4.6374° N, 75.5703° W
5 IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU HEAD OUT TO EXPLORE COLOMBIA'S GORGEOUS, GREEN COFFEE GROWING REGION (AKA THE COFFEE TRIANGLE).
There are few places that somehow combine stunning natural beauty with interesting and exciting culture - Colombia's Coffee Region is one of those places.
Full of many different adventures - from hot springs to volcanoes to the tallest palm trees in the world - this part of the country is definitely worth exploring. Below are five things every traveler should know before booking their ticket down to Colombia's Coffee Region (Coffee Triangle).
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE EXPLORING COLOMBIA'S COFFEE REGION
\\ It Rains A Lot
Like even in the dry season it still rains almost every day. While we absolutely love the rain, we totally understand that it can put a serious damper on many plans - including a lot of outdoor adventures.
In our experience, it is best to wake up early and try to beat the afternoon showers that usually come in (often around 2 PM). If you are fine with waking up early then you will likely be able to fulfill most things on your travel list before the weather really turns sour.
Similarly, even when it is raining the temperatures still aren’t too bad. As long as you have a warm waterproof jacket and some sturdy, waterproof boots you should still be able to head out and do some exploring - no matter whether it is rain or shine.
INSIDER TIP: and if you do get caught in a rainstorm there is no better way to warm back up than with a nice hot cup of coffee - this place is great - and a delicious, freshly made cheesy arepa (here are the best ones in town).
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\\ Be Prepared for A Lot of Mud
In the same vein, when exploring the coffee region be prepared for a good amount of mud. This includes in places like the famous Cocora Valley, around the town of Salento - including at many of the coffee fincas, and in the smaller towns in the foothills like Filandia, Circasia and Quimbaya.
This is why, when planning an adventure, we always make sure to have a good thick pair of socks and some sturdy boots with us. Also along with the thick, squelchy mud, more often than not, you will also have to deal with slick sidewalks (especially if they are tiled), piles of horse poop (especially up near Salento) and small river crossings. So even if you are only planning to walk around town, having a good pair of boots might not be a bad idea.
We have been on numerous muddy adventures around the Colombian Coffee Region and these boots have held up really well. Check them out here for yourself.
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\\ There are A Lot of Coffee Experience Options
As you would expect in a place that is famous for its coffee, there are a lot of different options and ways to experience el café. This includes heading out on a coffee tour along Salento’s Ruta de Café, exploring a smaller coffee fincas close to town, or just simply stopping in at a local coffee shop in the heart of towns like Salento or Filandia (here is a great one in Filandia).
We did a six-hour coffee tour at a locally owned and operated finca and absolutely loved it. But we totally understand if you want something a bit less in-depth. That is why there are many different options depending on how much you want to learn and how much time you have to spend exploring the whole coffee cycle. Below are a couple of great options near the town of Salento.
Las Acacias Coffee Farm: a family-owned finca that also grows many other crops besides coffee, plus they also have a great little café with a stunning view of the surrounding landscape
Finca El Ocaso: just down the road from Las Acacias is another family owned and operated finca. This one is a bit more commercialized than others but it offers in-depth tours (some of which are in English). The family that owns the finca is all about preserving the entire coffee culture - from growing the actual coffee to all the processes between plant and cup.
Don Eduardo: located right on the edge of Salento, this working coffee farm also offers rooms at the beautiful Plantation House Hostel (they are connected) - which was actually the original coffee finca in the town of Salento (you can still see the original coffee plants in the yard).
If you aren’t feeling a coffee tour or just don’t have the time, you can also just simply walk around the towns and try some of the local coffee at the numerous cafes. A few of our favorites are Café de la Esquina, located off the main square in Salento, Bourbon Café Bar in Circasia, FRIENDS COFFEE SHOP in Armenia and MOCAFE in Filandia.
GOOD TO KNOW: you should also take the time to check out the uber-famous Jesus Martin coffee shop in Salento. The owner - Jesus Martin - is said to be the man who saved Colombian coffee (read the story here). Plus, even though it is touristy it is still darn good coffee.