Eje Cafetero : Complete Travel Guide

In this article, I will show you ALL the tips to travel to the Eje Cafetero in Colombia. We will cover all the best things to do, places to stay, where to eat, and more. So if you plan to travel to Colombia, you will love this new guide.Let’s dive in
salento finca don elias eje cafetero colombia

Table of Contents

Eje Cafetero Travel Guide

The Eje Cafetero colombiano was one of the destinations that we had decided to visit from the first moment we decided to travel to Colombia.

In a way, the Eje Cafetero is like the representation of everything I had in my imagination about Colombia, except the cities.

It is a place that can be described roughly in three words, colorful, nature and coffee.

 

But it would be a little ungrateful of me to say only that about the Coffee Axis, the people there are nice, quiet, hospitable, with a smile on their mouths.

Come on, they make you feel at home, a real luxury.

Smells, sensations, colors, all the senses activated and enjoying every moment, that’s the Eje Cafetero, or at least that’s what the stay there meant to me.

What is the Eje Cafetero of Colombia

The Eje Cafetero is located in the Colombian department of Quindío.

In Colombia it is known as the green department, and the truth is that they are not lacking in reason, since the whole landscape is green, very green.

But if I’m honest, I think the Amazon is greener in Leticia.

Well, this department is made up of the cities of Manizales, Pereira and Armenia.

That is, the triangle formed by them, contains all the wonders you can find there, from colorful and beautiful towns like Salento, wonders of nature like the Palmas de Cera, the Colombian national tree, and much more.

 

Perhaps that is not the only reason for the magic of this region of Colombia, coffee has done almost everything here.

The coffee tradition, one of the best coffees in the world, who doesn’t remember the Juan Valdés? That character that has always appeared in television commercials talking about the best coffee in the world, the Colombian.

Well, yes, he was talking about the Eje Cafetero.

The sum of all that the Eje Cafetero contains, added to the conservation of the century-old culture of coffee (plantations, harvesting and the production process) has made it possible for it to be declared a World Heritage Site a few years ago.

Do you need more reasons to convince yourself that the Eje Cafetero is a place you can’t miss?

When to travel to the Eje Cafetero

I suppose that if you want to travel to the Eje Cafetero, one of the first questions you will be asking yourself is what is the best time of year to travel, what is the weather like, by day, by night, etc.

Well, we’ll tell you about that now.

The good thing about this region, and that’s why we get a coffee of supreme quality, is the climate, the temperature.

Well, the temperature remains stable throughout the year, between 18 and 21 degrees centigrade.

But not everything is the temperature, but there are also some months where the rain makes an appearance, and it can spoil your plans a little, especially if you are going to do some trekking, like the Cocora Valley.

There are also some months considered as high season, where there are always many people in the Eje Cafetero.

But there are other months where it doesn’t rain, the temperature is still the same, but there are not so many people.

Colombian Coffee Growing Region

Very high wax palms in Cocora Valley

The rainiest months are March, April, October and November.

The months considered as high season are December, January, May, June and July.

And the months where it doesn’t rain but the Eje Cafetero is not overcrowded are February, August or September.

We were in the month of September, and the truth is that it did not rain, the temperature was great, and although there was tourism, that was not massive.

 

How to get to the Eje Cafetero

Being such a popular place, and one of the most visited in Colombia, it is not surprising that the possibilities to get there are many.

You can get there by plane or by bus, depending on where you come from and how much time you have, you can choose one of the two options.

By plane

If you decide to fly to the Eje Cafetero you can do so to the three main cities, Manizales, Pereira and Armenia.

However, you will have to take into account where you are going to stay.

There are flights from the main cities of Colombia, Bogotá, Medellín and Cartagena de Indias.

We stayed in Salento, and Pereira airport was the best option for flying from Bogotá, which was our place of origin before we set foot on the magnificent Eje Cafetero.

We can tell you how to get there in the best and cheapest way from Pereira, since that is our experience.

Well, once you have landed at Pereira airport and collected your luggage, take a taxi to the bus terminal and there you should go to the window of Expreso Alcalá and wait for the next bus to Salento (they also go to Filandia).

There are buses every few days, so you won’t have to wait long.

By bus

If you decide to go to the Eje Cafetero by bus, you can do it from Bogotá, Cali or Medellín.

From Bogotá (it takes eight hours) and from Cali (the trip takes four hours) there are buses that go to the city of Armenia, there you must take a bus, at the same bus station, to Salento, if this is your destination, with the company Cootracir.

Buses leave every twenty minutes.

If your point of origin to go to the Eje Cafetero is Medellín, there are buses that go directly to Salento, with a duration of about seven hours.

You must take the bus at the South Station in Medellín.

But if your destination is not Salento, there are also buses from Medellín that take you to Pereira, and from there, you will have to take another bus to your destination.

How to get around the Eje Cafetero

Moving around the Eje Cafetero is really easy, since being such a visited place, it is perfectly prepared for you to go to any point of it using either buses or willys.

What are willys? Well, it’s an all-terrain car adapted to the new times, because its production was finished at the end of the 40’s.

They are a real relic, and the best way to reach places like the Cocora Valley from Salento.

From the main cities of the Eje Cafetero, Salento, Armenia or Manizales, from their bus terminals you can access the tourist spots.

And from towns like Salento or Filandia, you can take the willys from the main squares.

Rent a car in the Eje Cafetero? Well, it’s an option that we don’t take, but we know it exists.

Moreover, it can be interesting if you are several, to share expenses and get faster to the different points that may interest you in the Eje Cafetero.

How many days to stay in the Eje Cafetero

I would say that you should reserve a few days to visit the different places that the Eje Cafetero offers, but this, as always, will depend on the days you have available, which unfortunately are usually less than we would like.

We spent three days and two nights, is that enough? Actually, yes and no.

Yes because it gave us time to visit everything we wanted, the minimum possible.

And no, because we left places in the inkwell, but as I said before, in the end the days we had to travel to Colombia were not all we would have liked, so we had to plan and decide.

We visited a coffee farm, enjoyed Salento and did the complete trekking through the Cocora Valley.

I would say that this is the least we could see in El Eje Cafetero, and from there, discover and enjoy other places.

 

Some of those other places we were looking at and found information about before our trip are the following;

-Philadeland, a town as colorful as Salento, but with less tourism.

-Barbas Bremen Reserve, a nice trekking where you can see howler monkeys.

-National Natural Park of Los Nevados, where you can see an active volcano, Nevado Ruiz, a glacier lagoon.

If you want to visit this park and don’t have your own vehicle, you will need to hire a tour.

What to see and do in the Eje Cafetero

Well, at this point, I understand that you’ll want to know what to see and do in the Eje Cafetero, although we’ve already given you a bit of an advance on the places to see, but with little detail.

Visiting a coffee farm

You can’t leave the Eje Cafetero without visiting a coffee farm, which is the essence of the place!

Well, there are several coffee farms you can visit near Salento, and reaching them is very easy.

You just have to go to the Park (which is the main square of Salento) and there buy the ticket of the willy and the coffee farm you are going to visit.

The Ocaso farm is the biggest in the area, and I think it’s called that because you can’t see the sun as big as it is (I don’t know if my inventiveness is correct :)).

