October 19 – 20, 2013
We spent the 19th on a couple of buses traveling to Salento. Salento is a small town located almost 200 miles west of Bogotá. We went up and over large mountains covered in jungle and spent the whole time reading. It was a relaxing ride, except for the guy in front of us who enjoyed singing along to his ipod very loudly. Record companies will not be calling him up any time soon. We arrived in town after dark and headed straight to the hostel for an early night.
We woke up early and had a delicious breakfast of eggs, corn balls, toast, arepas (thick corn tortillas) and hot chocolate. Then we walked through town. Salento is full of shops featuring local artists work and pretty touristy. Most of the tourists were Colombians though, so it wasn’t just a bunch of gringos.
After our tour of town, we opted to do something we had avoided through most of the trip: enjoy one of the touristy activities set up through our hostel. I wanted to go horseback riding. Chandler is not a big fan of horses, so I was surprised I was able to convince him to go with me.
Our ride started with a mellow walk out of town and then down a gravel road. The moment we hit the gravel it began to rain really hard. Luckily our guide, Diego, had rubber ponchos ready to keep us dry. Then the fun began. Our horses took us down a narrow and steep incised path, lined with rock and mud. It was extra scary with the rain making the path muddy, slippery and essentially a temporary creek. We had a good time, but it was a little hard trusting the horse to not trip and fall.
At the bottom of the hill, the rain stopped and we were able to put our ponchos away. We rode along the main road before turning off for a national park and headed towards a waterfall. The scenery was beautiful and the rest of the ride was mellow. We crossed a few streams, which Chandler’s horse did not like, and we also went through a couple unused railroad tunnels.
The waterfall was pretty and Chandler immediately wanted to go swimming. It was a little too cold for me, but he striped down and was in the water in minutes. There was another couple there and the guy would not be shown up. He ripped off his clothes and quickly joined Chandler. It was amusing watching the guys as they tried to pretend the cold water wasn’t that bad.
The ride back to the hostel was up the main road, so not as exciting as the ride to the waterfall. We did get to trot a bit, but our rears couldn’t handle it for too long. It was nice to do something a little touristy and out of the ordinary for us.