So your in the famous Colombia coffee triangle and want to experience an authentic coffee tour? Obviously you want to experience the rich Colombian coffee taste and learn all about the history of coffee in Colombia, but how do you ensure you get the right guide, the right information and at least a smidgen of fun? Of course you want to make sure you have the best coffee tour in Salento! Well luckily, that part is surprisingly simple: you go on a Finca Don Eduardo Coffee Tour in Salento of-course!
Salento is a picturesque mountain town on the edge of the Colombia Coffee Triangle famous for it’s coffee estates, jaw-dropping scenery and proximity to the Cocora Valley ( with its other-wordly wax palm trees, a national symbol of Colombia!). Having made our way here from nearby Buga we headed to the Plantation House Salento, a laid-back hostel in a 100 year old original coffee plantation!
Wondering where to stay in Salento? I loved the Plantation House Salento, which is perfect if you are on a budget, or the Hotel Salento Real – if your after something a bit nicer! Though there are also plenty of unique Salento Colombia hotels with something to suit everyone…
The owner, Don Eduardo – a.k.a our Colombian coffee guy who is actually a transplanted Brit, runs a daily coffee tour from here which we quickly signed up for and well, we were not the only ones! After running this tour for over 6 years he’s has developed an incredible reputation and most of the other people there were through word-of-mouth recommendations [as were we from our time with Popayan Tours!]. If you don’t read any more, just know this – There is a reason why this Salento Coffee Tour is #1 on TripAdvisor!
We started our tour at 9 am, and it began with Don Eduardo explaining how he ended up getting ‘stuck’ in Colombia 12 years ago (Along the lines of “Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay”) with a dream to grow and harvest coffee! While most of us have these or similar dreams from time to time, you have got to admire that he has actually gone out and made his happen – And his passion truly shows through in his Salento coffee tour and coffee plantation! In his epic three hour tour, appropriately broken up with walking, hilarious anecdotes, demonstrations and – of course – coffee tasting, we learnt more about coffee and its production than I ever thought possible [and to the kind-of hilarious sole person that gave him a terrible review on TripAdvisor, it is most certainly not all available on Wikipedia!]. I mean who knew that Brazil was the worlds leading exporter or beautiful women and coffee! Or that Vietnam is the worlds second biggest exporter (it’s also their second biggest export after rice!)… great facts to pull out next time your queuing at your local coffee shop!
Want to know the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee types? Discover why Starbucks coffee is always dark roasted? Tell a traditional coffee plant from a modern variety or learn why Colombia has some of the world’s best coffee? Then this is the tour for you – An in-depth, no holds barred exploration into Colombian coffee culture and the running of a boutique Colombia coffee plantation. You will also learn about the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia – forget drug smugglers, “the we are the guys you don’t F@$& with in Colombia” – and be sure to ask about Juan Valdez, a famed Colombian whose name is now used for the Colombian equivalent of Starbucks (that is even more disappointing!). This is not a tour where you just pick coffee and come away disappointed, this is a tour where you really learn, you don gumboots and can see exactly what he is talking about. A highly original coffee tour which covers the entirety of the coffee process – from cultivation and harvesting all the way through to getting that great Colombian coffee taste!
If you like reading about the Don Eduardo coffee tour you will love these other stories for Colombia! You should also consider getting the Lonely Planet Colombia PDF on your phone….
A truly whole experience, great for both novices or refined connoisseurs – easily the best coffee tour in Salento. Rather than just picking some coffee beans and seeing a coffee bean roasting as is common on other tours, Don Eduardo takes you through the entire process. From seed to tree to bean to cup and everything in between the David Attenborough of Coffee will answer any question with ease and have you sound like a learned expert in no-time! Little did I know the time and effort involved in getting my morning cup of Java, or Colombia as it may be, and will surely not be taking it for granted anymore!
Salento is located in the famous Colombia coffee triangle and is reached within 50 mins from Armenia’s main bus terminal. There is a direct bus from Medellín to Salento three times daily offered by Flota Occidental. The bus from Medellín to Salento departs from the cities main bus terminal, takes around 7 hours with no road-works and costs 55,000 COP. There is a also a shuttle-bus running daily from Medellín to Salento (and Salento to Medellín) but is rather over-crowded and more expensive.
Getting the bus from Bogota to Salento is a bit more complicated and you will first need to go via Pereira from Bogota (around 6-8 hours) and then changing in Pereira for the frequent bus to Salento (around 45 minutes). Be sure to leave early for any bus from Bogota to Salento to ensure you do not miss the last connection in the evening. If you are heading south afterwards you can get a short bus from salento to cali going via Armenia – but why not consider stopping in Buga for beer, waterfalls and iguanas!
Now you're all set and prepared to explore our big wide world, why not sort out everything else out all in one go? If necessary for your travel plans make sure you have brought proper travel insurance, protected your privacy by getting a secure VPN, compared all the top hotel booking sites to find just what you're after, reserved an unbeatable rental car price and - of course - booked the best flight deals!
Many budget travelers (including me) indulge in worldwide airport lounge access, so we can experience luxury while still slumming it in economy. Naturally, we would never leave home without a more a more general travel guide since we couldn’t possibly cover everything here!
Just add an adventurous attitude and plenty of smiles - they go a long way - and that about covers it all! Now go out, find your own path and don't forget to share your best inspiration stories with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram...I'd love to hear from you!