The Colombian coffee region is also known as the Coffee Triangle. In this beautiful countryside zone, one can quietly enjoy nature and one of the best coffees in the world. After all, there is a reason why Colombia is the second biggest coffee producer in the world – after Brazil.
This region is so important they call it the Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia. Culture, landscapes and tradition are combined in this amazing Colombian region. It was also included in Unesco World Heritage List.
Colombia’s Coffee Triqangle is full of amazing natural landscapes / Picture: Lucila Runnacles – Viagem Cult
A trip to Colombia can only be considered completed after you have visited the Coffee Triangle in the center of the western Colombian Andes. Three departments (states) are part of this region: Caldas, Risaralda and Quindío. The three main cities of this area are their capitals: respectively Manizales, Pereira and Armenia. They are three of the 62 cities of the Coffee Triangle, where they produce and export coffee throughout the world.
Travelling tip: Explore the coffee capital with amazing city tours.
What to do at the Coffee Triangle
In this article we will tell you all you need to know about the Coffee Triangle so that you can make a unique trip while you will taste coffee, enjoy your own coffee beans selection, ride a bicycle and stroll for a while. Then, to conclude your day you can go to one of the coffee farm or enjoy thermal waters. Since this region is highly touristic, infrastructures are very good. There are more than 300 establishments and hotels that receive tourists with open arms to share the coffee culture with them.
For kids, the main attraction is the theme park known as the National Coffee Park. They can have fun in the roller-coasters or ride a trolley – while learning about coffee too. This park is in Montenegro, a city in Quindío state at only 15 driving minutes from the city of Armenia.
El Quindío is one of the most touristic of the Coffee Triangle. Make sure you visit Salento, one of the most beautiful city with its colourful colonial houses. Here you can find at least 5 things to do in this little and lovely city, considered as one of the prettiest of the region. At 30 kilometers from there is the beautiful Cocora Valley, where you will be able to breathe fresh and natural air and be amazed by its countless 60 meters high palm trees.
Rent a bike and get to know this magical place / Picture: Lucila Runnacles
For those who want to be immersed in the coffee culture, how would you feel about spending a few hours in a “hacienda” to learn about coffee roasting and to prepare your own cup of coffee? For this kind of trip, there are two popular options: Recuca: Coffee Culture Tour and Hacienda Venecia Interactive Coffee Tour. If you already live in a farmhouse, take into account that, in general, these establishments offer their own coffee tours.
If you prefer sport and adventure, the Coffee Triangle is the perfect place to ride a bike or to take long walks in the wild, ride a horse or even get into a hot-air balloon.
In Armenia, one of the most important events of the year is the Yapo Festival, during the Cuyabras Festivals in October. There are dozens of jeeps, better known as Willys, decorated with furniture and flowers that pass by the streets. Those vehicles transport the coffee of the region and are one of the icons of the Colombian coffee culture. The Willys are also used to transport tourists in the area.
When asking for a cup of coffee in Colombia, you have probably heard the word “tinto”. This is how they call black coffee. Connoisseurs say the coffee is well-prepared when you do not need any sugar; but if you prefer it sweet, try the “panela”, a Colombian brown sugar..
How to get there
By plane, the Coffee Triangle is one hour away from Bogota, the capital. There are flights from Medellín and Cali too. There are three airports in the coffee routes: Edén in Armenia, La Nubia Airport in Manizales and Matecaña in Pereira.
High palm trees are protagonists of the Cocora valley. / Picture: Lucila Runnacles – Viagem Cult
Bogotá – Pereira – 322 km
Medellín – Armenia – 267 km
Cali – Manizales – 258 km
Take into account that in this region, the roads are mountainous which can make the trip longer than expected. For instance, from Medellín to Armenia you need almost 6 hours.
How to move through the Coffee Triangle
Since there are a lot of cities and places to know in the Coffee Triangle, one of the best ways to travel it is to contact a travel agency for a tour or to rent a car. In general, travel agencies include transportation from any location within the touristic circuit of Quindío, Risaralda and Caldas. Read the complete guide to getting around Colombia.
It depends on the region you visit. Temperatures can vary a little, but generally it is around 24°C during the day and it can go down to 8°C during the night. So you can bring a coat. The three departments (states) are between 1,500 and 2,100 meters below sea level. Do not forget to bring comfortable clothes and shoes, as well as sunscreen and bug spray.
The Coffee Triangle is the perfect place if you want to enjoy Eco Tours and sport. For families with children, adults of any age and tourists who like a little adventure, the Coffee Triangle is the place to go.
The main coffee harvest in Quindío is done between March and May. This is the perfect moment to visit the region and go to a coffee farmhouse to participate in the process. Between October and Dicembre you can go and see the “mitaca”, the second harvest.
By: Lucila Runnacles,
journalist and author of the blog Viagem Cult
Translation: Grégory Noël