CircaWanderlust Guide to The Eje Cafetero – Quindío

We’re breaking down one of Colombia’s most popular areas into 3 travel guides because, well it is a pretty massive region! If you missed the first one, check it out HERE. The Eje Cafetero is where most of the coffee is grown, giving it the nickname of Colombia’s Coffee Triangle or Coffee Axis. It is made up of 3 departments which is how we chose to break down the travel guides. See,there is a method to the madness! Our last guide was about Risaralda so this guide we are telling you allllllll about Quindío.

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Quindío

Parrque Nacional de la Cultura Agropecuari: PANACA
PANACA is a unique type of themed park, built entirely around agriculture and environmental awareness. With interactive stations where you learn about farming and agriculture, ecological trails, and canopy ziplines you have never seen a themed park quite like this one. They have shows, rides, and agriculture station where you can see how farms work when they are humane and environmentally aware.
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Valle Del Cocora – Salento
Salento is located in the Cocora Valley, an area known for its picturesque mountains and wax palms that shoot up into the clouds. Though Valle Del Cocora is a greater area where you can go on trails and ride horses up to the tops of mountains, Salento is the MUST see in the area. This quaint little town has been lost in time with traditional architecture and cobble stone roads. Very similar to Villa de Leyva the town is very bohemian, known for its artisan crafts, traditional goods, and full of foreign backpackers. Trout is the “must” when it comes to good food (my favorite is Al Ajillo because trout and garlic are amazing!) You can easily spend a day exploring or stay at one of the local hostels if you plan on making your visit a bit longer. Make sure you take a horseback riding trip through the Fog Forrest, I promise you won’t regret it!
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 Museo del Oro Quimbaya – Armenia
When you get down to the root of Spanish Colonialism in South America, the road will always lead you to gold and riches. The Legend of El Dorado has fascinated those who hear its story for hundreds of years and at the Gold Museum Quimbaya in Armania, you can see first hand what conquistadors searched for. The museum tells the story of the region, going back thousands of years, including the sociological and anthropological importance of gold and offerings in their societies.

Paragliding – Calarca

For the adventurous souls out there who want a little more than the zip lining offered in Salento, Calarca is where you want to go. There you will be able to paraglide with some of the most amazing views while you say “hello” to the clouds.

Jardín Botánico y Mariposario – Calarca

A more down to Earth option while your thrill seeking counter parts go gliding, the Botanic Garden is an educational ecotourism option you will remember for years to come! With Colombia as one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, Jardín Botánico y Mariposario will show you plants and insects you can’t find anywhere else in the world. For those looking to educate little ones or get some science in while they travel this is a great option! You will love the eco-trails and exhibits that leave you in awe with their beauty.

319938658_2058d7d675_zPhoto by Michael, All CC

Parque del Café – Pueblo Tapao

Think theme park meets Coffee Culture meets Legends and Folklore. That is the easiest way to Parque del Café. For those looking for a family friendly place to spend the day, you will enjoy rides and bumper cars and also walk through a traditional coffee farm as you learn about the legends and myths of Colombia. Bonus points? It isn’t to far from PANACA so plan a 2 day trip with the kiddos.

Reserva Natural Cascadas del Río Verde – Córdoba

Gather around hikers and outdoorsy folk and let me tell you all about the Natural Reserve Rio Verde Waterfalls! Only accessibly by “Willy’s” jeep, you travel along 8 km of unpaved road before you reach the start of a 1 km hike along a trail where you will see waterfalls, birds, and other native wildlife. The reserve is almost 200 acres of native forests ready to be explored.

Parque Nacional Natural Tatamá – Pereira

If camping while you are in Colombia is on the list, this is the place you are looking for! Another gorgeous nature filled National Park with native plants and wildlife you won’t see anywhere else, this untouched moor is straight out an Outdoor Magazine. The park is home to over 500 species of orchids some of which are near extinction. With hundreds of endemic species of fauna and flora the park is an ecological gem you have to visit even if you aren’t up for camping in the chilly Andes.

14145055052_8a1f29e22e_zPhoto by Alejandro Bayer Tamayo, All CC

Parque los Arrieros – Quimbaya

Similar to PANACA, Parque los Arrieros is a themed park. Dedicated to the culture, history, and story of Colombia’s arrieros (muleteers). You will see experience dances and music traditional to the region and get a look at what an arrieros life is like! This park is almost like your history lesson and the Rodeo/State Fair came together.

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If you’ve been or plan on going to any of these places, let us know! We would love to hear your thoughts. And if there is anything you think we missed, that didn’t make the list but should have, let us know in the comments as well!

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  1. […] check it off! We talked more about the Nevados and other similar activities in our previous posts here and here. So if this is something you fancy, go check those […]

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