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Three departments that yield nearly half of Colombia’s coffee crop; Caldas, Risaralda and Quindío: are fertile lands that produce some of the world’s best coffee.
The combination of pleasant temperatures, abundant green valleys and extraordinary snowy peaks make it a perfect destination to be explored.
This interesting mountainous place has always been a refuge of tranquility and prosperity in Colombia. The Coffee Zone has developed into a much visited tourism site.
Besides being able to live the culture of coffee and getting to know about it by staying in a typical coffee hacienda, tourists can also find lush nature everywhere, extremely warm people and a significant amount of activities such as ecotourism, theme parks, adventure sports, tours of its cities and towns, and ecological attractions to name a few.
The excellent network of roads will help you divide your time and energy to spend it in all three departments of the region:
Manizales is an important sector of the coffee trade being the capital city of the Caldas department. Because it is suspended along the edge of the mountains it has very hilly streets which have a special charm.
Unfortunately due to devastating earthquakes and fires there are no longer many historical buildings left but its is still very interesting to visit the Plaza de Bolivar and the Manizales Cathedral; if you are interested in indigenous culture you can visit a small collection of gold pieces and artifacts of Quimbaya culture.
Situated nearby the city is the stunning and safe Park of the Nevados (Parque Nacional Los Nevados), a group of snowy-volcanic peaks and the central attraction of the area; if you want to experience the contrasts of our country this is a must!
One of the most popular options is to do a one-day tour to the Nevado Del Ruiz which reaches 5321 meters above sea level and is the highest snowy volcano in the park.
If you are lucky enough and can plan your trip for January you will be able to enjoy one of Colombia’s most important festivals, The Manizales Fair (Feria de Manizales) : bullfighting, crafts, parades, partying, beauty contests and all in all a joyful celebration showing a prideful part of our culture.
With a delightful average temperature of 21° C is Pereira the capital of the Risaralda department, is an industrial and commercial area.
In the city be sure to have a look at an unusual monument: the Bolivar Desnudo, a bronze statue which shows a naked “libertador” (liberator).
Marsella, Termales de Santa Rosa and Ecotermales San Vicente are found close to the city. Marsella is a typical country town with its unique Alejandro Humboldt botanical garden and cemetery: a masterpiece of funerary architecture.
You can also find thermals pools which are perfect spots for relaxation: The thermal pools are surrounded by nature and waterfalls complemented by restaurants, hotels and bars.
Armenia is the capital city of Quindío department. This city was quickly rebuilt after a destructive earthquake in 1999; it has monuments that honor this effort.
Near the center of the city there is the Museo Del Oro, one of the best in the country, which holds a complete collection of gold artifacts and ceramics of the indigenous Quimbaya culture.
To make your trip more fun and amusing don’t miss the Parque Del Café, a thematic park which combines learning about the whole coffee process, coffee culture and traditions, with exuberant nature and mechanical attractions and rides.
There is also PANACA a huge public farm full of animals, perfect for families and children: a great place to learn about animals and farm chores through interaction and watching fun shows; visitors can experience the rural life style by being up close to animals and even getting to feed some of them!
To get another hint of the region and our country stopover, there is the Cocora Valley, a rural conservation area which holds the wax palm, Colombia’s national tree.
Here there is camping, nature walks, and horse riding to enjoy this magnificent place.
The average temperatures for the coffee zone are between 14 to 28 ° C. Be sure to bring a hat and comfortable walking shoes.
Although the weather is nice and hot during the day you’ll need a sweater for the night time as it can get pretty cold.
By plane - There are 3 airports in the coffee region. El Eden Airport in Armenia, La Nubia airport in Manizales and the Matecana airport in Pereira .
You can take a direct flight from either, Bogota, Cartagena or Medellin.
By land within the city - Getting around within the coffee region is easiest to maneuver by taxi and is cheap and fast.
But make sure to ask about the ride fare before getting in as fares may vary.