8th-10th July 2013
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We spent 3 nights staying in Armenia, a town similar in size to Canberra. The town itself is OK, not a whole lot to do. The main attraction is that it’s near Salento (and other small towns in the coffee region).
Salento is a tiny old town and is full of lovely old buildings, well maintained ad very colourful. We spent 2 days there, and just came back to Armenia each night for our accommodation. In hindsight, it would have been great to stay in Salento 1-2 nights.
Anyway, the first day, we did a coffee tour at a farm 4km out of Salento. We took a jeep taxi to get there, and walked back. The tour was at El Ocaso, and it was excellent! We learnt about the whole coffee growing and processing process, and tasted coffee from the farm at the end. The host was lovely and spoke very clear Spanish, I understood about 95% of what she said!
The 2nd day we took the 1hr bus from Armenia to Salento, then a 30min jeep to the Valle de Cocora. We had lunch (and saw a stunning hummingbird just outside the window!), and then headed off for a walk that we’d hoped would take us to Acamé, a hut with hot drinks and lots of hummingbirds. After dodging horse poo, mud, and negotiating 5 slightly dodgy suspension bridges for 2 hours, we had to turn back about 1km short of the hut. If not, we would have missed the last jeeps back to Salento, and not been able to get back that evening (or not for a low amount of pesos!).
It was a stunning walk, hard and fun. The Valle de Cocora is known for the 60m wax palm trees growing awkwardly on the hills. Very surreal landscape and totally beautiful.
All up, the coffee region was a really lovely place to visit! I’d absolutely recommend Salento to anyone coming to Colombia. You could possibly skip Armenia, or just visit for a day.