Updated: Mar 11, 2019
25th - 27th September 2018
During our time in Medellin, we made another executive decision to fly from Colombia to Quito as we were fast running out of time, and we would potentially have to skip Salento… what a DISASTER that would have been. We shopped around, and found a “cheap” flight out of Bogota which would give us 2 days in Salento HUZZAH, a night bus to Bogota and a flight to Quito (we are going to the Galapagos on the 1st October… a reality that certainly hasn't sunk in yet). Once this plan was in place, we set off out of smoggy Medellin and up into the Andes.
The journey to Salento took about 7.5 hours. We overheard a lot of people quoting 5 hours on the bus, but we knew better… the boys in Minca had warned us about the roadworks going on, so we were prepared for the extension. The views were breathtaking and the mountains engulfing.
We arrived in Salento, and our Flota Occidental, BABE driver, drove us 5 minutes back down the hill to our hostel (Colombians <3). Carolina welcomed us to Mochila Hostel. It was perfect. We had the dorm to ourselves both nights, we had duvets, we had hot showers, we had an open fire and dogs. It was peaceful, not too busy, not too far from the town but far enough to avoid the bustle. (By now you will realise that we enjoy the quiet... Quietness and the sublime nature.)
On our first day, we just explored the charming town, went to the miradors and watched the drama of a storm unfold many miles away on the horizon.
On the second day we did the Cocora Valley Trek, which was absolutely breathtaking. It took us 5 hours including stops for our lunch and to visit Casa de Colibri. The Colibri are fast becoming my favourite bird: they are so beautiful and quick and proper characters. They are argumentative and bolshy, but photograph as if butter wouldn't melt…
We inadvertently chose to do the trek the hard way round… we went right at the gate, straight down to the trout farm, instead of up and past the gate (guidebooks and maps are quite confusing about which route is which). It took us along the valley floor and into the Cloud Forest. It was stunning and so green and magical. After stopping by a waterfall for lunch, we headed on up to the Colibri House. After this, we had an extremely steep ascent to the viewing platform, which is so worth the intense climb. There are only so many adjectives I can use to describe this place… it's beautiful. And I am obsessed with the Wax Palms. This is one of only 2 places in the world where they grow, and they are an endangered species. I want to know how they stay so strong and tall, and my theory is they have a badass root system, but nowhere on the interweb is telling me anything about that!
Sarah made an interesting and shocking discovery on the walk. As i said we had 2 nights in Salento, but we had somehow ingrained if into our brains that we had 3 nights of blissful sleep in Mochila. Alas, we realised our delightful night bus was that evening. No stress though; it was at 11pm so we had loooooooads of time (LOL).
We got back to the hostel, all very relaxed, we packed, we checked out, all very relaxed, we headed to a nice place for dinner, Acaime, which resulted in eating our pasta so disgustingly fast so as not to miss the connecting bus to Armenia. We definitely need to work on our timekeeping… especially as the Colombians are very relaxed and have a much slower pace of life.
We got to Armenia, knackered, in plenty of time for our night bus, but so, so sad to leave Salento. Honestly, I could have cried. But then i was reminded of why we needed to head on, and what new adventures Ecuador had waiting for us.
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