This is also the farm that attracts more visitors.

And the smallest farm is the Don Elias Coffee Farm, and precisely for that reason, because it is the smallest and most familiar of all, it was the one we chose to visit.

We loved walking around the coffee plantations, seeing that brown gold, the wealth of Quindío, up close.

But also, we were lucky (I think it’s more about not overcrowding) to be able to learn the secrets of this small farm alone, together with Elias’ grandson.

We were able to see the complete process of production and elaboration of the arch-famous Colombian coffee.

And best of all, taste it.

I’m not a particularly coffee-drinking person, but I do like to enjoy a good coffee from time to time, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a coffee like this before.

You can also buy the coffee they produce on the farm, at really low prices.

Come on, it makes you want to bring bags and bags of coffee.

It’s delicious.

Trekking in the Cocora Valley

I think this was the part of the trip to the heart of the Coffee Axis that we liked the most, trekking through the Cocora Valley.

Before arriving I had seen dozens of photos of the wax palms, the Colombian national tree, but when we arrived, my mouth was open.

Much more impressive than the photos showed.

To do the trekking of the Cocora Valley I recommend you to get up early.

This way you will be able to enjoy a quieter and less crowded walk.

How to get to Cocora Valley

It’s pretty simple, you just head to the main square of Salento and take a Willy.

There are several willys you will see, and they don’t come out until they are full, but don’t worry, they fill up pretty fast.

You can buy your return ticket right there.

When you finish the trek, you must go to the parking lot where your willy left you.

More info about trekking in Cocora Valley

We had read that there were two ways of doing the trekking.

Since it is circular, you can start on the recommended route, or do it the other way round.

The latter way is supposed to find less people on the way and leave the best for the end.

We start with the recommended route, where you suddenly find yourself with your wax palms.

Little by little you go up and you get into a foggy forest, beautiful.

Colombian Coffee Growing Axis

Wax palms

To be honest, we saw, in fact, more people doing it in the opposite direction than recommended.

But then, doing it the other way around has a little drawback, and that is that the uphill climb is deadly.

Much better to lower it.

The distance covered if you do the complete trek is about twelve kilometers, to which you will have to add two more if you get to La Casa de los Colibries, which is worth it.

If we talk about the level of difficulty, I would say that it is between medium and low if you do it by the indicated way.

In case you start the trek upside down, the steep and long-lasting climb, I think it would be at medium-high level.

The Mountain Farm

The Finca de la Montaña is the highest part of the trek, where there is a house and you can enjoy really nice views of the surroundings.

Views from the Finca de la Montaña

If you start the trekking as recommended, in La Finca de la Montaña you will have climbed to the highest part, and you will only have to go down.

If you do it the other way round as well, but the climb, as I told you before, is quite hard, there was nothing to see but the faces of those who decided to do it the other way round.

The House of Hummingbirds

One kilometer down from the Mountain Farm there is a fork that tells you if you want to go to the Casa de los Colibríes (Hummingbird House) or continue towards the bridges of the Quindío River until the exit.

We decided to do the view of the hummingbirds, since we had already reached there, we thought that walking a couple more kilometers might be worthwhile.

And so it was.

ValleEje Cafetero colombianode Cocora

A hummingbird in the Hummingbird House

It’s called the Hummingbird House since there are dozens of hummingbirds flying around.

But it’s also true that both tourists and arriving tourists are making the hummingbirds go from there to less crowded and less noisy places because of the noise.

So, try to be quiet and enjoy their presence.

Bridges over the Quindío River

The Quindío River crosses this area, and in order to carry out the trekking you will have to pass over the seven rudimentary bridges.

Bridge over the Quindío River

The landscape is really beautiful, the cloud forest and the bridges make a perfect combination.

Enjoy Salento

During our trip to the Eje Cafetero, Salento was our “center of operations”, and from there we went to visit the Cocora Valley and the Coffee Farm.

But Salento is a town you have to visit yes or no.

Well, from what I’ve read Filandia is very similar, so if you go to Filandia and you don’t have enough time to visit Salento, you can get an idea.

It’s not that Salento has dozens of things to see, it’s more about enjoying the place, strolling through its colorful streets, the tranquility and above all tasting the typical gastronomy of the area.

And one thing I tell you, Salento is considered the most beautiful town in Colombia, there is nothing there.

 

Even though it is an inland town, you will be surprised to see that one of the most typical foods is trout, there are several fish farms around.

And you’ll see that patacones are like sheets of large, thin but delicious.

Go up to the viewpoint of Salento to see how far the limits of this town go, you will get a nice view in your retina and in your camera.

Map of the Eje Cafetero

We leave you here below a map with the most important places of the Eje Cafetero of Colombia.

Safety and advice for the Eje Cafetero

The Eje Cafetero in Colombia is a quiet and safe place, but like everywhere else, just take the basic precautions.

In towns like Salento, they are used to tourism and in fact, it’s an important source of income, so you can relax and enjoy the town.

In cities like Armenia, Manizales or Pereira, I don’t think you’ll spend much time, but they might be the places with some risk.

In any case, if you are going to spend a night in any of these three cities, ask in your accommodation if there is any area where it is not advisable to walk, or if there is any time, such as at sunset or dusk where there is some risk.

 

Colombia’s tourist areas are safe, despite the country’s bad reputation for its recent past.

Anyway, as I mentioned a little above, if you have any doubts, it is better to ask at your accommodation, as they know better than anyone whether there is a risk or not.

Cocora Valley is a very quiet place, you don’t have to worry.

But keep in mind some tips.

-Wear suitable shoes to do a trekking.

-Put on some clothes that will keep you from a shower of water.

-Just in case, take something for lunch and water, but remember, don’t throw any wrappings on the ground.

Whatever you take, bring it with you.

-Wear comfortable clothes.

-Don’t forget sunscreen, because when the sun comes up, it hits hard.

-Mosquitoes will be around to suck some of your blood, so bring some repellent.

-In case it rains, it’s also good to carry some kind of waterproof bag for your mobile or camera.

Accommodation in Eje Cafetero

Accommodation in Salento

In Salento you will find a lot of accommodation for all tastes and pockets.

This is mainly due to the large number of visitors who come there.

In our case, we stay at the Hotel Salento Real, very close to Calle Real and also to Plaza Bolívar.

But, as Salento is a small town, everything will be close to you.

The Hotel Salento Real was a very nice place.

What we liked the most was the breakfast, because besides being quite tasty, it is served in a terrace with a view that accompanies quite a lot.

You can have a look at this hotel, to see prices, photos, opinions (beyond ours) and availability, check out this link, Hotel Salento Real.

If you want to see other accommodation options in Salento, you can check this link, Accommodation in Salento.

Accommodation in other places of the Eje Cafetero

As in our case we only stay in Salento, we cannot recommend other places, but we leave you with links so you can have a look at the different options you have in the rest of the places of the Eje Cafetero.

Eje Cafetero Colombiano: the definitive guide.

What to see, what to do, what to eat, where to sleep

Inês & Chris30 March, 2019 Colombia, Travel Guides, RandomLatam 13 comments

The Colombian coffee axis is synonymous with colorful towns that dot the green of the mountains and coffee plantations.

