Salento – Eje cafetero

Having booked my ticket back to Switzerland I planned to spend my last week between Salento and Medellin.

Therefore my friend and I decided to take a bus from Bogota to Armenia and then a small buseta to Salento. It was quite a long ride with the Bolivariano (meant to be the best accomodating bus) it actually already left with an hour of delay and didn’t even stopped for lunch (so after 7-8 hours bus ride it’s quite necessary to eat).

Actually, talking about food available at the bus terminal, it’s amazing to see that 90% of the food you can buy, is junk food, crisps, other aweful salty-cheesy biscuits and of course all the kinds of sodas. It appeared to be too much asking to buy a normal sandwich.

Shop at the bus terminal

The road crossing the mountain range from Ibague to Armenia is beautiful for it’s landscape, but it’s long and its of course full of curves. Bridges and tunnels are under construction to make the trip a lot quicker.

Landscape on the way to Armenia

By the end of the day we arrived in Salento, we were quite exhausted but happy to arrive in this picturesque village.

Salento main square

Salento's street

The night was about trying the typical dish, the trout (fish) with a bug crisp made of platano, we tried the “Camino Real” surely the nicest restaurant in town. With a nice view on the hills, a little fire and candles, very romantic!

Truit in Salento

Truit in Salento

The following day, we decided to go hiking in the Valle del Cocora, to enjoy a good sporty day in this beautiful landscape. So we took the 7h30 am jeep.

To el valee del Cocora

The trek which leads to Acaime, is one of the access to the PNN (Parque Nacional de los Nevados).

Map of the park

On the first part of the trek, we crossed a few local campesinos bringing their milk to the closer transportation.

Campesino

And it was already after 30 minutes hiking that the famous Palm Trees (Palmera de Cera) reaching up to 60 meters high got part of the beautiful landscape.

Cocora

Cocora

 

Valle del Cocora

 

When we started to reach the river side which was surrounded by cloud forest (a bit jungle like), the path crossed the river a few times, each time  there was a bridge constructed, but it was a bit the kind of “adventurous” bridge, not knowing if it would hang…or fall 😉

Indiana Jones bridges

Arriving in Acaime, we could enjoy a hot chocolate and rest for a bit, but more importantly watch the hummingbirds (colibris) coming to drink sweet water. There was 3-4 different types and in the rainy season there are even more. Their colors were absolutely amazing!

Colibris

Colibris

Colibris

Leaving Acaime, we went on until “Finca la Montana” a good hike uphill to reach 3000 meters of altitude.

Finca de la montana

Then the walking path is a lot more easy as it goes down and is made for a 4×4 to drive on. Here is the view over the Valle.

View on valle del Cocora

And in the middle of Palm Trees you can see….cows! Yes cows, it’s a bit like Switzerland but with Palm trees.

Palm trees and cows

The next day we will have a tough mountain biking day and have a bit of Handicrafts shopping, as Salento remains one of the best place for this in Colombia.