Salento is a little colonial town west of Bogota, which attracts tourist for one main reason: the Coroca Valley. The Coroca Valley is home to some of the world's tallest wax palm trees. These trees can grow up to 60 meters (200 feet)!
The town of Salento itself is quite charming. The buildings and shops are painted bright colours. Each gift shop sells some unique type of clothing or jewellery - not the typical tourist trinkets you can find all over Latin America. The main street was lined with Christmas lights as we were there in December. The main square was set up with vendors selling fruit and different types of food, more Christmas lights, and there were a few restaurants playing music and people dancing.
We took a "Willy" (a Jeep), to the Coroca Valley to hike and see the infamous palm trees.
The drive there was beautiful - lush green forest and farmland. We hiked about 12 km and were rewarded with the tall wax palm trees, stunning vistas, and a few wobbly bridge crossings.
We got back to our hostel that evening and began to plan the next few days of our trip. We wanted to be somewhere special for Christmas. It was about this time that it was really beginning to dawn on us just HOW HUGE South America is. We looked at our options, and decided last minute to catch a night bus to Quito, Ecuador. We were sad to be skipping basically the whole southern part of Colombia, but we rationalized that one long trip was better rather than splitting up the trip and having many long bus days in a row.
Well, 20+ hours later we made it to Quito...but not quite in one piece! You'll have to read our next article to find out more!!