Salento Bus Travel Guide: Bogota to Salento | Salento to Bogota | Medellín to Salento | Salento to Medellín

Getting a bus from Medellín or Bogota to Salento is easy, cheap and relatively comfortable.  With a number of different transport options possible, this guide will talk you through the process of catching either minivans or buses from Medellín to Salento and Bogota to Salento.  And for good measure, we’ve included the journey in reverse too!

Regardless of how you want to travel (Bogota to Salento | Salento to Bogota | Medellín to Salento | Salento to Medellín), we’ve got you covered.

Why Travel to Salento in the First Place?

If you’re in Medellín and have a little extra time up your sleeve, you’ll want to include a visit to the incredible palm trees of Salento.

Quant and relaxed, Salento was one of our favourite towns in all of Colombia (which otherwise didn’t quite live up to our high expectations) and, in our opinion, an absolute must-do in this part of South America.

With the tallest palm trees in the world, incredible plantations, hummingbird and delicious organic food, it really is worth the bus journey from Medellín to Salento.

You’ll definitely want to spend a few days before either making the return journey or continuing on from Salento to Bogota.

This guide will help ensure you make it to and from the quaint town of Salento safely, comfortably and without spending a fortune.

Looking for more South American content? Have you seen our most popular posts from the region?  Check out our 6-month South American travel route, our favourite hostels and our top travel experiences from the continent.

Travelling Between Bogota and Salento

The Indirect Bus: Bogota to Salento | Salento to Bogota (both via Armenia)

To get from Bogota to Salento by bus, 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.

Though the journey from Bogota to Salento isn’t direct, it’s about as close as it comes.  You have two route options (travelling via Armenia or Pereira), but Armenia would be our recommendation (as connections are much more frequent).

The total cost for the following two bus trips (one way from Bogota to Salento or Salento to Bogota) falls between COP64,500 and COP74,500.

Travelling Between Bogota and Salento (via Armenia)

First Bus: Bogota Armenia Bus

Buses depart frequently from Terminal De Transporte Salitre in Bogota and tickets are readily available to purchase, even if you’re looking to depart on the next bus.

Departure:  When you make it to the terminal in Bogota, take the entrance on the right and you’ll find the ticket counters directly in front of you.

There used to be many companies offering reliable transfers to Armenia – specifically Expreso Palmira, Velotax and Fronteras.

***September 2019 update – As of now, only Bolivariano operate the Bogota Armenia Bus.  We suggest using BusBud to ensure you’ve checked all of the possible providers at the time of your journey.***

Pro Tip: We made the mistake of standing in the Velotax line and being pulled out by a local tout.  We were told we’d get on a smaller Bogota Armenia bus leaving much sooner but instead found ourselves waiting, both in the terminal and onboard the bus, for much, much longer than expected.  Whilst we waited, our original (more comfortable) bus came and went and still, we waited for all of the seats onboard the bus to be filled.  If you do decide to check out the smaller bus, make sure you realise that, no matter what they say, the bus will not leave until it is full.

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.

Departure times on Bolivariano:

  • 8am
  • 8.45am
  • 9.45pm

Travel time:  Trip length varies but it took us 9.5 hours as we ran into heavy traffic towards the end of the journey.

Price:  Tickets cost approximately COP37,000 – COP60,000 from Bogota to Armenia on the bus.

Pro tip: We suggest you aim to on your Bogota Armenia bus by 10.30am if you want to guarantee a bus connection through to Salento the same evening.

Second Bus: Armenia Salento Bus

Departure:  When you hop off your Bogota Armenia bus, take the footpath back into the main bus terminal.   Once inside, take a right-hand turn and follow the terminal all the way to the back and outside again.

Once outside, you’ll notice signs for the Salento mini-buses.  They depart every 20 minutes or so – on a fairly relaxed schedule, might I add.

These transfer vans run until 8pm, so make sure you arrive into Armenia in time to make your connection.

Purchasing tickets:  Tickets on the Armenia Salento bus/minivans are purchased directly from the driver once onboard.

Price:  COP4,500 (USD1.50/NZD2.10)


Travelling Between Salento and Bogota (via Armenia)

First Bus:  Salento Armenia Bus

This part of the journey is easily done in reverse as the local mini-bus runs frequently.

Departure:  You’ll leave from the Salento bus station on Carrera 2, which is between Calle 5 and 6.  It’s on the outskirts of town, and funnily enough, is exactly where you’ll arrive into town.

Departure times:  Every 20 minutes or so, running until 9pm.

