After a couple days in Bogota we learned that a place worth checking out is Salento, a little town in the heart of the Eje Cafetero (coffee region). It was definitely worth visiting and a highlight for us in Colombia (check out our posts about Salento)
But if you’ve just arrived to Colombia and haven’t learned some of the ins and outs of travel, you may end up paying more than you should to get there – and getting there is relatively cheap!
There’s a great website that gives you essentially all possible routes and rough prices called “Rome2Rio” – when in doubt, check there!
- If you’re not on a timeline, then you can definitely get to Salento from Bogota by bus for around $30.The company “Flota Magdalena” will take you from Bogota to Pereira for about $25, at which point you need to transfer on to a bus from Pereira to Salento that will cost you about $5. The journey will take you around 6 hours, and it’s important to be aware of the bus schedules so you don’t miss a transfer and get stuck waiting.
MOST ADVENTUROUS :
- You could drive to Salento from Bogota with a car rental if you’re feeling particularly daring. The drive will take you around 5 hours and fuel will cost around $65. Add to that the cost of the car rental, and the likely cost of dropping the car off in a different city, and you might be better off getting a Taxi
- A taxi will cost you around $200 and will take the same amount of time – so if you want to do this make sure you like your taxi driver!
MOST COMFORTABLE (and impressively cheap!):
- You can fly to Salento from Bogota with Colombia’s budget airline, Viva Colombia. If you do this, you have 3 airport options to choose from: Pereira, Armenia, and Manizales. From each of these you need to take a bus into Salento (or a taxi if you’re feeling like you want to splurge).If your dates are flexible, you can fly for as low as 49,999COP (approximately $20!) all the way up to 169,999COP (approximately $71). Keep in mind that this is the bare bones fee – assuming you have no checked luggage. If you do, you need to tack on an extra 29,000 COP ($12). The beauty of Viva Colombia is that last minute flights are a total steal and you can often take off the next day for super low prices.
WHAT WE DID:
- We flew with Viva Colombia from Bogota to Pereira for approximately $50 each with each bringing one checked bag, and each bringing an extra carry-on.
- We then took a cab from the Pereira airport to the Pereira Bus Terminal (ask any cab driver and they’ll take you. It shouldn’t cost more than 11,600COP (approximately $5).
- Due to our ignorance, we got stuck waiting 2 hours at the bus terminal for the next bus from Pereira to Salento. That bus cost us 6,500COP each (so 13,000 COP). The ride took about 1.5 hrs.
ON OUR RETURN:
- We flew out with Avianca (to Cartagena) but this time we flew out of Armenia instead of Pereira. This worked out to be a good choice. Our hostel hooked us up with a private taxi to the Armenia airport for 70,000COP (approximately $30) and the ride only took about an hour.
THINGS TO BE AWARE OF:
- There is only 1 bus company in Pereira that goes to Salento.
- Be extremely careful when travelling by bus. There have been a number of thefts of hand luggage on buses to Salento from both Armenia and Pereira. Keep your hand luggage with you at all times and DO NOT LET ANYONE TOUCH IT. In particular foreign tourists appear to be being identified in Pereira bus station and then followed onto the bus and their hand luggage removed, so if you are changing buses in Pereira please be especially vigilant.
LOGISTICS (bus times):
- BUSING FROM PEREIRA TO SALENTO:
Buses from Pereira to Salento leave weekdays 6.20 11.20 13.20 16.20
Buses from Pereira to Salento leave weekends hourly until 17.00Pereira Bus station website – www.terminalpereira.com
- BUSING FROM ARMENIA TO SALENTO:Buses from Armenia to Salento leave every 20 minutes from 6.00 to 20.00Armenia Bus station website – www.terminalarmenia.com
MISSED THE LAST BUS (AND DON´T WANT TO SPEND THE NIGHT IN ARMENIA)!?
- Option 1 (Anytime) A taxi from Armenia direct to Salento.
- Option 2 (good up to 11.00 pm) A collectivo from Armenia to CIRCASIA and then from CIRCASIA a taxi to Salento.
Armenia (EL EDEN) is the nearest airport approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes travelling time from Salento. EL EDEN is served by AVIANCA, SPIRIT, EASYFLY and ADA (daily flights to Bogota and Medellín).
Pereira (MATECAÑA) is approximately 2 hours travelling time from Salento and is served by a number of airlines including AVIANCA, LAN and VIVACOLOMBIA. (Daily flights Bogota, Cartagena, Panama and Cali).