Salento and the Valle de Cocora

Salento, Quindio, Colombia

Officially founded in 1865, Salento is one of Colombia’s quaintest, most traditional towns. Its main street, the cobblestoned Calle Real, is lined with handicraft shops and restaurants that serve delicious, locally farmed trout (among many other Andean favorites). The street ends at the foot of a hill with a staircase leading upward, interrupted at regular intervals by representations of the stations of the cross. A short Jeep ride from town leads to the enchanting Valle de Cocora, where you’ll find wax palms up to 195 feet in height (the tallest known palm species), as well as fantastic birdlife, including Andean condors and yellow-eared parrots, plus legions of adorable hummingbirds. Take a hike or horseback ride into the valley to get access to some of Colombia’s most awe-inspiring lookouts.

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