With rolling green valleys and snow-covered volcanic mountains, it’s no surprise that Colombia’s breathtaking Eje Cafetero (also known as the Coffee Triangle) has made its way onto the adventure traveler’s radar. Active families, extreme sport junkies, and wildlife enthusiasts can easily spend a week climbing, horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking amid a rugged landscape where mass tourism has yet to take hold. Active days can be bookended with restorative pursuits, including dips in thermal springs, a yoga class, coffee-bean picking, or tasting your way through the region’s incredible agricultural bounty.
For Thrill Seekers: Sign up for a multi-day expedition and mountain bike or climb the five volcanic peaks of Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados ★★★, in the Cordillera of the Andes Mountains. Here, cloud forest and high-altitude páramo provide sanctuary to a rich diversity of flora and fauna, including majestic Andean condors, mountain tapir, cougars, and spectacled bear. The mystical cloud forest of Yarumos Ecological Park provides a captivating backdrop for a robust inventory of adventure sports, including rock climbing and ziplining.
For Active Families: Combine a cultural immersion in picturesque Salento town with a horseback ride along the moderate trails of the magical Cocora Valley, where rickety wooden bridges traverse rushing rivers and lanky wax palms feel part Indiana Jones, part Dr. Seuss. Within the valley, the Acaime Nature Reserve is home to eight species of hummingbirds, and sustenance comes in the form of locally made cheese and chocolate. At Parque Nacional del Café, children can hike or horseback ride through the valley, learn about the bean-to-brew coffee process in the Coffee Museum, and visit a mockup of a traditional campesino house. At the welcoming Don Manolo coffee finca, children can dress up as a mini Juan Valdéz as they simulate the role of coffee picker, operate an antique coffee grinder, take a jeep ride into the mountains, and delight in homemade brownies and guava ice cream.
For Sybarites: At Termales Santa Rosa or Termas Naturales de San Vicente, you can soak in thermal pools, swim beneath breathtaking waterfalls, indulge in spa treatments, or take a guided hike through the stunning valley. At Hacienda Venecia, you can take a morning yoga class, while at Hotel Sazagua, you can relax in spaces filled with indigenous artworks, take a Colombian cooking class, or dine on inspired regional dishes beneath star-studded skies.
For Nature Lovers: The Jardín Botánico del Quindío is famed for its 850 species of flora, including guadua bamboo trees, and its mariposario (butterfly farm), with more than 1,500 butterflies (50 species). At the Reserva Ecológica Río Blanco, avid birders can expand their logs on trails that meander through a magnificent cloud forest reserve, which is home to around 350 species of birds and more than 50 mammals. The cloud forest of Recinto del Pensamiento has a terrific butterfly garden, lush trails brimming with orchids, and a medicinal herb garden.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.