Day 20 – Salento

Today was one of those days where the pictures say far more than words ever could. We hired a van to drive us to a little town called Salento, Colombia. It was about an hour drive up and down the mountains covered in coffee bushes (also called trees, though they would be small ones). We saw individuals walking up and down the slopes carrying large bags of coffee beans. We learned that all Colombian coffee is hand picked, they don’t every use machines to harvest the beans. Colombian coffee is a soft bean and the machines damage the bean causing the favor to be bitter. I have to admit that the coffee the hotel is serving is some of the best coffee I have ever had. They serve it black and I drank it that way…it was amazing.

The town of Salento was an experience as well. We walked up and down the streets of the town, browsing through little shops and cafes. We ate lunch at a wonderful little place that had the most amazing views and great food. The people in the town were incredibly friendly. We had a wonderful time.

On the way back we drove through Armenia and then back to hotel. Magnolia shared a lot about the history of the area and the restructuring that took place after the earthquake that hit the region several years ago.

“Salento is a town and municipality in the north-east of the department of Quindío, Colombia. The municipality covers an area of 377.67 km2.[2] It was the first settlement in Quindío of the modern era, and the first municipality founded in the department. The town of Salento itself is located 24 km northeast of the departmental capital Armenia. In 2005 the municipality of Salento had an estimated population of 7247, of which 3597 lived in the main urban zone.[1]

The main route from Popayán and Cali to Bogotá used to pass through Salento (see below), but when the route was diverted the town became isolated and did not develop as rapidly as the rest of the region. For this reason it has retained more of its traditional colonial architecture than almost any other town in the eje cafetero, along with a quiet and relaxed way of life, and as a result the town and nearby Cocora valley are among the most popular tourist destinations in Colombia.”  – Wikipedia

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