Paraíso del Bambú y la Guadua

This day trip is available within the Coffee Zone

About

You won’t be in the Coffee Zone for long before you realise that guadua is very important to the region. You will see it growing in frondy copses, you will see how it is used to build some of our favourite fincas and if you come to the Coffee Zone from Pereira airport then you will pass through the stunning guadua constructed toll-booth on the Autopisa del Café.

It is then perhaps less surprising that internationally renowned bamboo expert Ximena Londoño is a Colombian and this private collection is most probably the largest international collection of bamboo that you will ever see.

Ximena will guide you personally through her private collection in a beautiful setting, imagine a relaxed and scenic walk with a scientist sharing her vast knowledge with you.

Aside from learning about bamboo and its role in an ecosystem, you will also learn of Ximena’s tale of personal circumstance and how she worked alongside authorities in Quindío to develop her own private obsession into a truly unique visitor attraction.

This is a half day tour and an ideal way to punctuate your itinerary with a dose of botany, take a day off from trekking or simply relax and be fascinated.

We offer this destination to all as a day trip for those staying in family-owned fincas in the Coffee Zone.

The tour

There’s no need to exert yourself to do this tour, it is a relaxing half day and you can start after a lazy breakfast at the finca. Expect the tour to last 4-5 hours including transport.

Transport

Your day includes transport and entrances to Paraíso del Bambú y la Guadua. Your car will wait for you to take you back to the finca or onwards to other activities that you may have booked.

Groups and private tours

Paraíso del Bambú y la Guadua is a private guided tour ideally suited for 2 to 8 people, larger groups available on request.

We say…

  • We are delighted to offer this tour, it is as rewarding as it is unusual. Your booking this tour directly helps continue conservation work.
  • Consider adding this tour to one of our short coffee tours or one of our longer multiple destination tours such as The Colours of Colombia.
  • Take a waterproof jacket and comfortable shoes.

Price includes

The price stated on this page includes the following

  • The price is per person based on a group of 4 persons
  • Return private transport from your accommodation
  • Entry to Paraíso del Bambú y la Guadua
  • An expert bilingual guide

Use our contact form to book your trip to Paraíso del Bambú y la Guadua.

Nevado Santa Isabel

This day trip is available within the Coffee Zone

About

Parque de los Nevados is located deep within the Coffee Zone and belongs to all three of the areas’s departments, Risaralda, Caldas and Quindío. It is also possible to access the park from Ibagué, the capital of the Tolima Department.

This huge park is a true treat for trekking fanatics as it boasts a range of differing landscapes and the snowy capped peaks of active volcanoes. The most famous being the Nevado del RuízNevado el Cisne, Santa Isabel and the Nevado del Tolima.

It is not just snowy peaks that this national park has to offer, the páramo landscapes and the lagunas are populated by abundant alpine like frailejón plants which are endemic to the páramo.

The park is the perfect place to take spectacular photos, especially during the morning before the fog and clouds descend.

A trip to Nevado Santa Isabel takes you through various climatic zones and ecosystems. First you enter woodland, then the páramo, then the superpáramo. Finally you reach the snowy peaks after which the Los Nevados park is named.

We offer this destination to all as a day trip for those staying in family-owned fincas in the Coffee Zone, hotels in Salento or at Hacienda Venecia.

The tour

You need to be an early riser, this is a full day tour with 12 hours of activities. You will be picked up at 5am if you are in the city of Manizales or Hacienda Venecia or earlier if you are in Risaralda or Quindío

Your day includes transport and you will be take initially to the park entrance at 3100 metres above sea level. From there you commence your walk taking in various ecosystems and high-mountain landscapes. The tour reaches Santa Isabel’s glacier at 4900 metres above sea level.

Transport

The Colombian Way will organise your private transport to pick you up from your hotel or finca and take you to Santa Isabel, afterwards we will return you to your accommodation.

Groups and private tours

Nevado Santa Isabel is a private guided tour ideally suited for 2 to 8 people, larger groups available on request.

