Often referred to as the Coffee Triangle, Colombia’s coffee region is renowned for growing and producing the majority of Colombian coffee—which some consider the best in the world. In fact, the area’s centennial traditions of coffee growing led UNESCO to declare the coffee axis as a World Heritage Landscape.
Located in central Colombia, the verdant territory and breathtaking views of the coffee region are stunning experiences, whether you are an avid coffee drinker or not—and we’ll show you why. Grab a cup of your favorite warm beverage and read on to discover what it’s like to venture to Colombia’s coffee region with Kuoda.
Where is the coffee region
Colombia’s coffee belt lies in fertile valleys and mainly occupies three departments: Caldas, Risaralda and Quindío. Seemingly endless coffee plantations are not far from small towns and pueblos whose charming streets are decked with colorful wooden houses that are decorated with flower boxes and delicate murals.
How to get there
The three main cities of the region include Armenia, Manizales and Pereira. Airports in any of these cities have multiple connections to Bogota’s El Dorado Airport (an hour-long flight) as well as to Medellin’s Olaya Herrera Airport (40-minute flight). From Cartagena, travelers can reach the coffee region by way of a 2-hour flight into Pereira.
What to do in the Coffee Region of Colombia
– Go on a coffee farm tour
From planting seeds to brewing a fresh cup, the best way to gain insight on coffee production is by visiting an actual finca, or farm. The majority of the farms are family-owned, meaning traditional knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation. A coffee tasting class led by a local will add to your appreciation of a caffeinated brew as you discuss flavors, notes and origin.
– Complete the Valle de Cocora Loop
The tallest palm trees in the world, wax palm, line the 5-6 hour loop around Valle de Cocora, the most important nature reserve in the Quindío department. The trail can be done by foot or horseback and offers visitors gorgeous views the entire climb up. From lush rainforest to roaring waterfalls, the variety of stunning landscapes witnessed on this scenic loop will make you fall in love with the valley.
– Visit traditional towns
Small pueblos like Salento, Filandia and Salamina are as colorful as a rainbow in the verdant Coffee Region. Each of these towns continues to be swathed in a Colonial air of yesteryear, from the traditional architecture and clothing of locals to the absence of crowds and noisy traffic.
The woven baskets and knitwear of Filandia are as dazzling as the rolling hills that surround the humble town. While in town, take the opportunity to feast at Helena Adentro, one of the most popular restaurants in the Coffee Triangle.
– Go for a dip in the Termales de Santa Rosa de Cabal
One of the most raved about hot springs in Colombia is located in the Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia (as endorsed by UNESCO). To be more precise, the Santa Rosa de Cabal termales can be found an hour’s drive from Pereira, the capital of the Risaralda department. A brief stroll guided by streams and carved stone steps leads visitors to several hot and cold pools.
Aim to enjoy the odorless hot springs on a weekday as they tend to fill up on weekends.
– Adventure time in Ecoparque los Yarumos
For families traveling through Colombia’s Coffee Region, the Eco-Park Los Yarumos is a lovely spot for an active half-day. In fact, even those traveling with their furry friends will enjoy this space as it is pet-friendly.
Located in Manizales, Ecoparque los Yarumos offers three ziplines and rock climbing walls. A 1.5-hour educational and interactive tour provides information about local plants and animals, as well as a bit about the history of Manizales.
– Mountaineering near volcanoes in Los Nevados National Park
Hire a horse or put your legs to work when you spend a day exploring the giant-palm-covered hillsides of Los Nevados National Park. Located in the central Cordillera Central of the Colombian Andes, a handful of trails for active fitness levels lead visitors to the park past colorful hummingbirds and rushing rivers. However it’s the high-altitude climbing opportunities that have made this park incredibly popular with mountaineers from all over the world.
Several snow-topped volcanoes are located in the protected area, incuding the 5,325-meter high Nevado del Ruiz. Though it is prohibited to climb the active volcano, physically fit visitors can reach the base of Ruiz in about three hours.
– Taste typical food of the Coffee Axis
The most representative dishes of the Coffee Region have been around for centuries, providing sustenance and energy to farmhands who have helped maintain the region’s natural bounty. Typically, families and workers on the farm will eat a filling lunch—the biggest meal of their day— called bandeja paisa, which includes rice, beans, fried plantain and chicharron (fried pork belly). The only challenge you will face on your visit to the Coffee Region may be to finish this massive dish!
– Smell the roses in Marsella’s botanical garden
Named for Prussian botanist, Alexander von Humboldt, the botanical garden of Marsella is a tranquil space for nature enthusiasts of all ages. Despite the absence of guides and frequent signage, this park is incredibly diverse and well-maintained for such a small town.
Shortly after entering, guests will stumble upon a shrine for St. Francis Assisi (patron saint of ecologists) then a small chapel. A bamboo bridge leads to heliconias of a deep red hue and tall palms, transporting visitors to a jungle state of mind—only to suddenly come across a wooden playground and a quaint museum with a cafe.
Your Colombia adventure, designed by Kuoda
Considered to have the second-greatest biodiversity in the world, Colombia has some of the largest and most pristine natural protected areas that can be experienced on this planet. The South American nation is also home to small towns that have preserved traditional culture and metropolitan cities that flirt with modern comforts and entertainment. With Kuoda, your Colombia adventure will be incredibly personalized with a commitment of sustainability.