Salamina the unknown jewel of the coffee triangle!
If Salento was unknown for backpackers Salamina is completely unknown. I have not even heard or read anything at all about Salamina before going to Colombia. I stayed in a hostal in Zona Rosa in Manizales and was planning what to do next. The hostal had a leaflet over interesting places in Manizales and around Manizales. Most places were known to me such as Los Nevados, Hacienda Venecia (Coffee tour) but one place was unknown. I asked the manager is Salamina an interesting place? This is one of our most beautiful villages we have in Colombia! A lot of artists, writers and poets have made Salamina a famous village in Colombia. However very few people visits Salamina but I recommend going the village is incredibly beautiful! The carpenters work around the village is astonishing.
Expected travel time to Salamina was two to three hours by bus. My guidebooks had no information about Hostals, hotels or restaurants. I decided take a chance and go anyway! I took a taxi to the bus terminal in the morning I was lucky a bus was leaving for Salamina within minutes. The road was tarred and of high standard. One travelled through an incredibly beautiful landscape. After two and a half to three hours a wonderful view of Salamina turned up on the left hand side of the bus. Five minutes later the bus arrive Salamina!
I jumped off the bus and asked a man if there was any hotel in Salamina? The man said, you can find a room for 2 mil peso (about one US dollar) two blocks from here, turn left and walk all the way downhill to the end of the road. You shouldn´t pay more than 2 mil peso for a room in Salamina! I left the man and walked towards the village Centre. After two blocks I stopped and looked down to the left in the direction the man has given. A young boy turned up and took my hand and made a sign to follow him! We walked on the main street towards the main square in Salamina. On the right hand side hostal Casa Real turned up we left the street and walked upstairs into a fantastic reception area.
The building was at least 100 years old and very well maintained. A lady greeted me welcome and asked what kind of room I wanted? All of the three shown rooms had the same price 25 mil Peso (about 12 US dollar). I decided for a room with balcony towards the main street (noisy choice but the balcony was very nice). I had a wonderful room with a very nice bed, shower with hot and cold water and WiFi for the computer. The Colombian small villages are really cheap for the backpacker far cheaper than the bigger cities. I stayed four days in Salamina and did see one backpacker during that time.
There are two restaurants in Salamina one opposite hostal Casa Real and one on the main square called Tierra Paisa. I visited the one opposite hostal Casa Real since the receptionist recommended it. They were serving different kind of meat dishes simple ones as Perro Calienete (hot dog), hamburgers to more substantial meat dishes.
Next day I went to Teirra Paisa this is a restaurant serving traditional Colombian food. One can have meat and fish dishes here I strongly recommend fish dishes such as Robalo. Tierra Paisa has a very beautiful interior displaying old traditional Colombian culture. This becomes one of my favorite restaurants in Colombia because of their friendly staff and very interesting traditional and tasty food. If one thinks it to expensive to stay at hostal Casa Real one can check up the rooms rates at Tierra Paisa they seems to have rooms on first floor.
If you want to walk in the beautiful valleys around Salamina hostal Casa Real can help to arrange for a guide. I did a couple of walks but stayed on the roads around Salamina. One walk well worth doing is backtracking on the road towards Manizales for about an hour to see a great view of Salamina and a wonderful landscape.
Another day I took a walk out of Salamina to the north. Take the road from the main square to the left of the church. There is a medical center at the corner of the square. Follow this road downhill until you reach some stairs. Continue downhill on the stair until you reach the main road. There is a possibly for several hour walk downhill to a river. You decide how far downhill you go. There seems to be an interesting finca there one can stay overnight if you want to stay somewhere else instead of in Salamina.
After four day I left Salamina with a bus going to Medellin. The bus was supposed to leave at 09:00 in the morning but left at about 09:20. The road to Aguadas is very beautiful but it´s a rough and bumpy journey.
One has a fantastic view of Salamina from the left side of the bus after about half an hour travelling time. There are very few buses going this way so the bus becomes very crowded for one to one and a half hour. Most people left the bus at Aguadas maybe I should have done that as well.
Aguadas is also a well-known traditional village for Colombians. However I continued the long bumpy ride all the way up to Medellin in a very beautiful landscape. The bus arrived Medellin southern bus terminal at about six in the evening.
Night photography is particularly rewarding as can be seen on these pictures during the evenings in Salamina.
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