If you want to travel between Salento & Medellin by bus, there are two options: a mini-van style direct service that departs around 4 times a day & a more luxury indirect bus via Armenia that departs frequently and can be selected as a night bus option.
DIRECT BUS FROM MEDELLIN TO SALENTO (AND VICE VERSA)
If you don’t feel like changing buses in Armenia, there is a direct mini bus by the company Flota Occidental that runs around 4 times a day. We met an Australian couple who were studying in Medellin and chose this option. They reported that the bus was relatively comfortable with working wifi. However, there is no toilet. Also, seats are allocated on a first come first served basis so get there early to avoid being stuck down the back of the bus as it travels the many twists and turns between these two cities. The Australian couple called Flota Occidental in advance to book their ticket (number: (57) (6) 3211656). Alternatively, you can book your ticket online at their website. The mini-van departs Medellin at 9.00am, 11.00am & 1.00pm. On the return, it runs around 4 times a day with the last service back from Salento being 4.00pm. The journey takes 6.5 hours so it is not appropriate if you want an overnight bus option. The cost of this service is 45,000 pesos.
INDIRECT BUS VIA ARMENIA
An indirect bus via Armenia is a better choice if you want a little more comfort or would like an overnight bus option to save money on accomodation or to spend a little more time in the beautiful town of Salento. This is the option we chose to take between Salento & Medellin as our horse riding tour finished after 4.00pm when the last direct bus had already left.
Medellin to Armenia
The are two main lines that travel to Armenia are Flota Occidental & Empresa Arauca. Flota Occidental boasts slightly more glamorous buses but is also a little more expensive. Both bus companies take around 7 hours to make the journey.
Empresa Arauca runs from Terminal del Sur in Medellin daily at 6.30am, 8.45am, 9.45am, 11.00am, 03.00pm & 06.00pm and costs 37,000 pesos. If you are confident with your departure times, you can book your ticket on their website. However *usually* the buses don’t sell out and sometimes you can even get a slightly better deal from the bus terminal in person.
Flota Occidental departs every hour until 11.30pm at night and costs 45,000 pesos or 47,000 pesos if you are one of the lucky few to get an even more luxurious cama seat. A more luxurious seat is definitely a worthwhile investment but you need to book a long time in advance. This bus can also be used as an overnight bus between the cities. Like Empresa Arauca, you can purchase tickets in person or via their website.
Armenia to Salento
Once you have reached the Armenia bus terminal, proceed inside the Terminal and up two flights of stairs. Then continue straight in the same direction until you reach the end of the terminal. From there walk outside to where further buses are waiting. If in doubt – say ‘Salento’ & a local will point you in the correct direction. The bus costs 4,000 pesos and takes around 1 hour.
Salento to Armenia
On the way back, the mini-bus service runs frequently between Salento & Armenia until around 9pm at night when the service stops. To be safe, be at the bus station by 8pm to avoid missing out on a seat on the last service. The bus station is located on Carrera 2 between Calle 4 & Calle 5 in Salento.
Armenia to Medellin
As above, the two main companies running this service are Flota Occidental & Empresa Arauca. Empresa Arauca costs 37,000 pesos and runs at 8.45am, 9.45am, 10.45am, 12:45pm, 2.45pm, 4.45pm & 10.00pm. from Armenia. Flota Occidental departs every hour until 11.30pm at night and costs between 45,000 – 47,000 pesos. Both bus services take around 7 hours. We selected to go with Flota Occidenta’s 10.30pm service & were happy with our decision. The bus had working wifi, power plugs to recharge your devices and individual tvs.