Coffee and Palm Trees

Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 18, 2011

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Flag of Colombia  , Quindío,
Thursday, August 25, 2011

After Tierradentro we decided to head to Salento in the Zona Cafeteria. Meant to be a really quaint town anyway, it's also worthwhile making the stop to take a trip to Valle de Cacora where there are 50 metre high palm trees, only found here, plus stunning scenery round every corner.  As it’s quite a way from Tierradentro to Salento we first went to Cali, the next city after Popayan and before Medellin.  Disaster struck in Cali when Kevin realised as we arrived at the hostel that he had left his red Mountain Hardwear hoody on the bus.  It was a sad day as this had been with him since the day we left the UK.  Luckily for the time being he won’t need a jumper because it’s far too hot in Colombia but it will hit him again I think the first time he needs a warm top!  Anyway, we only stayed in Cali for a night and other than paying way too much for dinner we didn’t really do much!

Being the coffee region, the first thing that we did in Salento was get a coffee.  It was fantastic, and cheap too…great stuff!  We thought that Salento itself was nothing special.  Although there are some nice buildings, given the size of the place it was way too tourist-tacky.  Not that we saw loads of tourists, but the only shops in the whole place seemed to be selling the same rubbish souvenirs.  The next morning we put on our hired wellies and headed to the main square to catch the jeep into the Valle de Cacora.  We saw a couple of jeeps leaving stuffed with about 20 people, 16 more than it could handle, and were looking forward to an uncomfortable journey.  Luckily, for whatever reason though, they stuck to the rules in our jeep and only put a couple too many people in the back.  We had a really great day, first walking through the forest, crossing rivers back and forth following the path, and then walking above the tree line getting fabulous views of the valley.  There is a stop part of the way round the loop where you can grab a tasty bowl of hot chocolate and watch loads of hummingbirds in the owner’s garden.  Kevin spent ages with the camera just trying to get a shot of them hovering or even with their wings up.  It’s near impossible they move so fast.  As you climb up the hill and come out of the forest you become aware of the huge palm trees towering above.  They look really cool, and we took loads of pictures trying to capture how big they are and how odd they look spaced out between the other trees and standing alone on the rolling hills.  We finished the day back in Salento having another great cup of coffee (accompanied by a huge fantastic chocolate cake, as you do) because, you just have to drink the coffee in the Zona Cafeteria of the third largest coffee exporter in the world, don’t you? 
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