Our favourite things to do in Colombia's Coffee Region Uncover South America

Colombia | Blog Our favourite things to do in Colombia's Coffee Region

October 20, 2023

If you’re dreaming of delicious coffee, bright emerald hills, cute little towns, and picturesque landscapes, then you need to include the Coffee region in your Colombia vacations! 

Very famous for its coffee plantations, this region of Colombia also known as the coffee triangle or Eje Cafetero, consists of three departments: Quindio, Caldas and Risaralda. It’s also a paradise for food lovers with its delicious local products. Bananas, avocado, pineapple, plantains and plenty of delightful native fruits are only a few examples of all the delicacies you can find there! 

The coffee region is also an incredible place if you enjoy spending time in nature, learning about a new culture and watching wildlife. You will discover gorgeous natural parks, lots of endemic birds, and will have the chance to spend time with locals to learn about their traditions. 

We collected some experiences that will get you out of your everyday life and make your trip to Colombia the one to remember!

Discover gorgeous typical towns 

We could have started this article with the obvious, by talking about coffee. But there is something we love almost equally in the coffee region: the cute colourful little towns. 

Salento: Despite being quite remote, this pueblo is the star of Quindio, and a must-visit during your Colombia Coffee Region tour. It has retained its colonial charm and its architecture. While you’re there, visit the infamous Cocora valley and its gigantic wax trees, taste some delicious trout, the speciality dish in town. If you feel adventurous, go paragliding to admire incredible views of the farmlands lush green valleys. 

Filandia: Less touristic than Salento but just as gorgeous, Finlandia is the hidden gem of the coffee region. Like its big sister, Filandia is characterised by its colourful houses and colonial streets. There you can have a better glimpse of local lives and enjoy its quiet and laid-back atmosphere. One of the main attractions is being amazed by the dazzling landscape and sunsets. 

Pijao: If you haven’t visited a slow city or Cittaslow yet, Pijao is the perfect town to live the experience. The concept was created in Italy to maintain a high-quality living environment and promote a cleaner environment, healthier food, sustainability, and traffic calming. Pijao is truly off the beaten track and only a few travellers visit this place. Here you won’t find any tourist or souvenir shop, only beautiful colonial houses, warm locals and especially quiet and serenity. 

Salamina: It won’t be a surprise by now if we tell you that Salamina is another gorgeous colonial town with cute little streets and colourful houses. It was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site, and we can totally understand why. Take the time to explore the town, discover its hidden secrets and taste its delicious specialities. Sample a freshly brewed cup of coffee, sit with locals, and listen to their stories while admiring the Andes mountains.  A visit to Salamina is the promise of a truly authentic experience


Visit local farms and taste the best coffee you’ll ever have 

Colombia is the third-largest producer of coffee in the world, and more than two million people rely on it for livelihood. So, it’s safe to say that a visit to Colombia wouldn’t be complete without a coffee farm tour. Moreover, with its agricultural exploitation model that takes care of the environment, the coffee region landscape was declared UNESCO World Heritage in 2011.

Despite being the perfect occasion to try exquisite coffee, a farm tour is also a great way to dip in Colombia culture, meet locals and learn about their day to day lives and traditions. 

What happens during your coffee farm tour? 

You will learn about the entire making process, from the plantation and the selection to the roasting and tasting. First, you will learn how to differentiate between the good and bad types of beans and plants then you will help pick ripe coffee cherries. The farmer will also show you the coffee-making process and all the steps between the beans to your dark beverage. Finally, you will learn to evaluate the coffee’s quality like a professional coffee taster. 

The peak season for coffee is between March and June then October to December, so make sure that you plan your Colombia tour during these dates to make the most of your coffee farm visit. 


Have fun with your kids at the National coffee park 

If a visit of a farm hasn’t satisfied your thirst of coffee, head off to the National Coffee Park. Located just 4 km away of Armenia, this park was created in 1995 by the National Federation of Coffee Grower of Colombia and is a non-profit initiative to help promoting the coffee and cultural heritage of the country. It’s a great place to learn more about Colombia and its incredible coffee while having fun. 

The park is a huge playground full of themed attractions, mechanical rides and shows. But, contrary of what you can expect from a theme park, the National Coffee Park is extremely involved in sustainability and environmental protection

Why is Colombian coffee so good?

