3 days/2 nights
Spectacular mountain scenery, diverse wildlife, and world famous coffee culture defines the Colombian Coffee Region. Welcome to one of the country’s most popular destinations.
On this unique three-day tour you will experience the best of the Coffee Region. Hike among the tallest palm tree in the world, spot wild monkeys in the cloud forest, and sample the best coffee in the world. In our Beginners guide we are going inside the adventure. Pack your bags!
Find your adventure in the Colombian Coffee Region!
Our Colombian Coffee Region experience begins in the bustling regional capital of Armenia. Your local guide will pick you up in the morning and transport you to the delightful little town of Pijao, a hidden gem of the region, nestled in the rippling green mountains of southern Quindio. Pijao is one of Colombia’s best-kept secrets, and today it will be your base to learn all about Colombian coffee.
Today is all about Colombia’s most famous product: we will experience a crash-course in the genesis of Colombian specialty coffee. We will explore the pretty town and learn all about how coffee is so central to the life and economy of so many towns in the region. There will then be a visit to a specialty café owned and operated by an authentic coffee farmer. Carlos Arturo has been producing coffee for years now, and his unique methods have seen his café win numerous regional coffee awards: if you love coffee, you may never enjoy a tastier cup!
After sampling the coffee, we will hop onto the back of a typical local jeep and head out into the countryside where we will spend the afternoon learning about how to grow and harvest coffee at a local coffee farm. Our host will be Don Leon (you may recognise him from the CNN documentary #MyColombia), a coffee farmer who produces award-winning specialty coffee and whose passion for his product always shines through during his tours. We will explore his coffee plantations, pick the beans, and go through the entire process, from tree to cup.
We will eat a hearty, freshly-prepared lunch at the farm before the tour, and then will we take the jeep back into Pijao before heading back to our boutique coffee hotel for the evening.
After an early breakfast at Hacienda Bambusa we’ll head off to discover the majestic scenery of the Coffee Region on a full morning hike in the iconic Cocora Valley. The valley is famous for its giant endemic Wax Palm trees; the National Tree of Colombia and the world’s tallest palm trees, measuring up to 60m! The five-hour loop hike* will take us through farmland, cloud-forest and pine woods – as well as an excellent hummingbird observatory -, before we arrive at the world-famous Valley of the Palms. Here we will be able wander among the giant trees, marvelling at their size and enjoying the view of the one of Colombia’s most beautiful landscapes.
There’s no rush during the hike (the guide will be carrying packed lunches to enjoy in the gorgeous Colombian countryside), so you will be able to relax and appreciate the wonderful biodiversity that makes Colombia so famous. Keep an eye out for toucans, parrots, and even the cute little coatis that hang out around the hummingbird observatory.
Once the hike is finished, it’s off to Salento – one of the most popular small towns in Colombia – for a short walking tour exploring the colourful traditional architecture. We will stop for delicious coffee at Café Jesus Martin, do some souvenir shopping, and there will time to play the Colombian National Sport: tejo! We won’t reveal the full magic of a tejo experience…but let’s just say it involves heavy metal disks, gunpowder, and beer!
Once you’ve had your fill of Salento, it’s time to head to our final destination of the tour: the wonderfully biodiverse Otun Quimbaya Ecolodge, tucked away in the cloud forest of the Central Andes. After a short transfer we will arrive in the lodge in time for dinner (and an optional night walk to search for owls if there are birders among you), and a nice early night.
Otun Quinbaya is one of those places where you won’t mind waking up at dawn…which is helpful, because this morning we’ll be up at dawn for an early morning nature walk. The unique birds and animals of the reserve are most active at first light, and we’ll be out on the well-maintained forest trails to spot them. Howler Monkeys are remarkably common here, so keep your eyes on the canopy. Top bird species at Otun Quimbaya include the endemic and critically endangered Cauca Guan, a species recently rediscovered in Colombia and famously easy to spot at this reserve; the daredevil whitewater-loving Torrent Duck; and the charismatic Red-ruffed Fruitcrow. Patient and quiet visitors may even spot the white-lipped Mountain Tapir, the only species of tapir in the world that be found outside tropical rainforests.
After a full morning of hiking and wildlife watching, we will eat lunch at the Otun Quimbaya Lodge before travelling back to either Armenia, Pereira, or Manizales (depending on your onward travel plans) where our Coffee Region tour ends. Your Colombia experience doesn’t have to end here though p check out our Medellin and Bogota tours to prolong your adventure in the land of Magical Realism.
*A shorter version of the hike is also available for visitors who are unable to complete the full loop