The Zona Cafetera is a place to indulge the sensesâ€”from hot thermal springs to the cold Valle de Cocora; sweet berries to bitterly rich coffee. Manizales, Pereira and Armenia are the capitals of the departments that make up the Zona Cafetera, and each provides a different take on the many riches Colombia has to offer.
In Manizales, a treacherous trip to the top of La BasĂlica is a must. Near Pereira, travelers should set aside a full day in the Parque del CafĂ© or spend a few hours basking in the hot thermal springs of Santa Rosa. The Museo del Oro Quimbaya in Armenia remains one of Colombiaâ€™s best-preserved and most organized gold collections. Also of note is Salento, a small town tucked neatly beside a mountain, where farm-grown trout is deliciously served on a large patacĂłn (fried plantain).