As far as the eye can see, wax palms up to 60 meters high stretch towards the sky. The view of the green mountains and the crossing of seven suspension bridges in the dense forest above the Quindio River will allow you to enjoy every step of the 10 km circuit through the Valle de Cocora.

Almost at the top, you can make a little detour to a hummingbird farm. My advice: You walk a bit further on the mountain, where a bench invites you to have picnic, while you meet hummingbirds in the wild.

Then begins the descent through the wax palms, which sprout here every few feet from the ground and their height are a unique natural spectacle.

Getting to the Valle de Cocora: Hop on one of the old Willy jeeps on the main square of Salento (departures are daily at the following times: 6.15am, 7.30am, 8.30am and 9.30pm) and drop you at the beginning of the trek. In the afternoon, they will wait for you from 1.30 pm until 6.30 pm and bring you back to Salento every hour.

It is best to pack a snack for lunch. My advice: the brunch restaurant (address: Cl. 6 # 325) prepares lunch boxes with sandwiches, cakes, bananas and water.

This plan gives you a good overview of the circuit through the valley:


Not far from the wax palms, amidst green hills, lies Salento. Beside coffee production and trout farming the village lives now mainly from tourism. 55% of the land belongs to foreigners. Despite these facts, Salento has kept its charm. You can relax here wonderfully and it is the perfect starting point for hiking the Valle de Cocora.

Art and food in Salento – visiting Alejandra and Giovanni 

Art and food – how did you come to this?

„In Colombia it is hard to live from art,” explains photographer Giovanni. “You either have very good contacts, you win contests to be represented in galleries or you have your own space where you can exhibit your works of art. So Alejandra and I decided to start together a new project in Salento. At Etnia Arte Y Sabor we want to bring art and food together. „

“I was able to take over the vacant facility from my cousin. Salento is sooo tranquillo, that we immediately imagined living here. We knew that we still had to put in a lot of work, but we didn’t  want to miss the opportunity to build our own restaurant with space for art. At the age of 40, I collect feathers for half of my life, paint them and make earrings or decorative objects out of them. Cooking is also art for me.” says Alejandra, laughing.

“Yes, Alejandra is a really good cook and she fulfills every wish of our guests.“

Alejandra: “In the evening, when the last guests have left, I am sitting there in the back at the table and paint.”

How much time do you need for a feather?

Alejandra: “Only for painting a small feather about 1.5 hours. After that, I still continue to work on it.”

What is your next project?

Giovanni: “We are organizing an exhibition under the motto” feathers “. It’s supposed to be a combination of my photography and Alejandra’s artwork.”

What are your insider spots in Salento?

Giovanni: „At the Cafe Jesus Martin they know everything about coffee … and this you can taste. Here I like to hang out. A good platform for (street) musicians is the Cafe del Alma. Good atmosphere inclusive delicious cocktails and coffee – which comes from here. “(See Food and Drinks in Salento)


Take an old Willy to the wax palms in the Valle de Cocora

Riding: on the back of a horse you can explore the surroundings like the waterfall “Cascada Santa Rita”. Duration 3-4 hours for 50,000 COP.

Learn all about coffee: Around Salento there are some coffee plantations that open their doors to tourists. You can knock without pre-notification and they explain you the coffee production for about 1 hour (for about 10,000 COP). If you want to learn more about organic coffee, it is worth booking a half day tour including lunch for $ 50.

The coffee fincas are located south of Salento. Coming from the village, turn right before the hostel “La Serena Eco Farm” on the gravel road Vereda Palestina.

  • after 3 km on the right side you will find the Finca Las Acacias
  • After 3,5 km you will come to Finca Ocaso 

Food and drinks in Salento

Brunch Restaurant: the brunch restaurant has a variety of dishes (not just Colombian) and can arrange lunch packages for excursions. Address Cl. 6 # 325

El Rincon de Lucy has a small menu and stands for well-prepared local food (7,000 COP for a dish with soup and drink). Address: Cra. 6 # 32,

At Etnia Arte Y Sabor Alejandra and Giovanni pamper their guests with delicious soups and a variety of Colombian dishes. Address: a 6-92, Cl. 4 # 6-2 (see interview)

Very delicious coffee in the Cafe Jesus Martin. Address: Cra. 6 # 6 – 14

Live music, excellent cocktails or coffee at Kafe del Alma. Address: at the end of Calle Real

Where to stay

within Salento:

The Coffee Tree Boutique Hostel is centrally loscated in the city and due to its location on the hillside you can enjoy a beautiful view. Take a comfortable double room with balcony for about 65 € / night or for the cost-effective solution take a bed in a 4-bed dorm (11 € / night per person)

A good alternative is the Terrazas de Salento which offers you also a beautiful view and from where you can explore Salento on foot. The rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated. Price for a double room from 50 € / night.

relaxed in nature outside of Salento:

La Serrana Eco Farm und Hostel is one of the best hostels in Colombia. Stay in one of the luxury tents with a small private terrace overlooking the surrounding hills, take a bed in one of the shared dormitories in the main house or feel at home in one of the three very comfortable rooms in a separate house with equipped kitchen, living room with fireplace and wonderful mountain view through the panoramic windows.

And to top it all, the food in the hostel’s restaurant is really delicious (17,000 COP per dinner). Afterwards a campfire is lit in the garden.

Getting to La Serrana Eco Farm: on foot it is about 20 minutes from Salento direction south. It is more comfortable to jump on a Willy jeep and go to the hostel for 6,000 COP.

Under wax palms in the Valle de Cocora:

Take your private chalet and head for hiking in the Cocora Valley from your doorstep.  Cabañas Truchas Cocora Chalet starting at 60 € / night for 4 people

Accommodation in Filandia:

Are you looking for a quiet spot, away from the tourists? Then you should come to Filandia, only 30 minutes drive from Salento.

Advice! Too cool to be true! Style and fantastic view. Casa Bambuco invites you to linger on 210 sqm. Private boutique 4-bedroom self-catering accommodation from 100 € / night.

Backpacking dream Casa Muy ChaCho: Relax surrounded by nature. Put your tent in the garden, stay in a simple nice double room or share the 6-bed dorm with others. In this place you can relax and meet other travelers.

North and south of Salento you are surrounded by Insiderspots. On your way to Medellin you should explore the traditional Jardín surrounded by green hills with  coffee plantations. Adventurers set out in the Parque National Natural de Puracé for condors and climb the active volcano Puracé.

travel to Jardín
hike the National Park Puracé


In Salento, you are at the third stop on your 4-week Colombia trip:

  1. Medellín
  2. Between coffee plantations in Jardín
  3. Wax palms in the Valle de Cocora in Salento
  4. Parque National Natural de Puracé near Popayán
  5. Sculptures in San Augustin
  6. Tatacora desert
  7. Bogota
  8. Villa de Leyva
  9. San Gil and Barichara
  10. Lago de Tota
  11. Bogota
  • more Insiderspots in Colombia

  • more Must-See Spots in Colombia


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