Are you looking for the best or cheapest way to get from Bogota to Salento, I’ve got you covered! This step-by-step guide will tell you everything you must know about how to get from Bogota to Salento and the other way around. It includes all the available options, durations, prices, and tips for your travel day.
Distance between Bogota and Salento
While looking at a map of Colombia, the distance between these two may not look very far. Even though it is only a distance of 300km, due to the landscapes and road conditions, travel time may add up quickly up to 10 hours.
Option 1: From Bogota to Salento by Bus
– Cheapest Way
Getting around Colombia is easily done by bus, which is used by both tourists and locals. The bus from Bogota to Salento takes around 7 hours, with the night bus being your best option. This way you’ll save money on accommodation and still have the day free for exploring.
There’s a downside though as there are no direct busses operating between Bogota and Salento. You have to take the bus to Armenia or Pereira and from there a small local bus that brings you to Salento. All of this goes pretty smoothly though and many other travelers do the same route as well.
Bolivariano is an excellent bus company, that I used myself for the same trajectory. They’re among Colombia’s most reliable and comfortable, with toilets, Wi-Fi, power sockets & AC. Some are DUO buses with more luxurious and spacious seats on the ground floor compared to the top floor.
When I booked the bus myself, the ground floor was fully booked so there was only space on top. However, they were still very comfortable and napping was no issue! Another reassuring thing is that they put a label on your bag. With the small tag they give you, you can collect your bag again upon arrival.
Step 1: Transport from Bogota Center to Salitre Bus Station
Most buses from Bogota to Salento leave from Terminal De Transporte Salitre and I recommend taking an Uber/Taxi to get there. Coming from the touristy La Candelaria Area in Bogota, it’s around a 30-minute drive depending on traffic. Due to safety, I recommend only taking busses from Terminal Salitre and not from Terminal Del Sur.
Uber Price: 25.000 COP (€5)
Step 2: Bus from Bogota Salitre to Armenia/Pereira
Arriving at Bogota Terminal Salitre may be overwhelming if this is your first time at the station. It’s very big, but there are signs throughout the whole station, making it very easy to navigate.
There’s no huge difference between traveling from Bogota to Armenia or Pereira, only that the buses to Pereira may take up a little more time. Bolivariano operates to both destinations and takes around 7 to 8 hours on the night bus. Day buses can take up more time due to traffic.
Bus Price: starting from €13 and operates between 04:30 AM till 00:00 AM taking around 7 hours on the night bus.
I recommend booking the latest night bus and therefore arriving in Armenia/Pereira as late as possible in the morning.
Step 3: Bus from Armenia/Pereira to Salento
Once arriving in Armenia, you’ll have to walk outside until you spot a sign with Salento. Otherwise, you may spot a guy shouting through the station asking for people leaving for Salento. From there take the final bus bringing you to Salento in about 1 hour. There’s no need to book a ticket in advance, just buy one with the bus driver inside the bus. In Pereira, there’s a small counter (see photo below) where you can get your bus ticket to Salento.
Bus Price: ± 5.800 COP (€1,20) at Armenia Station
Bus Price: 9.700 COP (€2,20) at Pereira station
Armenia Station – Salento: Buses are leaving every 20 minutes (or when the bus is full) from 05:00 AM till 20:00.
Pereira Station – Salento: buses are leaving every hour from 06:30 till 18:30.
The privilege of arriving in Armenia is that the buses operate more frequently and until later in the day. That way, there’s less chance of missing the latest bus to Salento. Therefore I recommend arriving and leaving Salento through Armenia.
How to book a Bus Ticket
Bus tickets are best booked on Busbud or Redbus in advance to prevent no availability upon arrival or unnecessary waiting times at the bus station. I mostly used Busbud as it was very easy to use and they offer a lot of different companies.
You can also book your bus ticket at the bus station. The only issue is that comfortable companies like Bolivariano are quickly fully booked on the day itself, especially the night buses. I booked my ticket the day before, but another girl from my hostel wanted to take the risk and book it at the bus station. Unfortunately, they were fully booked, causing her to take a random bus company that was less comfortable.
Are the buses safe?
Yes, the buses (night bus included) between Bogota and Salento are safe and there is no need to worry about this trajectory. The only recommendation I can give you is to keep an eye on the handbag that you’re taking into the cabin. Petty theft occurs sometimes to those who are sleeping and have their bags in the upper head bins. Therefore I recommend putting your bag between your legs and maybe putting a lock on it (if possible).