We say…

  • Given the restrictions at Nevado del Ruíz, this is the tour that guarantees you access to a glacier.
  • Bring your trekking A-game. This is a full day of high-altitude, medium-difficulty trekking. A good level of fitness is required.
  • It’s going to be cold up there, wear layers, bring a lightweight rain jacket and gloves, and ensure you have good walking boots for the challenging variety of terrains that you are going to encounter
  • Despite being cold it is also sunny, wear a hat and apply a high SPF sunblock
  • You burn more calories when exerting yourself at altitude. Don’t skimp on the carbohydrates the previous evening and drink plenty of fluids

Price includes

The price stated on this page includes the following

  • The price is per person based on a group of 4 persons
  • Return private transport from your accommodation
  • Entry to the Nevados park
  • An expert bilingual trekking guide guide
  • Breakfast en-route and a typical lunch on the way back
  • Accident insurance

Use our contact form to book your trip to Nevado Santa Isabel.

Nevado del Ruíz

This day trip is available within the Coffee Zone

About

Parque de los Nevados is located deep within the Coffee Zone and belongs to all three of the areas’s departments, Risaralda, Caldas and Quindío. It is also possible to access the park from Ibagué, the capital of the Tolima Department.

This huge park is a true treat for trekking fanatics as it boasts a range of differing landscapes and the snowy capped peaks of active volcanoes. The most famous being the Nevado del RuízNevado el Cisne, Santa Isabel and the Nevado del Tolima.

It is not just snowy peaks that this national park has to offer, the páramo landscapes and the lagunas are populated by abundant alpine like frailejón plants which are endemic to the páramo.

The park is the perfect place to take spectacular photos, especially during the morning before the fog and clouds descend.

A trip to Nevado del Ruíz takes you through various climatic zones and ecosystems. First you enter woodland, then the páramo, then the superpáramo. Finally you reach the snowy peaks after which the Los Nevados park is named.

For 5 years this tour was impossible because Parque de los Nevados was closed at the Nevado del Ruíz entrance due to volcanic activity. Now we are once again able to offer this destination to all as a day trip for those staying in family-owned fincas in the Coffee Zone, hotels in Salento or at Hacienda Venecia.

The tour

Bank on an early start, this is a full day tour with 10 hours of activities. You will be picked up at 7am if you are in the city of Manizales or Hacienda Venecia or earlier if you are in Risaralda or Quindío

Your day includes transport and you will be take initially to El Refugio at 4800 metres above sea level. From there you commence your walk taking in various ecosystems and high-mountain landscapes. Your tour will take in such sights as Laguna Negra, Aguacerales, Arenales, Valle de Luna, Valle del Silencio, Volcán de la Olleta and finally back to El Refugio.

Bring your swimming costume because at the end of all that walking you will have a chance to relax in volcanic thermal baths.

Transport

The Colombian Way will organise your private transport to pick you up from your hotel or finca and take you to the Nevado del Ruíz, afterwards we will return you to your accommodation.

Groups and private tours

Nevado del Ruíz is a private guided tour ideally suited for 2 to 8 people, larger groups available on request.

We say…

  • Subject to local conditions and accessibility, this day trip may vary slightly from the description
  • Bring your trekking A-game. This is a full day of high-altitude, medium-difficulty trekking. A good level of fitness is required
  • It’s going to be cold up there, wear layers, bring a lightweight rain jacket and gloves, and ensure you have good walking boots for the challenging variety of terrains that you are going to encounter
  • Despite being cold it is also sunny, wear a hat and apply a high SPF sunblock
  • You burn more calories when exerting yourself at altitude. Don’t skimp on the carbohydrates the previous evening and drink plenty of fluids

Price includes

The price stated on this page includes the following

  • The price is based on a group of 4 persons
  • Return private transport from your accommodation
  • Entry to the Nevados park and thermal baths
  • An expert bilingual trekking guide guide
  • Breakfast en-route and a typical lunch
  • Accident insurance

Use our contact form to book your trip to Nevado del Ruíz.

San Alberto Coffee Tour

This day trip is available within the Coffee Zone

About

San Alberto is a Colombian high-end boutique coffee brand whose estate is located in Buenavista in the heart of the UNESCO protected coffee landscape.

The San Alberto coffee tour is the most technical and comprehensive “seedling to cup” coffee tour that we offer. It is the tour that we most frequently include in our extended tours of Colombia.