Purchasing tickets:  Again, tickets are only able to be purchased at the time, directly from the bus driver.  If you want to be 100% sure of having a seat on the (little) Salento Armenia bus, you’ll want to arrive a little earlier to stand in line.

Price:  COP4,500 (USD1.50/NZD2.10)

Second Bus:  Armenia Bogota Bus

Departure:  Head back into the bus station and to the Bolivariano counter to pick up your ticket for the Armenia Bogota bus.

Departure times:

  • 9am
  • 9.30pm
  • 11pm

Purchasing tickets:  Online or at the ticketing counter at the bus terminal.

Price:  From COP37,000 to COP60,000 depending on availability and seating class.

Travelling Between Medellín and Salento

The Direct Bus: Medellín to Salento | Salento to Medellín

To travel by bus from Medellín to Salento, travellers need to transit either via Armenia or Pereira as, at this stage, there are no truly direct connections.  

With that said, the ‘direct’ option that we recommend (by Flota Occidental) simply passes through Pereira, resulting in what feels like a direct journey for passengers. You won’t be required to disembark the bus at any stage.

Generally tickets do not need to be purchased in advance in Colombia but if in doubt, check in with Flota Occidental online or pop along to the bus station a day ahead of time to secure your spots.

If you need to be absolutely certain of your arrival, we recommend securing your bus tickets in advance.

How to Travel by Direct Bus from Medellín to Salento

Getting a bus from Medellín to Salento by bus (and the return journey, Salento to Medellín) is incredibly easy as direct connections are available through Flota Occidental.  Some bus journeys in South America are difficult to book with limited English, but this is not the case for this one.

Departure: Terminal de Transportes del Sur, Medellín

Departure times:

  • 9am
  • 11am
  • 12pm
  • 2pm. 

Purchasing tickets:  As mentioned, tickets can be purchased online or in person at the bus station.If you would prefer to purchase your bus ticket in person, we suggest doing so a little ahead of time.If you intend on doing this, we recommend keeping an eye on the Flota Occidental website, as they do publish the number of seats left available for each bus.

Comfortable buses make the 245km journey in relative comfort, travelling via Pereira. There, other travellers will get on/off whilst you wait onboard for the final part of your trip.

Price: COP54,000 (USD16/NZD25.50)

Travel time:  The journey takes approximately 6 hours in total and though there is not an onboard toilet, wifi is provided.

This was the method that we travelled from Salento to Medellín (as we actually arrived into Salento from Bogota) and we found it to be a pleasure. We recommend travelling in this manner, if you have the time – this bus is more direct than the other option mentioned in this post.


Returning: How Travel by Direct Bus from Salento to Medellín

If you’re heading from Salento to Medellín via ‘direct’ bus, at present, departures are available from the small Salento bus station at the start of town.

Departure times:

  • 8am
  • 10am
  • 4pm

They used to also be available at 11am and 12pm so do check back to see if the timetable has changed recently.

Departure:  Buses leave from the small bus station on the outskirts of Salento.  You’ll find this on Carrera 2, between Calle 5 and 6.

Purchasing tickets:  Tickets can be purchased at the small counter at the station and availability can be checked online.  Flota Occidental now also accept ticket purchases online, though this wasn’t on offer when we were travelling (so we can’t speak to how easy the site is to use as though there is an English version of the site, their translation does not appear to work).

We had no problem booking our ticket in person, 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 (or try their online ticketing system if your Spanish is up to the task).

Price:  COP54,000 (USD16/NZD25.50)

Travel time: The journey takes approximately 6 hours, travelling through Pereira before dropping passengers at Terminal del Sur Medellín

Onwards travel:  One at Terminal del Sue Medellín, 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).


The Indirect Bus: Medellín to Salento | Salento to Medellín

If the times stated above don’t suit your South American travel plans, there are a few different public transport options still available to you.

These journeys take slightly longer and require an additional step or two, but they are also equally manageable.

Salento is a frequently-visited tourist destination and even locals with limited English will be able to point you in the right direction.  There’s no real fear of getting lost here!

As an advantage, there are more buses running each day via this route, including night buses (which will help you to save money on accommodation).


How to Travel by Indirect Bus from Medellín to Salento (Via Armenia)

First Bus: Medellín to Armenia

Two different bus companies operate the route – Flota Occidental (the same company that runs the direct route mentioned earlier) and Empresa Arauca.

Again, both bus companies depart from Terminal de Transportes del Sur in Medellín. 

