Under the World’s tallest palm trees, Salento
Surrounded by coffee farms and mountains, the cute colonial village of Salento is home to the world’s tallest palm trees and the gateway to hiking the towering peaks and glaciers of Los Nevados National Natural Park.
A short taxi ride from town is the Cocora Valley and its beautiful hiking that take you through a cloud forests, crossing creeks on swing bridges to a hummingbird garden and the 30 metre tall wax palm trees. These trees are native to the Colombian region of Quindio and are the country’s national flora symbol.
The Cocora Valley is a perfect day out. Take a jeep or taxi from Salento’s main square at 730am or 930am. Start the walk at the blue fence. The walk takes about five hours and is well signposted – add an extra two hours when travelling with keen photographers on a beautiful sunny day.
Alternatively a three hour horse riding tour takes you through the cloud forest for COP40,000.
Entrance to the hummingbird garden in COP5,000 and includes a drink.
For the more adventurous, there are multi day hikes to the mountains of Los Nevados National Natural Park.
Hostel: The Plantation has a good vibe and offers free tours of the adjoining coffee farm. Alternatively, in the heart of Salento just off the main square is Tralala Hostel which offers clean comfortable rooms, two kitchens and a small sun trapped courtyard. Avoid the coffee tour recommended by the hostel.
Getting there: Shuttles run from Armenia to Salento every 20 minutes during the day. There are several direct shuttles a day from Pereira, but it is easiest to go via Armenia. Armenia is about seven hours bus ride from Bogota and Medellin.