If you’re travelling to Medellín or Bogota and have a little extra time up your sleeve, you’ll want to include a visit to Salento – the only question is how you’ll get there. Regardless of which city you’re travelling from, this guide will help ensure you make it to and from the quaint town of Salento safely, comfortably and without spending a fortune.
Bogota to Salento Bus (or Salento to Bogata)
To get to Salento from Bogota, travellers need to transit either via Armenia or Pereira as, at this stage, there are no direct connections. The journey is easy going, even with minimal Spanish, so don’t be put off making the journey.
Bogota to Armenia (or Pereira)
Buses depart frequently from Terminal De Transporte Salitre and tickets are readily available to purchase, even if you’re looking to depart on the next bus.
When you make it to the terminal, take the entrance on the right and you’ll find the ticket counters directly in front of you. Though there are many companies offering reliable transfers to Armenia, look out for Expreso Palmira, Velotax and Fronteras.
Given the option, we’d suggest you stick it out in the main lines rather than being pulled off to the side – you’ll end up with on a larger, more comfortable bus and will be assured of your departure time.
You are able to jump onboard buses both to Armenia and Pereira but the onwards connections from Armenia are much more frequent; because of this, it would always be our preferred route.
Trip length varies but it took us 9.5 hours as we ran into heavy traffic towards the end of the journey.
Tickets cost approximately COP60,000-70,000 from Bogota to Armenia on the bus (USD20-23.45 or NZD 28.30-33) and we suggest you aim to leave the city by 10.30am if you want to guarantee a connection through to Salento the same evening.
Armenia to Salento
When you deboard the bus in Armenia, follow the footpath around to the main terminal. Once inside the terminal, turn sharply to your right and head right through the terminal and back outside. There, you will see signs for Salento and mini-vans that depart every 20 minutes or so.
Bus tickets from Armenia to Salento are COP4,500 (USD1.50/NZD2.10) and are purchased onboard. We were told buses run until 8pm daily though later transfers may be available at certain times of the year.
Salento to Medellín Bus (or Medellín to Salento)
Getting to and from Medellín is even easier as direct connections are now available through Flota Occidental.
At present, departures are available from Salento (at the same station you’ll be dropped off at) at 8am, 10am, 11am, 12pm and 4pm. Tickets can be purchased at the small counter at the station for COP47,000 (USD15.75/NZD22.15) and availability can be checked online. We had no problem booking our ticket half an hour before our 10am departure but if availability is limited, you may like to walk to the station the day before to secure your seats.
The journey takes approximately 6 hours, drops passengers at Terminal del Sur Medellín where local buses and reasonably priced taxis are available to take you to your final destination (just remember to ask the driver to put the meter on).
Making the Trip in Reverse
Obviously, if you’re wanting to make either of these journeys in reverse (Medellín to Salento or Salento to Bogota) the same instructions can be applied, working from back to front.
Generally tickets do not need to be purchased in advance in Colombia but if in doubt, check in with the carrier online or pop along to the bus station a day ahead of time to secure your spots.
Salento is a beautiful, relaxed town that’s absolutely worth going out of your way to see; a must-see on your Colombian itinerary.