The 5 most beautiful villages in Colombia’s coffee region

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In this post, we’re going to tell you about 5 beautiful villages in the coffee region!

The coffee region, the zona cafetera, the Eje cafetero, three names for the same region of Colombia, a “cultural landscape” declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2011. The Eje Cafetero comprises 3 departments: Quindio, Caldas and Risaralda.

In the midst of these verdant mountain landscapes, where some of the best coffee in the world is grown (even if our favorite is Huila coffee), villages with colorful colonial houses pop up like champagne bubbles.

Of course, Salento is the best-known and most visited of all! But there are many other options, many other paths to explore, villages that invite you to stroll and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Over a cup of coffee, hat screwed on head and poncho on shoulders, come and discover the paisa culture, people passionate about their land, full of legends and stories to tell.

Disclaimer: we apologize in advance for any grammatical or syntactic errors, as our native language is not English (we're a Colombian-French couple), so we hope you'll forgive us and still enjoy the information we share with you! Please note that all the information on our blog is based on our own experience, and is checked and updated regularly.

Salento

THE most famous village of the COFFEE region

The 5 most beautiful villages in Colombia's coffee region

Salento is THE best-known village in the coffee region, and without a doubt the most popular tourist destination. Salento is surely the village that will bring you to this part of Colombia. Okay, Salento AND the Cocora Valley. If Salento is so popular, it’s surely because it’s the gateway to this magnificent gift of nature, the Cocora Valley, which has really established itself as one of Colombia’s must-sees.

But Salento is also the gateway to another, even more impressive and lesser-known wax palm forest: the CarboneraValley, a truly breathtakingly magical place (more on this in a future post).

Built along the lines of the rural villages of the Eje Cafetero, Salento is no exception, with its lively square and colorful houses. In the main street, you’ll find numerous boutiques selling a wide range of handicrafts, and you’re sure to find plenty of opportunities to snap up souvenirs and gifts for yourself or your loved ones!

Tourism in Salento has grown enormously over the years. Its range of accommodation, restaurants, bars, etc. has become much more diversified. It’s worth noting that tourism is limited to the long weekends, particularly during Holy Week, the mid-year and end-of-year vacations..

It’s best to go during the week and/or out of season, so you can visit this village in much greater peace and quiet. And don’t hesitate to take a look at the Carbonera Valley, a sacred alternative to Cocora.

HOW TO GET TO SALENTO

  • Bus from Armenia or Pereira Bus Terminal
  • Duration: 1 h

Activities around Salento

In our post dedicated to Salento, we tell you about the activities you can do: climb to the village viewpoint, visit a coffee finca, go horseback riding, take a mountain bike tour… and of course prepare for your trek to Los Nevados NPN or to the Cocora Valley or La Carbonera.

Where to stay in Salento

Salento, the best hotels

Salento Plaza Hotel

Hotel

Salento Plaza Hotel

Double room : $200.000 to $250.000 COP

A superb hotel in Salento, in a beautiful colonial house very close to the main plaza. We would have loved to have stayed there, to tell you the truth! The decor is superb, and there’s a small interior garden that invites you to relax. The rooms are spacious and the bedding looks comfortable. Highly rated

Salento, the best hotels

Hotel Vista hermosa

Hotel

Hotel Vista hermosa

Double room : $0 to $100.000 COP

A nice hotel, and above all, very attractively priced for a city like Salento! This is where we stayed on our last trip in February 2022 Basic but comfortable rooms, perfect cleanliness, good service.

Salento, the best hotels

El Viajero Hostel Salento

Hostal

El Viajero Hostel Salento

Dormitory : $25.000 to $50.000/Double room : $150.000 to $200.000 COP

A chain of hostals found in Cartagena, Cali and San Andres. Newly installed in Salento, El viajero offers a wide variety of rooms to suit all budgets, and can accommodate up to 90 people. Having said that, we have to admit that the location they have chosen has everything to seduce!

