It is known as Camino Nacional, Camino Real and even as the Camino de los Indios. This route is due to the existence of Salento, a multicultural municipality, lavish in landscapes, architecture, cradle of the Palm of Wax and one of the ten most wanted by Colombians as a tourist destination.
It was not easy to travel this route but it became an obligatory way between the west and the center of the country. Characters as illustrious as Simón Bolívar, the wise Caldas and the botanist Alexánder von Humboldt had the strength to travel it and even to leave testimony of what today is a heritage anchored to the history of Quindío.
The chronicles recount the imperious need to create access between Santa Fe (today Bogota) and the province of Cauca, the decision of the first man to undertake this odyssey, is by Captain López de Galarza, founder of Ibague, who in 1553 receiving a cedula Royal order to open roads for the cavalry, began the route between the newly founded city and Carthage, without imagining that it would give life to Salento, in the middle of nowhere.
We do not know who was the most critical of this heroic adventure, if for the peons who had the sagacity to face the thicket of nature in their struggle to make the trail or for those who dared to cross it.
Von Humboldt, despite noticing the inclemency of this way, always emphasized the rich natural environments on a route recorded in 1799 and the German Faulhaber in 1878 proclaimed it as the Andes of Quindio.
Simón Bolívar in his liberating gesture crossed Salento on January 25, 1830 and ordered that it be built as a horseshoe road to make it more accessible.
However, one of the events that marked the history of the National Road was the creation of hamlets or villages where people could spend the night in their unlimited journey of more than 12 days in this impenetrable territory.
At the end of the first half of the eighteenth century, the government created stimuli such as the delivery of barrios to those who settled in this area and worked on the construction of this work. In 1842, President Pedro Alcántara Herran decided to create a criminal in the area transferring prisoners who had served half of the sentence to join them as workers of the enormous task.
This way the colony of Boquía is born. In 1853 because of floods of the river, the inhabitants settled down in the hill, in a place called Barcinales and from 1865 takes the name of New Salento that would later be only like Salento.
Of all the stories and legends of the National Road Salento is always a protagonist, a charming place sheltered by the magic of nature, beautiful sunsets, delicious flavors and an atmosphere that immediately catches your senses.
You must read: Colombia’s Salento one of world’s most beautiful towns thanks to architecture: CNN