Colombia Coffee Region

Colombia’s Coffee Triangle

When you’re planning a trip to Colombia, it’s difficult not to think of coffee—who doesn’t remember the legend of Juan Valdez? On this front, I have good news and I have bad news.

The good news is that Colombian coffee plantations are a dime a dozen, and once you arrive in Colombia’s coffee region (known as Eje Cafetero, which means “Coffee Axis” but is usually translated to “Coffee Triangle”) it’s pretty easy to get to them. The bad news is that the internet is awash in outdated and inaccurate information about Colombia’s coffee region.

I’m here to change that.

Need help planning your trip to South America? Hire me as your Travel Coach!

Where to Stay in Colombia’s Coffee Triangle

One thing that can make or break your stay in the Colombia coffee area is the accommodation you choose. While you’ll probably stop in a larger city such as Armenia or Pereira (more on those places in a few paragraphs), the best place to stay in the Coffee Triangle is the town of Salento. There are dozens of awesome hotels and guesthouses here, but I’m a big fan of the upscale-ish Hotel Salento Plaza and the most budget-friendly Posada Casa Salento, to name just a couple.

How to Visit a Coffee Plantation in Colombia

There are two basic methods you can use to find a Colombia coffee plantation (finca) to visit. The first is what I call “Colombian-style.” That is, speak to a local person (probably someone at your hotel or guesthouse, but not necessarily), who’ll give you their coffee plantation recommendation. This will probably be well-chosen, but the downside is that the directions they give you will almost certainly be imprecise.

The second option is to choose a coffee plantation online in advance, and make your way there on one of the days you spend in the Colombia coffee region using Google Maps. I can personally recommend Finca Don Eduardo (which I visited), although I also considered going to either Finca el Ocaso or The Plantation House, both of which are well worth the trek (if, like me, you choose to walk from Salento to get there) according to people who went.


Hiking the Valle del Cocora

Speaking of trekking, the Colombia coffee belt is great for treks, hikes and other active tourism. The most popular area to hike in Colombia’s Eje Cafetero is the Valle del Cocora, famous (among other things) for its towering, skinny palm trees. You can see pictures of them if you scroll back up!

Trekking to the view point at the top of Valle del Cocora and back takes a full day: The bus ride to the valley’s entrance lasts about an hour each way from Salento; the hike takes about three hours roundtrip if you go fast (and I did). On the other hand, you can see this beautiful part of Colombia by horseback, which isn’t necessarily faster, but is less strenuous if you’re into that.

How to Get to the Colombia Coffee Region

The quickest way to get to Colombia’s so-called “Coffee Triangle” is to fly from Bogotá or Medellín to the aforementioned cities of Armenia or Pereira, then take a bus or taxi onward to Salento. Alternatively, there are buses from Bogotá to Armenia and Pereira (which still require you to travel onward to Salento using your own means) and new direct bus service direct from Medellín to Salento, but in my opinion air is always the way to travel in Colombia, if you can afford it.

The Bottom Line

Whether your knowledge of Colombian coffee consists only of Juan Valdez or you already have a list of plantations you want to visit, the so-called “Coffee Triangle” is a must-visit destination on any trip to Colombia. From the opportunity to taste delicious, fresh coffee, to picture-perfect scenery you won’t find anywhere else in the world, the Colombia coffee region is calling your name.

About The Author

is the author of 1088 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


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Bret @ GGT January 2, 2013 at 10:16 am

I’ve heard great things about Colombia’s burgeoning ecotourism offerings, but the only places I’ve been are Cartagena (cool, but not really eco at all) and the Rosario Islands (which were awesome). Valle del Cocora sounds like it might be worth a visit!

Robert Schrader January 2, 2013 at 10:30 am

Yeah it was awesome! The cool thing about a lot of places in Colombia is that, owing to its continued reputation as being unsafe, many of the eco-tourists are local, rather than gringos. I definitely want to go back!

Flashpacker Family January 2, 2013 at 5:18 pm

I’ve wanted to go to Colombia for the longest time. It looks so beautiful. The landscapes are so weirdly different to what I’m used to in NZ and that’s what I look for when I travel. Your lunch looks darn good too.

Robert Schrader January 2, 2013 at 5:36 pm

It was all so good. Colombia is really the hidden treasure of South America, since everyone’s so convinced it’s dangerous. I guess maybe in some ways it kind of is, in the cities, but definitely not in places like this. If you can go, do!

Tamara Lowe January 2, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Colombia seems like such a diverse country, which is what I love about it. Really want to go. The pictures look stunning!

Robert Schrader January 3, 2013 at 6:53 am

It is incredible diverse, which is why it’s so great! It’s like the best of South America in one country!

Rachel Christensen Denning January 4, 2013 at 12:41 am

Can’t wait to go to Colombia 🙂

george hutchinson February 9, 2013 at 12:50 am

Colombia. Medellin is different. Bogota’ is different. London, Milan, San Francisco, LA. The worst guys are from the US, for me. I don’t even pay attention to the guys in Colombia. London I had some great love affairs. The sweetest and most loving and passionate is the guy from Milan, the bittersweet one was in Munster. Tel Aviv, I’m not into that Middle Eastern mentality. So here I am in the most beautiful place on earth for me, Northern California. Yeah American gays can play the game so good. To be here with the beach and peace is fine. I’m off again to Colombia, then Chile, Argentina then I wish I was like I Dream of Jeannie, Normandy, Brittany and Hamburg and back home to England. You can have the jungles and the risky business with men. Now to me guys don’t mean what it use to. Being happy with one self and the world around, even if I won’t go into a jungle, is more important.

fincasquindioya April 6, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Thank you Robert for visiting our region and writing this post about your experience there. Sounds like you had lots of fun! And there is one little thing I must add, the Chontaduros don’t come from the wax palm trees in Cocora, They come from another palm from a different region in Colombia. Take care!

fincasquindioya April 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Well, we are waiting for you 😀

fincasquindioya April 6, 2013 at 5:07 pm

It certainly is. From the Amazon to the snow capped mountains to the Colombian wild wild west plains to the coasts on two different oceans!

Esteban September 6, 2016 at 11:41 am

Hi Robert I’m really impressed with the way you describe the Valle de Cocora I’ve been many times there and can’t imagine share my experience like you, so if you came back let me Know cuz I have other places that you can visit in the coffee region.

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