Of waking up with hummingbirds or howling monkeys.

Of aromas of citrusy soil and, of course, of coffee, all mixed together.

And some cow poo.

Of hot soups in the middle of the mountain.

And aguapanela with cheese.

And hot chocolate.

Of transforming every bus trip into the seat of a cinema chair before such a spectacle of landscapes.

It is also synonymous with wax palms, fragile giants that defy the laws of physics and leave no one indifferent, or they would not be one of the symbols of the country.

But the best thing about the coffee axis is undoubtedly its people.

For all these reasons it became our favourite region of the country.

In this post we give you the guide so you can organize your trip around the area with the best places to go, several possible itineraries, suggestions of accommodation and even restaurants.

Now, to understand and enjoy the best that the coffee axis has, its people, you will have to go 🙂

“…So that the conuco does not suffer so much.

I hope that it rains coffee in the field…” 🎶 🎵 We’ve had this song in our heads almost every day around here.

Coffee plantations, Hacienda Venecia, Manizales

“…So that the conuco does not suffer so much

May it rain coffee in the field…” 🎶 🎵

We’ve had this song in our heads almost every day around here.

Coffee plantations, Manizales

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When to go to the Eje Cafetero

The Eje Cafetero is one of those areas that you can visit at any time of the year.

It is, along with Medellín, the area of Colombia known as “the eternal spring”, with maximum temperatures of about 25º and minimum temperatures of about 13º.

Hacienda Cafetera Venecia, the best accommodation of the trip 🙂

Hacienda Cafetera Venecia, the best accommodation of the trip 🙂

It is therefore a “cool” area: during the day if it is not cloudy and sunny you can walk around in short sleeves, but at night it gets quite cool so you have to wear suitable clothes.

Besides, it can rain at any time, so it is essential to wear suitable shoes and something to protect you from the rain.

In theory the rainiest months are April and May, although it really rains quite a lot all year round so don’t worry about it.

How many days to dedicate to the Eje Cafetero

As you will see below, the Eje Cafetero has a lot to offer, especially in terms of nature and landscapes, so try to spend a minimum of 4-5 nights in the area to see a little bit of everything.

Dance in chapolera costume, in the Plaza del Filandia

Dance in a chapolera suit, in the Plaza del Filandia

In any case, if you are short of time, with a couple of nights you can see some of its greatest attractions such as visiting a coffee farm, see the famous wax palm and marvel at some of its colorful towns like Salento or Filandia.

Guide to enjoy the Eje Cafetero

What to see in the Eje Cafetero

The coffee axis is an area within three departments of Colombia: Caldas, Quindío and Risaralda, whose capitals and main cities are Manizales, Armenia and Pereira.

However, we did not choose these large cities as a base for exploration (except Manizales) since we preferred the beauty and proximity to points of interest offered by Salento and Filandia.

We have prepared this schematic map so that you can locate and organize your route more easily

We have prepared this schematic map so that you can locate and organize your route more easily

Summary: what to see in the coffee axis:

Salento

Cocora Valley

Tochecito

Visit a coffee farm

Finland

Reserve Barbas Bremen

Manizales

Sleeping on a coffee farm

Los Nevados National Natural Park

Visit a hot spring

So we organized our route around the following 3 beautiful bases: Salento, Filandia and Manizales, in which we slept and from where we organized the visits to the different points that we told you in this post.

Salento and surroundings

Salento

To arrive in Salento is to believe you’re on a set.

Really, the doors and windows of the houses flood the narrow streets with color while some woman walks around in the typical “chapolera” (coffee picker from the axis) outfit and it doesn’t seem real but as if they are recording a series of epochs out there.

Doesn’t it look like a real movie set? We guarantee it’s real…

and that’s how nice it is.

Doesn’t that look like a real movie set? Well, we guarantee it’s real…

and that’s how nice

A girl dressed as a Chapolera walking the streets of Salento

A girl dressed as a Chapolera walking the streets of Salento

So we can tell you that the most interesting thing to do in the town of Salento is free, outdoors and it is open every day of the year.

It is spread all over the town and invites you to interact with its art, whether laughing, chatting, dancing, drinking.

The right of admission is reserved for curious people and colour fans.

It is advisable to keep an attentive eye, an open mind and, sometimes, a camera in hand.

The doors and windows of Salento make the village a real open-air museum

The doors and windows of Salento make the village a real open-air museum

To enjoy beautiful views of Salento from above, there is nothing better than climbing the steps that lead to the viewpoint and contemplating something like this:

Views from the viewpoint of Salento

Views from the viewpoint of Salento

For this reason and because of the proximity to the Cocora Valley and Tochecito we consider Salento an excellent base to stay a couple of days minimum.

WHERE TO EAT IN SALENTO

Where Laurita: One of the most typical dishes of Salento and the Cocora Valley is the trout, and we try it with garlic at Donde Laurita.

Delicious, we asked for one to share (the dishes are abundant) and paid about 22000 COP (6 euros).

The bonfire they put you on as an aperitif was delicious.

Ethnicity, art and taste: They have a menu of the day for 15000 COP (4 euros) with soup, main course and juice.

We repeat 🙂

Café Bernabé Gourmet: gourmet with fusion food.

Very tasty food and something more expensive than the others.

Salento Brunch: one of the few that opens early for breakfast (6:30) and prepares “pack lunch” to take to the Cocora Valley trekking, for 14000 COP (4 euros)

Station lobby: typical food and fast service.

It is big, it seemed a place focused on local tourist groups, but the truth is that the food was very good.

We had chicken sancocho (a typical soup).

El tejadito de Salento: simple meals (sandwiches and salads) but good music (jazz or live) and good atmosphere (we went on a Friday night)

El Cacharrito: very tasty hamburgers with homemade bread (veggie options).

Between 15000 COP (4 euros) and 20000 COP (5.60 euros) the combo with potatoes and drink.

The vegetable point: vegetarian that we didn’t get to try very well

Café Jesús Martín: in theory the best espresso in Salento, and we can vouch for that! The espresso is served with a glass of water and a piece of chocolate, and you can accompany it with some of its delicious cakes.

Bar Danubio and Bar Los Amigos to drink a beer and play Tejo

El Tejo, the game par excellence in the coffee axis.

Yew consists of causing a mini explosion (yes, as you read it) by throwing some metal discs against a clay surface that has in the center some mini envelopes with gunpowder.

Who would have thought of this game…and why?

The Yew, the game par excellence in the coffee axis.

Yew consists of causing a mini explosion (yes, as you read) by throwing some metal discs against a clay surface that has in the center some mini envelopes with gunpowder.

Who would have thought of this game…and why?

Sunset in Salento’s square, with a craft beer in hand

Sunset in Salento’s square, with BBC craft beer in hand

WHERE TO SLEEP IN SALENTO

In Salento we stayed in two different places, because we coincided with the holidays (at the beginning of January), and when we wanted to extend our first accommodation they were not available, so we changed to another one.

The first nights we spent in Hostal Origen Colonial, where the double room with private bathroom and hot water (a must in the coffee axis!) was for 80000 COP (about 22 ?).

