Fancy my world

Salento et l’incroyable vallée de Cocora

Salento and the amazing Cocora Valley


Jardin - Rio Sucio
3h which turns into 5h30 - 35000 COP (8 dollars) with the company Rapido Ochoa

In fact, it is a mountain road with a lot of works. As a result, we often stop for a longer or shorter time. The hours pass when this time, the bus stops and does not move for I would say a rather interminable time. The moment comes when the men rush outside to urinate. What about women… who waddle in their seats but have no place out of sight to relieve themselves. On the other hand, the landscapes are breathtaking, of incomparable beauty. Internally, I tell myself that a lifetime would not be enough to see everything. My vase of emotions is full. My stay at Jardin left me with a dreamy taste. I admit that my memories occupy my mind during the whole trip. We finally arrive at the terminal. 

Rio sucio - Pereira
4h - 26000 COP (6 dollars) with the company Flora Occidental

Here, it is a mess: no indication anywhere, people everywhere, it is a rat race. In this mess, I manage to get the right information. Many left to relieve themselves in the toilet. Suddenly, I quickly queue, pee will wait. And I was right. I managed to get a ticket for the bus which leaves in 15mins. Phew! The bus is now full and most find themselves having to wait 2 hours for the next one. I have just enough time to chain the toilets and find something to eat on the other side of the street. A little tienda sells chicken empanadas and some kind of cheese buns, good enough. There is even coffee, we are close to paradise. I hear someone calling me, I rush into the bus ready to leave. As usual, you think the bus is full, well do not even think about it. The driver makes his money by stopping at every street corner to pick up other customers who will remain standing all the way. I imagine they pay less. The old gentleman next to me has bad breath. So, to avoid having to bear the smells throughout the trip, I pretend not to speak Spanish when he tries to start the discussion. I know, it is not nice. But I have a 3 hour drive with this bus. I would like to make my journey as pleasant as possible 😊. In the end, it takes 45 mins more than expected. Argh! It is Colombia. A given time turns out to be more than random. 

Pereira - Salento
1h by minibus - 9700 COP (2,50 dollars)

Our bus arrives at 6 p.m. at the Pereira terminal, which turns out to be quite large. Direct I ask the driver where the tickets are bought for Salento. A Canadian couple decides to join me to find our last ticket of the day. The office in question is well hidden at the end of the hall. A guy sitting there seems to be quietly ending his day. With a broad smile I ask him for tickets. Embarrassed, he tells me it is too late. I then explain to him our adventure of the day. He suddenly takes his phone, talks for 30 seconds, gets up, grabs my heavy luggage, and starts running, telling me to follow him. Incredulous, the 3 of us comply and run with him. Behind the terminal, we thus cross a 6-lane (incredible!) and what do I suddenly see, a bus to which he is waving. In fact, he just made us take the last bus passing by. Nicer, you die. Nah but this stroke of luck! I tell myself that I am definitely lucky. Here we go again for the last stretch. Hip-hip-hip! Being certain of arriving at my destination, I reserve a hotel on Booking. We arrive at 7:15 p.m. wow ! What a day ! And to finish on a high note, I realize that my hotel is only a 5-minute walk away. Ahhhh that's good !!!


Located very close to the very famous Cocora Valley, a unique place in the world where giant wax palms grow, Salento has become a key destination in Colombia. This small village, perched at an altitude of 2000 m in the middle of a verdant paradise, remains a colorful little gem where the art of living remains authentic despite ever-increasing tourism.

What to do in Salento ?

Cocora Valley Colombia
Salento Colombia

Visit Salento

Founded in 1842, this small village typical of the coffee region, in the colonial style, spreads its palette of colors on each building to the delight of photography enthusiasts. On the central square, dominated by the Nuestra Señora del Carmen church, we find the Colombian atmosphere between “bodegas” and loud music. You can enjoy a good fresh fruit juice or savor a trout, a typical local dish. It is here that we find the famous willis jeeps, local public transport.

  • Mirador Alto de la Cruz: located at the end of the main street, up 240 steps, it overlooks Salento and offers a breathtaking panorama of its surroundings. On a clear day, it is the ideal place to watch the sunset.
Click on a photo to start the slideshow

Cocora Valley

This valley, with the unique species of palm trees in the world, is a unmissable in colombia.Endemic to the Quindio region, the wax palmis so called because wax can be extracted from its bark for various uses. It is mainly used as waterproofing for fabrics/clothing or manufacturing candles. It can measure up to 60 m high, making it the tallest palm tree in the world. A true marvel of nature, it has become one of the official symbols of Colombia. Threatened with extinction, it has for some years been classified as a protected species by the Colombian government.

How to get there ?  Just take one of the Willis jeeps parked in the central square of Salento. Price 4000 cop. Here I am on the way in one of the first which leaves at 8am. I have the chance to do the trip standing on the step. Hair in the wind, I admire the grandiose landscape that opens up before me. On the descent, a couple of Canadians, a German and I formed our small group most naturally. 

 Park entrance fee : 10000 cop (2,50 dollars)

2 possibilities for the visit::

  1. A round trip of 2 hours which allows you to find yourself at the foot of the huge palm trees and to go up to the hummingbird house, then to go down in the opposite direction.
  2. A 15 km hike that allows you to make a loop. Some do it counter-clockwise, rougher, in order to end up with the famous wax palms, which is the most beautiful. 