If you are passionate about coffee then this is the perfect tour for those staying in family-owned fincas in the Coffee Zone or hotels in Salento.

The San Alberto coffee tour also affords you the perfect opportunity to see why UNESCO protects these special landscapes. Rolling mountain slopes and coffee plants as far as the eye can see.  Expect to see winding roads, crystal clear streams, exotic and colourful birds, and otherworldly flora on the roadside.

The tour

Expect to start your day at 8-9am. You will be picked up and taken to Pijao for a brief visit to the village. You will then be driven across The Andes in a 4×4 to Buenavista and San Alberto’s coffee estate.

Your expert guide will take walk you up to the nurseries initially to see the whole coffee process in chronological order. You will continue through the plantation until you get a chance to see their industrial processes and packing facilities.

After touring the coffee plantation you will be taken back to their laboratory for a highly technical coffee tasting. At the end of the tour you will have free time to enjoy a single lot coffee from San Alberto’s own café overlooking the Buenavista valley.

The tour last approximately half a day and can also be undertaken during the afternoon.

Transport

The Colombian Way will organise your private transport to pick you up from your hotel and take you to the reserve, afterwards we will return you to your hotel or finca.

Groups and private tours

San Alberto is normally a private tour ideally suited for 2 to 8 people, larger groups available on request.

We say…

  • If you are on a quick tour through the coffee zone and want a thorough immersion in coffee, then this is the tour for you
  • Coffee grows on the side of mountains, this tour involves some steep walks and a moderate level of fitness is required
  • Consider making a full day of it. San Alberto is easily combined with a trip to the Botanical Garden and El Mariposario at Calarcá

Price includes

The price stated on this page includes the following

  • The price is based on a group of 4 persons
  • Return private transport from your accommodation to San Alberto. Prices shown are for pick up from our own preferred fincas,  or accommodation in Quimbaya, Salento and Filandia
  • Entry to the plantation
  • An expert bilingual coffee guide

Use our contact form to book your trip to San Alberto.

Birdwatching at Río Blanco

This day trip is available within the Coffee Zone

About

Río Blanco is broadly accepted as being one of the best birdwatching sites in the world.

The semi-private Río Blanco has traditionally been notoriously difficult to access. Now we are able to offer this destination to all as a day trip for those staying in family-owned fincas in the Coffee Zone, hotels in Salento or at Hacienda Venecia.

Ecosystems, flora and fauna

Río Blanco is a stunning 3600 hectare nature reserve situated between 1300 and 2300 metres above sea level. The reserve is interwoven with trails and crystal clear streams.

For many Río Blanco will be all about the birds. Expect to see Buff-tailed Coronet, Speckled Hummingbird, Bronzy and Collared Inca, Mountain Velvet-breast, White-bellied Woodstar and Long-tailed Sylph. In total there are 362 species including 13 endemics in the reserve.

For those interested in glimpsing the shy and difficult to spot Andean bear, there is one that lives at the reserve under the management’s protection.

Activities

It’s an early start for anyone planning on birdwatching at Río Blanco. From Manizales expect your day to commence at 5.30am. From Armenia and Pereira expect to leave even earlier.

Your day includes transport and approximately 4 hours of birdwatching. Walks will be tailored to your own personal preferences, to hike a trail up to the reserve’s peak requires a degree of fitness. Don’t let that put you off, you can be driven up and head straight for the birds.

Transport

The Colombian Way will organise your private transport to pick you up from your hotel and take you to the reserve, afterwards we will return you to your hotel.

Groups and private tours

Río Blanco is normally a private tour ideally suited for 2 to 8 people, larger groups available on request.

We say…

  • Arguably the best birdwatching anywhere in Colombia
  • Early in the morning due to the reserve’s altitude it can be cool. Wear layers for warmth and bring a waterproof jacket. If you aim to do some walking, make sure you are wearing a pair of walking shoes with good tread

Price includes

The price stated on this page includes the following

  • The price is based on a group of 4 persons
  • Return private transport from your accommodation to Río Blanco
  • Entry to the reserve
  • An expert bilingual birding guide

Use our contact form to book your trip to Río Blanco.

