Guest post by travel advisor Alexandra Maier
The Colombian coffee region (la zona cafetera) is one of the most visited destinations in Colombia and it´s also one of my personal favorites. It´s beautifully green and covered with coffee plantations and it just looks spectacular in between the mountains and clouds.
The valleys with rivers running through them look marvelous, the people are polite and the culture is rich with traditions that have been passed down by the local people.
Here are some facts you might not know about Colombia´s “coffee triangle”:
- It´s known as the “Coffee Triangle” because of the 3 cities/departments that make up the area: Pereira (Department Risaralda), Armenia (Department Quindío) and Manizales (Department Caldas)
- Over 80,000 people are involved in the cultivation of coffee in the region
- It was declared a UNESCO World heritage Site in June 2011.
There are lots of things to see in the Colombian coffee region, but here are my top 6:
1. Visit the hot springs of Santa Rosa de Cabal
The beautiful waterfalls surrounded by green woods will take your breath away! While being stunned by the views, relax in the hot thermal water pools. It´s especially nice when the night draws in and the waterfalls are all lit up.
Also, Santa Rosa de Cabal is famous for having the best sausages in Colombia! You´ll be sure to find people selling them on barbeques on every corner. Santa Rosa de Cabal is a bit less than 45 minutes away from Pereira and it´s best to go during the week and in the early afternoon.
2. Go rafting or floating on the Rio Negro
Float along the river on a bamboo raft and enjoy the beautiful nature around you. This is definitely worth doing, if you don’t mind getting wet!
3. Valle de Cocorra, Salento and Filandia
A trip to the Colombian coffee region wouldn´t be complete without a visit to the Valle de Cocorra. It’s a marvelous valley covered in 70 meter high wax palm trees. This in unique in the world and a place you really shouldn’t miss! Also, the restaurant DONDE JUAN B is worth a stop.
Close by you´ll find the small and typical villages of Salento and Filandia where you can drink a coffee on their pretty plazas and buy some traditional handicrafts. Filandia also has a tower with a great view over the coffee region.
4. Take a coffee course at San Alberto
This traditional coffee farm is still a family business and is inspired by vineyards in France. They really have the best coffee in the world along with a great view over the coffee plantations and very friendly guides who explain all the details about producing coffee. Delicious – especially if you include the tasting process!
5. Go trekking in the Los Nevados National Park
Photo by Fotopaises.com
This is a must for lovers of the great outdoors. The “Nevado” is one of Colombia´s 5000 meter mountains and has snow on top of it for most of the year. The tours take you to a very high point, or “base camp”, where you begin a 2-3 hour hike to the Laguna Verde (Green lagoon). Simply beautiful!
6. Visit a Hummingbird reserve
Hummingbirds (“colibris”) are very famous in Colombia and in the Coffee region you can see them almost everywhere. You can also visit the Rio Blanco nature reserve to see them a little closer (they are really fast!) and to get to know all the different species. Great for Birdlovers!
Whatever it is you like doing, don´t miss taking a tour through one of Colombia´s most spectacular regions!
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