For horse lovers, riders at the entrance offer you to do part or all of the loop on horseback.
Advice : leave early in the morning because the afternoons are often foggy or even rainy.

This park is stunning. We took advantage of it for a good 6 hours, it was magical 

Vallée de Cocora Colombie
Click on a photo to start the slideshow


On our return to the village, we stroll through the streets when we pass in front of an establishment that offers the game of Tejo. This game is considered Colombia's national sport (officially!). Very popular, it is played in many places in the country. The object is to score as many points as possible by throwing a metal puck (called a tejo) at a small triangular explosive target (called a mecha) located about 60 feet away on a wooden box (called a pole). The more targets you hit, the more points you get. Mechs are filled with gunpowder, so when you hit them, they explode. We divide into 2 teams, we provide beer. And here we are immersed in the Colombian atmosphere. Clearly, I suck, I do not know how to aim. No one can be worse 😂 We laughed a lot. A pure delight !

Finca Don Elias Salento

Visit to Finca "Las Brisas" by Don Elias

Organic coffee plantation

Entrance fee: 15000 cop (3,50 dollars)                 Schedule: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

How to get there ? A pied, il faut compter environ 45mins – 1h. En jeep, 15 mins pour 3000 cop. 

We arrive at the farm by jeep. Don Elias' son receives us. His father being retired, he took up the torch. We are lucky to have a visit for just the two of us, Daniel and me. It's cool ! I hate the crowd. He takes us on a tour of all the plantation, explains the whole process of coffee: from the plant to the cup. No chemicals, the harvest is done by hand, the rest mechanically. They have kept the old-fashioned methods and that is what makes this finca attractive. Follows a tasting, a quiet discussion. The place is peaceful. Simple, smiling and efficient reception. Interesting, enriching and tasty visit. I recommend her without hesitation. 

Click on a photo to start the slideshow

Trek in Los Nevados National Park

Located in the heart of the coffee region, Los Nevados National Park is one of Colombia's must-sees.. It brings together no less than 8 volcanoes: Cerro Machin, Nevado del Tolima, Nevado de Quindio, Santa Isabel, Cerro Bravo, Paramillo de Santa Rosa, Nevado El Cisne and Nevado Del Ruiz, the highest active volcano in Colombia, culminating at 5300 m. Some volcanoes are still capped by a glacier. In addition to its magnificent landscapes and snow-capped peaks, Los Nevados Park is known to be home to a wide variety of animals, including some endemic species of Colombia such as the snow parrot, the Andean condor, the spectacled bear … Its biotope, The Paramo, is present exclusively in the Andes Cordillera. It is full of unique plant species in the world such as the famous "frailejones", ancestral plants that grow only between 2000 and 4500 m altitude. 

Guide not mandatory but highly recommended. Depending on your physical condition and what you want, the agencies advise you on treks of one or more days. 

Los Nevados National Park Colombia


-  Casa La Eliana -

To book click here

Booked on Booking for 60000 COP per night (14 dollars). Then negotiated on the spot at 50,000 (11.50) cop. Spacious double bedroom with private bathroom. The hotel is quiet, well located and the welcome is top notch. As a bonus, I benefit from a large balcony with a pleasant view. I arrived tired after this day spent entirely in transport, what was my joy to learn that in addition there was a restaurant. It offers excellent Indian dishes. A delight !

Strengths of the establishment

Bars & Restos

Here are some addresses on which I had a crush

Brunch de Salento

Absolument à faire. Tout est fait maison, les parts sont gigantesques et c’est délicieux ! Quant aux prix, il n’y a rien à redire. Ils proposent des paniers repas pour pique-niquer 5 étoiles. 

Camino Real

Located just down the steps from the watchtower, this restaurant offers a very wide menu with very well-made dishes. It has several spaces, a large garden but also a terrace with a view of the valley. Smooth welcome, friendly service and reasonable price. 


I find here, by the greatest chance, Danielencountered during my trek to Ciudad Perdida (see article Santa Marta). I'm having breakfast at Brunch de Salento when a young man walks confidently into the establishment. Imagine my surprise when I recognize Daniel. He just arrived in the area, I am leaving the next day. Happy to meet again, we discuss our last weeks and decide to spend the day together. On the program: visit to a coffee plantation. A great surprise !

I introduce you Brianna and  Karolis, a young Canadian couple on vacation in Colombia and David, German, who travels in South America. Met in the jeep that took us to the Cocora Valley, we will visit, restaurant, coffee tasting and Tejo game in the village. We were so good together that we never left each other. A day full of activities, fun and relaxation. In short ! Unforgettable moments in their charming company. 


Another favorite of Colombia, Salento and the Cocora Valley are undeniably to do. It is such an incomparable beauty. I have multiplied the encounters here, all super nice. With always this lot of surprises that the trip reserves like the reunion with Daniel. I loved my visit to this pleasant village. I continue on my way. 

Next destination:  The Tatacoa Desert - Colombia 

The latest articles

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Comment type='text' name='comment' aria-required='true'/>
Name name='author' type='text' aria-required='true'/>
Email name='email' type='text' aria-required='true'/>
Website name='website' type='text'/>

error: Content is protected !!