Due to the diverse birdlife and tallest palm trees in the world, Salento is a top destination for ecotourism. However, getting here may involve multiple planes or bus rides.
So, how many days do you need in Salento to make the trip worthwhile? You don’t want to cut it too short, or you’ll miss out on the best this destination has to offer.
On the other hand, you make the trip too long, and you could miss out on other parts of Colombia that are also worth exploring.
Not to worry, in this article, we will break down the perfect amount of time needed in Salento so that you can make the most out of your trip!
The Perfect Amount of Time in Salento
If you’re spending time in Colombia, it’s definitely worth considering a side trip to Salento. This small town is located in the Andes mountains and is painted in bright colors, and friendly locals.
The main attraction that draws people to Salento is the nearby Cocora valley, home to the tallest palm trees in the world.
In addition, the area is also great for birdwatching, as there are hundreds of different species of birds. For example, you can see several species of hummingbirds alone!
Valle de Cocora doesn’t stop there; with hiking, waterfalls, and horseback riding, there’s plenty to do in this nature lover’s paradise.
So, how long should you stay in Salento to make the most of your trip? We recommend a minimum of 3 days and a maximum of 5 days.
In order to make more sense of our suggestion, we’ll break down each day so that you can better plan your trip.
Day 1: Arrive in Salento and Explore the Town
The first day of your trip to Salento will mostly consist of traveling. If you take a flight, then you cut down on travel time. But you will still need to land in Pereira and take a bus or taxi to Salento, which is about 90 minutes away.
On the other hand, if you take a bus from Medellin or Bogata, the trip will be around 6-8 hours.
Once you arrive in Salento, we recommend checking into your hotel and just taking it easy. Then, enjoy the evening by going to dinner at one of the many great restaurants in Salento.
After dinner, enjoy the nightlife at Plaza de Bolívar. You can grab dessert, listen to music, or grab a drink at one of the bars.
Day 2: Hike in Valle de Cocora
On the second day of your trip, it’s time to finally explore Valle de Cocora! Again, we recommend getting an early start so that you can make the most of your day.
Plus, it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is; there will always be plenty of people in the valley. The main hike is the Velle de Cocora Loop which is around 6.5 miles long.
On this hike, you will see the tallest palm trees in the world and plenty of birds and other animals. Depending on your fitness level, how often you stop, and how long you stay at the lookout points, the hike will take anywhere from 3-5 hours.
After the hike, we recommend grabbing lunch in town before heading back to your hotel to relax for the evening.
Here is what you should bring with you during a hike in the Valle de Cocora:
First Aid Kit
Day 3: Horseback Riding and Waterfalls
On the third day of your trip, you can either go horseback riding or visit the waterfalls. We recommend horseback riding in the morning and waterfalls in the afternoon if you want to do both.
Horseback riding is a great way to see Cocora valley from a different perspective. You will be able to go at your own pace and really take in the scenery.
The main waterfall you will want to see is Cascadas de Cocora. If you drive, hike, or ride horseback to the waterfall, it will take around 30 minutes to 2 hours to get there.
The waterfall itself is absolutely stunning and definitely worth a visit! After enjoying the waterfall, we recommend heading back into town for dinner.
Day 4: Coffee Plantations and Birdwatching
On the fourth day of your trip, we recommend exploring some of the coffee plantations in Salento. You can either take a tour or just wander around on your own.
Walking around the coffee plantations is a great way to learn about how coffee is grown and harvested. Plus, you will be able to sample some of the fresh coffee!
In addition, this is also a great day for birdwatching. There are hundreds of different species of birds in the area. So, make sure to bring your binoculars!
After a day of exploring, we recommend heading back to town for dinner and then grabbing a drink at one of the bars.
Day 5: Departure
Before you leave, walk the plaza and gift shop in the morning. Salento has numerous artisans that make beautiful trinkets, clothing, and other items. So, make sure to pick up some souvenirs for your friends and family!
When you’re ready to go, you can either take a bus or taxi back to Pereira. If you’re taking a bus, we recommend taking the earlier one, so you have plenty of time to catch your flight.
And that’s it! We hope you enjoy your trip to Salento!
When is the Best Time to Visit Salento?
Like Medellin, Salento is at a high elevation, which means that the temperature is relatively cool all year round. However, there are definitely some months that are better than others.
The best time to visit Salento is from December to February. These are the driest months of the year and also have the best weather. The average high temperature during this time is only around 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you visit Salento during the wetter months (April-November), you will still be able to enjoy all of the activities. However, you may have to deal with some rain.
You may also have an advantage during the rainy season with fewer tourists. However, like going to Guatape, Salento can get pretty crowded on the weekends.
So, if you want to avoid the crowds, visiting during the week or during the wetter months may be a better option for you.
Either way, the early bird gets the worm in Salento. The earlier you can get up and start your day, the better. This is especially true during the weekends when the town gets crowded with tourists.
Is Three Days Enough in Salento?
You can definitely make do with only three days in Salento. However, we recommend adding an extra day to your trip if possible.
There is so much to do in Salento that you will definitely want more time. Plus, it’s a great place to relax and really take in the scenery.
If you can’t add an extra day, don’t worry! You can easily see the most important sights in three days. Just make sure to get an early start each day!
You can then use the late afternoons and evenings to explore the town, grab some food, and enjoy a few drinks.
Is Salento Worth Visiting?
Overall, if you have enough time, we recommend visiting Salento. For coffee lovers, and outdoor enthusiasts, it’s an excellent place to add to your Colombia itinerary.
Not only is the coffee some of the best in the world, but there are also plenty of hiking trails, waterfalls, and birdwatching opportunities.
However, if you are looking for an authentic Colombian town with minimal tourism, Salento may not be the right place for you.
It’s not only a popular place for Americans and Europeans but Colombian tourists as well. So, if you’re looking for a more off-the-beaten-path destination, you may want to check out places like Jardin, Colombia.
Whether or not Salento is worth visiting really depends on what you’re looking for in a vacation. But, overall, we think it’s a great place to visit!
Time Well Spent in Salento
We believe with 3-5 days in Salento, you will have a great time! This is especially true if you love coffee, hiking, and being outdoors.
However, if you’re looking for an authentic Colombian town with little tourism, Salento may not be the best place for you.
In any case, we hope you have a great time on your trip!
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