Medellín and Manizales are two of the most exciting cities in the coffee region. And while the former one is well-known, the later continues to escape the tourist radar.
The fastest and easiest way to get to Manizales is to take a flight. You'll be flying high above the mountains and will arrive at your destination in about 40 minutes, meaning you'll hardly even have time to put your tray table down.
It is also possible to go by land, though this takes around 5 hours by car, van, or bus, with the former two being the most comfortable options.
Duration: 40 minutes
Although there are flights from both the Medellín Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport and the José María Córdova International Airport, it is better to fly out from the first. This airport is located within Medellín and offers non-stop flights, whereas José María Córdova is located in Rionegro (about 40 minutes from the city) and does not have direct routes.
Duration: 4:40 hours
It is possible to rent a car in Medellín and drop it off in Manizales, given that both cities are the capital of their respective regions.
The easiest pick-up and drop-off locations are the cities' airports. However, keep in mind that, unlike in Medellín, the Manizales airport is on the outskirts of the city, so you will have to find transportation to the city center after dropping the car off.
There are no major destinations between Medellín and Manizales, but the road is dotted with beautiful small towns, villas, and coffee plantations. This guarantees that no matter where you stop, it will be wonderful.
Duration: 5-5:30 hours
If you don't want to deal with the hassle and responsibility of renting a car but would still like to enjoy some of Colombia's most renowned landscapes, you can get a semi-private van.
These almost always offer door-to-door service, so you won't have to worry about finding additional transportation from the airport in Manizales to your accommodation.
These vans are usually shared among a relatively small number of people, are comfortable, and always count with A/C.
The one drawback is that you will have to wait for other passengers to also be picked up and dropped off at their accommodation, which adds a bit of time to the journey.
Duration: 5 hours
To take a bus to Manizales, go to the Southern Transport Terminal in Medellín. Here, you will see several bus companies offering the route. Shop around for prices and make sure you take a direct bus rather than one that stops in Pereira.
The journey only takes around 20 to 40 minutes longer than it does by car, with a short stop along the route to use the bathroom and buy snacks.
What's best, you still get to enjoy the verdant scenery, and most buses are fairly comfortable and well-equipped.