This time though, the journey will take approximately 6-7 hours to Armenia (plus the additional transfer time and another hour to Salento). 

Option #1: Empresa Arauca

One option for your departure from Medellín to Armenia is Empresa Arauca.

Departure: Terminal de Transportes del Sur, Medellín

Departure times:

  • 4.30am
  • 9.45am
  • 11am
  • 1pm
  • 3pm

It is important to know that the bus schedule from Medellín to Armenia changes depending on the day.  Please be sure to consult either the Empresa Arauca website or pay them a visit at the bus station to confirm times and purchase your ticket. 

Purchasing tickets:  By now you know the drill – tickets can be purchased online or at the bus station.  If you need to be on a specific bus, we suggest picking up your ticket ahead of time or arriving at the bus station early enough to beat the crowds.  As a general rule though, you do not need to book with advance notice.

Pro Tip: If you know your return time/date, you could purchase your return ticket now to guarantee your seat.

Price: COP47,000

Travel time: 6-7 hours (plus connection)

Option #2: Flota Occidental

Our favourite carrier on these routes, Flota Occidental also offers transport from Medellín to Armenia.

Departure:  Terminal de Transportes del Sur, Medellín

Departure times:  Every hour, on the half hour, from 4.30am until the last departure of the day at either 11.30pm or 12.30am.

4.30am, 5.30am, 6.30am, 7.30am, 8.30am, 9.30am, 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 4.30pm, 5.30pm, 6.30pm, 7.30pm, 8.30pm, 9.30pm, 10.30pm, 11.30pm, 12.30am

Price: Prices range from COP37,000 right through to COP51,000 (depending on the time of day you plan to travel, the class of seat and availability onboard).

Travel time: 6-7 hours (plus connection)

Second Mini-Van/Bus: Armenia to Salento

Upon arriving in Armenia, you’ll need to arrange another bus to take you the final part of the journey (details of which follow below).

Departure:  Once you’ve disembarked at Terminal Armenia, follow the footpath around to the main terminal; when inside the terminal, turn sharply to your right and head right through the terminal and back outside.  There, you will see signs for ‘Salento buses and mini-vans’.

Departure times:  These vans and buses depart every 20 minutes or so, starting at 5.30am and running until 8pm at night (though later transfers may be available at certain times of the year).

Purchasing tickets:  Bus tickets from Armenia to Salento are COP4,500 (USD1.50/NZD2.10) and are purchased onboard. These local mini-vans and buses run until 8pm daily though later transfers may be available at certain times of the year.

Travel time: 45 minutes – 1 hour


Returning: How to Travel by Indirect Bus from Salento to Medellín (Via Armenia)

You’re getting the swing of this now, aren’t you?  Travelling in reverse is just as easy, following these steps.

First Mini-Van/Bus: Salento to Armenia

Departure:  The Salento bus station on Carrera 2, between Calle 5 and 6 – you’ll find it on the outskirts of town.

Times:   Mini-vans and buses depart from Salento every 20 minutes or so.  The last bus leaves each day at approximately 9pm.  Should you require this bus/mini-van, get there nice and early to ensure a spot.

Purchasing tickets:  As with the journey in, tickets are purchased once you are onboard.  Tickets cannot be bought ahead of time.

Price:  COP4,500 (USD1.50/NZD2.10)

Travel time: 45 minutes – 1 hour

Second Bus: Armenia to Medellín

Again, you have two different options for this route: Empresa Arauca and Flota Occidental.

Option #1: Empresa Arauca

Departure:  Terminal Armenia – the Armenia bus station.

Times:

  • 8.45am
  • 12.45pm
  • 2.45pm
  • 10pm

Purchasing tickets:  Online or in person at the Armenia bus station.

Price:  COP47,000

Travel time:  6 – 7 hours (plus the transfer to get there)

Arrival:  Terminal del Sur Medellín

Option #2: Flota Occidental

Departure:  Terminal Armenia – the Armenia bus station.

Times:  Generally every hour, on the hour from 4am until 2pm (with the exception of a 9.15am bus), and then either 3pm or 3.15pm.  Then every hour on the half hour from 4.30pm until 11.30pm or 12.30pm.

4am, 5am, 6am, 7am, 8am, 9.15am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3/3.15pm, 4.30pm, 5.30pm, 6.30pm, 7.30pm, 8.30pm, 9.30pm, 10.30pm, 11.30pm and often also 12.30pm.

Purchasing tickets:  In person or online.

Price: From COP37,000 to COP51,000 depending on seat class and availability.

