After a weekend of parties, a visit in a nice village is a very nice cure: it gives at least the illusion of some relax and early nights…
Salento is a little town in the Eje Cafetero, the area of Colombia producing the biggest (legal) export of the country: good coffee beans.
There you’ll find a bunch of backpackers and unusual cold locals tired of them, plus you can do at least 4 things:
- walk in the Valle de Cocora, a beautiful national park with the Colombian national tree, the wax palm, that grown up to 50 meters
- do horse-riding in the sentiero national surrounded by the most amazing nature
- visit a coffee plantation and learn more about the liquid that you think keeps you alive
- chillax (chilling + relax, optionally reading, writing or the like)
I did 3 of those 4 things. I had to skip the Cocora Park because with my knee injury I still wasn’t comfortable walking for 4-5 hours, but surely I missed out looking at the picture below…
Welcome to the Marlboro Country
This is how I felt from the moment I jumped on the horse.
I was on a horse only once before in my life: when they had bring me down Ciudad Perdida after I injured my knee. But surely I wouldn’t call that “horse riding” :)
So there I was, on a well educated horse, learning how to deal with the animal, walking down this sentiero national and in a gree valley, passing a tunnel originally made for a railway that was never completed, continuing until a natural waterfall that with the right view angle has the shape of the holy mater.
Beautiful experience. The only problem was my butt the day after because when the horse was galloping I was just buncing heavily on the settle screaming and laughing at the same time.. no good :)
I wish there were more padding and/or the guide explained us more about horse-riding, but for 40.000 COP (20 USD, 16 EUR) what do you expect?!
Don Elias coffee plantation
We met Don Elias in the road, going to a medical visit in the closeby town of Armenia, poor old man.
So the tour was given by his nephew, a young boy that does nothing but creating coffee from scretch.
The tour is basic and cheap (5000 COP, 2.5 USD, 2 EUR) but without doubt accomplished the goal: from the plant to the coffee cup, everything is unveil!
Chillaxing in Salento
From going out with a group of backpakers and drink aguardiente in the main square listening a Dutch guy declaring that in Holland people work too hard, to watching the Michael Moore movie “Capitalism, a love story” - great tool to play against proud Americans met further on in my walkabout :) – a lot of relax can be catched up here.
And yes, drinking the locally produced coffee.
It’s great quality, but can’t stand the Colombian formula of the tinto, a very watery black coffee… how is it possible that the coffee beans produced here have to travel till Italy to have a good espresso?!? :D
And talking about hostels, I was in one of the best I found here in Colobia: hostel Tralala’, owned by a nice Dutchmen (as the orange color gives away).
Tralala’ is very new, great spaces and organized in the Dutch way, that means very efficiently.
I’ll write more about the best hostels I have been in a dedicated post…
All the photos are in this album: