4.6747° N, 75.6577° W
OFTEN OVERSHADOWED BY ITS MORE POPULAR NEIGHBOR SALENTO, THE SMALL COLORFUL TOWN OF FILANDIA IS TEEMING WITH RICH CULTURE, DELICIOUS WORLD-CLASS CUISINES AND OF COURSE, DELICIOUS COFFEE.
While the mountain town of Salento, Quindio might be one of the most famous destinations to visit in the coffee region of Colombia (the eje cafetero), we instead urge you to explore another equally colorful and lively town: Filandia, Quindio.
Located about 25 minutes from Salento, the small town of Filandia is similarly rich in culture, cuisine, coffee and nature. But what sets Filandia apart is that it still feels a bit more undiscovered by other travelers. While in Salento you can find people visiting from all over the world, in Filandia you are more likely to see travelers from places like Bogota, Cali or Medellin. Or even more likely, people from the nearby big cities like Armenia and Pereira who are looking to escape the hustle and bustle and get back to the tranquilo life of the small coffee towns.
While we absolutely love Salento and highly recommend every traveler to Colombia spend a couple of days exploring the town and more importantly its surrounding mountains, we also similarly recommend travelers looking to get a better idea of a quintessential Quindio town to spend some time exploring Filandia.
5 REASONS TO VISIT FILANDIA, COLOMBIA
1. The Views of the Countryside from the Mirador
Filandia is smack dab in the heart of the Quindio Department and the Coffee Triangle of Colombia. The colorful town is surrounded on all sides by vibrant green farmland, dense forests and hazy purple mountains.
One of the best ways to get an idea of the surrounding countryside is to head right out of town and check out the famous mirador, which looks weirdly like an alien spaceship.
Known as Mirador Colina Iluminada Filandia Quindio, this interesting architectural piece is the perfect way to get an idea of what the Colombian Coffee Axis actually looks like. Plus, due to the high number of signs dotted around the mirador’s complex, you can also learn a lot about the various small pueblos that dot the landscape - from nearby Quimbaya (home of the famous Candles and Lanterns Festival) to the town of La Tebaida, also known as the “Tropical Eden of Quindio”.
| COST: 8000 COP per person ($2.10 USD/€1.80 Euros)
| WHERE: to reach the mirador head out of town on Carrera 4 towards the town of Quimbaya. After about 5 minutes of walking you should clearly be able to see the mirador. Altogether, it is about a 1.2 kilometer walk from the main square to the mirador.
| TIME: plan to spend about an hour at the mirador, not only to take in the stunning views, but also to read all of the helpful and interesting signs that dot the walk up.
EXPLORE MORE | THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SALENTO, COLOMBIA
2. The Colonial and Colorful Architecture
Filandia is the northernmost of the twelve municipalities that form the department of Quindío. And just like many of its neighbors, it is part of the "Coffee Cultural Landscape" a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This internationally recognized designation has helped the city preserve and protect not only its surrounding environment but also its many colonial buildings.
It is also the second oldest town in the department after Salento. Today, it has garnered the nickname, "La Colina Iluminada de los Andes" ("The Illuminated Hill of the Andes") due to its elevated position (and maybe its colorful mirador).
Before Europeans arrived in the area, the spot where the town now sits was occupied by indigenous peoples of the Quimbaya tribe, who not only practiced agriculture but were also noted for their metalwork. The Quimbayan people began to diminish after the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century and it is estimated that Filandia was uninhabited for about 200 years until the19th century.
But by the early 20th century, the town had become a prosperous community. So much in fact that there were estimated to be 250,000 coffee bushes growing just in Filandia. Due to that, many coffee processing plants were created and even today Filandia is still synonymous with coffee.
❔ GOOD TO KNOW: the name Filandia comes from "Filia" (daughter), "Andia" (Andes): Filandia, daughter of the Andes.
One of the best ways to get an idea of Filandia’s rich history is to simply walk down its numerous colorful building-lined streets, especially Calle 7. Or simply grab a quick tinto and sit around Plaza Bolivar, the main square in town and people watch for a bit.