Blue Jeep parked in a town square in front of a church.

How to get from Salento to Bogota, Colombia

Mark Stewart Destinations 8 Comments

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Given Salento’s popularity with visitors and its proximity to Bogota, we were quite surprised at the lack of information on how to actually get there. We found dozens of posts on bus routes coming towards Salento, just nothing explaining how to get from Salento to Bogota. Although common sense suggests simply following one of those routes in opposite order would suffice, we’ve had some unfortunate experiences where it just wasn’t the case.

After a bit of digging and several questions to locals around town, we had our answer.

Most travellers fly into Bogota, make their way to Salento and head north to Medellin. The reverse journey isn’t nearly as common.

If like us, you are making the trip south from Jardin (which we highly recommend!) we’ve saved you the time. This post will lay out the easiest way to get to Bogota from Salento.

Day Bus or Night Bus from Salento to Bogota

The first thing you’ll need to decide on is whether you’re taking the day bus from Salento to Bogota or the night bus. Both are good options but depending on your schedule and comfort level, we’ll break down both later in the post.

Regardless of which you decide, your first step is to get to the main bus terminal in Armenia.

Salento to Armenia

Since Salento is a relatively small town, there are no direct buses to or from any major cities. Armenia is the largest city in the region, so you’ll need to get there first.

Armenia is the main transport hub for the region. If you’re heading somewhere else nearby, such as Filandia, you’ll need to get to Armenia first.

This is the simplest part of the journey from Salento to Bogota but can be a little tricky depending on how you arrived in the first place. Many buses from elsewhere drop visitors off in Salento’s main square. However, the terminal to Armenia is down the hill on the far north edge of town.

Buses to Armenia cost around 4,000 COP and leave Salento roughly every 20 minutes from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. This route is a commuter bus for many locals, so it’s worth giving yourself extra time if travelling early morning or late in the afternoon as the buses do fill up.

Ride time varies depending on how busy it is but it usually takes around 45 minutes. The bus stops many times through Armenia but the bus terminal you want is at the end of the route.

Armenia Bus Station

Inside the terminal, you’ll find several companies selling tickets to Bogota. They have a sign in the window written ‘Bogota’. Prices range from around 40000 to 50000 COP with varying timetables. The first bus leaves at 5 am and the last bus leaves at somewhere around 10:30 pm.

During our most recent visit, these were the options:

  • Flota Magdalena
  • Expreso Balivario
  • Expreso Palmira

If you missed out on one final meal at one of Salento’s great restaurants, don’t worry. The station itself isn’t huge but there are several basic shops and restaurants to grab a bite to eat or to pick up snacks for the road.

Like other major routes in Colombia, the buses here are top-notch — nearly all will have toilets, air conditioning and comfortable seats.

Bus schedules are rarely strict and tickets don’t always match. On one trip we purchased tickets at 8:05 a.m. that had a 7:30 a.m. departure printed on them. The bus didn’t leave until 8:45.

Depending on your schedule, you can either take the day bus or a night bus. We have done both.

Day Bus from Armenia to Bogota

If you’re the type who likes to throw in a podcast and gaze out the window at passing landscapes, the day bus is a great option. The drive from Armenia to Bogota is incredibly scenic.

The trip takes roughly 8 – 10 hours, depending on road conditions and the usual headaches like traffic, construction, etc., especially when arriving in the city at rush hour. At midday, the bus stops for a brief lunch and stretch break. It’s best to leave Armenia as early as possible, preferably no later than 9 a.m., as it’s best to arrive in Bogota with daylight in your favour.

The major downside to the day bus is giving up a full day sitting on a bus. If you’re tight on time and wish to maximize your daylight hours on experiences rather than travel, the night bus is another great option.

Night Bus to Bogota from Armenia

We suggest taking the overnight bus for three reasons. First, you’re saving money on one night’s accommodation, which is always a bonus. We take a night bus almost every time we have the chance. Second, due to the lack of traffic, especially in Bogota, travelling at night is typically quicker.

The night bus was our choice the first time. It left Armenia at 10:30 and arrived in Bogota around 6 a.m.

One significant downside to the night bus is that the air conditioning stays on through the night, so it can get quite chilly. Be sure to have some warm clothes for the ride — or that artisanal blanket you picked up in Salento.

The road between Colombia’s coffee country and Bogota is very steep and twisting in many parts, especially near Armenia. If you’re prone to motion sickness, plan accordingly.

When You Arrive in Bogota from Salento

Upon arrival in Bogota, you’ll probably want to sit down for a nice hot coffee and a buñuelo before continuing to your accommodation. The Bogota terminal isn’t the greatest station in the country, but there are a few small eateries similar to those in Armenia.

One last important thing to note before you head out into town. Taxis in Bogota are notoriously problematic. Cab drivers are known to scam passengers in varying ways, ranging from tampering with meters to outright armed robbery. Avoid picking up taxis on the street.

Inside the Bogota bus station, head to the taxi booth, they’ll set you up with a taxi on-site. The drivers are registered here and will avoid trying anything because they’re being tracked.

Your best bet is to stick with the taxi booth, call an Uber or use an app like Easy-Tappsi. There are several available for local taxis that work the same way as the booth service.

Realistically, Uber is the simplest and safest option.

There, you’ve made it from Salento to Bogota! Don’t let that last bit about the taxis scare you off, Bogota is a phenomenal city!

If you’re making this same journey from Bogota to Salento, be sure to leave Bogota before 10 a.m. so you won’t miss the last connection from Armenia to Salento.

Street with colored buildings on the side and Bogota skyline in the background.
Beautiful Bogota

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Comments 8

    1. Post

      Hey! Glad to help!

      I don’t recall the exact company, there were several companies at the station in Armenia, each with their own window. When we arrived we just picked the cheapest one!

      1. Hello Mark,
        Thank you for these useful information, I was looking to go from Salento to Bogota too.
        I have one question : did you book the bus from armenia to Bogota on last minute ? Do you think we can for example leave Salento in end afternoon as it’s not that far from armenia and still find an available seat on the night bus ?
        Thank you !

        1. Hello Sabrina,
          We booked the bus in Armenia last minute, we couldn’t find anywhere to book it ahead. There is more than one company that drives from Armenia to Bogota during the night so you will most definitely get a ticket. Go to any window that has a Bogota sign in it when you get the Armenia bus depot, and they will find you a bus. We had 3 options when we were there, and took the cheapest, since they were all pretty much the same. Hope this helps, happy travels 🙂

  1. Do you think it is safe for a solo female traveller to take the night bus? Were there many passengers on the bus when you took it?

    1. Post

      I say yes, and checked with Kylee to get her perspective, and she agrees as well. It’s perfectly safe, and many people take it. There were several buses leaving around the same time as ours (within an hour or so) and the buses were all half-full or more, including families. Night buses are popular with locals on long journeys because they just sleep away the journey.

      The biggest thing is to watch your personal items if you’re planning on sleeping. Large bags will be stored under the bus (they’re all big, modern buses), but any personal daybag or purse with your important things should be kept with you and kept close. It’s unlikely anything will happen, but it’s good to play it safe.

      Enjoy the trip!

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