We’re getting ready to travel to Armenia, the city in Colombia where our snacks are made, to work on our gluten-free certification. Armenia is the capital of the Colombian department of Quindío. We love it for its beautiful shades of green thanks to its diverse vegetation and a magical climate that stays pretty close to 70 degrees year-round. Part of Colombia’s coffee-growing region (eje cafetero), the area is rich in fertile soil so aside from coffee; plantains, yuca and guadua (a type of bamboo) also grow there.
It’s a beautiful city and while it’s not one that people often think about when planning a trip to Colombia, it’s a great starting point for exploring Colombia’s coffee-growing region. We put together a small guide for those considering a visit to Armenia and its surrounding areas. Here are our top picks.
See and Do
Parque del Café (Coffee Park) – Located about 20 minutes from Armenia by car in the town of Montenegro, this park gives you a chance to learn more about coffee in the region and how it’s processed. It also has amusement park rides for those who like them but for us the highlight is the coffee park.
Panaca – If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll love a visit to this agricultural park, where they can experience and feed animals up close and personal.
Coffee Farms – Pay a visit to one of the many local coffee farms. You can arrange tours of these farms through tour operators or reaching out to the farms directly.
Salento and Valle de Cocora (Cocora Valley) – Visiting the Cocora Valley is a breathtaking experience. The valley is home to Colombia’s wax palms (palma de cera) and a large variety of flora and fauna. To get there, you need to take transportation from the town square in Salento, a picturesque town about 14 miles northeast of Armenia that’s worth a visit. Once at Cocora, you can explore the valley by foot or on horseback.
Photo via SanArte
Rancho Eden – Go here for delicious food from the region.
Café Quindío – This cute cafe also serves food typical to the region but in a more gourmet setting. It’s also a great spot to go for coffee. Don’t miss their house coffee blends.
Container City – Think of this as an outdoor food court. At Container City, you’ll find good food and drink options from various restaurants housed in recycled shipping containers. We especially love SanArte, a healthy option that sells our favorite tuna, quinoa and avocado salad.
Dar Papaya – This restaurant bills its food as a mix between Asian and Latin flavors. We love the food and the view is impressive.
Combia – This gorgeous hotel, located on a coffee plantation outside Armenia, is a feast for the senses. You’ll fall in love with the gorgeous landscape at this peaceful retreat.
El Mocawa – If you prefer to stay inside the city, this is a good choice. It’s centrally located, close to everything you’d want to do and in a beautiful part of town.