Buenavista, Colombia | A Quick Travel Guide

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Sunny view of Buenavista, Colombia



Coffee, culture, colors and absolutely stunning views. You can find all of that and more in the cute, somewhat off the beaten path town of Buenavista, Colombia - located about an hour south of the capital of the Quindio department, Armenia.

Buenavista - which actually translates to "good view" - is a great place to enjoy the full coffee experience, including making a stop at one of the most awarded coffee estates in the country - while also taking in one of the nicest views of the central Colombian region.

Below is everything a traveler needs to know about visiting Buenavista, including the top 6 things to do, how to get there and where to stay.




\\ A Quick History of Buenavista

José Jesús Jiménez Yépez was one of the first people in the Buenavista area. He arrived in 1928 and soon opened up a store to buy coffee from the surrounding fincas and to sell simple, basic supplies. Eventually, the farmers who lived close to the area bought lots of land in the region around the store and soon constructed their homes. This would form the small settlement that would eventually become Buenavista.

The official foundation date of Buenavista is considered to be in 1933 (in that year a police inspector was assigned to the settlement). Jiménez Yépez donated land for further development of the town, including the site on which the church presently sits.

Three years late (1936) the settlement was elevated to the level of town in the municipality of Pijao (as part of Pijao). But in 1966 - shortly after the formation of the department of Quindío - Buenavista was separated from Pijao and has since been its own town.

NICKNAME: the town is named for the spectacular view over the Quindio department (buena = good and vista = view)

\\ Where is Buenavista, Colombia

Buenavista sits on the western slope of the central Cordillera mountain range - one of the three ranges that cross Colombia. Buenavista is characterized by its very steep terrain - something that is quite obvious just by driving up to it. The town is closely surrounded by other popular Quindio towns (pueblos); including, Calarcá to the north and west, Córdoba to the east and Pijao to the south.

FROM ARMENIA: 45 minutes, 30 kilometers / 18.6 miles

FROM MEDELLIN: 6.5 hours, 309 kilometers / 192 miles

FROM BOGOTA: 7 hours, 305 kilometers / 190 miles

GOOD TO KNOW: the town has an area of 41 square kilometers - which actually makes it the smallest municipality/town in the whole Quindio department.

Google map of Quindio, Colombia

ELEVATION: 1,483 meters

POPULATION: 5,800, of which 2,100 live in the urban center

Weather in Buenavista, Colombia

Like many other places in Colombia's Coffee Region the weather does not fluctuate very much during the year. Besides the few seasonal changes that come with the rainy and dry seasons, the weather in Buenavista is almost always sunny and warm. If thunderstorms do appear it will likely be later in the day (around 2 PM).

When visiting Buenavista, we suggest bringing ample sun protection (a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen), bug spray - especially if visiting coffee fincas where bugs (like no-see-ums) are more prevalent, light clothing and a rain jacket.



The Best Time to Visit Buenavista, Colombia

Like most places in Colombia, there really is not a “bad” time to visit a place. That being said, if you want the best chance for nice weather consider visiting during the dry season: December - February, and then June - August. If you do happen to visit during the rainy season (March - May and September - November) you can still expect an ample amount of sunshine. It is simply just more likely to rain in the mid-morning and afternoons during the rainy season.

INSIDER TIP: we visited during the dry season but still had to work around a late-afternoon thunderstorm. If you really don’t want to get caught in the rain, consider visiting during the early morning.




1. Visit the San Alberto Estate

Likely one of the biggest draws for people to visit Buenavista is the opportunity to check out the famous San Alberto Estate - home to Colombia’s Most Award-Winning Coffee.

Funny enough, we first stumbled upon the San Alberto coffee way back when we spent a month in Cartagena. After wandering around the Old City for an afternoon, we ended up taking refuge in a nice, quaint air-conditioned café. Soon we found ourselves spending a couple of afternoons working in the coffee shop, both for their delicious coffee and their strong Wi-Fi - plus we just loved looking at all of the old photos on the wall as well as photos of the actual coffee finca. In fact, we both agreed that if we ever got the chance to check out the finca in person we would 100% make a point to do it.

Fast forward a couple of months and we once again found ourselves sitting in a San Alberto café - but this time it was not in hot Cartagena, but on the finca’s shaded wooden terrace overlooking its sprawling coffee estate. And don’t worry the coffee tasted just as good as it did in Cartagena (if not better).

View of the San Alberto café in coffee estate

The estate is located on the edge of Buenavista and is about a 10-minute walk from the main plaza. While we ended up just spending a couple of hours in their plant-surrounded café - sipping iced coffee and chowing down on arequipe cake - you do also have the option to take an actual tour of the finca. In fact, the estate actually offers two different tours: one that is just a basic tour of the finca and the second that is a bit more immersive (it includes more coffee tasting). See below for the tour prices.

