Hear about travel to the coffee region of Colombia as the Amateur Traveler talks to Alejandro from Bogota about an area of his country that he thinks doesn’t get enough attention.
Alejandro says of Colombia, “I think it’s a really nice country and if you are interested in Latin American culture I think it’s one of the best places to go because it’s still rather undiscovered by international tourism. You’ll get a more authentic experience I think”. He describes a 2-week itinerary that covers a desert, some ancient stone works, and the heart of the Colombian coffee country.
He starts us in the Neiva which is 4-5 hours south of Bogota. From there he takes us to the Tatacoa Desert which is a badlands area. This is one of only two deserts in Colombia. It has sand dunes and red stone. You can take tours of the desert by day, but by night it has one of the clearest night skies. Because of that, there are a couple of observatories with nighttime programs. This area was a forest only a few hundred years ago.
5-6 hours south of Neiva by car, you can find ancient tombstones at the San Agustín Archaeological Park, which is a UNESCO World History site, and at some nearby sites as well. These stones are pre-Colombian. Alejandro describes them as similar to the moai of Easter Island but much less consistent.
The coffee region is one of the most popular places for Colombians and is one of the best coffee regions in the world. The coffee region is in 3 small departments: Caldas with its capital of Manizales, Quindio with its capital Armenia, and Risaralda with its capital Pereira. Alejandro recommends we base ourselves in Pereira.
Each city has its own festivals. Manizales has a big new year’s festival and Armenia and Pereira have harvest festivals. The Manizales festival is known for its bullfights. At the harvest festivals, you can try many different types of fresh coffee. Nearby is the Cocora Valley with its tall palm wax trees, and natural springs. Alejandro recommends a stay at a coffee hacienda and a tasting tour. For a family vacation, he recommends the National Coffee Park which is a theme park around the theme of coffee.
He recommends concluding your trip at the thermal springs at Santa Rosa de Cabal.
Especially for coffee lovers, hear about this area that brings you your favorite beverage.
Colombia Travel Guide
Colombia Coffee Region
La Tatacoa Observatory
Festivals in Colombia
San Agustín Archaeological Park
The Statues of San Agustín
National Coffee Park
Santa Rosa de Cabal
Los Nevados National Natural Park
Colombian Peace Process
Recent review: One of the best travel podcasts by Savio from Canada
Travel is a privilege and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to take two or three trips a year. I enjoy planning my trip and the Amateur Traveler Podcast is a great resource. What I appreciate the most is that the host (Chris) and his guests are chatting about what makes a place interesting. Also hidden gems I should see and overhyped sites I should avoid. Even if you have no plan to go to Uzbekistan or Laos, or Namibia, or places you never heard of, it is enjoyable to learn about them in your armchair.
Please take our listener survey