Uber is available, but also illegal in the bigger cities.
Option 2: From Bogota to Salento by Airplane
– Fastest Way
Traveling by plane from Bogota to Salento is of course the fastest and easiest way to get there. However, you still have to catch the bus from either Armenia Airport or Pereira Airport to Salento as there’s no airport in Salento. To both cities, it’s only a 45-minute or 1-hour flight. It does save up a lot of travel time, but it’s also the least sustainable option among all of these and the most expensive.
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Step 1: Transport from Bogota Center to Bogota Airport
Probably the easiest way to get to the airport is by taxi requested by your hostel/hotel, which is safe and reliable. You want this especially if you’re taking a very early flight. These are a bit more expensive than Ubers, however, as you may know, Ubers are illegal in Colombia and not many Uber drivers are willing to bring you to the entrance of the airport due to police presence. Selina Hostel in La Candelaria can arrange a taxi to bring you to Bogota El Dorado Airport.
Even though it’s not the easiest, I still used Uber multiple times to get to and from the airport in Bogota!
Taxi Price: 50.000 COP (€10)
Step 2: Bogota Airport to Armenia/Pereira Airport
Many times a day, Wingo, LATAM & Avianca operate with flights between Bogota and Armenia/Pereira. Prices already start from €25 one-way if booking in advance. If you’re booking last-minute prices may go up to €60 or €80.
Step 3: Transport from Armenia/Pereira Airport to Salento
As you have to take the bus to get to Salento and you’re arriving at the airport in Armenia, you still need to get to the bus station. Best way to get there is by a short taxi ride of 15 minutes. And as I already explained above, from the bus station you can take minivans bringing you to Salento.
When you’re arriving from Pereira airport, it’s the same thing. Catch a short taxi to the bus station and then take the local minivan to Salento.
Taxi & Bus Price: ± 25.000 COP (€5) + 5.800 COP (€1,20)
Option 3: From Bogota to Salento with Private Transfer
The third option to get from Bogota to Salento is by private transfer, with prices starting from €100 per person for an SUV or €170 for a minivan. This option is very expensive and not the first option I would recommend to travelers. You can book a private transfer through Bookaway, offering multiple options for you.
Private Car: starting from €100
How to get from Salento to Bogota
If you’re going from Salento to Bogota, you can easily just use the above-mentioned itinerary but the other way around. In Salento walk to the bus station and book a ticket to Armenia/Pereira on-site. From there, the same itinerary counts above. Once you arrive in Bogota, most buses stop at Terminal Del Sur as well, don’t get off here, and make sure to stay seated until Terminal Salitre. Get yourself an Uber to get to your hostel/hotel.
Tips for Bogota
Colombia’s capital has a lot to offer and is worthwhile a stop on your 3-week Colombia itinerary. It’s a city full of history and has gone through a lot of turbulence. During your time in Bogota, I highly recommend joining the free walking tour with BeyondColombia. It’s the perfect way to learn more about a city when first arriving there and to get a feeling about where to go and not.
Food tip: Try out restaurant ‘Madre’.
Tips for Salento
Salento is well known for the famous high palm trees which are located in the Cocora Valley. Hiking through this valley is therefore one of the highlights in Salento that can’t be missed on your list! While being located in the middle of Colombia’s coffee region, spend a few hours doing a coffee tour at one of the finca’s to learn more about the different coffee beans. If you’re still looking for a place to stay in Salento, I loved my time at Coffee Tree Boutique Hostel, it’s the perfect spot to meet fellow travelers!
Don’t forget to spend the evening at Los Amigos for a traditional game of Tejo!
Summary of how to get from Bogota to Salento
To cover the 300 kilometers between Bogota and Salento, there are 3 ways to travel: by bus, by airplane, and by private transfer.
- Busses are the cheapest and most sustainable way to get from Bogota to Salento and the most popular option among backpackers.
- Night buses are safe to use, even for Solo Female Travelers (like myself), and have power sockets, AC, and Wi-Fi.
- Taking an airplane is the fastest way to travel from Bogota to Salento. Airlines operate multiple times a day taking you from Bogota to Armenia/Pereira in only 1 hour. This could be perfect for people with a time limit.
- Private Transfer is the most expensive way, but also the only direct way to get you directly from your hotel in Bogota to your hotel in Salento.