Visiting Medellin and the Coffee Region
Medellin and the Coffee Region are two of the most spectacular areas of Colombia. The Coffee Region, or Coffee Axis, is where Colombia’s world famous coffee is produced. Punctuated by gorgeous green mountains and colourful traditional houses, the Coffee Region of Colombia is the place travellers need to visit to enjoy a fresh cup of Joe and beautiful views.
Medellin is Colombia’s second-largest city. Once considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world because of drug cartels, Medellin has reinvented itself into a pleasant place with sprawling green parks, chic neighbourhoods, fun nightlife and interesting museums. Now known as the “City of Eternal Spring,” visit Medellin anytime of the year because it always boasts mild temperatures.
Top Things to Do in Medellin
Parque Arvi – Perched above the city centre, Parque Arvi offers nature lovers a host of activities such as swimming, horseback riding, hiking and spotting butterflies in designated gardens. It’s best to take a cable car up to the entrance of the park to get a panoramic view of Medellin. Plan to spend the whole day here because the park is massive.
Comuna 13 – Once known as one of the most dangerous spots in Medellin, Comuna 13 now serves as an inspiring example of how a community can improve thanks to the hard work of citizens and social programs. The neighbourhood can be reached by using a series of escalators and is adorned with colourful graffiti which signifies the area’s dark past and hopeful future.
Plaza Botero – This square features sculptures created by the famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero. He is known for making pieces that appear “chubby.” The Antioquia Museum, located on one end of the square, is where visitors can see more works from Botero and other important artists. Street performers and vendors can also be spotted in Plaza Botero.
Flower Farm Tour – Visit one of several flower farms located outside of Medellin. Local farmers will walk visitors through the whole flower cultivation process as well as demonstrate the traditional and intricate flower arranging ritual. Creating flower arrangements is a culturally significant activity in this area of Colombia.
Top Things to Do in the Coffee Region
Coffee Farm Tour – Visit a traditional coffee farm and learn the whole coffee production process – from plant to a steaming cup of fresh coffee. Many coffee farms will facilitate coffee tastings and teach participants how to distinguish between flavours, notes and origins.
Hike Valle de Cocora – Dotted with towering wax palm trees, Cocora Valley is located about 13km from a small town called Salento. The whole loop takes 5-6 hours to hike, but people can turn back if the trail gets too challenging. Some of the trail is accessible on horseback and is a truly stunning experience.
Visit Traditional Towns – The small colourful towns in the Coffee Region, such as Salento, Filandia and Salamina, are a treat for anyone who appreciates quaint, colourful pueblos bursting with tradition and culture. Visitors can stay overnight or visit various towns in one day. Be sure to see the main squares in each of the towns.
Trek Through Los Nevados National Park – Spanning across several departments, Los Nevados Park is a 582 square kilometre conservation centre in the Coffee Region. It has glaciers, páramos, lakes and forests. It is also home to several volcanoes, including the 5,300-metre-high Nevado del Ruiz. Note that it’s prohibited to climb Nevado del Ruiz because it is an active volcano.
Medellin & Coffee Region Travel Information
The Flower Fair takes place the first 10 days of August every year in Medellin. The city is saturated with vibrant blooms and hosts several cultural events throughout the 10 days, including a horse fair, concerts and pageants. Manizales, in the Coffee Region, holds a fair at the beginning of every year that features parades, concerts and the International Coffee Pageant.
Since this is an agricultural area of Colombia, the traditional dishes are packed with protein and carbohydrates so farmers won’t get hungry working the fields. Bandeja Paisa is one the most well-known dishes from this region. It consists of two types of sausages, rice, beans, ground beef, arepas, plantains and an avocado slice.
The Coffee Region and Medellin are mountainous areas and the weather varies depending on the altitude. The average temperature could be between 15-23°C at 2,000-3,000 m.a.s.l, between 20-23°C at 1,000-2,000 m.a.s.l and around 28°C in destinations located closer to sea level.
Travellers can fly from Bogota into Manizales, Pereira or Armenia, which are all cities in the Coffee Region. International flights arrive and depart in Medellin. It’s not recommended to drive to the Coffee Region or Medellin from other parts of Colombia because the roads can be curvy with many semi-trucks and charter buses.
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