Breakfast was not included.

It is a very nice local family accommodation, and it is very close to the main square of Salento.

The next nights were spent in Casa La Eliana, where the double room with private bathroom and hot water was for 81000 COP (about 23 Euros).

The shower (the best shower of the whole trip along the coffee axis) of hydromassage with jets, ideal for relaxing after the trekking, is remarkable.

Breakfast was not included either, although it could be bought separately.

The accommodation belongs to a couple of a Spaniard and a Colombian, and the treatment received by all the girls working there was very good.

They also have a restaurant where they prepare Indian dishes and pizzas among other things, all quite good.

The patio at Casa Eliana, Salento

Our patio at Casa Eliana, Salento

Other options that were recommended to us or that we value:

The Traveller: it’s backpacker style but with some impressive features.

We finally backed out of the price (220000 COP / 61 Euros double with private bathroom, breakfast included) but the truth is that it has to be a luxury to wake up and have breakfast with those views.

Hotel Salento Plaza: if you are looking for something more sophisticated, this one looked great and is super well located, next to the main square.

The double room with private bathroom and breakfast included costs 180000 COP (51 euros)

Hotel Salento Real: another option of more quality, super central.

The double room with private bathroom and breakfast included is 249000 COP (70 ?)

Hostal Tralala Salento: This would be our first choice but it was not available when we went.

At a very good price, and very central.

The accommodation caught our attention while walking, as it looks super new, and the pictures look very good.

The double with private bathroom (without breakfast) is 95000 COP (27 euros)

Hostal Tralala in Salento.

Photo of Booking

Hostal Tralala in Salento.

Photo of Booking

Room at Hostal Tralala in Salento.

Photo of Booking

Room at Hostal Tralala in Salento.

Photo of Booking

Cocora Valley

One of the main tourist attractions of Salento and the Colombian Coffee Region are the “Wax Palms” and the Cocora Valley is the most visited place to see them.

Here we leave you a complete guide to tour the Cocora Valley on your own

Ines in the Cocora Valley

Inês in the Cocora Valley

Where does the name “Wax Palm” come from? From its trunk which is covered with wax, the same wax that was used to make candles.

These incredible palms, fragile giants as we have baptized them, measure up to 60 meters and can live up to 200 years although these of the Cocora are a few dead-living that will disappear in less than 50 years.

Apparently, the children of the current palms are eaten by the cattle as soon as they begin to grow because they confuse them with grass.

Wax palms.

These fragile giants can measure up to 60 metres Can you find Ines?

The wax palms.

These fragile giants can measure up to 60 meters…

Can you find Inês?

But the Cocora Valley is much more than its small Wax Palm forest: although she is the main attraction (and many people go there just for that), the circular trekking you can do in the Valley is super recommended, as you will pass through a variety of landscapes, cross many wooden bridges over the river, breathe fresh air in the cloud forest, taste a chocolate (or aguapanela) with cheese and even delight in seeing a lot of hummingbirds.

It is worth making the detour to contemplate the precise, elegant and very fast movements of the Hummingbirds is one of the wonders that the Cocora Valley offers you.

It is worth making the detour to contemplate the precise, elegant and very fast movements of the Hummingbirds is one of the wonders that offers you the Cocora Valley.

The trekking takes about 5-6 hours (doing it calmly and with the detour to the Casa de Los Colibríes), and it can be done perfectly on your own: you just have to go to the main square of Salento very early to ride on one of the Willys that make the trip from Salento (we went on the 7:30).

It takes about 20-30 minutes, costs 4000 COP per person (1,10 Euro) and leaves you right at the entrance of the trek.

As it is circular, there are several options:

Do it clockwise: you would start in the wax palm forest and then go to the hummingbird house, the bridges, etc.

Do it counterclockwise: the opposite of the previous one, you would end up in the wax palm forest.

Go only to the wax palm forest: the fastest and “laziest” option if you are only interested in having your photo taken with the wax palm.

Landscapes that you enjoy during the trekking in the Cocora Valley

Landscapes that you enjoy during the trekking in the Cocora Valley

We made and recommend the second option, so you leave for the end “the main course” of the trek as a reward.

To do this route you have to go to the right, through the blue gate, as the Willy leaves you, and from there everything is quite well marked.

When you arrive at the sign that announces the Hummingbirds’ house, you have to take into account that it is a detour (then you will have to come back to this point to continue the circular trekking), which takes about an hour (20-25 min.

one way, the same return, plus the time you are there).

In this link you can download the route and import it in Maps.me (we had it in one of our lodgings in Salento, Casa La Eliana)

You go over bridges like this where you have to be careful not to fall into the river…

You go over bridges like this where you have to be careful not to fall into the river…

You will have to pay a total of 5000 COP (1.40 Euro) per person to do the trek: you will be charged 2000 COP at the beginning of the trek, and another 3000 COP when you arrive at the wax palm forest area.

To get to the hummingbird house you will have to pay another 5000 COP (1,40 euro) which includes the chocolate or hot aguapanela with cheese (or without it if you don’t want it), or other drinks.

Difficulty level Fofisano (NDF) of the trekking through the Cocora valley: Medium with a 300 meters climb from hell.

Here you have our complete guide to visit the Cocora Valley on your own

The insgrammable swing, another reward in the Valee del Cocora.

at the end of the trek

The instagrammable swing, another reward in the Cocora Valley, at the end of the trek

However, if you are interested in the Wax Palm and you want to see a real forest with these high palms, near the Cocora Valley, we found a place where there is a greater concentration of this type of palm to which very few people go that is called Tochecito.

Tochecito

Tochecito: that place with the highest concentration of wax palms and the lowest concentration of tourists in the region.

Chris in Tochecito, almost alone

Chris in Tochecito, almost alone

Well, yes, we couldn’t resist.

Since we heard about Tochecito, the forest with the highest density of wax palms in the world (and where almost nobody goes because their cousin Cocora is the one on the tourist map), we did not rest until we found a way to get there.

And we did find it…

On a bike! Between laughs and potholes, but above all laughs with the cool people of Salento Cycling.

Besides, they are not only nice for fun but they saved us all the hills upstairs (in a truck) and it was just to enjoy the adrenaline going down to the impressive pile of beautiful palms.

Yes, with traps and crazy.

Afterwards, we cycled back to beautiful Salento, but not before contemplating it from above.

If the coffee axis is our favorite region in the country, Tochecito is its unknown pearl.

If the Axis of Coffee is our favorite region of the country, Tochecito is its unknown pearl.

600,000 of the 700,000 wax palms that exist in all of Colombia are here (85%!), and that is why there is a project (not yet implemented) to protect this place that houses this national symbol.

For comparison, it is estimated that there are between 1000 and 2000 wax palms in the Cocora Valley.

Yes, all that you see are wax palms…

Yes, all that you see are wax palms…

The tour with Salento Cycling can be done in the morning or in the afternoon (in theory there is more chance of rain in the afternoon so we did it in the morning).

It costs between 140000 COP (38 euros) and 195000 COP (52 euros) depending on the type of bike, and includes transportation in a van with the bikes up to there, a small picnic and a beer on the way back at the Salento offices.

