Salento is a small, remote town in Columbia. It’s known for its coffee plantations, and lush, mountainous scenery. Salento is still relatively new to tourists and travelers, having been controlled by guerrilla groups up until a few years ago. But now it’s one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in South America.
Salento is a beautiful town that still has much of its historic charm. While many of the neighboring cities and villages have been rebuilt over the years, Salento’s remote location has kept it relatively unchanged, giving it a rustic ambiance that’s idyllic and unique. While the town is small and quaint, there are still plenty of shops and restaurants to explore within its streets.
To the east of Salento is the Cocora Valley, an area famous for its wax palms. These trees are the tallest palm trees and the world, growing to over 200-feet tall, and their quizzical appearance looks like something out of a storybook.
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Salento is undoubtedly worth visiting for the city’s quaint charm and unique culture, as well as the surrounding area’s outdoor activities. We’ve put together a list of six of the better hostels you can stay in while exploring the region.
They offer complimentary chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.
This hostel is quiet and secluded, giving it a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere.
Coffee Tree Boutique is a cozy, comfortable and quiet hostel located six blocks from the town center. It’s on the edge of the town, so it has a quieter, more relaxed atmosphere than other hostels.
The location, being somewhat removed from the main town area, gives it an almost country-like feel. There’s a magnificent view of the nearby mountains and it’s quite close to the coffee farms.
The rooms are clean, the beds are comfortable, and after a good night’s sleep, you’re welcome to eggs and chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. If you’re looking for a low-key hostel that’s peaceful and quiet, give this one a close look.
They provide in-house lessons for learning Spanish, dance, and yoga.
It’s close to the mountains and coffee farms, giving it a tranquil atmosphere.
Viajero Salento holds the title of the largest hostel in town. It’s an old house that’s been converted, and it’s located in a neighborhood that’s close to the coffee farms and mountains, so there’s a sense of peace and tranquility here.
You can book activities at the front desk such as horseback riding tours or guided hikes. If you want to stay indoors, there are Spanish and dance lessons available.
And if you’re worn out from a day of excursions, you can relax in the garden with guided meditation or yoga.
There are bicycles available to rent to take tours of the coffee farms or explore on your own.
Yambolombia is an eco-friendly hostel.
Bonfires and stargazing are the norms at this cozy hostel.
Yambolombia is a cozy, rustic hostel set in the hills near the coffee farms. It’s on the smaller side, with a 6-bed dorm and two private rooms, but its size along with its seclusion gives it an intimate atmosphere.
The location gives you an awe-inspiring view of the mountains, and at night, you can sit out around a campfire for some amazing star-gazing.
They provide dance classes for those wanting to cut a rug, or if you want to do something a little more low-key, you can partake in yoga lessons in the green hills surrounding the area.
The staff here is extremely friendly and accommodating and can help you find activities in the area.
There’s a nice book exchange here for the avid reader.
Walkers House is situated three blocks from Salento’s main square. Many of the town’s shops and eateries are within a short walking distance of the hostel. The rooms are clean and cozy and the beds are comfortable.
The dorms come with balconies for getting fresh air. The staff here is amazing; they’re very attentive and helpful and they do a great job making you feel at home.
They’re also very knowledgable of the surrounding areas and can help you book tours to the coffee fields are Cocora Valley.
There are a lush garden and patio area with hammocks to relax in
There are two kitchen fully-equipped and stocked with basic ingredients.
Hostel Tralala was converted from a coffee-region house. It’s got a very rustic and old-world vibe, and the atmosphere is warm and full of character.
It’s large and spacious, and the hostel offers a huge variety of rooms, including dorms, studios, and private rooms, with or without bathrooms. Outside, there’s a cozy garden area with sprawling greenery where you can sit and relax, or you can opt to relax in a hammock and watch the sunset from the patio.
They offer mountain biking, horseback riding, and tours of the nearby coffee plantations.
They have an outdoor garden area with hammocks and a fire pit.
There’s an excellent bar for mingling with fellow travelers.
Raised above ground level, Luciérnaga offers a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It’s a large and spacious place that’s almost more hotel than hostel, but the friendly and social atmosphere makes it open and welcoming.
The rooms are clean and spacious and you’ll have a hard time getting yourself out of the cozy beds. The outdoor areas are just as spacious as the hostel itself, giving you access to a beautiful garden with hammocks and a fire pit.
Things to Do in Salento
In addition to exploring the small city of Salento, there are endless outdoor activities for you to partake in.
Exploring the Cocora Valley and taking in the exotic palm trees or visiting the local coffee plantations should be near the top of your list.
Here are a couple more things to do when you’re visiting Salento.
Visit the Acaime Hummingbird House
Along the backside of the Cocora Valley loop, there is a brief, 2km out-and-back hike to Acaime, the hummingbird house.
Tucked away near the back of the Cocora Valley hiking circuit, there’s a hiking trail that leads to Acaime, also known as The Hummingbird House. Acaime is a private area, and there’s an entry fee, but it does get you a free beverage, and you can stay for as long as you like.
Acaime gets its name from the enormous amount of wild hummingbirds that call this area home. The hike here is magical; the hummingbirds of all shapes, sizes, and colors will flit about, flying around you, soaring overhead, and floating next to you like little helicopters. It’s truly a sight to behold and shouldn’t be passed up if you’re visiting Cocora Valley.
Play a Game of Tejo
Tejo is a popular Columbian sport that dates back centuries, though it’s not one you’ll see on television or in any stadium. The goal of Tejo is to use a metal puck to blow up boxes of clay while drinking beer. Intrigued?
Tejo is played by tossing metal pucks down a lane towards a metal ring. Inside the metal ring sits a patch of gunpowder and a box of clay. The premise is simple: Get your puck inside the metal ring, create sparks, light the gunpowder, and blow up the clay. When you blow up the clay, you get points. And one of the main rules of Tejo is that you must be drinking beer while playing.
So if you want to have a beer and blow some stuff up, head down to Beta Town in Salento and sign up for a game of Tejo.