There are several important hubs in the coffee region including Pereira and Manizales, which offer access to the rural areas that are the main charm of the region. Armenia is the capital of Quindio in the heart of the zone surrounded by rolling hills and offers flight connections to Bogota in 35 minutes. However, it is heading out to the quaint chocolate-box villages that open your eyes to the beauty of the area, with the renowned traditional fincas and haciendas that can be explored, earning the coffee cultural landscape UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Solento is perhaps the most picturesque of the semi-rural towns, with a charming square that exudes an authentic Colombian joie de vivre and has a string of vibrantly coloured houses on each of its sides. From here it is possible to experience the Cocora Valley, one of Colombia’s most uniquely striking natural wonders. The valley is filled with lofty wax palms that cast an eerie shadow over the countryside as well as flitting hummingbirds and wild orchids. The community of Salento is 10,000 strong, most of whom work in the coffee production industry and drive distinctive Willy Jeeps!
Los Nevados National Park, dominated by the imposing Nevado del Ruiz volcano, is another area to explore, and the thermal springs provide the ultimate in post-hike relaxation after a day of viewing the various flora and birds, some of which are endemic to the area, such as the bearded helmet crested hummingbird
There are some exciting places to explore here, and some vibrant wildlife to be seen along the way.