Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by Tim Yelland.
Colombia boasts a well-trodden tourism trail that keeps its visitors entertained and its Zona Cafetera (coffee region) provides no exception.
The land bears claim to the best coffee in the world made possible by its sublime weather, rolling hill landscape, and being home to quaint pueblos, mystical valleys, and peculiar wax palms. Salento is the Eje Cafetero tourism hub for Colombian weekenders and worldly backpackers, but Filandia, a town just across the autopista (highway), is equally deserving and primed to be a Zona Cafetera must-visit.
Filandia: Off-the-beaten-path Treasure
Quite like Salento, Filandia is more suited to the two-day sojourn where you can taste enough coffee to satisfy your senses as well as experience the towns other appeals.
If you’re not done after two, it has the activities to keep you occupied for a couple more and the hostel capacity to match. Unlike Salento, it has fewer tourists, which relieves that feeling of being treated like tourist cattle.
During the day, the Mirador de Filandia is the go-to attraction according to TripAdvisor and it’s worth a visit. It’s a great big wooden structure built 27 meters high, situated on an adjacent hill to the town that gives views of nearby cities of Armenia, Pereira, and Parque de Los Nevados.
I’d be lying if I said the view was breathtaking, but I can say it’s worth it (a bit oxymoronic but you get me). Horse riding, coffee farm tours and walking trails around the town will also keep you occupied, although they were passed up by me and my friend this time round – the coffee was just too distracting.
The coffee in our first cafe was served Colombian style and was just one of the three cafes we visited that day. The coffee origins and styles of preparation in each cafe were different and delivered with exemplary service and knowledge – I almost felt like I was back in Melbourne.
Some deserving mentions
Helena Adentro is a day-and-night delight for the senses. Art from local artists hang on the walls, tapas and “comiditas” a la mesa, expert coffee preparation and thirst quenching cold drinks. It’s al fresco if you want it to be.
Café Don Fernando
A café laden in white with a mean chocolate cake and strong latte. Located on Filandia’s main square.
Finca de Mirador
La Finca del Mirador offers landscape views, a café, a finca tour and retail goodies all rolled up into one coffee sack. A one-stop shop.
Filandia is situated roughly 5 hours south of Medellin in between Armenia and Pereira across the autopista from Salento. If you do plan on going, Filandia is better experienced on a bright sunny day where the colorful street facade makes for a brilliant picture.
Odds are you’ll get one.
Tim is a business consultant, freelance writer and soon to be English teacher. He was previously an intrepid mochilero but has been swooned by Colombia’s everything to stay put a while. You can follow his musings on Colombia and other topics on his Medium and Twitter accounts.