Salento, Colombia

 

Kayti Christian is a lifestyle and travel blogger based in Denver, Colorado. She spent the last year backpacking around the globe and writes to connect the international community through story. She loves tacos, textiles and fiction.

 

On a Coffee Mission in Salento, Colombia

The bus felt cramped and my stomach stirred as we climbed another windy mountain road. Five hours had passed since boarding and the broken air conditioner spout blasts of hot air. I stared out the window at the narrow road and surrounding cliffs. The steep drop off, only inches from our tires, made my heart race. I leaned into my husband, squeezing my eyes shut and reminding myself of the mission: coffee.

We were living in Medellín, Colombia and taking Spanish classes. Along with a few of our classmates, we were on a weekend expedition to visit Salento, Colombia, a sleepy town noted for its breathtaking landscapes and fresh cups of joe. 

The bus trip took all day, but we eventually arrived before dinner at La Serrana Eco Farm and Hostel. Situated on the edge of town and overlooking beautiful fincas, or farms, the charming hostel offered a pleasant break from city life in Medellín. 

With only one full day to explore, we rose early the next morning. At over six thousand feet, the crisp air and dayspring dew greeted us. We ate an intimate community breakfast full of local flavors and fruits and then piled into the back of an old jeep for a day of hiking and coffee tours. The Cranberries blasted over the radio as we sped through the mountain roads.

The jeep dropped us off at a trailhead for Cocora Valley. As a group we decided to hike the Acaime trail in search of the hummingbird house. We spent the next few hours hiking up switchbacks and crossing rivers until we found the house set deep into the forest and perched high above the trees. The owner, a local man, greeted us with a warm cup of fresh coffee and an even warmer smile. We gathered around a small picnic table to rest our legs, practice our Spanish and observe the buzzing hummingbirds.

 

On the descent, we trekked through luscious valleys of thick grass and towering palm trees. We took breaks to lay flat on our backs, watching the clouds and trying to find the highest tree. Although a tourist destination, the valley and trails felt secluded; we were alone under the palms.

 

Once back in town, we took a jeep to Finca El Ocaso for a coffee tour and tasting. With many fincas and coffee tours in Salento, we enjoyed the modest and personal feel at Ocaso. Camila, our bubbly guide, gave an educational presentation, walked us through the plantation and led us in an aromatic tasting. 

 

The day ended with another delicious community meal at our hostel, a free flow of red wine and a toasty bonfire. We weren’t looking forward to another long day on the bus back to Medellín, but the pounds of coffee beans in our bag, along with the memories of beautiful Salento, made it well worth it. If you have a chance, stop into Café Jesus Martin for a lovely cup of coffee. 

 

 

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