production. Learn about the coffee plants, the roasting process, and the flavours.
We recommend Finca de Don Elias for your coffee tour. We did this tour after a local recommended it to us. The tours are in English or Spanish, and however it’s possible to book in advance, you can just show up and take a tour. The tour is only COP 25,000 per person. Which comes to $5,76.
Getting to the plantation is easy. You could walk which is all downhill, or take a Jeep from the main square. If you decide to take a Jeep, you can buy a ticket at the wooden booth. A return ticket is COP 6,000 ($1.38).
Getting back is even easier. Just wait alongside the road to be picked up by one of the Jeeps. The people at the plantation will tell you when they are supposed to pass. If you walked your way down, you can still take the Jeep back uphill. Just pay the driver COP 3,000 ($0.69) in cash!
After returning, make your way up to the viewpoint, which gives you an incredible view of the town on one side and a gorgeous valley on the other. On clear days, you can even see Armenia in the distance!
In the evening, grab some people from your hostel and play a couple of rounds of Tejo! This game is all about throwing rocks at targets. But, the targets are filled with gunpowder which explodes when hit!
You can play this at Los Amigos for about COP 10,000 ($2.30).
Day 3 in Salento
This is the big day. Cocora Valley! I recommend having breakfast at Brunch de Salento. They’ve got great veggie and vegan breakfast options. And, the main reason I recommend them, is they sell packed lunches! A filling sandwich, a peanut-butter brownie, granola, fruit, bottled water, a cereal bar, and juice. This is for only COP 20,000, or $4.60. Veggie or vegan options are available.
Getting to Cocora Valley is easy. Head to the main park and buy a return ticket for COP 9,000 ($2.07). You’ll get two tickets. One for the way up, one for the way back. Don’t lose your return ticket like us. You’ll have to pay another COP 4,500 to get back to town. Oops.
There are two ways of doing the hike. Only up to the viewpoints, or do the whole loop. If you’re relatively fit, the hike is the best fun! You’ll get to viewpoints and walk along a river through the jungle.
We were advised to do the hike counter-clockwise. This is the way you take it if you’re just doing the viewpoints, too. The reason for this is that the way up is quite gentle if you’re going this way. And the descent is steeper, through the jungle. This route is ‘easier’ because there is no steep climb.
The full loop took us around 5 hours. Including a sit-down picnic, and multiple stops to admire the views.
Expect to pay two different fees: when entering, and down by the river. The total comes to COP 21,000. Which is $4,83 at the current exchange rate.
After doing the full loop, you probably don’t have much energy left for other activities. We just had a couple of beers at a bar along the main park.
Where To Stay In Salento
One thing is for sure. If you’re spending 3 days in Salento Colombia, you need a place to stay, right? These two hotels are our recommendations.
Casa La Eilena
Casa La Eilena is a great option for backpackers who are looking to spend 3 days in Salento. Located on the outskirts of Salento, this guesthouse offers comfortable and affordable accommodation with all the necessary amenities. Guests can enjoy free WiFi, a restaurant and bar, a terrace, a garden with hammocks and seating areas as well as two shared living rooms. Rooms come with either private or shared bathrooms.
We stayed here and loved how quiet it was! It is only a short walk away from the main park.
Casa Salento is the perfect accommodation for backpackers spending 3 days in Salento Colombia. Situated near the main park, this guesthouse offers comfortable and affordable rooms with private bathrooms. It also has a variety of amenities, including free WiFi. With stunning views of the city from its windows, Casa Salento is an ideal accommodation!
Where To Eat In Salento, Colombia
Here are some of the best restaurants in Salento that you might want to check out:
- Brunch de Salento: This cosy café serves up delicious breakfast and brunch options, including (vegan) pancakes, waffles, and eggs benedict.
- Helena Adentro: For more of a fine dining experience in Salento, head to Helena Adentro. The menu features gourmet dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients. The menu includes veggie and vegan options as well.
- Café Bernabé Gourmet: This café and restaurant offer a variety of international and Colombian dishes, as well as a great selection of coffee and cocktails.
- Los Amigos: If you’re looking for a more casual dining experience, Los Amigos is a great spot for pizza, pasta, and other comfort foods. This is also the spot for some Tejo!
When is the Best Time to Visit Salento
The best time to visit Salento depends on what you’re looking for in your trip. You 3 days in Salento, Colombia have to meet your expectations.
If you’re hoping to enjoy the weather, the ideal time to visit Salento is during the dry season which runs from December to February and from June to August. During these months, you can expect sunny days with temperatures ranging from 60°F to 80°F (15°C to 27°C).
However, keep in mind that this is also the peak season, so popular attractions like the Cocora Valley may be more crowded. Prices for accommodation and activities may also be higher during this time.
If you’re looking to avoid the crowds and don’t mind a bit of rain, consider visiting Salento during the shoulder seasons of March to May or September to November. The weather during these times can be slightly more unpredictable, but you’ll likely encounter fewer tourists and potentially lower prices.
In short: any time of year is a good time to visit Salento as long as you come prepared for the weather or crowds.
Is Salento Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! Salento is a beautiful and charming town. Whether you’re a coffee lover, an adventure seeker, or simply looking to relax and soak up the scenery, Salento has it.
Salento is a great place to unwind and experience the laid-back lifestyle of rural Colombia, while still enjoying modern amenities like Wi-Fi and international cuisine.
Even locals from the area love coming to Salento for the weekend.
Salento Colombia – FAQs
I’ve tried to give you as much information as possible. But, you might still have questions. Here are some frequently asked ones:
How many days do you need in Salento, Colombia?
The ideal time to spend in Salento would be 3 days. 3 days in Salento is perfect because the town could get a little boring if you spend more. And you’ll need the days to fully experience the area.
What to pack and wear for Salento, Colombia
Salento can get cold in the evenings. And wet during the day! So at least bring some long (outdoor) trousers, t-shirts, hoodies and a raincoat. Depending on the time of the year you’re going, you might want to take some shorts too.
Is three days enough in Salento?
Three days are absolutely enough in Salento! You’ll want the full experience, but not overstay your welcome. 4 days could also work, but probably no longer than that.
Is 2 days in Salento enough?
While a little short, if you’re on a tight schedule, 2 days can be enough to see the highlights of Salento. You’ll need a day for Cocora Valley, and a day for the viewpoint, coffee farms and to explore the town itself.
Which is better, Salento or Guatape?
While both are great for their own reasons, if you have only time to visit Guatape or Salento, I’d recommend going to Salento.
3 Days in Salento Colombia – Final Thoughts
Salento Colombia is a great destination for those looking to relax and experience the laid-back lifestyle of rural Colombia. With 3 days in Salento, you can enjoy Cocora Valley, local viewpoints, coffee farms, and more.
Whether you’re an adventure seeker or just want to unwind after a long day, Salento has it! So don’t wait – plan your trip today and start exploring the beauty that this Colombian town has to offer.