You have all the info in their web: salentocycling.com

More info about Tochecito and how to visit it in this post we wrote for Travelgrafia

Trapped and crazy!

Trapped and crazy!

Coffee Farm and Coffee Processing – Finca Don Elias

You cannot leave the Eje Cafetero without visiting at least one of the coffee farms that abound in the region.

Near Salento there are many, and for the rest of the areas of the Eje more, since this is a region very focused on tourism (you’ll probably be surprised to learn that the department of Colombia where most coffee is produced is none of the Eje Cafetero; it’s Huila, a little further south).

We finally went to two farms: Don Elias’ farm in Salento where we learned about the process of producing coffee in a more artisanal way and later, in Manizales, we took a whim and slept in an authentic coffee farm.

Views of the coffee plantations at Finca Don Elias

Views of the coffee plantations at Finca Don Elias

We chose to visit the Don Elias Farm, because it is a small farm, with a very low production and very handmade, and the truth is that we loved it: we went one afternoon (around 15:00), and we were quite lucky since we had to make the tour to lxs dos solxs, with Alejandro, a young barista from the region who explained to us the complete process of coffee production.

The complete process of coffee production that Alejandro explained to us, in the Finca Don Elias

The complete process of coffee production that Alejandro explained to us at Finca Don Elias

The tour costs 10000 COP per person (2,80 euro), and you can get there walking from Salento (about 45 min with nice views) or at Willys from the main square of Salento, which costs 6000 COP (1,70 euro) per person round trip.

If you go to the Willys from the main square of Salento, they sell you the round trip tickets and the tour of the farm.

The tour can be done from 9:00 to 17:00, in principle there is no need to book although you can do it by calling Don Elias at 3156061113.

The tour lasts less than an hour and you learn a lot about coffee production, and at the end you can taste the coffee right there.

The coffee we ground and enjoy at the end of the tour, at Finca Don Elias

The coffee we ground and enjoyed at the end of the tour, at Finca Don Elias

If you go in Willy, you can go in the back, on the outside, supported by a shelf that has, holding on well, so you can go enjoying the views.

Philadelphia and surroundings

Finland

If Salento seemed like a set, Philadelphia even more so.

But a B-series set, maybe that’s why we liked it even more than Salento.

The street where we stayed in Filandia, right in the middle of the city: the Street of Stopped Time.

Even the name of the street is beautiful…

🙂

The street where we stayed in Filandia, in the middle of the city center: la Calle del Tiempo Detenido.

Even the name of the street is beautiful…

🙂

Filandia is more authentic and less touristic than Salento, we think it has even more colors in its colonial buildings and very important! it was easier to find rich colombian expresso (as we like it).

Where? Section “Where to eat in Finland” 😉

The church of Filandia

The Church of Philadelphia

And the truth is that this issue of coffee in Colombia is very important, but in summary: being in the coffee belt of the third largest coffee producing country in the world, it has not been easy to find the short espresso, concentrated with foam as we like it.

In Colombia people drink a lot of red, the softest and most watery coffee.

However, here in Finland, it was easier to find espresso as we like it with the Colombian raw material.

The espresso at Café Jahn in the town square.

Delicious…

The espresso at Café Jahn, in the town square.

Yummy…

Besides getting lost in the streets, you can go to the Mirador del Quindio, with very nice views of Filandia and the surroundings.

The Mirador del Quindio in Filandia

El Mirador del Quindío in Finland

WHERE TO EAT IN PHILANDIA

Helena Adentro: If there is a place that we were recommended to eat, not only in Filandia, but in the whole coffee axis, it is Helena Adentro.

And everyone was right: we liked it so much that we went three times! Everything is delicious: arepas with hogao, chicken apanado, the nachos…

and very well priced: dishes between 6000 COP (1,5 euros) and 40000 COP (11 euros) .

No doubt, don’t miss it.

The arepas and the hogao from Helena Adentro…

Ñamiiii (every time we see this picture we get hungry)

The arepas and the hogao of Helena Adentro…

Ñamiiii (every time we see this picture we get hungry)

Amarillo: In our first attempt to go to Helena Adentro it was full (it was Sunday at noon) so looking for options we found this wonderful restaurant: Amarillo.

The cause was very good, they have good prices, and the attention is excellent.

The cause of Amarillo

The Cause of Yellow

Jahn Cafe: in the main square of Filandia, they have very good coffee and a great variety of cakes.

We went there a couple of times.

Plazoleta de los Aldos: in this “shopping center” there is a cafeteria that also has a very good coffee.

WHERE TO SLEEP IN FILANDIA

In Filandia we stayed in a small apartment that we fell in love with at first sight: it’s in the middle of the street of stopped time (one of the main streets in Filandia), and it’s one of those cool little houses that we’ve taken a few hundred pictures of, with its little balcony overlooking the street.

It’s called Apartahotel Calle del Tiempo Detenido, it has a double bed, two small beds (bunk beds) and a sofa bed, hot water (although with little pressure) and a small kitchen, which we don’t use because of Helena Adentro.

Although it has capacity for several people, the price varies depending on the number of people.

For 2 people it costs 85500 COP per night (24 ?)

Our apartment overlooked one of the main streets of Philadelphia, the beautiful street of stopped time

Our apartment overlooked one of the main streets of Philadelphia, the beautiful street of stopped time

The only problem that the accommodation seems to have (from the reviews we’ve been watching and from what the owner herself told us) is that on Fridays and Saturdays the bar opposite has the music pretty loud until late at night.

We went there during the week and there were no noises of any kind.

The owner is charming and recommended us to Alvaro to do the tour of Barbas Bremen, a great success, which we will talk about later.

Book Barbas Bremen

We had a hard time finding information about the Bremen Barbas on the internet, and finally we were lucky enough to be recommended by the owner of our accommodation to Alvaro, a retired teacher and nature lover who has set up accommodation next to the reserve with his wife, Luz, and organises guided tours of the reserve, to try and see the howler monkey and learn about the flora and fauna of the area.

We with Alvaro, our charming guide on the Bremen Barbas

We are with Alvaro, our charming guide through the Bremen Barbas

The aim of going to the Bremen beard was to try and meet some of the howler monkeys that live in the forest.

By following their howling, we found them! Unfortunately we didn’t manage to take any good pictures with our camera but we did manage to capture them on video with Ines’ mobile phone.

If you want to see them moving and, above all, howling, gossip our featured stories of the coffee axis on instagram here and you’ll see them moving 🙂

The Howler Monkeys at the Bremen Beard.

Photo by Awake Travel

Apart from the monkeys we took a beautiful waterfall, mossy bridges, heliconias and even a snake as a present…

We found the snake, or rather a coral snake (poisonous and deadly) at the exit of the park and it was such a scare that we preferred it to stay for a first and last time.

Nothing like going with someone very professional, knowledgeable and calm so that everything stays that way, a scare.

The coral snake that gave us a good scare, in the Bremen beard

The coral snake that gave us a good scare, in the Bremen beard

If you want to do the tour with Alvaro, you can call him at 3116090425 and organize it with him.

The price of the tour is 50000 COP (14 euros) per person for two people, or 40000 COP (11 euros) per person for groups of more than 3 people.

