Salento and Filandia sit in the middle of the Zona Cafetera in Colombia. They are about 2000 meters above sea level, so the weather is really fine and the landscape intensely green. Both are colonial towns with small populations, largely focused on coffee. Cafes surround the town squares, more in Filandia than Salento, wafting aromas of coffee and cocoa, and occasionally locally made chorizo and fresh pressed juices. Another common denominator is the presence of jeeps and horses, along with motor bikes, the dominant modes of transportation, besides walking, of which there is a lot.
I almost skipped the Zona Cafetera. It seemed, and largely is, a very touristic region, with the two main endeavors being touring coffee fincas and bucolic outdoor activities like hiking the Socorro Valley, home of the tallest palm trees on the world. But after having been sick in Bogota, and rather full of city life, and as it was “on the way” to Popayan, and I had a week before my arrival to Popayan for Semana Santa, I paid it a visit.
I went to the Socorro Valley, but skipped the coffee tours. Instead I shopped the little tiendas till I found a particular coffee to my liking, and hung out at a small cafe that serves a lovely spiced hot chocolate, and excellent wifi.