Colombia uncontestably produces one of the best coffees in the world, thanks to different parameters. First, the location. Colombia is one of these countries where the climate is perfect for plantations. It has the ideal balance of rain and sun, and its mountainous terrain contains fantastic soil for coffee. 

Then its production. Where many countries are now using machines to harvest their coffee, Colombia doesn’t sacrifice the quality of its products for the quantity. Each bean is carefully picked by hand to avoid any green or overripe coffee beans. 

Finally, the variety of its coffee beans. Colombia is one of the only countries that produces 100% Arabica beans. Now, if you’re a coffee lover, we don’t have to tell you that Arabica is smoother, sweeter and tastes so much better. 

Explore breathtaking natural parks and reserves  

Another unmissable thing to do when travelling to Colombia is hiking in one of the many jaw-dropping natural parks. These are just some of our favourites in the Coffee Region. 

Hike in Los Nevados National Park: Located in the heart of the coffee region, Los Nevados is well known for its snow-capped volcanos, spectacular paramo and beautiful lakes. Besides hiking, you can also go fishing in Otún Lake, relax in hot springs and discover the incredible landscapes. There you can observe plenty of different ecosystems, and if you’re lucky, you can even spot some spectacled bears, pumas, or white-tailed deer. 

Explore the Cocora Valley: Another star of the coffee region that you cannot miss is the Cocora Valley and its giant palm wax. From Salento, hop on one of the shared jeeps, known as Willys, and go to meet the tallest palm trees in the world. When hiking Cocora Valley, you can take different routes, but the most popular is the 5 hours hike. There are two ways to complete it, but we recommend that you take the counter-clockwise walk, which is harder but trust us, the feeling of finally arriving in the stunning valley is unmatched. Instead of walking, you can also take a horseback ride to enjoy this wonderful park in a more relaxing way.

Visit the Acaime Hummingbird House: If you feel like making a slight detour while hiking the Cocora Valley, you can visit the Acaime Hummingbird House. There you will live an incredible experience and will encounter the cutest, friendliest hummingbirds that you will ever see. As it’s a private property, you will need to pay an extra fee to enter, but it will allow you to see these beautiful creatures from up close and take incredible photos. 

Go birding in Rio Blanco: Considered one of the best birding spots in the world, Rio Blanco is home to more than 350 species and contains some of the richest biodiversity on the planet. It’s very famous among birders for being an incredible spot to observe Antpitta, a very rare species that is extremely hard to catch. Even if you haven’t done birding before and you are simply curious, Rio Blanco promises a magical experience and a chance to watch birds that look like they’ve flown out of a paint factory. 

Relax in Santa Rosa de Cabal: After all this hiking, it’s time for you to unwind and take care of your sore muscles in Termales de Santa Rosa. Actually, the natural hot springs require a short hike, but we promise that you will be rewarded after this. This hidden gem is located in the lush Colombian forest, and its gorgeous waterfall will blow your mind away. Enjoy the different baths and let your skin soak up the minerals from the region for a deep relaxation.

Taste delicious specialities 

In addition to being an absolute paradise for nature and culture lovers, the Coffee Region of Colombia is a real treat for foodies. During your visit, make sure that you taste some of these specialities for an exquisite and authentic experience. 

Trout: In Quindio, the trout is an institution and is eaten in unbelievable quantities. It can be prepared by boiling, frying, grilling, or baking with some local spices and herbs and served with patacón (fried green plantains). A very simple dish but absolutely delicious. 

Tamales: You might have heard about these delicious small plantain leaves packets as they’re becoming popular in different places of the world. It’s a very common dish in Colombia and each region has its own recipe. In the coffee region, they’re made with eggs, meats and a delicious stew covered with corn dough then cooked in a bijao leaf.

Bandeja Paisa: This typical dish is one of the most traditional of Colombia and you can’t leave the country without tasting it. It’s a mix of ground beef, rice, red beans, fried pork, sausage, a plantain, an arepa, some avocado and a fried egg. Don’t let yourself get discouraged by the portion size because it’s exactly what you need after a long day of hiking.

We hope that we convinced you that the Coffee Region is an absolute unmissable spot during your trip to Colombia. Get in touch today so we can craft for you the expedition of a lifetime!


Uncover South America Team

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