Highlights and main attractions of coffee country

Heading into Colombia’s Zona Caferera is like entering another world, where the buildings and infrastructure of the city give rise to rolling hill country and luscious green fields backed by mountains. West of Bogota, the coffee ‘triangle’, comprised of Quindio, Risaralda and Calda,  is set in Colombia’s central mountain range. Combining an altitude of roughly 1,500 metres with the rich minerals found in the volcanic soil means the ideal climate and conditions for cultivating coffee. Today Colombia is the second biggest exporter of coffee behind Brazil, and the Arabica bean that is grown here is considered to yield a higher grade of coffee. 

This is a fantastic area to learn more about the production process within the coffee plantations and of course to explore the magnificent scenery and friendly way of life.

Where is colombia's Coffee Country?

Where to explore and some of the animals

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.

An example of the quaint haciendas of the area is the excellent Hacienda San Jose Hotel, which was constructed in 1888 and has individually appointed rooms and beautiful bougainvillea filled gardens.

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