In the northwest of Colombia, there is an area known as La Zona
Cafetera. It is the place of coffee plantations, beautiful valleys and some of the tall mountain peaks of the Andes.
We first caught a bus from Bogota to Manizales and out to a coffee finca where we were up-graded to the main house from the backpackers. From the beautifully groomed gardens and encompassing verandas, we had a full view over the plantation and of the surrounding valley. We even learned how to grade coffee.
From there we headed to Salento, a typical colonial town surrounded by spectacular valleys and mountains.
This small village is geared up to handling the curious travelers and they welcome the influx. We hiked in lush green valleys and went for a horse ride.
We strolled around the town, cooked good food and chatted to other guests. Even though we did a lot it was very relaxing.
After extending our stay at the amazing hostel by two extra days we headed off to Manizales to join a day tour to the Parque Nacional Los Nevados to hike up to a glacier. We passed through five different eco-systems of plants as we hiked towards the summit.
The hike was quite exhausting on the way up and the thin air didn’t help matters.
We then caught a bus to Medellin to explore the streets and to enjoy the culture. The very inexpensive public transport was a combination of a rail system and cable cars to handle the steep terrain. We headed up to a national park in the hills where we could enjoy the use of free bikes and hiking some paths with great views.