He does 3 tours a day, and recommends the morning one (7:30) because it is the most likely to see wildlife.

It includes pick-up in Filandia (at 7.30 next to the main square), coffee before leaving, water boots if you ask for them (the terrain is usually wet and slippery so it is better if you have good trekking boots), insurance, a delicious lemonade on the way back, and return to Filandia.

Super recommended! If you want to know more about Álvaro you can read this post

Ines and Alvaro at a waterfall in Barbas Bremen

Inês and Álvaro at a waterfall in Barbas Bremen

Manizales and surroundings

Manizales is already a city, so the vibes of a peaceful, colorful town that you bring from Salento and Filandia disappear when you arrive.

However, it is a relatively small and friendly city that is an excellent base to get to know Los Nevados National Park.

The views of Manizales from our room at Europa Hotel Boutique

The views of Manizales from our room at Europa Hotel Boutique

In the city you can go to the viewpoint in the Cyprus Tower, although it has glass and ruins the photos.

In fact, we saw a spectacular sunset right next to Torre Chipre, on the road down to the city.

The Cyprus Tower, Manizales

The Cyprus Tower, Manizales

You can also go up to the cathedral, where there are good views.

We finally didn’t go because we came to see the sunset and it turns out that the climb to the cathedral can only be done in a guided tour that lasts 1h30.

Another place with views that was recommended to us by a guy we asked on the street (have we already told you that the best thing about the coffee axis is its people?) is the Café La Terraza.

It’s a little hidden, on the top floor of the Corpocaldas building, and you can go there for a drink and enjoy the views of the cathedral and the city.

Manizales by night, from Café La Terraza

Manizales by night, from the café La terraza

WHERE TO SLEEP

In Manizales we slept at the Europa Hotel Boutique Manizales, and it was a perfect choice! The hotel is located about 5 minutes walk from the center, next to a main road, so it’s better to ask for the rooms in the back (so as not to have noise from the cars).

Our room at the Europa Boutique Hotel Manizales

Our room at the Europa Hotel Boutique Manizales

We were given a huge room with lots of light and views of the city and surroundings, very good quality for the price we paid (double with private bathroom with hot water and breakfast included).

It was for 115000 COP (32 euros), and with them we organized the tour to Nevado Ruiz.

The staff is super attentive and friendly, they gave us several tips for the city.

Before arriving in Manizales we gave ourselves the whimsy of the trip by spending a night at Hacienda Venecia, a real working coffee plantation.

The accommodation is expensive, as the double room with shared bathroom in the main house (there are 6 rooms and 3 bathrooms that are kept very clean, so there are no problems) for 308000 COP (86 euros) and the double room with private bathroom also in the main house (which was not available when we went) is about 450000 COP (126 euros), but it’s incredible and we totally recommend it.

Hacienda Venecia or the most photogenic accommodation of the trip 🙂

The main house of Hacienda Venecia or the most photogenic accommodation of the trip 🙂

Room at Hacienda Venecia 🙂

Room in the main house of Hacienda Venecia 🙂

You also have the option to stay in the Coffee House (instead of the main house) but the breakfasts/lunches/dinners are in the main house so we prefer to pay a little more and stay there.

If you are on a tight budget you also have the option of sleeping in their hostel, so you can enjoy the hacienda and the surroundings at a more economical price.

You can book it here: Hacienda Venecia Hostel, and the bed in bunk bed in a shared room (with breakfast included) for 37000 COP per person (11 ?).

Here we tell you more about the experience.

Hacienda Venecia: Sleeping in an authentic coffee plantation

One of the experiences that we wanted to live in the coffee axis was to sleep in a traditional coffee plantation.

We chose the Hacienda Venecia to do it and we don’t regret it.

This accommodation is much more than just accommodation because it is an experience in itself and totally worth spending at least one night here.

The hacienda has several hammocks along its corridors to enjoy the surroundings

The hacienda has several hammocks along its corridors to enjoy the surroundings

Here we put the backpacking spirit (and time) on hold and indulged in a whim.

We enjoyed what was undoubtedly the best accommodation on the trip so far and slept among coffee plantations in an authentic traditional working coffee farm.

We rested in a hammock among the green while some hummingbirds greeted us at one end.

The songs of an incredible variety of beautiful birds were the soundtrack of the whole estancia.

We got lost in the coffee plantations and had an open bar of coffee from those same plantations.

Counting how many hummingbirds passed by in one of the hacienda’s hammocks

Counting how many hummingbirds passed by in one of the hacienda’s hammocks

From the hacienda there are about 8 trekking routes you can take to enjoy the views, do bird watching or get lost among the photogenic coffee plantations.

They provide you with a sheet with the different routes and even binoculars for bird watching.

We did a trekking through the coffee plantations of the hacienda

We did a trek through the hacienda’s coffee plantations

Chris watching birds with the binoculars you borrow from the farm

Chris watching birds with the binoculars you borrow from the farm

The hacienda’s coffee plantations

The hacienda’s coffee plantations

Hacienda Venecia also offers a tour of the coffee production process (50,000 COP, 14 Euros approx.) but as we had already done in Salento at Finca Don Elias, we did not repeat it and enjoyed the swimming pool, hammocks and the surrounding environment for longer.

The swimming pool of the hacienda where we took a good dip in the morning

The hacienda pool where we took a good morning dip

We ate well, drank Chilean wine (it wasn’t all going to be coffee), took a dip in the pool and enjoyed one of the top sunsets of this #randomlatam.

The sunset at Hacienda Venecia has given us some of the most beautiful photos of the trip (and they still don’t do it justice)

The sunset at Hacienda Venecia has given us some of the most beautiful photos of the trip (and they still don’t do it justice)

All this on a stage that looks like something out of a movie where we can’t help but feel a little divas…

Los Nevados National Natural Park

The Nevados taught us that Colombia can be even more heterogeneous than we thought.

Walking around an active volcano, Nevado Ruiz, gave us a glimpse of the black lagoon, a glacier lagoon by the way, where duck divers bathe.

The Black Lagoon at Nevado Ruiz

The black lagoon in the Nevado Ruiz

He showed us one of the most important landscapes of the country, the moors, some dwarf forests that are real water factories that supply the whole coffee axis.

Moorland in the Nevado Ruiz

Moor in the Nevado Ruiz

Not only did he show us landscapes, he also showed us how magical it can be: there is a reason why the indigenous peoples of Santa Marta come here every year to connect with Pachamama and Kumanday, as they call Nevado Ruiz.

Kumanday, sacred land

Kumanday, sacred land

Only in this park there were 6 snow-capped mountains of which only 3 remain and it is estimated that these will disappear in 20 or 30 years.

Although the thaw is a process that has occurred previously in the history of the planet, we, the human race, have accelerated this process with the climate change that is the result of our selfishness and irresponsibility.

I don’t know if that’s why it hid from us under the intense fog the views of the snow cone that we wanted to see so badly.

If so, well done Kumanday, we have earned it.

Or rather, lost.

Chris jumping through the fog at Nevado Ruiz

Chris jumping through the fog at Nevado Ruiz

Nevado Ruiz is an active volcano, and due to its seismic activity (it is in yellow level) it is not possible to access the peak for several years, so if you visit it you will not reach the snowy area.

