Presentation of the destination
Armenia is a city in Colombia and it is the capital of its department, Quindío. The population of Armenia is 292,008 people. The city was founded in 1889 by the man Jesús María Ocampo who was famous for his passion for hunting jaguars. He came to hide out in the mountains of the Quindío Department and bought land and started a settlement in the area. The name Armenia is believed to have come to honor the Armenians that were killed in the Ottoman Empire massacres in 1894-97. Armenia is best known today for its coffee and flowers and has been recognized as a very influential city in South America because of its variety of both flowers and coffee. It is located in the most important coffee region of Colombia. The temperature in Armenia stays fairly uniform throughout the year with temperatures ranging between a low of 17°C (64°F) and a high of 27°C (81°F). Armenia is in the time zone UTC -5. Spanish is the official language of Colombia but an additional 68 ethnic languages and dialects are also recognized. The currency used is the peso.
Points of interests / things to see
Armenia is located near to the Los Nevados National Natural Park which is a park in the Cordillera Central region of the Colombian Andes Mountains. The central feature of the park is the Nevado del Ruiz which is a volcano that reaches a height of 5,300m (17,400ft). The Nevado del Ruiz volcano has been active for 2 million years and has had three major eruption periods in its history. The biggest risk from the volcano today is that its eruptions often cause mud and debris flows which can destroy towns. The top of Nevado del Ruiz is covered in glaciers that are shrinking in size due to recent climate change. There are seven other volcanoes also found in the park area. Over the years, glaciers have shaped the terrain in the park and left a number of valleys and moraines in their wake. The park is also important because it provides a source of water to about 2 million coffee growers in the area as well as irrigation for rice and cotton crops. One major feature of the park is Lake Otún which is a glacial lake that offers recreational fishing opportunities. There are a number of species of flora and fauna in the park including many endangered bird species. In 2009, Los Nevados National Natural Park was the third most visited protected area in Colombia, out of a total of 55 protected areas.
The Cocora Valley is a valley in Quindío department and it is situated approximately 24km (15mi) to the northeast of Armenia. It is in the Central Cordillera portion of the Andes Mountains. The name of Cocora comes from a Quimbayan princess and means “star of water.” The Quimbayans were a civilization found in South America who were most renowned for their detailed gold work. The Quimbaya civilization reached its height between the 4th and 7th centuries. Today the Cocora Valley has now been incorporated into the Los Nevados National Natural Park. The Cocora Valley is most famous for being the primary location of the Quindío wax palm which is the national tree and the national symbol of the country of Colombia. The Cocora Valley is also home to many other types of flora and fauna including some endangered species that are now protected in the Los Nevados National Natural Park. The valley is found at an altitude of 1800m (5,905 ft) to 2400m (7,874ft). By car, visitors can access campsites and restaurants in the valley and from there can hike or ride horses to explore the rest of the valley. The valley is humid and sees rainfall almost every day. The temperature year round averages about 14°C (57°F) however temperatures can change greatly within a single day and visitors should bring adequate clothing for high and low temperatures. In addition to camping and hiking in Cocora Valley, other options for visitors include bird watching, horse riding, rafting, mountain biking, swimming and enjoying the local trout at one of the restaurants in the valley.
Salento is a town found in the department of Quindío. It is found 24 km (15 mi) to the northeast of Armenia and has a population of 7,247 people in the municipality. The main road running from Cali to Bogotá does not pass through Salento which has made the town fairly isolated. Due to this factor, the town did not develop as much and today still has most of its colonial architecture, more than almost any other town in the area. The quaintness and quietness of the town make it a very popular tourist destination in the area. The town of Salento sits on a plateau in the Quindío River Valley and lies along the Cocora Valley. Initially, in the 19th century, Salento was along the road from Popayán to Bogotá. The road was built by prisoners of war who later settled in the area and who were the first inhabitants in the settlement that became Salento. One of the highlights of the town is its colonial architecture that is symbolic of the style that was prevalent in the area many years ago. Along Calle Real, visitors can see a number of examples of the architecture in Salento. Calle Real is also the main street in Salento where there are many shops selling local products. There is a mirador or look-out point at the end of Calle Real. Visitors must climb 250 steps to reach it or they can also take the road. From the mirador, there are views of both the Cocora Valley and the mountains of Los Nevados National Natural Park in the background. The most famous food in Salento is the local freshwater trout prepared in different ways and with different sauces and often accompanied with a green plantain fritter.
The National Coffee Park is found 11km (7 mi) to the west of Armenia and is a theme park with an emphasis on coffee. Attractions in the park include orchids, the coffee garden, a rollercoaster, Colombian folk architecture, food stalls with coffee products, bumper cars and boats, horse rides, a Ferris wheel and others for total of 22 attractions. The park was established in 1995 by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia and the Departmental Committee of Coffee Growers of Quindío. There are two principal areas to the park. The first is the museum which showcases the history and culture of coffee and its growth and production. The other part of the park is the amusement area with rides and shows. The two parts of the National Coffee Park are connected by cable car or by an ecological trail that passes through a coffee plantation and allows visitors to see different types of coffee plants. Website: http://www.parquenacionaldelcafe.com/newpage/indexi.php Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Opening hours: 9:00-18:00. The park is open most days but check their website to see if they are open for the day you wish to visit. Entrance fees: Entrance fees depend on what activities you want to pay for. The most basic ticket starts at COP $23,000 and the most expensive is COP $56,000.