Salento & Cocora

This is a day trip available from Armenia, Manizales, Pereira or one of our fincas or hotels in the Coffee Zone

About

Salento is a bustling colonial market town at the centre of the Coffee Zone, it has a lively buzz, excellently conserved architecture and great restaurants serving up a multitude of dishes incorporating the local trout. Its juxtaposition with the Valle del Cocora makes it an extremely popular small town, as such it has good tourism infrastructure.

Cocora, on Salento’s doorstep is is a majestic valley and the perfect place to “lose yourself” for a few hours. The valley is home to the wax palm, the national tree of Colombia and the worlds tallest variety of palm tree, measuring up to 60m. It is the wax palm that makes Cocora a truly special destination and brings visitors flocking to see it. The topology of Cocora offers easy trekking and walking possibilities.

Tour outline

We provide private transport from your finca or hotel to Salento where you will be met by your guide. Salento is well known amongst the people of the Coffee Zone for having some of the best coffee, so before heading to Cocora, enjoy a tinto.

Your driver will then take you and your guide to the entrance to the valley for your guided walk in Cocora. Our Cocora guide is one of the valley’s rangers and provides a captivating explanation of conservation efforts in the valley, the ecosystem and the fauna and flora found in the area. Learn about efforts to protect the wax palm and how farmers work the land in the valley.

Option 1

After your walk you will be taken to the valley’s mirador and from there you will return to the pretty colonial streets of Salento where you can check out the local handicrafts on offer and enjoy a late lunch in one of the local trout restaurants.

Option 2

Rather than return to Salento you can walk all the way through the valley to the nature reserve at Acaime and be picked up there. Managed by Fundación Herencia Verde, The Acaime Natural Reserve is a haven for birdspotters as it boasts 14 different variety of hummingbirds.

Your driver will take you back to your accommodation for about 4pm. If you happen to be staying in a working coffee finca, this is the ideal time to see the coffee processing activity as the pickers return from the hillsides with their harvest of coffee cherries.

Group size

This is a private tour ideally suited for 2 to 6 people, larger groups can be accommodated on request

Stay the night in Salento

Although this is a day trip, Salento’s plaza is a fun place to enjoy a few beers during the evening and has a particularly international feel thanks to the tourists that visit the town from all over the world. Salento has charming accommodation options so be sure to let us know if you would like to spend the night there or even spend the duration of your stay in the Coffee Zone in the town.

We say…

  • Cocora is a spectacular destination and a must for your visit to the Coffee Zone
  • The valley is private land, has no defined pathways and is prone to descending mists that make visual navigation impossible. Getting lost for a few days in the valley is quite common. Under no circumstances will be organise this trip without an experienced guide.
  • Salento and Cocora are superb destinations for photographers, be sure to take your camera.

Price includes

The price shown on this page is the price per person for a guided tour of the Cocora Valley based on 4 people. The pricing is based on departing from Salento so is ideal for travellers taking advantage of our best deal Coffee Zone package.

-Includes the following

  • Transfers in a Willys Jeep from Salento to the Cocora Valley
  • Expert guidance in Spanish

Additional options

  • Let us know if you are interested in spending a night in Salento
  • Let us know if you want to return from Acaime rather than Salento
  • Ask us for pricing for transfers from other locations in the Coffee Zone

Use our contact form to book your trip to Salento and Cocora

The Tatacoa Desert

Day trips and overnight trips to Tatacoa are only available when combined with the destinations mentioned below. 

Normally a trip to the Tatacoa Desert would be incorporated in a trip to the South of Colombia that includes San Agustín and/or Tierradentro. The Tatacoa Desert also features in our round trip The Colombian Heritage Experience.

About

The Tatacoa Desert at 300km squared is Colombia’s second largest desert after Guajira. Located in the Huila department just 38km from Neiva, the desert is accessible but off the tourist trail due to Neiva’s lack of prominence as a tourism destination.

Unaffectionately described as The Valley of Sorrows by Spanish conqueror Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, the arid desert landscape is best known for its mellow ochres, its deep rivened landscapes and its dry tropical forest.