To visit Nevado Ruiz there are two options: go with your own vehicle to the entrance of the park, where you will have to pay the entrance fee and go with other cars and a guide authorized by the park, or hire a tour.

As we didn’t have our own vehicle, we opted for the tour, which has a quite high price compared to others we have done for Colombia: 185000 COP per person (52 euros), although you have to count that only the entrance to the park for foreigners costs 45000 COP (13 euros) and that the tour includes transportation, breakfast, the entrance to the park, lunch, and entrance to one of the hot springs near Manizales.

Chris, official photographer of Randomtrip in any circumstance: cold, heat, snow or rain

Chris, official photographer of Randomtrip in any circumstance: cold, heat, snow or rain

The planning of the tour is more or less as follows:

At 6:50 you are picked up at the hotel

We drive for 1h30 to a place where we have breakfast, in front of Laguna Negra, on the way to Nevado Ruiz.

We caught a lot of traffic to leave Manizales so it took about 2 hours.

When we arrive at the park, we have to wait our turn to be given an explanation about the park: the volcanoes that are there, the snow-capped mountains that were there and are there now, the function of the moor, health recommendations, how to avoid altitude sickness and safety, etc.

They also show us a video talking about the park.

Once the talk is over, we have to register (in our case, since it is a tour they did it for us) and we go back to the car to access the national park, already with our guide.

We make 4 stops to observe the different types of landscape, to finish in the valley of the Tombs.

Around 14:00 we are back at La Laguna Negra and eat in the same place where we had breakfast.

At 15:00 we leave back to Manizales, and stop to relax in the hot springs of Hotel Termales Tierra Viva, where we spend approximately one hour.

Around 18:00 we are back in Manizales

As you can see, it is a tour that lasts all day, and due to the particularities of the area we are visiting, it is often very foggy (at the beginning of the tour we could not see anything, then it opened slightly, although not enough to see the peak of Nevado Ruiz itself).

Nevado Ruiz

Nevado Ruiz

Some considerations if you take the tour:

On the tour you’ll go over 4000 meters above sea level, so you have to take precautions against altitude sickness.

Wear many layers of clothing because it is very cold as you go up (about 0 º)

Wear suitable footwear as well: although you don’t walk much (most of the tour you go by car) in the parts where you have to walk it helps to have good shoes.

We recommend trekking boots

For the hot springs you must bring a swimsuit and a towel.

Others

Apart from all these points that we visited in the Eje Cafetero, they also spoke very well of others that we did not get to:

– Coffee Park in Montenegro: we are not an amusement park and more about living the experience in situ but we were told that the visit is very complete, it includes a museum about coffee and it also seems to be a great plan if you go with children

– Termales de Santa Rosa (don’t go on a holiday and avoid getting too crowded!): After several days kicking around villages and climbing up valleys, what better than a day of rest in a hot spring?

– Pijao: We were also left with the desire to get to know other villages in the coffee belt, especially Pijao: the first ‘Cittaslow’ in Latin America, that is, the first city without hurry.

It seems that Pijao has bet on sustainable tourism by promoting the “slow” philosophy that aims to revive local economies, articulated around families and small and medium entrepreneurs.

It looks good, doesn’t it? Well, that’s where we’ll go in our next incursion into the coffee axis 🙂

– Mirador Valle de Samaria: Before discovering Tochecito, we had planned to visit this place, where you can also appreciate the Wax Palm, among other things, and where there will hardly be people so it is a great alternative to the overcrowded Cocora Valley.

Besides, the owners have a project for the protection and conservation of the Wax Palm.

More details at: http://www.nomadasurbanos.co/bosque-de-la-samaria-el-secreto-de-la-palma-de-cera-caldas-colombia/

Pijao.

Photo: Travelgrafia

Pijao.

Photo: Travelgrafia

How to get to the Eje Cafetero

As the Eje Cafetero is a fairly large area, we have quite a few options for getting there.

The easiest and most logical is to arrive at one of its 3 main cities (Pereira, Armenia, Manizales) and from there move to the desired destination.

Arriving in Finland (without ‘N’)

Arriving in Finland (without ‘N’)

By plane

The 3 main cities in the coffee belt have airports, so if you are going to do a tour of Colombia and you are far from the coffee belt, you can fly to one of them from the main cities in Colombia.

You have the low cost airline VivaAir, which has flights to and from Pereira; you also have Easyfly, which flies to and from all 3 cities, or the more expensive Avianca which also operates in all 3 cities.

We for example use VivaAir to go to San Andrés from Medellín, and from Cartagena to Medellín.

They are a low cost with policies like Ryanair and Easyjet, so you have to be very attentive when buying the ticket, choose the type of fare, luggage, etc.

On the other hand, from Manizales we flew to Bogota with Easyfly; it is a little more expensive than VivaAir and we flew in a small plane, but everything was perfect and there is no “small print” with the luggage.

Once you get to any of the 3 cities, you must follow your journey in one of the options we told you about in the “How to move” section

Sunset on a coffee plantation among its plantations (Hacienda Venecia)

Sunset on a coffee plantation among its plantations (Hacienda Venecia)

By bus

In Colombia it is generally quite easy to move around by bus, so you will have no problem finding various companies and connections to get to the coffee belt from wherever you are.

For example, from Medellín (which is where we came from) to Salento:

There are buses from Medellín directly to Salento, operated by the company Flota Occidental, for 47000 COP per person (about 13 euros).

The journey takes about 6-7 hours and they have 3-4 hours a day.

You can check the timetables and buy tickets on their website

If you don’t have a direct bus schedule to Salento, another option is to go by bus to Pereira (buses leave every 30 minutes or so from Medellín’s South Terminal and take about 5-6 hours) and from there there are buses to Salento (every 1 hour on weekdays, every 15-30 minutes on weekends)

If you do not want to go or start in Salento, you have connections with the other points equally by bus.

Some of the bus tickets can be bought online on websites such as Redbus or Pinbus.

Be careful! Not all buses appear on these websites, and in general, even if you buy online you have to queue at the ticket office of the company in the terminal to get your ticket validated.

The good thing about buying online is that if you are going to travel on a very busy date, you can be sure of getting there at the time you want.

You can also check timetables (note that they do not have to be updated) at https://www.horariodebuses.com.co/

How to move: Transport in the coffee axis

Buses, vans and Willys

All the tourist spots of the Axis are well connected with either buses or Willys (a very typical type of Jeep and symbol of the Axis), so if you are travelling on your own and want to move around, it is very easy to do so by using them.

The Willy, the means of transport par excellence of the Axis, in the Cocora Valley.

Willy, the means of transport par excellence of the coffee axis, in the Cocora Valley.

Some examples of routes, prices and how long it takes:

From Pereira to Salento: 1h by bus (8000 COP / 2.20 Euro per person)

From Salento to Valle del Cocora: 30 min in Willy (4000 COP / 1,10 ? per person)

From Salento to Finland: 45 min at Willy (5500 COP / 1,50 Euro per person)

From Filandia to Pereira: 45 min by bus (6900 COP / 2 ? per person)

From Pereira to Hacienda Venecia: 1h by van (12000 COP / 3,40 Euro per person)

In the main cities there are terminals, where you can buy tickets and where they will indicate schedules and companies.

