Some time ago I wanted to write a little about the walk I made last Easter, because in 2 days I managed to visit many places that are worth visiting by all. It is about the coffee region, a place that has so much to do and to know that an article simply falls short.
Located in the department of Quindío, the coffee region is an area of the country that has taken on a great tourist boost in recent decades, thanks to initiatives to create tourist attractions such as Parque del Café, Panaca, El Jardín Botánico, Salento, the Cocora valley and thousands of other attractions that we can visit very easily because they are within a very short distance from each other.
The Botanical Garden
On this occasion we left Cali, in Carro towards Quindío, and as always thanks to the inevitable Google Maps guide, I did not lose my way. In about 4 hours we were already entering the department of Quindío and heading to our first destination, the Botanical Garden which is located just 10 minutes from Calarcá. This is a natural park known mainly for its huge butterfly farm that houses species of butterflies from the region that you can see flying free around you. The tour of this park is a guided trail of approximately 2 hours, where you can observe the native flora and fauna of the area. It is a very pleasant ecological walk that can be done as a family. One of the things that I liked the most about this park was the carnivorous plants section, I had always seen them in photos but never live and direct, and despite being much smaller than I imagined, they are very interesting.
Hotels in the coffee region
To spend the night, Quindío offers a huge variety of hotels, and hotel farms where one can stay a few days, or simply spend the night and continue on the road. As our objective was to continue the route, we stayed in a small but very nice hotel in Circacia where you can pay one night for 4 people for about 130,000 pesos, which comes to about 72 dollars at the exchange rate.
Also in another of my previous stays in the coffee region, I stayed in a hotel farm (the dancers) which offers several attractions such as fish lakes that even pass through the floor of your room, as well as river slides and canopi pools. Here I could stay in a double room for one night at an approximate price of 120,000 pesos or its equivalent of approximately 65 dollars. Hotels like this are some of the very accessible and comfortable alternatives that can be found in Quindio.
The coffee park
After spending a very pleasant night and with a very cool climate, we went to the main attraction that motivated our walk. El Parque del Café, which is the Colombian version of a Disneyland (keeping the proportions of course). This beautiful park is a tribute to Café in all its forms. On the tour that lasts practically the whole day, you can follow the entire process of growing and processing coffee, there are also museums to get to know the region and its culture. After you go through the coffee process, you arrive at a small Paisa town, which recreates the typical places of the old towns, such as the main square, the church, the train station and others. Here there is entertainment for everyone because we have a small mechanical amusement park with a roller coaster, horseback riding, food courts and many other games to have fun (my favorite was the rapids, an attraction in which one rides a boat down an artificial river and you get wet while you go through the rapids). The Parque del Café is definitely a must-see in the coffee region, and it will leave you grounded as you walk all day knowing everything it has to offer.
To end the afternoon, a highly recommended place, to which we headed, was Salento, a small town that is at the entrance of the Cocora valley and It is characterized among others by having a spectacular viewpoint of the valley. Upon arrival in town, you can dine at local restaurants, which offer rainbow trout, a typical dish of the site due to the nearby trout farms. Then the viewpoint, which is reached by climbing a huge staircase (which is used to lower lunch) is a place both majestic and romantic, where you can spend a pleasant moment contemplating the Cocora valley, where the national tree of Colombia lives. the wax palm.
The second great attraction of Salento is the crafts. Few towns in Colombia (because there are several like that) have such a variety of handicraft stores, where you can get water, souvenirs and all kinds of objects to take home. Here you must learn to use the art of haggling, because the prices of things are not marked, you must negotiate with the seller until you achieve the best possible price and it is really necessary to do so because the average tourist is always charged dearly. Being one in Salento you can take advantage of and visit the Cocora valley, where there are excursions and horseback riding that take you into the valley. It is a pity that this time we did not have enough time but I would like to do this route another time.
After having made this short but very complete tour of the coffee region, we returned to Cali very happy and eager to return to continue knowing Quindío. Well, among other things, I would like to return to raft on the old river, ride in Canopi (which I rode a few years ago and I loved it) and visit the coffee farms of distant relatives.