Only 55 miles (90 km) away from Salento and the impressive Cocora Valley, Manizales is one of the most underrated cities in the Colombian coffee region.
You can get there in around two hours by hiring a private car to take you through the mountains. Given the distance, several companies offer the route, even from a town as small as Salento. Unfortunately, renting a car is not a viable option, since most car rentals are local and family-owned and do not allow for drop-offs in other cities.
There is also always the option of taking a bus. Since there are no direct routes to Manizales, you will need to transfer in Pereira to reach your final destination.
By Private Transfer
Duration: 2 hours
The most compelling reason to hire a car is having peace of mind. The road through the coffee region is mountainous and beautiful, but all the twists and turns can be difficult to navigate.
This option also allows you to choose whether you want to go straight to Manizales to enjoy its food and weather or if you'd rather make a stop at Pereira halfway through.
The journey itself is short enough that it doesn't require any pit stops, but don't shy away from stopping at a roadside restaurant and trying some of the regional food they offer.
As Salento is quite popular with tourists, you'll easily be able to find transfer service companies at the main square of the town or by asking around.
Duration: 3-4 hours
The good thing about going to Manizales by bus is that the landscape will be just as enjoyable as by car.
However, there are no direct buses connecting the city to Salento. This means that you will have to take a bus to Pereira and then transfer to one heading to Manizales.
Both of the buses are fairly easy to find since Pereira and Manizales are cities and there are always travelers heading to them. Both legs of the journey have buses leaving around every 20 minutes, so you have some flexibility to explore Pereira for a bit before hopping onto your bus to Manizales.