Another city where a taste of the jungle may be savored is Florencia, capital of CaquetÃ¡ Department. Florencia is located on the eastern side of the Cordillera Oriental, just where the mountains tumble down to lush tropical forests. Many Colombians call this city one of the most beautiful in the country. Florencia is a young city, founded only in 1902.
Facing its palm-studded plaza is Catedral Nuestra SeÃ±ora de Lourdes. Another noteable building is the Roman-villa-styled Palacio de Artes, also called Edificio Curiplaya, where the tourism office is (Tel: 434-7785, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, URL: www.florencia-caqueta.gov.co). Also in the center of town is Museo CaquetÃ¡ (Ca. 14, 12-24. Tel: 435-1547, E-mail: email@example.com, URL: www.museocaqueta.com), highlighting the regionâ€™s history and art. Just a kilometer (0.6 mi) from town are the ancient Petroglifos El Encanto rock paintings. Other Florencia attractions include the JardÃn BotÃ¡nico de la AmazonÃa (at the antiguas instalaciones del IDEMA. Tel: 313-376-9441).
Three tourism routes start from Florencia. Within the first 20 kilometers (12 mi) of Florencia, the Ruta a Morelia houses several crystalline-clear swimming holes, like Quebradas El Dedo, La Yuca, La Mochilera and RÃo Zarabando. Ruta El CaraÃ±o, heading north toward Neiva, is also studded with swimming holes and country-style restaurants. There is a jungle hiking path at El Manatial. MisiÃ³n Nueva JerusalÃ©n, a Gregorian mission, has a museum and a historical trail. Ruta Venecia heads to Puerto Arango, where boat rides may be taken on the RÃo Orteguaza. Rappelling and birdwatching are other outdoor activities that can be enjoyed.
Florencia has a complete slate of services. There are inexpensive hotels in the center of the city, and several ranches offering lodging are located in the surrounding countryside. Big celebrations in Florencia include the Festival FolklÃ³rico de la AmazonÃa (June) and the Festival Nacional de MÃºsica Andina y Campesina (November).
(Altitude: 266 m / 872 ft, Population: 151,400, Phone Code: 8)
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