The three largest cities that make up Colombia's Coffee Region—the Zona Cafetera—are Pereria, Armenia, and Manizales. From any of these hubs, transport is available to visit the charming towns of Salento and Filandia, traveler favorites that offer a more authentic and traditional view of the region.
Medellín is the main gateway to the region, offering quick 40-minute flights to each of the three Coffee Region hubs. Direct flights are also available from Bogotá and Cartagena. You can also take the bus, though travel times are long and road conditions are not always predictable.
Duration: 1-hour flight; 9 hours by bus
Avianca Airlines has direct and nonstop flights daily from El Dorado Airport (BOG) in Bogotá to the airports in Pereira, Manizales, and Armenia. Non-stop flights from Bogotá all take around an hour to reach.
There are affordable buses from Bogotá to the “major cities” of the Coffee Region. For example, a bus journey from Bogota to Manizales could take up 9 hours. There are no direct routes for bus travel from Bogotá to Salento. Instead, you’ll have to travel from Bogotá to Armenia and hop on another bus. The bus drops you at Armenia’s Terminal de Transporte and from there you can find regular departures to Salento.
Duration: 40-minute flight; 7 hours by bus
There are direct flights from Medellín’s Aeropuerto Internacional José María Córdova (MDE) to the airport in Pereira called Aeropuerto Internacional Matecaña (PEI). Medellín’s other airport, Olaya Herrera (EOH), also offers non-stop flights to Pereira, Manizales, and Armenia.
Private vans to Pereira are also available that take 4-5 hours from Medellín. Colectivos and buses depart from the Terminal de Transportes del Sur in Medellín and take 6 to 7 hours to arrive in Salento.
Duration: 2-hour flight; 18 hours by bus
There are flights throughout the week from Cartagena airport called Rafael Núñez International Airport (CTG) to Pereira’s Aeropuerto Internacional Matecaña (PEI). Flight time is approximately two hours via Viva Airlines. The cost of airline tickets are not that much more than bus tickets. Flights are highly recommended over riding the bus due to the affordable cost of airline tickets and the time you’d save in the long run, saving you money for more cups of coffee in the Eje Cafetero region.
From the north coast, the bus ride would be a pretty extreme journey to reach the coffee region. Routes all include a transfer in Medellín. You would then have to wait for another bus to continue south to the Coffee Region. Depending on your wait time, you’d be on a bus for over 18 hours, not including the time in Medellín you’d be waiting to catch the second leg of your journey.