The name Tatacoa is actually onomatopoeic and comes from the sound of the rattlesnake, unusually so as there are no rattlesnakes in the desert.

Flora and Fauna

The dry tropical forest is home to numerous plant species with highly adapted root systems that span up to 30m wide and 15m deep. The desert’s cacti can reach up to 5m in height.

Animal species found in the desert include turtles, rodents, snakes, spiders, scorpions, eagles, alligators and wildcats.

Tour outline

We offer no fixed itinerary for the Tatacoa desert and all trips are arranged according to the rest of your travel plans in the Colombian South.

Typically your tour will include private transport from Neiva Airport via Villavieja with onward travel afterwards to San Agustín. Our local guide is expert in the history and geography of the desert and ensures a captivating visit to the area. To beat the overbearing afternoon sun, the tour will normally take place in the morning or at sunset.

We say…

  • A perfectly unique destination with spectacular lunar-like landscapes
  • Consider spending a night in a simple farmer’s cottage, the lack of ambient light makes for incredible stargazing

Price

A trip to the Tatacoa Desert is offered as a custom option and its price will depend on your plans and wishes.

Options

  • Add a night or two at one of the desert’s farmer’s cottages.

Use our contact form to plan your trip to Tatacoa

Hacienda Coloma

This is a day trip available from Bogotá

About

Hacienda Coloma is located in the Cundinamarca town of Fusagasugá, At a slightly lower elevation than Bogotá, you will notice that it is warmer making it an ideal destination for coffee cultivation. The Hacienda is the home of the Coloma boutique brand of Colombian coffee.

Set in picture postcard grounds, this colonial era hacienda has beautiful gardens and is perfectly appointed to demonstrate the activities surrounding coffee growing, processing and roasting. You will have the chance to see everything from seeding to packing the final product.

The Tour

Your day starts with your private transport pickup at your hotel in Bogotá, from where we drive approximately 90 minutes to Fusagasugá.

Once at the hacienda, your coffee experience will commence with one of the hacienda’s guides. Learn about how Willy’s jeeps are vital to the cafeteros and see a mint working example of one from World War II. Enjoy the gardens, visit the seeding area to learn about the lifecycle of a coffee plant, pick your own coffee “cherries,” see early methods for processing coffee and learn about the coffee culture that is so vital to Colombia’s economy.

Leaving the past behind you, you will then get to see modern drying, roasting and packing processes before finally getting the chance to sample the product.

Enjoy the gardens at your own leisure before moving on to Fusagasugá itself to walk around a typical Colombian town and perhaps enjoy a typical Colombian lunch.

Groups sizes

This tour is ideally suited for groups of 2-8 people, although larger groups can be accommodated on request. The hacienda is private and enclosed with ample grounds, making it the perfect place for families with children.

The Hacienda Coloma tour includes its visitors in all stages of the coffee production process and its educational merits make it the ideal destination for schools and youth groups.

We say…

  • The Perfect introduction to the world of coffee, ideal for those that want to learn about the culture and processes behind their morning brew.
  • An ideal day our for visitors to Colombia that are not going to the Coffee Zone and want to experience coffee culture from their base in Bogotá

Price includes

The price stated on this page includes the following

  • Price based on a group of 4 people sharing return private transport from Bogotá, larger and smaller groups will be priced accordingly
  • The price includes entry to Hacienda Coloma and a guided tour in Spanish

Additional options

  • All signage at Hacienda Coloma is multi-lingual, ask us if you would like us to send an English or German speaking guide with you too.
  • Ask us to recommend a typical Colombian restaurant in Fusagasugá

Use our contact form to book your Hacienda Coloma tour or to request additional information

The Thermal Springs of Santa Rosa

This is a day trip available from Armenia, Manizales, Pereira or one of our fincas or hotels in the Coffee Zone

About

Santa Rosa de Cabal is a pretty market town in the Colombian department of Risaralda. A short ride out of the town and up into the mountains are the town’s superb thermal springs, hot baths of thermal waters rich in minerals. The destination attracts many visitors that marvel at its stunning surroundings, the thermal baths are adjacent to an impressive waterfall which enters a small pond from where water flows through a waterscaped brook.

