We stayed in Salento for 10 days, much longer than any other place we went to in Colombia. Salento didn’t really have a cute plaza where you can hang out (unlike Jardín), nor did it have the prettiest houses (that’s Guatapé).
But we ended up staying much longer than we expected for a slew of other reasons. Reasons such as:
Valle de Cocora
Many people came to Salento to see the Valle de Cocora and for a good reason. The landscape of these tall palm trees hovering above the cloud forests is so unique (see pictures from Valle de Cocora).
We have met many other visitors during our stay there and everybody seemed to either scoff at the idea of seeing palm trees (including us) or have such a high expectation of it.
But nobody came back from Valle de Cocora disappointed.
Jesus Martin Coffee
Marcella from seecolombia has been our unofficial (and knowledgable) guide to this country and when she said we shouldn’t miss a visit to Jesus Martin in Salento, we followed her advice.
And as usual, she was right. Jesus Martin is where we’ve had some of the best coffee we’ve ever had. Period. Not only in Colombia. But ever. And we love coffee, ya?
We usually stick to the usual espresso, latte or cappuccino but one day I decided to try their cold coffee and ordered a combination of espresso, Bailey’s, milk, and Milo. Topped with whipped cream and just a dash of cinnamon on top.
Heaven in a glass, I’m telling you.
Don Alvaro’s horses
I went with a bunch of other people from the hostel on a horseback riding once. We went with Don Alvaro, a guide that’s recommended by our hostel. Jack, concerned with a possibility of a bruised manhood, decided to opt out. And I have to say it was probably a wise decision.
Because these horses LOVED .TO. RUN. Whenever we came across an open space (and being a countryside, there was plenty of these) they just started running. Hard.
The feeling of wind on my face while galloping through a beautiful landscape was indescribable. I have to say that I’m a little smitten with this whole horse-riding thing.
Can you say a cowgirl in the making?
Shopping for souvenirs on the artisan lane
There’s a lane off the main plaza in Salento that’s lined with shops selling locally made arts and crafts – bracelets, ponchos, lampshades, etc. Jack and I bought some bracelets here and had a lot of fun afternoons just hanging out people watching and window shopping.
Trucha del Ajillo
There are a lot of restaurants selling truchas (trouts) in Salento. Even though it’s not a local specialty, Salento is where Jack and I had our first Trucha del Ajillo and Trucha Marinera.
What is Trucha del Ajillo?
It’s basically a fried trout smothered with a sauce made of cheese and milk. Topped with even more cheese and put on a stove until the cheese melts. It’s served in its whole bubbly, cheesy, goodness along with patacones (very thin, wafer-like banana. Fried of course) and rice.
Trucha Marinera is very similar but served with other seafood such as calamari, shrimps, and other type of fish.
Heart attack on a plate? No doubt.
Considering that we’ve been complaining about Colombian food, saying that Trucha del Ajillo is the highlight of our Colombian culinary experience doesn’t say much. But it should say something that we’ve had at least 4 of these babies during our stay in Salento.
The best value for these truchas can be found at Andrea’s – located on the same street as where the artesans’ shops are.
And I guess I can’t really write about Salento and leave out La Serrana, our home for these wonderful 10 days.
Staying in La Serrana was like staying in somebody’s house – comfortable couches in the living room, huge dining table in the common area, and a hammock overlooking a green, lush, valley. It was easy to meet people there and it was hard to leave.
Without a doubt, Salento is definitely one of the highlights of our 5 week stay in Colombia. It was a wonderful ending to our 5 week jaunt in Colombia.
After reading this post we are planning on spending sometime in Salento on our RTW trip. We don't have a ton of time figured in for Colombia, I was wondering how much time is needed to see all there is to see in Salento without going at a breakneck pace? Thanks for posting, looks awesome.
Great trout indeed, but i don't agree about the short hike – you should do the full loop – such a beautiful trail crossing the river multiple time, etc. Will check out Jesus Martin coffee tomorrow : )
Wow, it all looks and sounds amazing! It kind of makes me want to pack my bags and go there tomorrow 🙂
The coffee sounds great. We rode horses in the northern mountains of Nicaragua and they too loved to run. It was the best! 🙂 I'm not sure about that trout dish though..
I haven't been to Colombia but the more I hear about the more I want to go. Asked some friends if they'd go this winter – but they won't even consider it – still thinking it's a completely dangerous place to go. I could use one of those delicious looking coffees right now.
Honestly, now that I'm in Ecuador – I'm hearing a lot more scary stories coming out of here (especially from Quito) than ever. We personally found that the smaller cities in Colombia very friendly and safe… and drop dead gorgeous.
Ahh, gorgeous. From the coffee to the mountains to the trout, I want it all! I've always wanted to ride horses, it seems like so much fun! I'm so excited to read your posts each day, it's seems that Colombia has been awesome!
Thanks, Sheryll… now that we've left Colombia, we've realised all the things we've been taking granted there. Colombia has definitely been a wonderful experience.
As usual, your photos are off the hook. I liked the coffee picture the best… Maybe it's time for me to have another cup. ^_^
It's always time to have another cup 🙂 Just finally found a decent coffee shop here in Otavalo and we're definitely squeezing in a visit before leaving to Quito today. Thanks for coming by!
Aye, I would love some heart attack on a plate.. like now pls! Great place to be for sure – Salento looks like a dream.. and the FOOD! So jealous.. 😛
We loved Salento too – not quite as much as Jardin but it's still a lovely place. Jealous you got to go horse riding – for some reason we ran out of time. La Serrana is a wonderful place to chill out.
But you guys got to stay and ride a lot in that ranch in Costa Rica, ya? I'm the jealous one 🙂
You got me with the milo/baileys/whipped cream concoction. *drools*
I haven't made it over there yet. I have a lot to do. I guess when your boyfriend is a local, he's not exactly as enthusiastic about driving around to all these places as I am as a tourist!
I can totally see that – playing tourist in your own city/country can be hard. But that iced coffee with milo and baileys should be good enough to lure him to Salento, no?
Thank you so much for your inspiring articles about Colombia. I'm trying to convince my boyfriend to add Colombia to our itinerary for our RTW trip. Your articles are really helpful 🙂
Once again, thanks for coming by and if you have any questions about Colombia that can help convince ur bf, just give us a holler!
Will definitely add Salento to my list. I think the best part of long-term travel is having the luxury to stay longer in a place you really enjoy.
That's very true. It's a good thing that we do have a commitment in Ecuador or else we can see ourselves staying there for much, much longer.
I don't drink coffee, but if I was in Colombia I would definitely give it a try. I've never been on a galloping horse… that sounds like a great feeling!
Being on a running horse was amazing! Terryifying at first but as soon as I learned to relax, it was quite an incredible experience.