The coffee triangle
offers plenty of attractions too, plus opportunities for harvesting, tasting and understanding that delicious bean. Here are five parks in the region that are definitely worth a visit:
Parque Nacional del Café
Every coffee lover wants to visit Parque Nacional del Café (Colombia’s national coffee park) a theme park dedicated to everything you ever wanted to know about Colombian coffee. This Quindio park is close to both the town of Montenegro and the city of Armenia, the departmental capital, and its attractions include a cable car over the park’s rolling landscapes, a coffee museum, gardens, food stalls (offering coffee ice-cream and other delights) plus dancing and cultural displays and theme park rides. Don’t miss it!
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Parque Nacional de la Cultura Agropecuaria (PANACA)
Colombia’s PANACA theme park was the world’s first theme park designed to promote interaction between man and nature and it’s true to its word. The park, in Quimbaya, Quindio, celebrates the role of agriculture in all our lives and offers a greater understanding of the animals we depend on. More than 4,500 domestic animals live on-site, offering visitors the opportunity to interact with all manner of livestock and enjoy displays such as horse and dog shows. There are also eco-walks and canopying.
Colombia is world famous for its vast number of butterfly species too (more than 3,200 and new ones are being discovered all the time) and the coffee district’s Mariposario is one of the best places to visit them. Not only does this huge, butterfly-shaped park in Calarca, Quindio, house more than 1,200 endemic Colombian species, it’s also part of Quindio’s fabulous botanical gardens. The gardens are really more like a mini national park, filled with birds and animals and steep climbs and bridges over plunging canyons.
Recorrido de la Cultura Cafetera (RECUCA)
This coffee plantation tour will have you full to bursting with information about the origins of your brew. The farm, in Callelarga village, Calarca, offers an authentic taste of life in Colombia’s coffee zone, with coffee pickers in traditional dress, a full-scale model of life in the region’s smallest towns, dressing-up sessions, a walk through the coffee fields (plus the chance to harvest a few choice cherries) as well as a full explanation of the process and, of course, the opportunity to drink a cup of the nation’s finest.
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Parque Los Arrieros
The “Horseman’s Park” tells the story of the men who crossed the countryside in this region on mules, carrying goods and news between towns, villages and isolated farms. The park, in Quindiano, Quimbaya, is family-owned and full of attractions including nature trails, historical stories of the horsemen, sugar cane grinding, examples of traditional homes and clothing, rafting, horseback riding, dance shows, restaurants and, of course, plenty of time for coffee.
Ukumari Biopark is one of the largest of its kind in Latin America and it’s still expanding. The park, near Pereira, has almost 50 hectares of land divided into bioregions to show how different plant and animal life exist across the planet. Visitors are currently able to explore the Matecana Zoo, botanical gardens and the veterinary clinic and the park is now constructing an anthropological museum and natural history museum as well as sections that will focus on Africa and Asia.
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