Relax in pleasantly hot thermal baths and then use the pond and waterfall as an invigorating natural plunge pool.

The thermal park has good tourism infrastructure, pamper yourself with a massage or spa treatment, or enjoy a light lunch at the park’s restaurant.

Tour outline

We provide private return transport from your finca or hotel to the thermal baths of Santa Rosa. Your driver will wait for you whilst you enjoy all that the park has to offer.

When you are ready you will be taken back to your accommodation, take advantage of Santa Rosa. The town is famous for its own recipe chorizos which are sold at the roadside, the town’s plaza also has a nice ambience and a handicrafts market. Take time out to have a walk around the centre and get a fresh coffee.

Consider adding Santa Rosa de Cabal on to one of our Short Coffee Tours or mid-transfer from Salento to Pereira Airport. Santa Rosa de Cabal is also available as an option to add into our popular round trip The Colours of Colombia.

Group size

This is a private tour ideally suited for 2 to 6 people, larger groups can be accommodated on request.

We say…

  • Santa Rosa offers Colombia’s most impressive thermal baths and a fun day out too.
  • Where possible, organise this trip on a weekday. At the weekend and during public holidays the park can become crowded.

Price includes

The price stated on this page includes the following

  • Price per person based on a group of 4 people
  • Private return transport from your accommodation in the Coffee Zone including a stop in the town of Santa Rosa too if desired.

The price stated on this page does NOT include the following

  • The day trip does not include spa treatments, refreshments or any other sundry costs in the park.

Use our contact form to book your trip to Santa Rosa

Las Lajas Church, Ipiales

This is a day trip available from Pasto. It is also available as a stopover for transfers from Rumichaca to Pasto for those entering Colombia from Ecuador

About

The Las Lajas church is almost certainly the most famous church in Colombia and arguably the most spectacular church in the whole of Latin America. Known not only for its decadently kitsch neo-gothic styling, but also its incredible location wedged in the Guáitara Valley.

The church is normally reached via the border town of Ipiales approximately 10 minutes away by road. The landscapes surrounding the church are the deep lush green meadows and fields so typical of the Andean region close to the Ecuador border.

Las Lajas was constructed upon the site of an 18th Century miracle, legend has it that in 1754 an Amerindian woman called María Mueses was walking through the valley of the Guáitara river with her deaf-mute daughter Rosa. They became caught in a sudden torrential downpour and sought shelter between two slabs of lajas, the large shale rocks found in the area.

As lightning illuminated the canyon the daughter exclaimed The mestiza is calling me! and pointed to one of the slabs of shale where a silhouette of the virgin Mary could be seen. The site’s fame grew and there are many accounts of healings in the valley which became a popular destination for pilgrims.

The present day church was constructed between 1916 and 1949. The church designed by Ecuadorian engineer Gualberto Pérez and Lucindo Espinosa from Pastaza stands 100 metres above the Guáitara river with the bridge standing 50 metres over the waters flowing below.

Transport

Our Las Lajas tours are based around flexible transport options that fit into a number of itineraries, including those that include nighbouring Ecuador.

  • Pasto – Las Lajas – Pasto For those already in Pasto we offer a day excursion in private transport to Las Lajas.
  • Rumichaca – Las Lajas – Pasto Perfect for multi-country itineraries and those travelling through South America by road. We are able to pick you up in Rumichaca on the Ecuador border, take you to Las Lajas and have you in Pasto in good time to take an onward bus to either Popayán or Cali.

Groups and private tours

This trip is ideal for groups of 2 to 6 people, of course individuals and larger groups can be accommodated on request.

We say…

  • A unique church and one of the must-see sights in the South of Colombia, the spectacular Las Lajas church in its green valley setting makes for the perfect photo opportunity.
  • Save time and travel in comfort on this leg of your Colombian itinerary by booking a transfer that includes Las Lajas with The Colombian Way.

Price includes

The price stated on this page is based on a party of 4 people and includes the following

  • Transfer from Rumichaca to Las Lajas and Pasto
  • Entrance to the church is free to the public.

Prices for Pasto – Las Lajas – Pasto are slightly less for those not including Ecuador in their itinerary. Please contact us for details.

Use our contact form to book your trip to Las Lajas