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Salento is a little town south-east of Medellin. It’s our first taste of the area known as the “coffee region”. It has charmed many foreigners and Colombians alike with its beautiful plaza and picturesque jeeps. It’s one of those towns where having a reservation before arriving is a necessity, you don’t want to be driving around looking for accommodation for 3 hours. Don’t be like us.

It has a handful of cafes that not only offer a variety of local grown coffee but also offer live music and delicious pastries. We made an afternoon out of drinking amazing coffee while listening to a talented musician play some great tunes. After, we walked up to the also well-known lookout point or mirador. Sunset over the little town with the mountains in the background was an awesome ending to our day.

Morning came fast, we walked back to the same spot where we had dinner the night before for breakfast. It was conveniently located next door to the cafe Jesus Martin, a well-known coffee shop that Danielle wanted to check out. We purchased a Chemex with one of their top quality coffee. We were suddenly in love.

After lunch, which happened to be the same place where we had breakfast, we hired a horseback ride tour around Salento valley. It was a nice way to see the forested areas that surround Salento. The tour took us across a river and through some of the nearby farms. We continued our exploration of the Paisa/Colombian culture by setting up a game of tejo (if you don’t know what it is, google it now) at Beta Town, a well know spot for good food, drinks and Colombia’s explosive game, literally.

The following morning we set out to hike one of Colombia’s most famous spots. To hike the Cocora Valley, you need to hire a jeep to take you to the entrance of the park, this would normally set you back about $4K. In our case, we piled up in the little van again and drove the 15km. There are two ways of getting into the park, one where you have to pay and one where you don’t. From the parking lot, make a right shortly after passing the wooden store/tourist information place, go through the gate. The hike up will take you about 1.5 hours until a fork where you can decide to go to the hummingbird sanctuary ($4K) or to the Hacienda El Jardin. From our group, only Nick ventured to the sanctuary and met us at the hacienda, he was quite pleased with his decision as he was able to photograph several hummingbirds. We jealously looked over the photos in his camera, but we consoled ourselves with the fact that we didn’t walk the extra 2Km round trip.

On the way down, the scenery made the walk up worth it. Before us, the beautiful valley of Cocora with it’s elegant giants stood before us. It’s leaves moving rhythmically with the wind made them seem like they were almost dancing. The weather gods also favored our descent with blue skies and a very pleasant breeze. We awarded ourselves with ice cream from a tiny kiosk before we reached the car.

Without any doubt, at least a thousand photos were taken, it’s by far one of the post picturesque places we have visited on our journey.

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