We checked out of our hostel around 7am and got breakfast at El Secreto del Amor. We just had to try ajicaco (chicken potato soup, top right on the pic below) popular dish in Bogota.
Ajicaco was good, but the Changua (Colombian egg and milk soup) was my favorite. It was creamy and hearty but the cilantro gives it a fresh taste.
We went straight to the airport after breakfast and flew to Pereira. We ended up Ubering to our hostel in Salento which took us about a hour.
Salento is a small town known for the coffee estates and the scenery. Our hostel was 20 minutes away from the city area, accessible by a Jeep service or a 30-40 minute walk.
We stayed at the La Serrana Eco and Hostel, which had a beautiful view.
It felt like we were at some paradise getaway because the hostel was surrounded by nature and amazing scenery. The hostel had a main lounging area where reception and majority of the rooms were. They also had “glamping” tents which was a 5 minute walking distance from the lodge.
I’m putting “glamping” in quotations because they weren’t luxurious at all. Just two beds, a closet and a couple of chairs.
There was no wifi either which explains the lag time between each of my blog posts. Uploading pictures takes forever and most of the time, it would fail. I don’t blame anyone, it makes sense since we were in some “remote” area and a really small town.
After checking in, we decided to walk from our hostel to Salento. The Jeep would’ve taken us to the main plaza within 10 minutes but we wanted to get the best experience and walk.
It took us around 45 minutes probably and you can see the transition as we got closer to the city.
The city was pretty small and since we walked from our hostel, we actually explored a good amount of the town before we got to the main plaza.
For lunch, we want to a local spot called Saber Casero, where we had a hard time communicating with our waiter since none of us spoke Spanish. One bystander helped us get the rice dish, which was really good. It was tomato-ey and reminded me of another dish but I just can’t put my tongue on it.
The other two dishes we got was the porcion chicharron + patacon (fried pork + fried plantains) and the trucha con champinoes (trout with mushrooms in milk sauce).
The trucha dish was very creamy and reminded me of the changua. It seemed like trout was a popular dish in Salento because we kept seeing it everywhere.
Definitely recommend getting lunch at Saber Casero. It was really cheap for all the food we had and it seems like only locals eat there. One thing to keep in mind is that it takes a while for the food to come out because the kitchen is REALLY small and there’s only one cook.
After lunch, we walked around the main plaza of Salento. The town was alive and colorful. You can hear the music and smell the food. There was so much going on that it felt like we arrived in Salento at the right time.
I got a limonada de coco which is a drink with lemonade and coconut. The one I got from the fruit stand above, wasn’t exactly what I wanted. It was not limonada de coco at all, the vendor probably put his own spin on it.
After walking around the plaza, we decided to take a coffee break at Fika Cafe Salento. We got a nice seat on the second floor by the window, relaxed and people watched.
Right after our quick break, we walked on Carrera 6 where all of the stores and much of the people of Salento were. We stopped by a couple of stores, listened to street artists sing and hiked up the stairs to Mirador Alto De La Cruz.
We got a great view of the town at the viewpoint. It’s just crazy how small the town is. The other view was the view of the surrounding mountains.
From Mirador Alto De La Cruz, we hiked to Mirador de Salento and stopped by Frutal de Salento for some snacks. In the order of the pictures, we got cholao, obleas and limonada de coco.
Cholao is a beverage made with fresh fruit and condensed milk. Obleas was a thin wafer sandwich with jam filling in between. This time, the limonada de coco that we ordered was the right one and it is now my favorite drink in Colombia! There’s a good balance of flavors – the richness of the coconut and the acidity of the lime makes this a refreshing drink.
Right when we got our order, it started to pour. We got lucky that we had seats inside the small icecream stall. We sat in there until the rain passed.
We walked back to the main street with all the vendors. I tried really good cold brew at Cafe Jesus Martin Calle Real. Then we noticed people sitting on the patio and we were able to find that same restaurant (El Patio) to take pictures from the patio.
At this time, we were exhausted. Instead of walking back we decided to take the Jeep service back to our hostel and settle in. It was getting dark and I was able to get some nice snaps of the clouds before the sun was down.
We were physically exhausted at this point and decided to relax in the main building of the hostel. We watched half of Juno and made a friend.
It was around late 8ish, when we decided to get dinner before we called it an early night. We took the Jeep service back into Salento and at this time, most restaurants were closing. The only place we wanted to try that was open was all the way back near the stairs where you head up to the Mirador.
Dinner at Camino Real Parilla Bar was okay. We tried a sampling platter and steak and overall it was just too dry for us. The bacon chorizo however was delicious.
Once we were done, it was past 10pm and there was literally no Jeep service. We thought about calling a taxi but ultimately decided to walk all the way back to our hostel. It felt kinda sketchy at first because we were literally the only 3 tourist walking in the city at night. Then once we were out of the city it was just pitch black and we used our phones as flashlights. Good thing we walked to the city from our hostel in the morning or else we wouldn’t have been familiar with the path at all.
We got back to our hostel safe and sound. We’re hiking Cocora Valley early next morning!