Learn more about the San Alberto Estate history - including how it came to be in Buenavista and where the name came from - at the estate's website.


| COST: you can expect to pay around 3000 COP ($0.76 USD // €0.68 Euros) for a basic Americano and a bit more if you want it made with a Chemex (it is more of an “experience”). They also offer lattes, cappuccinos and cold brew.

There is also the option to pick up a 340-gram bag of coffee (0.80 pounds) costs 40000 COP ($10 USD // €9 Euros) online and in the estate's café.

INSIDER TIP: the café has coconut milk available as well; we recommend ordering an iced coffee with coconut milk on a warm sunny day.

| WHERE: the estate is located right outside of Buenavista (it is easily visible from the main plaza). To reach it head out of town on Carrera 2 (Via a Buenavista on Google Maps). Walk for about 10 minutes until you see signs along the hillside. The café is on the left side of the road.

| HOURS: the café on the estate is open from 11 AM - 6 PM Tuesday - Thursday and 10 AM - 6:30 PM Friday - Sunday (closed on Mondays).


There are two different tours available on the San Alberto estate. The first tour is a bit less immersive (only 2.5 hours long) and costs 121000 COP ($30.71 USD // €21.40 Euros) per person. The second option is a bit more immersive and lasts around 3.5 hours. The second tour costs 148500 COP ($37.70 USD // €33.60 Euros).

You also have the option to book a private guide + tour of the San Alberto Estate on the travel app Get Your Guide.

>>> Book more guided trips in Colombia here.


2. Walk up to the Mirador

If you want to get a great view of Buenavista and stretch your legs a bit - and also get another view of the San Alberto Estate - then consider walking up the road to the mirador, which sits above town and affords you some of the best views of Buenavista and the whole Quindio valley.


| ROUTE: the mirador is a relatively easy - though quite uphill - walk from downtown Buenavista. To reach it, head out of town on Calle 3 as if you are heading to the San Alberto Estate. But instead of turning left on Carrera 2, keep heading straight up the road (it seems to be unnamed on Google Maps). Soon you will see a road on the left with signs for El Gran Mirador (a hotel), turn left here and keep walking up the narrow paved road. Stay on this road for another 1 kilometer until you see a paved road coming in from the right side (it is very steep). Turn right on this road and walk up until you get to an obvious flat area with an old abandoned building.

INSIDER TIP: you will know you are on the right road when you pass Villa Jimenez on the left. After the hotel, just keep walking up the road until you see the road coming in on the right.

| LOCATION: the exact location of the mirador is here.


3. Hike up to Los Tres Cruces

If you are looking to hike even further up the mountain than the mirador, you also have the ability to check out another viewpoint known as Los Tres Cruces (The Three Crosses) - which are easily visible from the road up from town. While the lower mirador gives you great views of the town and the Quindio valley, the Los Tres Cruces viewpoint gives you an even wider view of the surrounding valley, as well as the nearby mountains - and on a clear day, even the Valle de Cauca, the next department over.

GOOD TO KNOW: up at the top of Los Tres Cruces there is an abandoned cable car station (teleferico). While you can no longer ride the cable car (a shame) you can still hang out under the old building and its somewhat unique roof.


| ROUTE: follow the same exact route as above (towards the mirador) but when you come to the road on the right (the steep one) just keep walking up the paved road you have been on. From the intersection of the mirador road, it is another ¾ of a kilometer up to Los Tres Cruces.

| LOCATION: the exact location of Los Tres Cruces and the teleferico is here.



4. Go Paragliding

We unfortunately have not had the chance to do this ourselves, but we know people who have and they have all said it was absolutely amazing.

If you want to get a serious birds eye view of the Quindio department, including the central Cordillera mountain range, then a paragliding trip might be the perfect option.

The primary company that does the paragliding tours from Buenavista is Gran Colombia Tours, which also runs free city tours of Bogota, paragliding trips over Medellin and 4-day tours out to La Guajira desert (up in the far north of Colombia).

The paragliding trip lasts between 4-6 hours, of which about 15 minutes of it is actually up in the air. The tour also includes transportation to and from Buenavista and pictures and videos of the experience.


| COST: 116000 COP ($29.50 USD // €26.30 Euros) per person for one paragliding trip

| TOUR: the main office for Gran Colombia Tours is in the main square of Buenavista. You can find more information on their website.

| EXTRA: make sure to bring proper footwear, sunscreen and comfortable clothing for the flight.