Travel time: 6 – 7 hours (plus transfer)

Arrival: Terminal del Sur Medellín

Salento – Absolutely Worth the Visit

Salento is a beautiful, relaxed town that’s worth going out of your way to see; a must-see on your Colombian itinerary.

Though there’s a little to the bus journeys, they’re straightforward and definitely worth persevering with.

What are you waiting for? Put this transport guide into action and get yourself over to Salento!

FAQ: Salento Travel Guide

How do you travel from Bogota to Salento by bus?

To travel from Bogota to Salento, you will need to catch two different buses.  First, catch a bus from Bogota to Armenia; these depart in the morning from  

How long is the bus from Bogota to Salento?

The bus from Bogota to Salento takes between 8 – 9.5 hours for the first leg to Armenia (depending on traffic) and then an addition 45min – 60mins for the final part of the journey.

How do you travel from Medellin to Salento by bus?

To travel from Medellin to Salento, we suggest you catch the direct bus put on by Flota Occidental.  This bus is comfortable and easy to arrange, even for those with very limited Spanish.

Is there a direct bus from Medellin to Salento?

Yes, there is a direct bus from Medellin to Salento; it travels via Pereira, with tickets costing COP54,000.

How long is the bus from Medellin to Salento?

The bus journey from Medellin to Salento takes approximately 6 hours in total.

How do you get from Salento to Armenia?

Local shuttles/mini-vans run every 20 minutes throughout the day.  They depart from t  and cost COP4,500.  Tickets are purchased onboard.

Are the buses from Salento to Medellin comfortable?

The buses from Salento to Medellin are very comfortable.  Onboard WiFi is provided and the seats are comfortable enough for the journey.  It is worth noting that there are no toilets onboard.

How many days do you need in Salento?

We suggest a minimum of two fulls days in Salento.  You will need one day to complete the Valle de Cocora hike/day trip and another day to relax and enjoy town.

14 thoughts on “Salento Bus Travel Guide: Bogota to Salento | Salento to Bogota | Medellín to Salento | Salento to Medellín

  1. trixieg says:

    Thanks so much for all that information! I’m heading to Colombia in 2 weeks and will be going from Bogota to Salento then up to Medellin via bus! I had a look on google flights for possible flights and apparently there’s a resident price and a foreigner price – have you heard of that and/or do you know if that’s true?

  2. Richard Donaldson says:

    Hi guys, the link for the bus from Pereira to Medellin direct bus takes you to a new website but it seems the is no schedule for this trip? Do you think they may have discontinued it potentially? I can’t seem to find a bus that goes direct now? Thanks in anticipation.

    • Sarah - Exploring Kiwis says:

      Oh no! I can’t imagine so as it was such a popular route when we were there (and I would imagine is only getting busier). I’m away right now but can do some more investigation when I’m back in NZ. When are you due there?

  3. Pingback: TRAVELING TO MEDELLIN COLOMBIA GUIDE | From East to West | Detailed Travel Guides

  4. Rico says:

    Having recently done the bus trip from Bogota to Armenia, my advice to anyone contemplating it would be: Don’t bother, fly instead. Internal flights in Colombia are quite cheap and all short. The bus trip took almost 11 hrs, was incredibly frustrating and a waste of a day. Missed the connecting bus from Armenia to Salento and had to catch a pricey taxi.
    Unless you like that kind of thing…

  5. Jay Simpson says:

    July 2019.
    Travelled from Bogotá to Salento.
    Rocked up to Bogotá bus station (Terminal de Transporte S.A.) at 6:15am, managed to secure a 6:30am bus ticket to Armenia with Bolivariano on their G2 service for 40000cop. There seemed to be many tickets available, pre booking was not required. The bus took 10 hours to reach Armenia (fairly heavy traffic on a Saturday), the bus had decent free WiFi and a clean toilet on board. The bus stopped for lunch at a basic service stop half way through the journey.
    Once at Armenia bus station, we walked to Exit 1 and grabbed a small bus to Salento. This cost just under 5000cop and took around 45 mins.
    Very easy, scenic, cheap journey.

  6. Gagan says:

    Hi, I’m going to Colombia for the first time in October from Auckland, NZ. I’ll be catching a bus from Bogota to Manizales.
    Any info on the process once you arrive at Salitre?
    Thanks,
    Gagan

  7. Hannah says:

    Thanks so much for this information it was a lifesaver.

    There are also velotax busses leaving from Bogata to Armenia. Mine cost 40,000 and is a great bus with WiFi.

    They leave from zone 1

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