In the villages, the willys usually leave from the main square, and the buses from mini-terminals or from some specific street.

In each place we tell you in more detail.

Willys in Salento’s square

Willys in Salento Square

Rental car (or your own car if you have one)

Whether you arrive by plane in the Eje Cafetero area or come from a nearby city, you have the option of renting a car so that you can visit at your own pace and more easily.

The Coffee Axis has many corners and villages to explore, so if you have a few days and want to make the most of it, renting a car is an excellent option.

We don’t rent cars so we can’t advise you on this subject.

Map of the coffee axis

In this map of the coffee axis that you can save in Google Maps you have all the places referenced in this post.

In addition, we have created this schematic map with the distances, what it takes by bus, and the recommended points in this post so that you can orient yourself more easily.

Our super-map with the main points to see in the coffee axis

Our super-map with the main points to see in the coffee axis

Safety: precautions and advice in the Coffee Growing Area

Always travel with travel insurance: medical expenses, theft or problems with your plane on a trip can make you a lot of money, so ideally you should take out travel insurance.

We always use IATI and we recommend it (in this 7-month trip through Latin America we bought the IATI Estrella Premium).

If you hire your insurance through this link you have a 5% discount

The above is for your own safety.

Thinking about the safety of others, too:

If you see an animal: don’t touch it, don’t hurt it, don’t scare it, don’t feed it.

Respect the fauna and flora of the place.

At some points you will be offered the option of doing some parts of the tour on horseback.

We recommend and ask that you do NOT do this, as it is another example of animal abuse.

If you want to do it, do it on foot.

If you can’t, you have other options.

Don’t be an accomplice of animal abuse!

Respect other people and the environment: don’t play your music loudly in public places (if you want to listen to music, bring headphones), don’t leave trash, don’t throw away cigarette butts, etc.

Ay Eje cafetero how we miss you and

The Street of Stopped Time in Finland

Possible / recommended itineraries

We leave you with a list of possible itineraries that you can take depending on the amount of time you spend in the coffee belt and what we visit.

Obviously, depending on your interests you can combine the destinations we have explained in this post to make your own itinerary.

These are just examples of how you could do it trying to condense as many things in each day.

3 days / 2 nights in the coffee belt

Day 1: Arrival to Salento.

If you arrive during the day and have time, you can go visit a Coffee Farm and walk the colorful streets of Salento.

You can also go up to the town’s viewpoint.

At night, have dinner in one of the recommended places and play Tejo, don’t get too busy, you have to get up early the next day! You sleep in Salento.

Day 2: Cocora Valley.

As we told you in the post, you get up early to have breakfast and be ready to leave on the 7:20 willy, you do the circular trekking and around 14:00 you are back in Salento.

In the afternoon you can visit the coffee farm if you didn’t have time the day before, or if not you can just enjoy Salento.

If you have time the next day to see Filandia in the morning, you can choose to sleep in Salento and go to Filandia early, or sleep already in Filandia that night.

Day 3: Filandia if you have time.

Depending on what your next destination is and what time you have to leave Salento, if you have a few hours you can visit Filandia.

It is easy and quick to get there in the Willys and in a few hours you can kick around the beautiful streets of Filandia, go to the viewpoint, taste delicious coffee and eat in Helena Adentro.

5 days / 4 nights in the coffee belt

Day 1 and day 2 same as above, sleeping on day 2 in Finland

Day 3: Morning tour to Barbas Bremen In the afternoon we will visit Philadelphia, go to the viewpoint, etc.

Sleeping in Finland

Day 4: morning drive to Manizales, to sleep at Hacienda Venecia.

Enjoy the hacienda, its swimming pool and do one of the hiking routes in the surroundings.

Day 5: if you have time in the morning, you can travel to Manizales and see the cathedral and its views.

7 days / 6 nights in the coffee belt

Day 1: Same as above

Day 2: Same as above.

Sleep in Salento

Day 3: Tour to Tochecito in the morning Transfer to Filandia in the afternoon.

Sleeping in Finland

Day 4: Tour to Barbas Bremen in the morning, enjoy Filandia in the afternoon.

Sleeping in Finland

Day 5: Travel to Hacienda Venecia, enjoy the hacienda and do some hiking

Day 6: Tour to Nevado Ruiz, sleep in Manizales.

Day 7: Enjoy Manizales before departure.

Ay Eje cafetero! How we miss you and

Oh, Coffee Axis, how we miss you already!

Now do you understand why we believe that the Eje Cafetero is a must on your trip to Colombia? 🙂 Go, enjoy its colors and smells and tell us in comments!

“I hope it rains coffee in the country

Let a rainstorm of cassava and tea fall

From the sky a jar of white cheese

And to the south a mountain of watercress and honey

I hope it rains coffee

I hope it rains coffee in the field

Combing a high hill of wheat and mapuey

Going down the hill of grained rice

And continue to plough with your will

Hopefully autumn instead of dry leaves

I saw my crop and I kicked it.

Sowing a plain of sweet potatoes and strawberries

I hope it rains coffee

So that the conuco does not suffer so much

I hope it rains coffee in the field

For the villa vásquez to hear this song

I hope it rains coffee in the field

I wish it would rain, I wish it would rain

I hope it rains coffee in the field

I hope it rains coffee.”

Hope It Rains Coffee, Juan Luis Guerra

What to see in the Eje Cafetero ?

The Cocora Valley

The Cocora Valley impresses the visitor with its huge wax palm trees, emblem of Colombia.

It can be explored in a local 4×4 called “Willy” and discovered during horseback riding or easy hikes.

The village of Salento stands out for its mud-walled houses and the architecture of its central square, but also for the friendliness of its inhabitants.

With its numerous handicraft shops, it is the ideal place to buy your souvenirs.

Note: Taste the local trout dish.

Note: To make the most of this exceptional setting, go for a horse ride.

COFFEE FARM

 

Meet the owner of a coffee farm who passionately explains the entire coffee process.

From field to cup, you will have the opportunity to sort, roast and grind the coffee.

Of course, you’ll finish with a tasting of the delicious beverage.

Note: Harvest between October and February and then from April to June.

Note: For a global vision of this landscape, fly over the plantations by zip line!

SALENTO AND THE QUINDIO VILLAGES

Village of Salento

The emblematic village of Salento seduces with the charm of its alleys and the welcome of its inhabitants.

You can also take a 4×4 day trip through the fabulous Quindio mountain range to visit several small typical villages (Bellavista, Cordoba…) and admire the sumptuous panoramas offered by the road, especially the coffee, banana and pineapple plantations.

Trekking in Los Nevados National Park.

Los Nevados National Park is a life-size playground for trekking enthusiasts who can enjoy sumptuous landscapes with a wide variety of fauna (snow parrots, paramo hummingbirds) and flora (many endemic species).

Go trekking over several days in the middle of snowy peaks located at nearly 5,000 meters above sea level.

Possibility of lodging with the inhabitant.

Level: difficult.

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