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Salento

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Introduction: Tiny but much visited Salento is nestled into the rolling green coffee country of Colombia's famed Coffee Zone (typically called the Zona Cafetera or Eje Cafetero in Spanish). It's a tiny village of about 7,000 sandwiched in between Pereira, 20km to the northeast, and Armenia, 20km to the southeast. Salento is easily accessible from most major Colombian cities: It's just 5 hours to Medellin, 4 to Cali, and 7 to Bogota.This has rapidly become one of the must-sees on any backpacking itinerary. And with great hostals, restaurants, and it's location right next to the famed Valle de Cocora, it should be at the top of your list.

Salento has a temperate climate and, like much of Colombia, at times seems impossibly green. The residents are friendly, and much of the economy revolves around tourism.

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Ambience: For nightlife, check out Speakeasy or the Danubio Billar Hall, as well as local favorite Camino Real. It's not the kind of town with raging nightlife, but, like most towns in Colombia, you should be able to find plenty of evening merriment Thursday to Sunday.

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