Salento – Cocora Valley

We started Wednesday early with a six hour bus to the next stop, Salento. Salento is located in the “coffee region” in Colombia so a tour of a farm was definitely on the cards. It was probably one of the most uncomfortable buses we’ve had yet, primarily due to the heat! On arrival in Salento I was reminded of somewhere that looked like a sleepy cowboy village in a western movie. It was small in size and a really calm, welcomed break after the bustle of Medellin. Our hostel, Luciernaga Hostel, was also a restaurant and nightly live music venue in Salento so our first evening was spent there enjoying some food, music and nice views!

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Thursday was an early start and the day we would christen out hiking boots. Valle de Cocora, is a major tourist hit for anyone stopping by in Salento where we took on a hike to see the tallest palm trees in the world.

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Firstly we had to take transport from the main square in the town to the start of the hike. The only transport in Salento is willys, which line up happy to take as many travelers as they can, in the back, in the front, hanging on the back, on the top…wherever!!

When we got there we had an option to do a shorter track just to see the trees and return, but we decided to do the full hike and make a day of it. Overall it was about six hours of beautiful scenery, rugged wooden bridges, waterfalls and the final reward of the trees which was surreal.

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About an hour in there was a small detour to visit a hummingbird sanctuary which was a welcomed rest spot with a free cup of hot chocolate (and cheese – obviously!?).

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The hike itself wasn’t extremely intense but the altitude had us breathing like what I imagine two obese chain smokers would be like during the uphill stint. It definitely didn’t instill confidence in any fitness levels! We enjoyed our packed lunch and plenty of photo opportunities with our necks craning upwards for the afternoon.

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We returned to the willys to take us back into salento and Gavin was brave enough to hang off the back this time, and even caught some cool footage!

There was one restaurant mentioned to us on a few occasions in the context of Salento so we were happy to try it after the afternoon of working up our appetite. It was called “Brunch” but to avoid confusion they do actually serve breakfast, lunch and dinner! It was a cool travellers spot with signatures on all the walls from travellers who had visited. It did not serve traditional Colombian food, more like an American diner and as such burgers were in order for the evening. On arrival into the restaurant there is a sign noting “home of the famous peanut butter brownie”, all the tables surrounding us were eating what I assumed to be the brownie, couples came for tables but were turned away from the full restaurant and asked was the brownie available to takeaway, I asked for the wifi password and it was “Ilovepbbrownies”….there was only one way to solve this peer pressure I knew I wasn’t leaving there without trying the peanut butter brownie!! There was no doubt, the hype wasn’t unfounded and it was well worth replacing any calories we had burnt earlier in the day!!

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