This six-day itinerary takes you deep into the lush, mountainous landscape of Colombia's Zona Cafetera or "coffee triangle." Start with a trip to an organic coffee "finca" (farm) where you'll follow the bean-to-cup process and sample the high-quality brews. After you're fully caffeinated, set off to discover the rest of the region's highlights—hiking through the towering palms of the Valle de Cocora, birdwatching in the Rio Blanco Nature Reserve, exploring traditional villages, and soaking in the thermal waters of Santa Rosa de Cabal.

Highlights

  • Tour an organic coffee "finca" & discover the bean-to-cup process
  • Hike through the world's tallest palms in Valle de Cocora
  • Marvel at the diverse & colorful birdlife of Rio Blanco Nature Reserve
  • Explore the Zona Cafetera's charming traditional villages
  • Relax in the healing hot springs of Santa Rosa de Cabal

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in the Zona Cafetera - Coffee Finca Tour Pereira
Day 2 Hiking in Valle de Cocora - Explore Salento & Filandia Pereira
Day 3 Manizales - Río Blanco Nature Reserve Pereira
Day 4 Explore Quindío Villages Pereira
Day 5 Santa Rosa de Cabal Thermal Waters Pereira
Day 6 Depart the Zona Cafetera  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in the Zona Cafetera - Coffee Finca Tour

A stunning coffee plantation in Colombia's Zona Cafetera.
A stunning coffee plantation in Colombia's Zona Cafetera.

Welcome to Colombia! Today you'll take a flight to either Armenia or Pereira, cities in Colombia's Zona Cafetera (coffee region). 

Upon arrival, transfer to an organic coffee farm in the lush countryside, surrounded by gentle Andean mountains blanketed in green coffee fields.

A cup of coffee tastes so much better when you follow the creation from bean to cup. Today you'll be guided through the sloping fields of specialty coffee plantations as you discover the painstaking process of sowing, selective hand-picking, and de-pulping the finest beans. Afterward, you'll help roast the harvest over firewood in a traditional kitchen, finishing with an exquisite cup of coffee to savor.

Continue this authentic experience with a stay overnight at the "finca" (farm), where you'll learn even more about Colombia's famous export (the country is the world's third-largest producer of coffee) and have the opportunity to sample some of the world's best brews.

Day 2: Hiking in Valle de Cocora - Explore Salento & Filandia

The Cócora Valley's distinctive towering palms.
The Cócora Valley's distinctive towering palms.

Wake up with a hearty breakfast—and of course, a cup or two of excellent coffee. From here, a car will pick you up and drive you to a trail in the Valle de Cocora (Cocora Valley), outside the historic town of Salento. As you make your way to the path, you’ll catch sight of the distinctive Quindío wax palms, which can reach an impressive height of up to 230 feet (70 meters). This protected cloud forest of the Andes is peppered with the soaring palms, which also serve as Colombia's national tree.

The Valle de Cocora offers hiking opportunities second to none. The route here takes you along dirt tracks through tropical forests and streams and up to lookouts providing sweeping views. After the hike, head back to the colorful streets of Salento and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. Despite Salento's rise in tourism over the past decade, it retains an old-world charm with colorful Paisa (Antioquian) architecture, street musicians, and an impressive range of handicrafts. 

Next, you'll continue to the typical village of Filandia, where a walking tour guides you through its colonial streets, craft workshops, and the Quindio viewpoint. (Note: The Quindio viewpoint is closed every Monday and every Tuesday when Monday is a holiday in Colombia). 

Hike duration: 3 hours (with an English-speaking guide).

Plan your trip to Colombia
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.

Day 3: Manizales - Río Blanco Nature Reserve

Tanagers are just some of the rare and colorful bird species you can spot at the Río Blanco Nature Reserve.
Tanagers are just some of the rare and colorful bird species you can spot at the Río Blanco Nature Reserve.

This morning, you'll transfer to Manizales, the most prominent of the three cities that make up Colombia’s “coffee triangle." Have lunch by the neo-gothic Catedral de Manizales, then visit the massive Monumento a los Colonizadores. This impressive bronze sculpture sits at the top of a lookout offering 360° views of the city and the surrounding mountains.

In the afternoon, you'll visit the Río Blanco Nature Reserve, located just two miles from Manizales. Hit the trails of this 30,000-acre protected area and look for unique plants and animals endemic to the central Andes cloud forests. Hundreds of Colombia's 2000 bird species exist here, including toucans, rusty-faced parrots, owls, tanagers, and more. 

After a full day at Rio Blanco, you will be transferred back to your hotel.

Day 4: Explore Quindío Villages

Circasia's traditionally painted buildings.
Circasia's traditionally painted buildings.

After breakfast today, you'll hop in a jeep with your local guide for an excursion to the region's traditional villages. Explore lovely towns like Montenegro, Circasia, and Cordoba (the exact towns visited are subject to change).

You'll be charmed by the beauty of this special region and the warmth of its people. Your guide will introduce you to local fruits (tasting encouraged), and there'll be plenty of opportunities to stop at splendid viewpoints overlooking stunning coffee, pineapple, and banana plantations.

When you return to your accommodations in the afternoon, enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.

Day 5: Santa Rosa de Cabal Thermal Waters

Santa Rosa de Cabal's waterfall.
Santa Rosa de Cabal's waterfall.

Day five takes you on an outing to the Santa Rosa de Cabal Hot Springs for a day full of relaxation and fun for the whole family. Set amongst lush mountain vegetation, a spectacular 100-foot waterfall is the centerpiece of this tranquil paradise, tumbling into the steaming, mineral-rich waters of a natural thermal spring. Choose from a selection of various pools and temperatures, soak and unwind in the healing waters, and enjoy a delicious lunch from the local cafe.

Return to your hotel and enjoy your final evening in Colombia's beautiful coffee country.

Day 6: Depart the Zona Cafetera

Bid the beauty of Colombia's Coffee Region farewell.
Bid the beauty of Colombia's coffee region farewell.

It's time to say goodbye to Colombia's Zona Cafetera! Enjoy your last morning with a leisurely breakfast surrounded by the beauty and nature of this magical region. A representative will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your connecting flight home.

Map

Map of Coffee & Culture: Explore Colombia's Zona Cafetera - 6 Days
Map of Coffee & Culture: Explore Colombia's Zona Cafetera - 6 Days