We would like to thank Phil for writing this article and sharing with us and our readers his experience travelling to Salento in the Colombia’s coffee region. If you want to see more Colombian travel insights from Phil, you can follow him on twitter @philipcorrigan.
The Uncover Colombia Team.
We left Casa Quimbaya at 9.30am on Sunday morning. I had known that Sundays were by far the busiest days to visit Salento. Nevertheless, I decided to try my luck and pick the bus up at the top of the town on its route from Armenia’s bus terminal. This proved unwise as each bus as we waited at the side of the road was full.
Luckily a willy(local term for a jeep, not a man’s private part!) passed by and then stopped to pick us up. We agreed a $4000 each fee ( just $200 more than a bus fare) and jumped on the back.
How lucky did we get?! The driver brought us via the back roads through some breathtaking mountainous terrain. Have a look! http://youtu.be/6DnA5uREKrM
Lady luck was definitely on our side for this journey as we also passed by the coffee farm (Finca Don Elias) which we had planned on visiting. We jumped off, briefly chatted with surrounding locals before walking down a laneway to be greeted by the wife of Don Elias. Indeed, after a short 10 minute wait, we began the tour given by Don Elias himself, an older , charismatic man. There were just two other visitors with us.
It’s worth noting that a decent knowledge of Spanish is required to enjoy the tour fully as there is no english translation.
Don Elias, explained each part of the coffee production process during the 45 minutes, as we walked through his farm. For the final quarter ,we sat down with the man himself and enjoyed one of his coffees.
For just $5000 I would certainly recommend this tour. We were shown ,albeit briefly, each part of the process. We left with a better understanding and appreciation for the work that goes into a cup of coffee and still had time to discover Salento’s ‘not so sleepy’ village.
To get there, we walked on a back road through the mountains. It took us the bones of an hour overall.
We were extremely hungry by the time we reached Salento and although there were numerous eatery options at our disposal, we quickly decided on one and ordered the trout. When in Rome (Salento!)
The place itself was packed, with a great atmosphere and for the main course and a beer, we paid just $18000 each.
Unfortunately, the weather took a turn for the worse but it never dampened the spirits in the town. We wandered in and out of arts & crafts shops, which sold affordable gifts of great quality and Colombian heritage. We stopped for coffee and some more beer and took in the atmosphere, complemented by live music.
I thoroughly enjoyed the town and although it is branded as very touristy, I never once felt claustrophobic or under pressure to buy something.
At 7pm, We returned to Armenia on the bus, getting off at the top of the town, just 10 minute walk from Casa Quimbaya.
Another day will be needed to hike to nearby Cocora Valley.
- What is behind your cup of coffee? (www.uncovercolombia.com)
- Coffee region tour (www.uncovercolombia.com)
- Visiting Quindio: venturing deep into the Colombian coffee country (www.uncovercolombia.com)
- Top tips for Colombia’s Coffee Region and Medellin (www.uncovercolombia.com)