How to Spend 48 Hours in Salento

Salento by night
Salento by night | © Triángulo del Café Travel / Flickr
Chris Bell

Salento is perhaps the most popular small town for backpackers to visit in Colombia: the pretty little spot in the Coffee Region is famous for its proximity to the stunning Cocora Valley, as well as for coffee tours, nice restaurants and pretty scenery. There’s so much to see and do in Salento that you could easily spend a week there, but the good news is you can pack a lot into just 48 hours in Salento.

When you arrive around lunchtime on your first day, the first thing you’ll want to do is check into your hotel or hostel. There are so many places to choose from in Salento, but with just 48 hours you’ll want to pick a place in town to avoid wasting time getting in and out to more isolated rural accommodation. The best hostels in the town are El Viajero and Hostel Tralala, while top options for those with a higher budget would be Hotel Salento Real or Coffee Tree Boutique Hostel. Once you’re settled in, it’s time to explore Salento.


The best way to start is to take a walk up to the mirador – or viewpoint – overlooking the town on one side and the gorgeous rivers and mountains of the Andes on the other. It’s a short, intense uphill climb to the north-east of the town, but well-worth the slightly strenuous uphill for the breathtaking views. Take some time to enjoy the view before heading back down to the square for a late lunch of fresh trout and patacones.

Once you’ve had lunch, it’s coffee time! Walk half a block off the main square to Cafe Jesus Martin for the most delicious espresso in town (and maybe a slice of cake if you’re not full from the trout). Then it’s time to play some tejo! What’s tejo you ask?! It’s Colombia’s national sport, a raucous game involving drinking and gunpowder, and Salento has one of the best tejo courts in Colombia. You can enjoy the rest of your evening having some beers and blowing things up, before stopping off for dinner on your way home at the excellent MERAKI restaurant.

Tejo in Colombia

On your only full day, you’ll have to get up nice and early to spend the day hiking the Cocora Valley. Check out this Ultimate Guide to Hiking the Cocora Valley for the skinny on exactly how to make the most of this stunning trek, but the long and short of it is that you’ll want to be at the main square to catch a jeep to the valley at around 7:30 am. The main hiking route takes around five hours, so it’s worth taking a packed lunch if you plan on taking your time and really absorbing the sights.

Along the trail, you’ll be able to stop off and enjoy seeing hummingbirds feeding at the pretty Acaime Reserve, before hiking down into the main Cocora Valley to enjoy the breathtaking sights of hundreds of giant Wax Palms, the tallest palm trees on earth at up to 60 meters tall! Once you’ve finished the trek and taken a jeep back to Salento, it will already be between 2 pm and 3 pm, and you will most likely be completely exhausted from all that trekking, so chill out on the square with a coffee, before taking the remainder of the afternoon to check out the local artisan craft shops dotted throughout the town. Grab an early dinner (preferably at the excellent Café Bernabé Gourmet), perhaps a drink, and hit the sack: you’ve earned it!

Cocora Valley, Colombia│Chris Bell / © Culture Trip

On your final morning, it’s time for a coffee tour. The best coffee tours in Salento are either at Finca El Ocaso or Finca Don Eduardo: both offer an introductory coffee tour of an hour or so and cost almost the same. Your call! Either way, grab a jeep out to your chosen farm and sign up for a tour. You’ll spend the next hour or so exploring the fascinating process of coffee production, before sampling a delicious cup or two.

Linger around the farm once you’ve finished to enjoy the ambience and the countryside, before heading back to town for a quick lunch and to pack your bags. You’ll be sad to leave Salento – everyone who visits wants to stay longer – but you can leave safe in the knowledge that you really made the most of your stay with this 48-hour Salento itinerary.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article