Pereira, the capital of Colombia's Coffee Triangle

Michelle Jiménez | Live the World

November 23, 2022

A beautiful region in Colombia that represents a big part of this country's essence is called "The Coffee Triangle" (Eje Cafetero). It overflows with nature, and its roots dig very deep into the coffee farming culture. The city of Pereira, located in the Colombian department of Risaralda, is considered the capital and gate to this whole region.

The essence of the city

Pereira is a nice city to simply explore and walk through its streets, soaking up the atmosphere of complicity and cheerfulness that lives in it. While strolling around the city center, the Circunvalar avenue and nearby area, you can encounter multiple churches with Gothic architecture, which contrasts with the rest of the buildings' colonial and modern style. You might also walk through some of the main squares with locals chilling and hanging around, beautiful palm trees around them and representative sculptures. All this conveys the spirit of the place.

© Michelle Jiménez

If you want to treat yourself with some tasty Colombian food while in Pereira, there are two special places to make your taste buds really happy. One of them is El arriero Colombiano. It is** a restaurant that serves the most typical and tasty paisa food and is set like a traditional fonda, a type of ranch where the muleteers made their stations on their long journeys with the mules. These places served as a shelter and as a liquor outlet to travelers and passers-by. Another highly recommended place is La Guarida, **an awesome and original gastro-bar that prides itself in serving as a shelter and place to hang for visitors. It serves handcrafted sausages paired with an interesting and delicious mix of toppings and sides and has its own passion fruit sauce really unbelievable. Both of these places are pet friendly also!

Pereira is part of the Colombian territory declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2011 - the Colombian Coffee Cultural Landscape. So, this city and the region where it is located are great for ecotourism and agrotourism experiences.

Colombian coffee culture

Pereira is a great destination for travelers to experience Colombian coffee culture. Coffee is the main agricultural product in the department of Risaralda. Visitors can take a trip of one or more days to a real Colombian coffee farm where it is possible to learn about the coffee beans' history and cultivation process. A good option to have this experience would be Zurcos, a coffee brand with its own farms. There, you can participate in part of the process, enjoy a nice coffee tasting experience and learn how to make one with the locals' best practices.


Colombia is the country with the largest number of bird species in the world. Eighty-four of these species are unique to Colombia. Out of all the bird species registered in the country, seven hundred and ninety-six have been recorded in the department of Risaralda out of a total of approximately one thousand species throughout the coffee region. Just in the urban area of ​​Pereira, there are two hundred and fifteen registered species, thirty-five of them are migratory. Three popular birdwatching places or routes are: 

1) Pereira Botanical Garden

In the Botanical Garden, located in the Technological University of Pereira, we find the route of the Tángara Turquesa and Eufonia Cabeciazul. It is also rather easy to spy on the migratory warblers such as the Yellow Gorgia Warbler, the Cerulean Warbler, the Northern Candelita, the Chestnut Warbler, and the Parker's Little Ant, an endemic bird.

2) Fauna and Flora Sanctuary

Travel only forty-five minutes away from Pereira to the Sanctuary of Fauna and Flora - Otún Quimbaya. Here, you will find the Pava Caucana (Penelope perspicax), a bird unique to Colombia. This species inhabits the cloud forests of the subtropical area of ​​the Cauca River valley. Here is also possible to find, amongst a  few others, the Torito de Monte, the Trogón Collarejo, the Gallito de Roca, the Multicolor Tangara and the Pato de Torrentes.

3) Santa Rosa de Cabal

In the village of Cortaderal, two hours away from the municipality of Santa Rosa de Cabal, on the road that leads to the Otún lagoon, is the observation site for another endemic (unique to Colombia) bird species - the Lorito de Fuertes (Hapalopsittaca fuertesi). This is actually a remarkable local species of the Central Andes forest. On this route, you can also watch the Andean Owl, the Royal Bluebird, the Gorriblanca Parrot, the Andean Terlaque Toucan, the Dorsimorado Spine-billed hummingbird, as well as the Sword-billed Hummingbird, the Awl-beak Hummingbird amongst other species from the Central Andes.

Natural hot springs in Santa Rosa

© iStock/DC_Colombia

Santa Rosa the Cabal is a municipality located thirty minutes away from Pereira. This is a must-visit destination while in the area. There, you will be able to enjoy amazing natural hot springs. Water sprouts from the earth at a temperature of 70ºC and descends through the waterfalls to the pools with a temperature of 40 ºC, where you can swim and relax. You can also book yourself a massage or go on eco-walks to waterfalls and springs while admiring the landscape full of mountains and nature.

This is definitely one of those trips of a lifetime. The lovely capital of the Colombian Coffee Triangle, Pereira, will definitely light up your smile, cheer up your soul, and warm-up your heart, there is no doubt about that!

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