Salamina: The Coffee Region’s Best Kept Secret

Tourists from all over Colombia and the world flock to traditional coffee towns like Salento and Filandia due to their proximity to major cities like Pereira and Armenia. Those towns are great to visit, but Salento especially has been overrun by tourists and has lost a bit of authenticity.

 

Salamina

Enter Salamina. Unknown and seemingly in the middle of nowhere, it takes a little more time to get to but it’s well worth the effort. This small peaceful town, part of the UNESCO World Heritage listed Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia, is devoid of tourists and is one of the most colorful and beautiful towns I have encountered in the entire coffee region. It’s known in Colombia as the “city of light” due to its high concentration of artists and poets, and as a prestigious Pueblo de Patrimonio, is a very important cultural town.

A home in Salamina in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

A home in Salamina

A building in Salamina in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

A building in Salamina

 

Parque Bolívar

A good place to start is the main plaza, Parque Bolívar. The plaza is full of tall trees with benches. A gorgeous iron fountain made in Europe sits in the center.

Plaza in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

Plaza

Plaza in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

Plaza

The church, Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción, sits on the north side of the plaza. It’s got a beautiful interior with a very detailed wooden ceiling. The locals are very proud of this church, which was designed by an English architect in the mid 1800s.

Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción Church in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción

Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción Church in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción

 

Cemetery

A few blocks uphill from the plaza is the cemetery. This peaceful and beautiful burial ground has a nice entrance with a skull and crossbones and the words “Lux Perpetualuceateis” (Perpetual Light) inscribed over the door. There are also great views of the surrounding mountains from the cemetery.

Cemetery in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

Cemetery

Cemetery in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

Cemetery

Cemetery in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

Cemetery

 

Architecture and Doors

The best thing to do in Salamina is wander the streets, admire the architecture, and pay attention to the gorgeous details and colors. Most of the beautiful streets are within a few blocks of Parque Bolívar. Try to notice the flowered balconies, finely detailed doors, and interesting door knockers as you walk through the streets.

Figure above a door in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

Figure above a door

A door in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

A door in Salamina

Figure above a door in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

Figure above a door

 

Calle Real

The main street through town, Calle Real, is full of shops, restaurants, and other businesses. It’s just as colorful as the rest of the streets but with more people.

Calle Real in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

Calle Real

 

Market

At the opposite end of Calle Real from Parque Bolívar is the town’s market. It’s a bit more hectic, louder, dirtier, and more crowded than the rest of town, but it’s interesting to see the locals buying meats, fruits and vegetables, and other goods. This is also where buses and taxis to Manizales  and Aguadas can be found.

Market in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

Market

 

La Choza

Outside of town is the small village of San Félix, where you can find the Bosque de Palma de Cera, a wax palm forest. We were misinformed by a local and told to take a bus labeled La Palma or La Quiebra for a chance to see the trees and eat at one of the several supposed restaurants serving trout.

When we arrived at a recommend spot called La Choza, we found a restaurant with phenomenal views but no palms. The waitress told us many years ago there use to be wax palms here, but to find them we needed to go all the way to San Félix.

La Choza in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

La Choza

View from La Choza in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

View from La Choza

Anyway, we enjoyed the meal and the views. A meal for two costs COP$24,000 (as of July 2017). The bus to La Choza was COP$1,500 per person (as of May 2015). As far as the trees, I’m sure Valle de Cocora near Salento is much better.

Lunch at La Choza in Salamina, Caldas, Colombia

Lunch at La Choza

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