Salento is a small village in the mountains 300km south of the city of Medellin. It is becoming more and more popular with travelers because of all the coffee farms and the famous Valle de Cocora. We wanted to take the time to enjoy this little village so we spent 3 nights here, even if we were spending more time than planned in Colombia.
The first night we tried this awesome specialty dish called Patacon. It is basically a pizza on fried Patacon dough. This was very good and we kept wondering why we couldn’t find this anywhere else. We give props to the young entrepreneurs running the place.
On the second day, we toured a coffee farm 10 minutes away from the village. It is owned by an Anglo-Colombian couple that bought the farm 3 years ago. We spent one and a half hours talking with the husband and he explained everything to us from buying the farm to selling the roasted beans.
He told us that, at the coffee trade market in Colombia, the bigger the coffee bean, the higher the price. This is one of the reasons why most of the coffee producers are now using man-made coffee plants. They give bigger beans, need less shade, and can be planted closer to each other. The drawback, according to our guide, is the taste.
His farm is basically a big experiment where he is trying to do things people don’t usually do with coffee. Coffee is sold in bulk with no distinction between the different beans from the same region. What Tim wants to do is sell his coffee by the bean type. Just like wine, he wants to label the origin of his coffee and the type of plant. I think this is a great idea since the producers will make more money and the consumers will actually know what they are drinking.
During lunch at El Rincon de Lucy, we met a wonderful German couple, Elli and Jan, who we ended up hanging out with during most of our time in Salento. It turned out it was Elli’s birthday so we celebrated with her at a local bar, getting tipsy on Aguardiente liquor while playing pool.
On our last day in Salento, we went to visit the Valle de Cocora. This park holds an incredible landscape. You are literally surrounded by hundreds of unnaturally tall wax palm trees (tallest palm trees in the world and Colombia’s national tree) and green hills. We decided to rent horses for the beginning of our hike. It was amusing to see Mui ask the horse to slow down.
The horses brought us to a farm in the middle of the park where we can observe four different species of hummingbirds. Since I was a kid, I always wanted to see the “smallest bird on earth”. It was pretty cool to be able to see them just inches away. We also met Jo & Ryan here, an inspirational couple finishing up their two-year globetrotting. We were all welcomed at the farm with a local specialty, chocolate con queso (hot chocolate with cheese). It is gross.
For our last night in Salento we decided to splurge on a 9-course dinner. Read about it tomorrow!
|What We Paid:||Colombian
|– Bus from San Gil to Armenia: 9 hours||38,000||21.11||15.20|
|– Bus from Armenia to Salento: 1.5 hours||3,200||1.78||1.28|
|– Private Double Room with Private Bath||40,000||22.22||16|
|– Coffee Farm Tour||5,000||2.78||2|
|– Jeep to Corcoro: one-way||3,000||1.67||1.20|
|– Boot Rental||5,000||2.78||2|
|– Horse Rental||25,000||13.89||10|
|– Hummingbird Farm Entrance||3,000||1.67||1.20|