Salento, the best hotels

Segrobe City Hostel

Hostal

Segrobe City Hostel

Dormitory : $50.000 to $100.000/Double room : $150.000 to $200.000 COP

Somewhere between a hotel and a hostal, here’s a place where the decor is particularly meticulous! We love the ambiance of this superb colonial house. The location is central, just a few steps from Salento’s main square. But beware: almost all rooms face the street.

Salento, the best hotels

La Cabaña Eco Hotel

Finca

La Cabaña Eco Hotel

Double room : $250.000 to $300.000 COP

A hotel in a sublime traditional Colombian finca. A real value for money, located just outside the village, in the countryside. They offer a wide range of activities, including horseback riding and birdwatching.

Salento, the best hotels

Yambolombia Hostal

Hostal

Yambolombia Hostal

Dormitory : $0 to $25.000/Double room : $0 to $100.000 COP

This is the hostal where we stayed on our first visit to Salento. It’s a house on the outskirts of the village, about 20mn from the village on foot, 5mn by Jeep. Gabriel is an endearing character and the atmosphere is cool. Everything is meticulously maintained.

Filandia

Beautiful Village in the coffee region

The 5 most beautiful villages in Colombia's coffee region

Filandia is Salento’s hidden little sister. Located just a few kilometers away, Filandia bears a striking resemblance to Salento, except for its tourist attractions! In fact, Filandia is far less touristy than Salento, even though in recent years it has become better known and suffers from the same problems as Salento during Holy Week and long weekends.

Filandia has everything to please, and you’ll be surprised by the similarities between the two villages. Filandia’s main square is sublime, with its splendidly renovated , colorful houses. Dominating the square is the superb blue-and-white Church of the Immaculate Conception, well worth a visit!

There’s also a colorful main street with a number of shops and restaurants, and a quiet, restful atmosphere typical of the coffee region. Filandia is an invitation to take a stroll, or to sit at a table and sip a coffee while enjoying the local life.

Day trip to Filandia and Barmas Bremen

A day trip from Salento to discover Filandia, basketry crafts and the Barbas Bremen nature reserve.

Paramo Trek (#29)

To contact our local partner in Salento you can use the form below. You won’t pay any more, but it will let them know you’ve come from us.

IMPORTANT: If you don’t hear from our partner within 72 hours, please check your SPAMS first before contacting us.

HOW TO GET TO FILANDIA

  • Bus from Armenia or Armenia Bus Terminal
  • Journey time: 1 h

Activities around Filandia

Walk to the viewpoint, discover the coffee culture, visit the basketry interpretation center and workshop with village craftsmen, birdwatching at the Bremen nature reserve, eco-historical trails in the surrounding mountains. Information available on site.

Where to stay in Filandia

Filandia, the best hotels

Casa Laureles

Finca

Casa Laureles

Double room : $150.000 to $200.000 COP

We chose to stay in this beautiful cabin in Filandia and can’t recommend it highly enough. Gloria is a great host! You’ll find yourself in a peaceful setting, just 15 minutes from Filandia’s main square.

Filandia, the best hotels

Bidea Backpackers Hostel

Hostal

Bidea Backpackers Hostel

Dormitory : $25.000 to $50.000/Double room : $0 to $100.000 COP

We chose to stay in this beautiful cabin in Filandia and can’t recommend it highly enough. Gloria is a great host! You’ll find yourself in a peaceful setting, just 15 minutes from Filandia’s main square.

Filandia, the best hotels

La puesta del sol Hotel

Finca

La puesta del sol Hotel

Double room : $150.000 to $200.000 COP

A good option for combining the beauty of the Filandia landscape with proximity to the village center.

Pijao

Slow Village in the coffee region

The 5 most beautiful villages in Colombia's coffee region

Pijao surprised us on our last trip. It’s still far from having developed its full potential. Pijao is just getting to know itself, so you’ll have a very different experience than in Salento or Filandia. A traditional rural village where it’s good to live and relax. A village with friendly people ready to tell you their stories and the stories of the village.

Pijao is the first village in Latin America to be awarded the slow citylabel ! It’s this nomination that has put it on the tourist radar.

Life in Pijao is tranquil, even if the village comes alive at weekends, with music blasting in the square, as in all Colombian villages!

