If Salento was a person, Salento would be a free-spirit bohemian cowgirl. Dirt under her fingernails, and flowers in her hair. She’d be playful and passionate and partly old-fashioned. As she milked the cows, and trained her horses, her whimsical water-coloured tattoo would peak out of her poncho. She’d smell of earth and rainbows and festivals.
Salento is one of the most special places I’ve ever been to. And even though I actually barfed in the back of a cramped mini-bus while we were stuck in horrendous weekend traffic on the side of the mountain, it was so worth it.
On weekends, tiny Salento has a fantastically festive vibe. Tons of people from surrounding cities make their way to enjoy this bohemian cowgirl of a place. While I normally despise hordes of people in tiny places (or any place, actually), it was charming here. Really.
The energy was fun and relaxed. Old men and women pushed little kids around in circles on tot-sized Willys jeeps. Big Willys Jeeps shuttled people to and fro. People ate and drank and were merry. Even the street dogs were happily chowing down on giant scraps of food.
We especially enjoyed going into all the little shops, dreaming of the things we’d buy if we were here just on vacation. I swear, we’ll have to go back just so we can outfit ourselves and our home in all things Salento.
After the weekend, Salento was quiet. The festive energy was gone and it was purely natural.
This place, and the nearby Cocora Valley — one of my favourite places on earth — are a dream.
The Cocora Valley is home to the sky high Quindio wax palms, a symbol of Colombia. These trees are pure magic.
The more we hiked, the more it felt like we had stepped off earth and into the pages of a Dr. Suess book. Join us there for a moment, will you?
I’ll tell you more about how to get to Salento, the coffee tour we did there, and hiking around the Cocora Valley later. For now, I hope you’ll just sit back, watch the video, and then let your mind take you somewhere magical.