Located in close proximity to Salento is a wonderful park full of waterfalls. This area is great for the whole family as all of the trails are easy to follow and most aren’t difficult. We came to this park after hiking the famous Valle de Cocora. The main attraction here is the Santa Rita waterfall.
There are more than just waterfalls in this park as you will soon find out. In this guide, I will go over everything you need to know about Finca Santa Marta and why you should add it to your list of things to do in Salento.
Where is Santa Rita Waterfall?
Santa Rita waterfall is located in a campground/park known as Finca Santa Rita. The cost to get in here is $7000 COP. It will take you around 10 minutes by bus to get here or close to an hour hike. The hike to the park was interesting but I still would prefer that then taking the bus.
Below I will show you the exact area you want to get dropped off if you’re taking the bus.
Other Hikes in Colombia You’d Love:
- La Cueva del Esplendor
- Cascada la Escalera
- Cerro Kennedy Hike
- Pozo Azul in Minca
- Marinka Waterfalls
- Camping in Cabo San Juan
- La Piedra del Penol – Guatape Rock
- 9 Amazing Hikes in Medellin
How to Get to Santa Rita Waterfall
There are two main ways of getting to Santa Rita waterfall. Those are to take a bus or hike the whole distance. Below I will go into more detail about each.
This is the method we chose to get here. We did end up getting a ride back. There are 2 paths that you can take when getting to the entrance. You can cut through on a trail that takes you extremely close to the entrance or walk on the road. I will always suggest not walking on the main road if you don’t have to.
The hike from Salento to the entrance is around 1.2 miles or 2.4 round trip. We got a ride back because the trail towards the end becomes very slippery and wet.
Bus from Salento
This is the best option if you don’t want to hike because many of the Willy Jeeps don’t go this way. You will have to hire one of your own if you really want to take one. The bus isn’t expensive (around 1500 COP). You will need to go to the Salento bus terminal and ask for the town of Boquia.
once you get off the bus right past the yellow bridge, you will want to take the road that is parallel to the river. Keep walking down this and you will see a Santa Rita sign. Follow this to the main entrance.
Santa Rita Waterfall Hike Details
- Distance: This hike is a around 7.5-mile out & back trail. This all depends on if you choose to walk from Salento or take the bus.
- Duration: It will take around 2-3 hours to complete depending on how long you stay at the waterfall. There are many things to see here so don’t feel rushed.
- Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as easy to moderate. The path from Salento to the entrance can be difficult at times because of the minimal foot gripping. Other than that it is a pretty straightforward hike that has some incline in certain areas.
- Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 1200 feet or 365 meters.
- Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
We followed the hike on Wikiloc and I would suggest you do the same if you feel the need to be more prepared.
My Suggested Hiking Gear
Below is a list of some of my favorite hiking/travel gear I bring everywhere. Everything below is something I currently use and never leave my house without.
- KEEN Durand II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots: I finally upgraded my hiking boots in 2022 and these are fantastic. They have top-notch ankle support and are super durable.
- Petzl Tikka Headlamp: A headlamp for hiking is a must if you’re like me and love sunrise hikes. This is a great price for a quality headlamp and also has a good red light to not disturb others in the morning.
- Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks: I originally got these as a present but I had to buy more because these are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever tried on.
- Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: You will never have to rebuy plastic water bottles. This is the best water filtering device on the market. It is excellent for hikers and travelers alike.
My Experience Hiking to the Santa Rita Waterfall
I will be going over the details of the hike starting in Salento. If you are taking a bus then you can skip to the next section.
Salento to Finca Santa Rita
The start of the hike is where Calle 7 meets Carrera 2. The picture above is what that road will look like. It started great as we were on a nice dirt path and the wikiloc trail kept us on the path. Always take the path that keeps going straight and not to a building.
Around the halfway point the terrain started to change. The ground was consistently wet and we had to walk very slowly to make sure we didn’t slip.
This won’t last forever as you will pop out on the street and it isn’t much longer until you reach the entrance.
Hike to Santa Rita Waterfall
The hike from the main entrance to Santa Rita waterfall is rather straightforward. You will be staying on the same path for the majority of the time. Along this route, there will be a tunnel and a campground that you pass.
Past this tunnel, you will want to hook a left and cross the bridge. Immediately after this bridge, you will see a small restaurant where you can buy some food at. Follow the path to the left and this will lead you straight to the waterfall.
Since you can’t really swim at the actual Santa Marta waterfall then you might want to head to the natural pools. Head back out the way you came and instead of crossing that bridge by the restaurant, keep straight. You will see signs pointing you toward these natural pools.
There will be a small section of incline along this trail but it won’t last for long. Soon after you will be at the best swimming area in the park. The water is crystal clear and cold. This is where the majority of people inside the park like to hangout out.
There is another smaller waterfall on your way out of the park that is cool to see. The trail to Barranquero waterfall starts below the natural pool trail. You’ll want to backtrack some to get on it. From here it is a short walk until you come across the cave to your left.
Once you cross your bridge you’ll walk through the cave, which is more like a tunnel. Right after this “cave” you’ll head left and be at the Barranquero waterfall. It isn’t the best waterfall I’ve seen but it is on your way out if you want to go this way.
To get back to the entrance of the Santa Rita waterfall park, simply follow the trail until you get to a cow field. Be careful of poop but other than that it has some great views.
Final Thoughts on the Santa Rita Waterfall
Santa Rita waterfall was great for what it is. The map at the entrance to the park doesn’t depict the actual size of the place. It sucks you can’t actually swim in the main waterfall but other than that I still enjoyed myself. If you don’t have any other plans like going on a coffee tour or hiking Cocora Valley, then I would suggest you check this area out.
Thank you for reading my guide on the Santa Rita Waterfall. I hope this guide helps anyone looking to do something a little bit outside of Salento and the normal touristy activities.