The coffee zone is considered by many travellers to be the most beautiful region of the country, with its mild spring-like climate year round, friendly people and breathtaking natural beauty.
The people in the region have a unique laid back charm, the hustle and bustle of the big cities is readily forgotten, hospitality and friendship take on a new meaning, there is always time for a coffee, or a beer and a chat.
Charming small towns such as Salento, Marsella and Filandia are the cornerstones of the coffee zone, the major cities of Manizales, Armenia and Pereira serve mainly as a starting point for your exploration of the region.
We recommend staying at one of the many coffee farms, these fincas are old, authentic working coffee producing smallholdings, many of which have been adapted to welcome guests. Virtually all of the villas on such farms have swimming pools, ideal if you want to take a break from the programme for a couple of days, relax in the sunshine, take in the views and the nature and breathe the fresh air.
Take this opportunity to learn more about how your morning coffee begins its journey from the lush hillsides of the area, learn about how it is picked, sorted and dried before being shipped for export. The vast green landscapes also make the perfect backdrop for hiking and horse riding.
Your trip will start by road or plane to Armenia, Manizales or Pereira. We will organise your trip according to your personal wishes, but relatively speaking, the distances within the coffee zone are all short so any one of the major cities is an ideal starting point, and from any of the cities you can visit all of the main attractions.
Whether a visit to the magnificent Thermal Springs of Santa Rosa de Cabal, the spectacular Cocora Valley, a visit to a typically simple coffee processing plant or an outing in one of the area’s famous Willys Jeeps.
The coffee zone even has something for the foodies and gastronauts. Salento is famed for its delicious river trout which can be prepared in a variety of ways and enjoyed in the quaint independent restaurants in the town. Santa Rosa de Cabal is well known for its local recipe chorizos which are available at the roadside fresh from the kitchen and eaten accompanied by the typical arepa. On the roads around your finca you might find La Forcha, a curious Quindío delicacy which is a fermented sweet foam served in a plastic cup.
- The climate is mild, the days are warm but the evenings can turn cooler. You should pack lightweight layers of clothing and waterproofs
- Be aware that the terrain can be challenging and you are at altitude. We do not recommend entering the Cocora valley without a local guide, there are no defined walkways and low lying mists can easily cause you to lose your bearings.
An ideal trip to the coffee zone should be at least 4 days. For a typical itinerary in the coffee zone, please visit our short coffee tours. For tours based around Manizales, consider Hacienda Venecia as your destination.
We can organise your flights for you with one of the national carriers and pick-up from the airport to take you to your finca. We offer authentic fincas each with their own charisma and facilities. We personally know all of them and whatever you choose and regardless of your budget, you will receive a warm welcome, be in an excellent location and you will enjoy truly charming homestyle accommodation.
We offer a range of attractive programmes tailored to your budget, the amount of relaxation time you want and your willingness to tackle physical challenges. A visit to Salento or Filandia for example, both charming villages full of colourful facades, traditional architecture and friendly faces.
Salento is the perfect starting point for your visit to Cocora. A stunning valley running between the Andean peaks of the coffee zone noted for its unique wax palms, the world’s highest palm trees. We offer guided walks through Cocora, returning to Salento or continuing through the forests and onwards to the nature reserve of Acaime. An excellent location for ornithologists and wildlife photographers hoping to spot some of the local hummingbirds and barranqueros.
For hardcore birding, consider including a guided trip to Río Blanco in your itinerary.
We also offer visits to San Alberto, Recuca or Hacienda Venecia. Typical coffee estates where the coffee production process is explained. Depending on your wishes, you might also want to include a horse ride at Finca El Carmelo, mountain biking at Pueblo Tapao, river rafting on the Rio Vieja or a visit to the Mariposario butterfly garden of Armenia.
We’d urge you to pay a visit to the thermal springs of Santa Rosa de Cabal with its picture postcard location beneath a towering waterfall. The ideal relaxing day out away from it all, you can really pamper yourself because the complex also has its own spa.
Don’t like relaxation? Then consider an ascent to the top of Nevado Santa Isabel or one of our 3 day Los Nevados treks starting in the Cocora Valley
The Coffee Zone is the ideal area for families, it offers plenty of space on the farms and affords the visitor a huge variety of activity options.