This coffee belt region is composed of four departments: Caldas, Quindío, Risaralda and the north of the Valle del Cauca, interconnected for short distances and merged in its architecture, colours, values, traditions, customs and the characteristic and delicious scent of Colombian coffee. These four departments are in the centre of the Colombian western, and together they have built a cultural and landscape empire around the coffee bean, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2011. The climatic conditions of the coffee belt are very varied, temperatures fluctuate from 8°C in the Nevados and 29°C in the valleys. Within the geographical variety of the region are the ideal conditions for the cultivation and production of a high-quality coffee bean (between 1,200 and 1,800), whose biggest achievement is worldwide recognition through the brand “Juan Valdez”, which has managed to position Colombian coffee as the best in the world.
The courtesy and friendliness of its people complement the pleasure resulting from the immersion into the landscapes filled with coffee, banana plantations and dense mountains, whose colours and shapes give the impression of being assisted daily by skilled gardeners.
Like in other places in Colombia, there is a public transport system that connects the cities with the surrounding towns. However, for convenience, we recommend the use of private transport.
There are three airports in the main cities of the coffee belt: Armenia, Manizales and Pereira.
August: harvest festival.
January: Riosucio Devil’s Carnival, Manizales Fair
August: Colombian National Pasillo Festival.
June: National Coffee Beauty Pageant.
December: Candles and Lanterns Festival.
The annual average temperature is 19.4 °C. The month with the highest rainfall is November. Although it is a mountainous area, it’s better to be prepared for surprise rain.
The annual average temperature is 20.6 °C. The city has a significant amount of rain through the year.
The average temperature in Manizales is 18°C and the rainiest months are April and October. However, you must be prepared for all the rainy days.
Activities in the Coffee Belt
Quindio Botanical Garden
Located in Calarcá town, the botanical garden in Quindío has 15 hectares and a large variety of species collections. This tropical forest offers a wide range of eco activities, among them native bird watching. More than 110 species of birds are in Quindio. Other activity is watching carnivorous and aquatic plants and hiking for the lush vegetation. The main attraction in the botanical garden is the butterfly farm, qualified as the world’s best designed one. Here, the visitors can walk through little waterfalls while thousands of butterflies fly around their head.
This friendly village is distinguished by the architecture of its square and its old houses built with bahareque and mud. Visitors can observe and learn about the production process of different types of crafts, including bamboo, the characteristic plant of the region.
Just 30 minutes away from Salento lies the magnificent Cocora Valley, where Colombia’s national tree grows up to 60 meters in height, which makes the wax palm the highest palm in the world. The Cocora Valley is a very popular tourist destination, not only for its scenic beauty, but also for the various activities that it offers, including bird watching and horse riding.
National Natural Park Los Nevados
Three of the six glaciers in Colombia (Nevado del Ruiz, Nevado de Santa Isabel and Nevado del Tolima) can be found in this impressive park. Located in the heart of the coffee belt, it is the main attraction for those who want to practice activities such as mountain biking, trekking and ice and rock climbing. Depending on the current conditions in the Nevados and also on the recommendations of the Colombian Geological Service, some areas in the park might be restricted.
Colombia has 1,921 bird species, of which 79 can exclusively been seen in the Colombian territory. The country is also target of 197 migratory bird species, as well as the richest nation in the world in bird diversity. 70% of the species are in the coffee belt, making it one of the most privileged destinations in the world for bird watching. More than 500 bird species inhabit the Department of Quindio, thus it’s one of the main ecotourism activities in the area for Colombia tourism.
Filandia is one of the most beautiful villages in the coffee belt due to the architectural beauty of their houses and the relaxed life of its inhabitants. Thanks to the lack of tourists, visitors can explore the village in a quiet walk to appreciate the facades of the picturesque buildings.
– Quimbaya Golden Museum
Thermals of Santa Rosa de Cabal
An imposing waterfall of 95 meters in height pampers the visitors with relaxing thermal waters, divided in five aquifer branches. This place is frequented by hundreds of people who seek a natural rest and an energetic recharge for their bodies.
Visiting the coffee belt is living and understanding the culture and history behind a cup of Colombian coffee. In the coffee farms, visitors can take guided tours around the bushy coffee plantations of the region. Here, the visitor will understand the process of harvesting, production and preparation of the coffee bean and at the end of the tour, can have a tasting of freshly picked original coffee.
Holidays in Colombia would not be complete without a visit to Salamina. The town of Salamina has been a national monument since 1982 and belongs to the Heritage Towns of Colombia. In the architecture of its houses and streets, the visitor can appreciate the details of the cultural coffee landscape and the detailed observable art work in the wood of the doors, balconies and windows, characteristics that make Salamina stand out from other villages of the coffee belt. Salamina has the charm and style developed in the Antioquenian colonization time, preserved during years for the violence that took place in the country, which isolated this town for several years.