- Encounters with locals
- Hiking / Trekking
- Culture (paddy field, coffee, tea ...)
- Sustainable Tourism
I spent several days in this little town, which, with its multi-coloured façades, is in my opinion the prettiest to be found in the "Eje Cafetero" (Colombia's coffee-growing region). Tourism is well developed in this area, though it tends to be mainly domestic tourists who visit when the festivals are held. The very warm, friendly inhabitants will tell you that this is a town in which time has stood still, and there's certainly some truth in that. If you want to really savour the atmosphere of Salento, one of the best things to do is go and sip a coffee at the town's central square, Plaza de Bolívar, and watch the crowds of people wandering around there.
If you like Colombian arts and crafts, you'll really enjoy browsing the many shops and stalls selling hammocks, jewellery and, of course, coffee here.
There's also a small hill you can climb to reach the Alto de la Cruz lookout-point, from where there are views over Salento on one side and the verdant mountains of Quindio on the other.
Salento is also a great place from which to go hiking, with many walks available here that you can do without a guide, especially in the magnificent Cocora Valley area, which can be reached by jeep (the famous Yipao Willys) from the town.
Salento is a veritable little corner of paradise and one of my favourite places in Colombia. I did some lovely hikes here, especially the one I went on to visit a remote, isolated coffee plantation and the one I did in the Corora Valley to see the tallest palm trees in the world. Additionally, I got the opportunity to immerse myself in Colombian culture, thanks to some highly energetic salsa evenings at the village square and an epic session of 'tejo' (a more explosive, Colombian version of the French game of boules). I was also able to fully round out and enjoy my time here with morning yoga sessions in full view of the mountains and by enjoying the wonderful pancakes and burgers served at a little restaurant I found!
In short, of all the places I visited on my trip to Colombia, Salento is one of my favourites, and this is due to the charm of the warmly welcoming and quite lovely local inhabitants, the beauty of the town and its surroundings, and the very relaxed tourist atmosphere here. I recommend spending at least a few days in Salento; or why not a whole week even!