From my first glimpse of the rolling green hills as we left the airport in Armenia I knew that I was going to enjoy my Colombian coffee experience. Our visit took us from rural Quindio along the coffee highway to Pereira in Risaralda and on to the bustling production centre of Manizales.
The adventure began in Quindio with a trip to the National Coffee Park near Armenia. Although it was a Saturday afternoon we practically had the whole park to ourselves and I was really impressed by both the setup and our tour, which illustrated the whole coffee production process in beautiful surroundings. It is my understanding that most Colombian tourists head straight for the theme park next door when they visit here, so I hope that effective marketing will enable the coffee park to welcome more international visitors in the near future.
The National Coffee Park prepared us perfectly for our visit to the coffee farm El Agrado the following morning where the education really began. The cofffe tasting session was fascinating and I was very impressed by the educational focus of the Quindio Coffee Committee as well as the environmental initiatives implemented to protect and improve the waterways and soil.
Although our primary reason for visiting this part of Colombia was the coffee, I was most impressed by the broad range of activities available to the tourist throughout the area. Sadly in our three days we were only able to skim the surface, but I could quite happily have spent a week or two horse riding, biking, hiking and relaxing in the thermal bathes.
It was a real pleasure to travel in such a rich landscape and as a destination I would recommend a tour of the ‘Coffee Triangle’ to anyone who wants to explore rural Colombia, enjoy some great outdoor activities or just to relax in style.