In Colombia’s Zona Cafeteria (coffee zone) is a little town called Salento. We arrived bright and early after a sleepless night bus from Bogota thanks to the incredibly windy road, and were lucky to see the beautiful morning light highlighting the view.
We stayed in a beautiful lodge called La Serrana which was our favourite place to stay in all of Colombia. Hydrangeas lined the driveway and hammocks were set up alongside the valley, which Sean took advantage of. Meals were served family style at an impressive, long wood table.
We already wrote a bit about our coffee tour. We learned some interesting things- that fruit trees distract the bugs from the coffee, that it takes 8 days to dry the coffee and that they have two harvests. I wish we could say we have been drinking coffee this good all throughout Colombia; unfortunately, they export most of the good stuff and burn the rest. Coffee is everywhere in Colombia, sold in the streets on carts with 6 thermoses or in cafes. Coffee culture is starting to emerge – no Starbucks yet but a local brand called Juan Valdez. Once they wean people off instant coffee there will be a huge market.
We took out horses to explore the beautiful valleys, galloping across fields and rivers to hidden waterfalls. Our horse guide Omar comes from a generation horseback riders, and his whole family is involved as well. His horses were beautiful and well taken care of. After horseback riding was a necessary stop to eat our third peanut butter brownie at a local restaurant we found. Drooling just thinking about it…
We also got to play Colombia’s favourite pasttime game called tejo – kind of like horseshoes but with gunpowder. Sean was successful 3 times, one of which I caught on video and will show you later.
Salento is also home to the Valley of Cocoras, or wax palms, Colombia’s national tree. Saving it for next post. This was the perfect place to recover from the big city and should be in everyone’s Colombia travel plans.