Salento – Colombia (Digital Nomad & Expat Guide)
Beautiful Salento in the valleys of the Northern Colombia Andes. Maybe the best new Digital Nomad and ex-pat spot, in Colombia, the America’s and globally.
One of Colombia’s premier tourist spots, a population of around 2000 is usually boosted by a further 120000 tourists monthly as both Colombian nationals and internationals descend for mountain air, good views, coffee, food, and trekking.
As an ex-pat and Digital Nomad location, Salento offers something different. Laidback vibes and low-cost rents in this small city, big village. If you are looking for a cross of nature and mod cons Salento could be your perfect spot.
Good internet connections and sat between 2 major cities of Armenia and Pereira, Salento is the place where you can be lost in the mountains in the morning and in a plush office by afternoon.
The main thing about Salento is trekking/walking/hiking. You have options taking you up to 4000m in one day. You can get over 5000m in a couple. Then you have paradise-like strolls straight out of town.
With regard to safety, Salento has it covered. Police work differently here. You find no beggars or people stealing in the street. It’s the kind of place where you can leave your bike outside and head to a shop without a worry. In terms of Safety, although something could happen it is very similar to Europe.
Salento is the jewel of Quindío. Quindío literally translates to Paradise and in many ways, this is exactly what you will find in Salento.
Activities and Where to go:
- Trekking trekking tekking. The famous Cocora valley can be reached in 20 minutes by jeeps that leave from the main square/plaza. Alternatively, hire a bike and be there in a couple of hours. But remember the hill is super steep. Walking takes about 4 hours.
- Strolling Salento. Walking tours either solo or in a group. Depending on where you want to go solo can be a great option. Or guides for the routes less explored.
- Coffee Drinking – Café’s, too many to list…
- Restaurants, vegan, veggie, and meat friendly.
- Coffee Tours – No visit to Salento wouldn’t be complete without seeing where much of the Worlds best coffee comes from.
- Horse Riding
- Biking – Both trails and roads. Some people even cycle back to Medellin (takes a couple of days). Some world-class mountain bike tracks. Some great options for road cycling compose of heading into Cocora or either Armenia or Periera…
- Relaxing – Sip coffee or juice, eat till you drop or find an empty field, and hit back.
- Eating trout and organic pesticide-free produce. A selection of allotments can be found in Salento providing real organic produce. No fertilizer or pesticide. Produce straight out of the naturally fertile Andes ground.
- Natural Thermals – Machín and Santa Rosa. A treat of Colombia.
- 2 Salento Outdoor Cinema/s.
- Periera – Big city life. Little Medellin
- Armenia – Remenesent of most modern cities in Southern Europe. Due to the fact most was knocked down by the 1988 earthquake.
- Boquia was where Salento was originally founded, then moved up the hill to escape flooding. Boquia is a pretty small village with various gentle hiking options.
- Salento viewpoint. No trip to Salento wouldn’t be complete without a trip up their towering stairs to gasp in some of the country’s best views both in front and behind.
- Artist Village (Aldea). On route out of town, across the yellow bridge towards Palestina then on the left about 300m more. The Aldea has some magic in the air. Things feel different here. Created as a gift by the Japanese after the earthquake devasted nearby regions. The Aldea is about 20 houses given to Artistic families to live in tranquil vibes creating their and selling their artistic trades.
- Spa, the only real Spa in Salento is found at La Masia hotel. 40000 get’s you as long as you can handle in their Turko. The record is 2 and a half sessions ;).
- Nightlife on a different tone. Salento has nightlife, but forget the usual urinating and vomiting encompassing your route home. Salento generally attracts world-class musicians from Quindio and further afield in Cali. Think wine bars with live music feet away, that you will give you memories that last for a life time.
Where to work:
- Brunch is a go-to spot for the ex-pat, tourist, and worker. Dedicated working spaces can be found upstairs.
- SOA hostel advertises free co-working. More laid back and a good place to meet people or chill in the bar/café.
- Café don Matias complete with art galleria is a good place to work or sip coffee, slightly hidden makes for a tranquil spot
- Café Jesus Martin, usually quiet great coffee and often see’s those with laptops and tablets. A great terrace for some freshness and mountain air.
Officially there seem to be 4 ‘slightly different seasons’, although luck seems to play more of a part.
Warm to hot in the days, cool to cold at night. Generally, Salento gets 5-10 days somewhat cloudy, then 5-10 days somewhat hot. Western European Summer style all year round. Being in the Andes rain is plentiful, although with welcome breaks in-between.
If you ever get stuck in a cool and cloudy patch, then a trip to Armenia makes a welcome break. In 25 minutes you go from cool to hot humid and usually sunny. Bring a variety of clothes.
Where to stay:
Air BnB can be a good option for a quick stay and to get familiar with the area. Booking, hostel world can be ideal for hotels and guest houses. Once in a hotel or guesthouse it is usually quite easy to negotiate a long-term rental in either a serviced apartment or private rental.
Where to Eat:
You have about 50 places to eat, sip coffee or eat cake in Salento. Rammed in roughly a 1 square km. Explore some of the side roads of Calle Real and the Plaza for some of the better gems. Check out some of the favorites here.
Depending on your preference you can live in Salento, Colombia for under $200 per month. For the luxuries, mod-cons, and frequent travel to the local cities, then this could go over $1000. But all in all, Salento for the ex-pat or digital nomad is cheap. This is in contrast to the tourist here who often gets exploited on the gringo trail, with expensive tours and hotels. *For example moto rental at the top of Calle Real has been offered at a staggering 850000 Colombian Pesos per hour, kind of a joke when you can rent moto for an entire day for 50000.
A good meal in the best restaurants in town costs between 15000-25000 Colombian Pesos
Accommodation per month for your own place is between 400000-1000000.
Transport – Moto Rental is available from Armenia for 40000 per day. The bus to Armenia is 5500 one way. The bus to Periera is 7500 one way. Taxi return to Armenia is 50000. Taxi return to Periera is 150000.
Transport in and out
Served by local and international airports in both Armenia and Periera. Large bus terminals also serve both cities. Local buses and taxis can bring you from both Armenia and Periera.
1999 earthquake took out much of the region, leaving over 1000 dead and over 200000 people homes devastated. Salento was however left unscathed.
Salento at its heart is an Artist town. Growing food and creating produce is the norm here. Creative sparks will feel at home.