Pijao invites you to stroll through its streets, take photos in front of the pretty, colorful houses, visit the coffee fincas, sample the region’s coffees in one of the specialty stores, go for nature walks, birdwatching and more. Just so you know, there’s also awax palm forest you can visit.

It was a wonderful discovery for us and we recommend it 100%! It’s well located and easy to integrate into a more classic itinerary.

A day in Pijao (and Buenavista)

A day trip from Salento, to discover the villages of Pijao and Buenavista and take part in a visit to a coffee finca like no other.

Paramo Trek (#29)

To contact our local partner in Salento you can use the form below. You won’t pay any more, but it will let them know you’ve come from us.

IMPORTANT: If you don’t hear from our partner within 72 hours, please check your SPAMS first before contacting us.

HOW TO GET TO Pijao

  • Bus: from the Armenia bus terminal
  • Duration: 1 h15
  • Fare: $8.000 COP

Activities around Pijao

Discover local cultures, coffee fincas, walks in the surrounding mountains, swimming in the river..

Where to stay in Pijao

Pijao, the best hotels

Flora del Rio

Finca

Flora del Rio

Double room : $100.000 to $150.000 COP/Double room : $150.000 to $200.000 COP

We loved our stay at Flora del rio! The bedding was just perfect, and the hosts were top-notch. Very good breakfasts with coffee from the finca. The hotel is right in the middle of nature and just a 10-minute walk from the village.

Salamina

Beautiful Village in the coffee region

The 5 most beautiful villages in Colombia's coffee region

Salamina was one of the highlights of our last trip! Nicknamed “Colombia’s City of Light”, it is also a national heritage site and part of the network of Colombia’s Heritage Villages. Salamina is renowned throughout the country for the beauty of the colorful balconies adorning its houses and the truly remarkable woodwork of master craftsman Eliseo Tangarife.

So don’t be surprised if you spend your time wandering around Salamina with your nose to the wind, heading for its sublime balconies and houses carved in the 19th century. These are undoubtedly the most beautiful in the coffee region!

The main square with its church is well worth a visit, especially as you’ll find here a little piece of France lost in the middle of the Colombian countryside! In fact, the beautiful fountain in the middle of the square was built in Europe on the model of the fountains on the Place de la Concorde in Paris! Amazing, isn’t it?

As well as wandering around the village, Salamina offers other things to do: visit a coffee or panela finca, discover the artisanal tapestry workshop, but above all go to San Felix (a small, pretty village right next door) to discover another wax palm forest in the Samaria Valley, another great project that deserves to be publicized!

We’ll tell you more about what we discovered in Salamina in a future post.

Guided tour of Salamina

Kaanas Travel Medellin (#10)

To contact Cathy directly, our local partner in Medellin, you can use the form below. You won’t pay any more, but it will let her know you’ve come from us.

IMPORTANT: If you don’t hear from our partner within 72 hours, please check your SPAMS first before contacting us.

HOW TO GET TO SALAMINA

  • Bus from Manizales bus terminal
  • Duration: 3 hrs
  • Fares: $25.000 COP

Where to stay in Salamina

We had an exceptional experience at Chez Martin, a character in his own right who will help you discover Salamina in a whole new way. His house is just gorgeous, with a splendid view of the mountains!

It’s 20 minutes from the village, but well worth it. Public transport runs past the house every hour.

If you’re interested in this unique home-stay experience, please contact Martin on our behalf🙂

Alto Bonito (#22)

To contact Martin directly, you can use the form below. You won’t pay more, but it will let him know you’re from us.

IMPORTANT: If you don’t hear from our partner within 72 hours, please check your SPAMS first before contacting us.

If this option doesn’t suit you, you’ll find other choices in the village itself.

Aguadas

Villages in the coffee region

The 5 most beautiful villages in Colombia's coffee region

Located in the north of Caldas department, Aguadas is also part of Colombia’s network of heritage villages. Known as the “city of mist”, Aguadas has a small historic center classified as a “property of national interest” by the Colombian Ministry of Culture. It is less well preserved than Salamina, but traces of its former splendor can be seen on the doors and balconies of some of the houses.

