Massage Therapy in Salento

About three weeks ago, on my second night in Colombia, I stayed in a hostel’s dorm room in Poblado, figuring I’d save money.  But, I didn’t like the place or the night’s sleep that I got.

After that night, I hadn’t slept in a dorm room for over two weeks.  In Colombia, the main advantage of sleeping in a community setting is that it often costs half the price of a private room.

After having private rooms for most of my stay in Medellin and all of my stay in Manizales, I figured that it was time to cut costs and try to suck up some cheap living.

The private rooms always provided me with two pillows.  The one dorm bed I slept in in Poblado had a thick pillow that was perfect for my needs.

On the third of three buses that I had to take to get from Manizales to Salento, a genuine man struck up a conversation with me.  After chatting for a bit he asked if I had a reservation anywhere.  Since I didn’t he told me that he owns a hostel in case I’m interested.

He offered me a bed in either a dorm room with three beds for 20,000 COP or $11 or, a basic private room for 40,000 COP or $22.  I opted for the considerably cheaper dorm bed.

The pillows in this otherwise comfy hostel are thin.  I had the room to myself for the first two nights.  Both nights I borrowed the pillow from the bed beside mine so I’d have the two pillows that I needed to rest my head properly.  Both mornings I put the second pillow back on the bed you see to the right.  On the third night, the other two beds were filled.

I didn’t get back until around 11:30 pm.  I was exhausted and out in a virtual instant, resting my head on only one thin pillow.

Hours later I awoke with stiffness in my neck and shoulder, finding it awkward to turn my head.

That morning I had plans to meet a couple of local guys who were taking me on a hike.

During the hike I thought:  I need a massage on my neck and shoulderWhy couldn’t this have happened in Thailand?  Oh yeah, the pillows were all thickly plush so it wouldn’t have happened there.

That afternoon, after the hike, just a couple of minutes before arriving in the center of town, I noticed a little sign that indicated Sandero y Masajes.  I saw the sign just a couple of hours after the idea of needing this therapy popped into my head.  I never imagined there’d be a massage option in Salento, a little town of 9,000 in Colombia’s Cafetero or coffee region.

After having some delicious tinto or black coffee with my hiking partners,  I headed over to the massage place.

I explained to the jack of all trades massage therapist what had gone wrong.

I had no idea what I was going to get.  I just couldn’t help but think:  This can’t be as good as in Thailand.

The only thing I had on my mind was some rubbing on and around the spots that were affected.  She used an oil.  She didn’t use ridiculous pressure like some of the Thai therapists do.  She was gentle, creating a soothing feeling.

After massaging my shoulders, back and neck, she used four different massage machines which helped to relieve a lot of the discomfort.

She proceeded to use an acupuncture-like device on my head followed by massaging it.  This little device caused pleasant sensations throughout my arms, torso and legs. I was amazed.  I plan to purchase one as soon as I have the opportunity to.

The therapists father appeared when she said something along the lines of:

Do you mind if my father takes a look at you?”

The salon is a part of their house.  It’s common for extended families to live together in Latin America.

The father had me move my arm and head in different directions.  He then massaged the sore spots a bit.

I thought: It may have been harder explaining my problem in Thailand as my Spanish is about 50 times better than my Thai.  Granted, in Thailand I would have been speaking mostly in English, which may or may not have helped in getting my point across. 

One thing that was a bit astonishing is that the massage took place in half an hour but seemed like an hour.  Did she give me a break?  We had agreed on a half hour session.

I walked out feeling better and when I got back to the hostel I noticed two pillows in my bed. Before going hiking that day I’d told the hostel owner Velez what had happened.

This massage in Colombia costs between two and five times more than a massage in Thailand.  Yet, a massage in Colombia is still three to four times cheaper than in the States.

For a professional half hour massage that I thought was actually longer, I was charged 18,000 COP or $10.  I thought: What a fantastic value.

–   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –

If you’re in Salento, Colombia, not Italy, and want a massage, you can see Patricia Galvis.  She’s a two-minute walk from the town center on Calle 6a No. 4-56.

She can be reached at 311 474 08 98

I didn’t make an appointment.  I walked in, waited 10 minutes, and she was ready.

On top of massage she does manicures, pedicures, haircuts, facemasks and deep cleaning.

Patricia is open seven days a week from 2 to 6 pm

Colombia isn’t well known for this kind of therapeutic tourism like Thailand is.  However,  as the world continues to realize that Colombia is a peaceful country, I envision people like Patricia and Velez to see a rise in tourism revenue.


4 responses to this post.

  1. That looks so appealing Im tempted to make an appointment for myself, albeit at four times the cost for one hour.


    • SANDRA: Yes! The price difference is unbelievable. $80 for an hour would be about four times the cost of Colombia. Amazingly, that would be around eight times the cost of a massage in Thailand. Anyway, it’s so therapeutic that the experience is priceless.


  2. One of my coworkers has a similar scalp massaging contraption to the one in the photo – feels very nice on mi cabeza…


    • SEAN: I’ve seen them before but never thought much of it. After experiencing it first hand finally, I realize that the contraption induces serious relaxation.


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