English Guide to Salento, Colombia

About Salento View

About Salento View

My goal for SalentoView.com is to provide English speakers with a dynamic and continuously growing body of information about playing and living in Salento Colombia. If your Spanish skills are sparse or even non-existent, then this site is for you. It’s triple purpose is to be…

  1. A general tourist information site for Salento.
  2. A collection of practical ‘how to’ advice and resources for Salento.
  3. My personal blog relating my adventures in Colombia, plus opinions/advice on the best and worst of what I’ve discovered.

For example:

  • Where to find everyday things you might need, like ATM, hospital, police, drugstores, hardware, etc.
  • Places to eat where you can get a menu in English or where English speaking wait-staff will assist you.
  • Places to stay where the staff speak English.
  • Recreational activities where the guides speak English.

In short, I am building the website I wish I had available when I first started exploring Colombia in February 2016.

I admit I have an ulterior motive… in order to build this site to help you, I’ll have to go out and talk to the business people here in town. Thus I’ll end up learning Spanish in the process! And since I’m retired, I’ll also be giving myself a fun, useful and interesting task while simultaneously keeping fit as I walk about this super hilly town!

The Actual Salento View

I took the website header photo from “El Mirador”, a scenic lookout point on a hill above town. It’s facing east towards the Cocora Valley (Valle de Cocora) — an international tourist hotspot famous for it’s 200 ft tall wax palm trees that grow only here.

For me, the view from El Mirador is one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. I go to the viewpoint often. I’ve literally spent hours gazing at this valley… sunny, rainy or cloudy, I can’t get enough. I’ve got hundreds of photos of it from all angles. I find it totally mesmerizing, calming and deliciously seductive all at the same time.

I’d go as far to say that this “Salento View” is the main reason I decided to live here. So be warned… don’t stare too long! It can have life changing affects.

Map Instructions

Use +/- or mouse wheel to zoom/pan. Click-hold to move map.

Click on rightmost title bar icon to view full size map in new window.

Click on leftmost title bar icon to show/hide side panel list of all SalentoView places.

SalentoView places marked by purple ◯ icons to distinguish from other Google places.

Suzann Larsen, World Traveler

Here’s a bit of the story about how I came to be in Salento, Colombia…

I have always loved (or longed) to travel, even as a child growing up in Ohio, USA. My family didn’t travel so I was “stuck” there until I grew old enough to go on my own. But I still remember laying in bed on warm summer nights listening to train whistles far in the distance. I wondered where they were going and longed to be going somewhere too.

Now, over 50 years later, I’m retired. And I believe I can honestly claim the status of “world traveler”. My travels have taken me to 36 countries and I’ve lived & worked in 6. I thoroughly love exploring different places and living in different cultures. The everyday things in other countries are fascinating as well… what’s the life style, what do people eat, how to take the bus, where to shop, etc. For me it’s just as entertaining to wander up and down the aisles of a local grocery store or market as it is  to spend time visiting a well known “tourist site”.

Why Salento Colombia?

I went on a trip to Colombia for 90 days early in 2016. The only really fixed part of my journey was my arrival and departure from Medellin and an initial scheduled stay there for 2 weeks. I had prepared a list of dozens of other cities I wanted to see and thought perhaps I’d even venture on into Ecuador.

Surprisingly, by the time I got to the 3rd city — Pereira, in the Coffee Zone — I could feel myself dramatically slowing down, sort of sinking in to the stunning countryside. My desire to push on and visit anywhere else started evaporating. Luckily, I listened. This “stop moving” urge grew stronger until I finally threw away my list of cities. And once I got as far as Salento I came to full stop.

I couldn’t think of a single reason to go anywhere else. All I wanted to do was to go to the Mirador and gaze at the view, sit outside my room and gaze at the view, or sip coffee at a lovely restaurant and gaze at the view. You can probably guess that “gaze at the view” was the irresistible magnet for me!

By the end of that first visit, as I departed Colombia in mid-May, I was already making mental plans on when I could return. I knew I would be back in Salento before the end of 2016. And I knew the next time it would be for a much longer stay. I wanted time to get to know this lovely small town.

Return to Salento

I arrived back in Colombia on October 29 and headed straight to Salento. Within 2 weeks I had my Pensionado (retiree) Visa and became a registered resident of Colombia.

Fast and easy. No doubts or second guessing mind chatter. When Salento calls she’s more like an irresistable Star Trek tractor beam!

Settle Down Time?

Over the years I’ve gone through several spurts of intense travel interspersed with settle-down times. Right now I am sensing the start of a settle-down time. It’s been over 7 years since I last had a home that was “mine” and I could give a simple answer to the ubiquitous question, “Where do you live?” I always felt it necessary to add long-winded explanations and disclaimers.

Yes, I always had a nice place to sleep and wonderful people around me. But did I really “live” there? Or was there a temporary/just visiting feel? It’s an interesting question to ponder. (What does it mean for you?)

So how long will I stay in Salento?  That’s another interesting question. I can’t really say, I can’t foretell the future. But I do know one thing for sure… when people now ask me, “Where do you live?”, I can’t help but get a giant grin on my face and quickly say, “I live in Salento!”

Here’s a selfie…  I finally hiked down to that captivating river I kept gazing at from the Mirador. After finding a large flat rock to rest on, I stuck my feet in the cold rushing river and basked in the sunshine. Ahhh… heaven on earth!

-Suz

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