La Serrana, Smurf houses and a friendly sloth…

I’ve been in Colombia’s coffee country for over a week because La Serrana here in Salento is kind of a hard place to leave. Just as you think you should probably move on, someone else fun moves in who can play guitar/sing/drink coffee with you till their brain explodes and you think, aaah screw it, one more day won’t hurt. It has to be one of the nicest places I’ve stayed at on my whole trip.

Look at this place. I mean, what weary traveller wouldn’t want to pay just $10 per night (including a fried egg or fruit salad brekky) to stay here? If we had places like this for $10 a night in London, or Sydney, I’d have never left. It’s hard enough leaving here. I’ve been waking up to this – and the occasional barking of that dog there, whose name is Pablo.

Everywhere you look from La Serrana are rolling green hills and coffee plantations and the brightest red and yellow birds I’ve ever seen. We saw a random three-toed sloth the other day, too. Look at this little guy!

Aaww! He actually came down from the tree and made his way slowly…. very, very slowly… over to a bush, where he stared at us looking puzzled and we ooh’d and aah’d until we got a bit bored. Bless him. Sloth’s aren’t that great at providing entertainment really. Luckily, we also found a snake. See? Colombia is DANGEROUS and oh so very wild. Smurfs live here too. I found one of their houses…

This shroom was spotted on our walk in the Cocora Valley, which took us about 5 hours to complete as it was really muddy after recent rains (and the caffeine buzz wore off after an hour). You have to get a jeep, or a ‘Willy’ and it takes about 20 minutes to get there from town.

Here we also saw the national tree and symbol of Colombia, the Quindío wax palm, which is huuuuuuge.

The valley is part of the Los Nevados National Natural Park and you basically walk in a giant loop, stopping for a drink and to watch the hummingbirds half way at a little finca on a hill.

It costs 3,000 COP to take a break here, where they’re fed daily from wooden feeders, but your drink is included and the birds are intriguing to watch. So many colours! And you wouldn’t believe how loud their wings are when they flutter past you. They’re kind of hard to capture on an iPhone too (ahem) so excuse these photos…

Back at La Serrana, a typical night starts with dinner in the dining room, which is a really sociable affair because they set it up like a restaurant, whereby you sign up on a white board in the day so they know how many people to cook for, and then you all sit down together at 7 pm, by candlelight.

I took this pic in the morning at brekky but you get the idea. I think it’s sort of upperclass hostel living, if there is such a thing. Maybe they’ve invented it? Anyway, after dinner there’s a bonfire. This usually only happens on Sunday nights but if you’ve got a guitar and feel the urge for a four part harmony around some flickering flames… and let’s face it, who doesn’t from time to time, go ahead and light one up. There will always be people to join in. You can relive your girl scout days, maybe even toast some marshmallows like we did last night as we discussed how the words ‘Puss in Boots’ sound much better coming from the mouth of an Argentinian than a Brit (don’t ask).

Ah La Serrana… it’s soooo hard to leave. But I’m heading on to Cali with my new friends Kelly and Ron, so move on we must. Thanks for the good times, Salento!