What we now regard as the town of Salento used to be in another location and have a different name. On January 5, 1830, SimĂłn BolĂvar passed through the original town (called Barcinales) on his â€śCamino Nacional,â€ť which took him from Cartago to IbaguĂ©. A dozen years later, the town moved to its current location, higher in the mountains at 1,800 meters (5,906 ft), and was renamed Villa de Nuevo Salento. In time, just Salento became the townâ€™s name. Salento was officially declared its own municipality much later, in 1908.
Despite itâ€™s youth, Salento is still considered the â€śFather of QuindĂo,â€ť and you will fully understand this term upon visiting this beautifully scenic town. With only 10,000 residents, infinite natural beauty, architectural uniformity and quaintness, as well as a general adherence to and appreciation for tradition and culture, it is no wonder Colombians and foreigners fall in love with this place.
The colorful two-story buildings along Carrera 6 off the main plaza to the stairs of the mirador (lookout point) have been excellently preserved. Aside from the occasional car or motorcycle passing through and the fact that nearly every building along this street has been converted into a restaurant or handicraft shop, not much has changed here. The men still wear their country gear, playing cards or billiards at the local bar.
The town is surrounded on all sides by lush, vista-filled countryside. This is a place to explore nature at its finest, whether by horseback along the QuindĂo River, by foot along dozens of mountain paths or by jeep to the gorgeous Cocora Valley. Donâ€™t forget to snap a photo of the national tree, the Palma de Cera, which is a very tall and thin palm tree native to this part of the country. And, of course, your trip to Salento is not complete without trying trucha con patacĂłn (trout with a very thin and very large plantain pancake)