Discover the Authentic Flair of Colombia
Colombia is well known for its coffee, rural markets, and authentic restaurants. There are plenty of beautiful small towns that offer fun, unique experiences. Let’s take a tour through some of my favorite activities in Colombia.
Colombia, sometimes referred to as, “the coffee triangle,” is famous for growing and producing the best Colombian coffee in the world. The triangle includes three states, Caldas, Quindio, and Risaralda. One of my favorite little towns within the Coffee Triangle is Salento it is a magical ancient village in the Quindío Mountains. Take a 40 – minute bus ride from Armenia through rolling hills and green landscapes. After you enjoy the beautiful views you will arrive in the enchanting village of Salento.
This ancient town features narrow streets lined with rural markets, delicious restaurants, and preserved old houses. Salento is not a large village; however, there are restaurants on every street around the central plaza. Creole Colombian food is the most common cuisine in this area. My favorite dish is the frijolada with red beans, rice, meat, avocado, arepas and fried plantains.
Get a taste of the best coffee, here at Casa Willys Café and restaurant, you will easily notice the vintage coffee truck around the central plaza. Take a tour at Ocaso Farm, a coffee plantation that is only 15 minutes away. Here you can experience the magic behind the process of making every cup of coffee you enjoy.
Hiking in Colombia
There are plenty of lovely sites to see in and around Salento. Get ready to explore nature; pack your sunscreen, camera, water, and a light water resistance jacket, it is common for it to rain suddenly. There’s a place called Beta Bar & Grill that offers a to-go Hiker’s lunch pack, perfect for this adventure. Take a jeep or “Yipao” tour and drive up to the Cocora Valley through the route from Los Nevados National Park. Ask locals for the nearest Yipao rentals and barter for the best rate. As you are driving into the valley you’ll be able to see the National trees of Colombia, the famous Wax Palm Trees that reach impressive 90ft heights.
There are plenty of hiking options depending on your hiking skill level. There is an amazing hike to Acaime it takes about 1-2 hours but you will find dozens of “Colibries”, Hummingbirds flying freely around you. If you are more of a novice hiker, take a nice walk along the road and ask locals where you can see the mountains and the fog. You will easily get to a valley with the most amazing views of the coffee region.
Enjoy a Bite
After a fun day of hiking, head back into Salento for a nice trout dinner. In the central plaza, there are plenty of vintage restaurants open from 6 PM to 10 PM. If you choose to stay in Cocora Valley for lunch, don’t miss Donde Juan B, order the trout grilled or “al ajillo” with big fried green plantains this is my favorite way to eat trout. After dinner take a walk through El Mirador to buy souvenirs for your friends and family back home.
Visiting Colombia is a wonderful experience; enjoy beautiful sites, great coffee, delicious dining and fun hiking trails during your vacation. Also be sure to take a lot of pictures during your adventure. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next vacation to the coffee triangle soon!