Aguadas is best known for its “Aguadeños” hat craftsmanship, so much so that there’s even a museum dedicated to it! You can meet the craftsmen to learn more about the making of this traditional hat of the region, it’s very interesting.

It’s a traditional village with its own little charm, and very easy to get to for the day from Salamina.

Guided tour of Aguadas

Kaanas Travel Medellin (#10)

To contact Cathy directly, our local partner in Medellin, you can use the form below. You won’t pay any more, but it will let her know you’ve come from us.

IMPORTANT: If you don’t hear from our partner within 72 hours, please check your SPAMS first before contacting us.

HOW TO GET TO AGUADAS

  • Bus from Medellín or Manizales
  • Duration: 4 hours

Activities around Aguadas

Visit the coffee growers, discover how traditional hats are made, climb to the El Alto de la virgen viewpoint, stroll to the Pore waterfall (80 m high) or to discover the petroglyphs left by the natives hundreds of years ago, hike to the summit of Tutelar del Pipinta (2270 m) and its view of the surrounding high peaks.

Where to stay in Aguadas

When you arrive in Aguadas, you can see what accommodation options are available, or to book in advance, click here:

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Authors

Angélica & Samuel

We are Angélica and Samuel, a French-Colombian couple, professional photographers and web editors specializing in travel to Colombia. We created this blog to change the image of the country, help you prepare your trip and inspire you to discover Colombia in a different way!

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11 thoughts on “The 5 most beautiful villages in Colombia’s coffee region”

  1. Hello
    We’ve just returned from a three-week trip. Thanks to your invaluable advice, our trip was a success. We fell in love with Colombia and enjoyed Salamina and the beautiful surrounding countryside. We went to San Félix to see the famous wax palms. A good alternative to Salento, which we found very touristy. For more information: Mirador Valle de la Samaria(miradorvsamaria@gmail.com) When we went there was no one there but us. It was really nice. If you book in advance, you can sleep and eat there.
    Thanks again for your valuable information.

    Reply
  2. Hello,
    Following this article, I was enthusiastic about the idea of discovering Pijao, the slow city. A little disappointed, the locals don’t seem to know what’s going on in terms of tourism, very little choice in terms of restaurants and very few activities in terms of fincas to visit. However, the village is indeed quite calm, relaxing and colorful.

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah, Pijao is indeed one of those villages that are totally off the beaten track, where life flows far from the tourist hustle and bustle. It seems quite normal to us that the local people are not necessarily keen on tourist activities, it’s just a “normal” village where life is seen as it simply is 😉

      Reply
  3. bonjour ,et merci pour toutes vos infos très intéressantes quand on prépare un voyage ,c’est tellement mieux que un guide bravo pour votre travail cordialement didier

    Reply
  4. Hello!
    I’m in Salento right now, and there are jeeps that leave about every two hours for Filandia. On the main square 🙂
    5500 the way and same the return

    Thank you for your valuable information!

    Reply
  5. Medoc cuckoo
    We were in los nevados national park a few weeks ago. What happiness!
    Merci pour vos reportages photos
    Sincerely

    Reply
  6. hello! it’s me again! do you think 6 days to visit the villages near Medellin and the coffee area is not too much? We’re very tempted by the Pacific coast, but to do both in 10 days seems really only fair. For the coffee zone, we’ll be taking buses and jeeps, right?
    Thanks !!!! and I won’t bother you anymore!

    Reply
    • Hello, yes, it’s possible if you choose to visit Medellin, a village around Medellin, and not necessarily go as far as the coffee zone, and then leave for the Pacific for 4/5 days. Otherwise, if you want to discover the coffee zone, it’s a bit more complicated because it’s not really close to Medellin..
      As for your questions about the coffee zone, 6 days for Medellin and the villages is fine, so you don’t have to rush around too much. In Medellin there’s a lot to do, and it’s not near the coffee zone (it’s an 8-hour bus ride, more or less, to Salento), and then you’ll have time to discover the other villages, or the activities in Salento, so it’s not too much for 6 days. Depending on the area and the plans you choose to make, you’ll probably take the bus; buses are used locally for short trips in general

      Reply