SALENTO + VALLEY OF COCORA
THE TOWN:: SALENTO
The municipality of Salento is located in the north-eastern corner of the department of Quindío, bordering the municipalities of Filandia and Circasia to the west, Armenia and Calarcá to the south-west, the department of Tolima to the east, and the department of Risaralda to the north. Its geography is varied, rising from around 1300 m in the fertile valleys of the west of the municipality to the permanently snow-capped summit of the Nevado del Quindío, which at 4750 m is the highest point of the department of Quindío.
The town of Salento itself lies on a plateau above the Quindío river valley, where the valley is known as the Valley of Cocora. The town is located at an average altitude of 1895 meters above sea level, with steep drops to the valley floor at its northern and western perimeters.
With its impressive scenery, easy access to the Valley of Cocora, and the preservation of original colonial architecture and bahareque constructions, the town is a major tourist attraction in Colombia.
Climate: Due to its altitude and proximity to the high mountains of the Central Cordillera, Salento’s climate is temperate. The average annual temperature of the town is 15 °C.
Salento’s website: http://www.salento-quindio.gov.co
THE AREA:: THE VALLEY OF COCORA
The Cocora Valley (near Salento), is home to the national tree, the Wax Palm tree, of Palma de Cera. The valley is one of the most beautiful spots around the axis coffee and one of the entry points to Los Nevados National Natural Park where there are visitors can stay in camp sites.
The Colombian coffee growing axis (Eje Cafetero), also known as the Coffee Triangle is a part of the Colombian Paisa region, located West of the Colombian capital, Bogotá. The region is famous for growing and producing the majority of the Colombian coffee, considered by some as the best coffee in the world.
A famous symbols and advertising icons for this region is “Juan Valdez”, the paisa coffee farmer wearing a carriel (traditional bag), an aguadeño hat and poncho, and accompanied by a mule.
There are three departments in the area: Caldas, Quindío and Risaralda. Although participants will be arriving to Pereira, the capital of Risaralda, and will be visiting Armenia and Manizales, the capitals of el Quindío and Caldas, with the workshop, BUILDING LOCAL will primarily take place in the Cocora Valley, near the town of Salento, in the department of El Quindío.
Tourist Attractions in the region include:
- The Colombian National Coffee Park located in the town of Montenegro in Quindio, showcases the process of grain production to savor a traditional Colombian coffee.
- The National Park of Culture Agriculture– ‘Panaca’, also located in the Municipality of Quimbaya in Quindio. Its key feature is that, unlike zoos, visitors are immersed in a personal and direct contact with farm animals.
- The Matecaña City Zoo in Pereira, is one of the most important traditional zoos in Colombia and South America, with over 150 species and 800 individuals.
- The ‘Botanical Garden of the University of Pereira‘is one of the largest collections of orchids in the world.
- ‘Santuario‘is one of the most characteristic towns of the region, is known for its tradition paisa’s architecture and streets. It is close to PNN Tatamá.
- The thermal waters in Santa Rosa de Cabal‘, where one can bathe in hot springs and find different activities for relaxation and body care.
- ‘Rafting on the Rio la Vieja’: Walking the Rio La Vieja on the border between the departments of Valle del Cauca and Quindío, from the town of Quimbaya.
- ‘Extreme Sports’ Tour operators in the region offer kayaking on the River Barragan, as well as paragliding in Calarcá, among other sports.
- ‘ Quindío Botanical Gardens’, located in the town of Calarcá, where you can also see in the butterfly with the largest exhibition of butterflies in the country.