Salento. Looks 4 hours from Bogota to here on the map, looks can be deceiving however!! We had timed it just right to get to the bus terminal in Bogota and had about 10 minutes to grab some food before we headed off. We thought we’d go for the almuerzo which is like a lunch special with soup and chicken with rice. However we were a little put off when the soup came and it was actually chicken FEET soup…….yuk…….
From Bogota we needed to go to Armenia fist which cost 30000 and took 7 hours. But we didn’t get to Armenia until 0020!! We had a couple of options here;
-A taxi would cost 200,000 to take us to Salento.
-Get a hostel in Armenia to sleep for a few hours and then get the first bus to Salento (Wasted money we thought on the hostel front)
-Sleep in the terminal and get the first bus at 0530.
So we slept in the terminal taking it turns to have a doze, felt quite safe actually. Soon enough 0530 came around and we all piled into the first bus which cost 3500 pesos
Eventually we get to Salento. 4 hours turned into 15 for us!!!! It paid off though. The hostel is a Coffee Plantation and lovely. We had a room for the 5 of us now (we had a new recruit, Hannah) and the views were amazing. Really quiet, gorgeous setting, friendly staff, proper coffee on tap, good kitchen and really good book exchange. It cost us 18000 pesos pp/pn. Salento is really easy to get around. At the weekends its really busy with the main square packed with food stalls and people from the neighbouring towns come by. There is a lot of traditional dress here and men-only bars!!
The best value café is Lucy’s café, trout almuerzo is 6000 compared to 13000 for the same meal on the square. But we also made good use of the kitchen and had some really nice meals in for a change. It was nice to cook actually.
One day we went on a walk in the Carora national park. It’s a short jeep ride from the town and takes about 5 hours to do the loop. The walk takes you along the bottom of the valley crossing the river a good few times. As we got higher the views got better. At some points the climb was quite tricky as we clambered up the steep slopes. We finally got our reward (but don’t know if you can class it as a reward!!) of a cup of really sweet hot chocolate with a huge chunk of really salty cheese in the middle of a humming bird ‘sanctuary’. The last half an hour of the walk was really good view wise. One side of the valley was really jungle and full of vegetation, the other side was grass with these soaring palm trees that were poker straight but so tall!!