PANACA or the Parque Nacional de la Cultura Agropecuaria or the National Park of Farming Culture, is a theme park based around farming. The park’s goal is to provide a place for people that live in the city to interact with nature and to promote contact with nature in order to learn about it. It was started by a group of businessmen to raise awareness about the importance of nature and PANACA was the first theme park designed around the theme of farming in the world and continues to be the largest one in Latin America. The park was opened in 1999. There are over 4,500 domestic animals in the park for visitors to interact with as well as a variety of other attractions and numerous shows. Five different shows are put on at the park including a dog show, a horse show, a comedy show about how important the countryside is for the future, a show featuring two farm workers and their animals and a show where the race pigs. The exhibits cover many different species of domestic animals including horses, cats, birds, etc. as well as different plant species. There are also a number of restaurants on the PANACA grounds. Address: Kilometro 7, Vía Vereda Kerman Quimbaya, Quindío Website: http://www.panaca.com.co/ (Spanish only) Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone number: +57 (6) 7582830 Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9:00-18:00 Entrance fees: There are two options for tickets. One is COP $29,000 and includes everything in the park and on its paths. The other is COP $56,000 and also includes the price of seeing all 5 shows.
Calarcá is a town of 82,400 people situated 4km (2.4 mi) to the east of Armenia. The town was founded in 1886 and some years after its founding, coffee arrived in the area. Calarcá then became one of the most important coffee-producing regions in all of Colombia. The city saw an increased amount of wealth from the coffee business and developed as a cultural city. Today the city has different events and festivals throughout the year including the national festival of coffee and the yippao which is a festival devoted to customized Jeeps which have become a symbolic car of the region. Unfortunately some of the old buildings were destroyed in 1999 by an earthquake.
The Peñas Blancas or White Crags, are comprised of a crag (or cliff) and three different vertical rock faces. They are found in the municipality of Calarcá, 4 km (2.4 mi) from Armenia. Access to the Peñas Blancas is from Calarcá, but they are visible from Armenia. The cliff and rock faces are white because they are primarily made up of limestone and calcite. There are various caves and rock shelters in the cliff but they are very difficult to get to. The Peñas Blancas are also steeped in local legend about buried treasure. According to the legend, an indigenous leader, Cacique Calarcá (for whom the city is named after) hid treasure there when he was fighting the Spanish. Today the cliffs are a landmark in the area and provide visitors with opportunities for rappelling and rock climbing, a zip-line and hiking trails as well as campsites and restaurants.
The Jardín Botánico del Quindío (Botanical Garden of Quindío) is botanical garden found in Calarcá, 4 km (2.4 mi) from Armenia. The gardens were opened in 1985. One highlight of the botanical garden is its El Mariposario or Butterfly House which houses more than 1,200 species of live butterflies in its building. The butterfly species are native to Colombia. In addition to the butterflies, the Botanical Garden of Quindío also has a number of plants and birds on display as well as offering educational programs. Website: http://www.jardinbotanicoquindio.org/en/ (Spanish only) Email address: email@example.com Phone number: + (57)6-7427254 ext 105 Opening hours: Daily 9:00-17:00 Entrance fees: Adults COP $17,000, children and adults over 60 COP $8,000.
Filandia is another town found in the department of Quindío, 26km (16 mi) to the north of Armenia. The economy of Filandia is based on coffee production like many other towns in the area, but Filandia also produces a large number of fruits and vegetables. One of the main tourist attractions in the town is its mirador or look-out area which provides stunning views of the Cauca River and Los Nevados National Natural Park. Within Colombia, there is also a famous café in Filandia where scenes were shot for a popular Colombian telenovela. Filandia is the furthest north municipality in the department of Quindío.
Vacation rentals in Armenia (Quindio)
How to get there ?
The Colombian cities of Bogotá (http://www.elnuevodorado.com/), Medellín (http://www.aeropuertojosemariacordova.com/en/) and Cali http://www.aerocali.com.co/index.php?lang=en) have airports that offer international flights to a number of countries including direct flights to the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Canada, France, Spain and other destinations in South America. The Calí airport is the closest one to Armenia at a distance of 164 km (102 mi). There is a small airport, El Eden Airport, in Armenia. It is both a domestic and international airport. There are a number of domestic airline companies in Colombia including Avianca (the main one), COPA Colombia, LAN Colombia, and many others including a low-cost airline, Viva Colombia. Bus travel from Venezuela and Ecuador into Colombia is possible. Another way to get into the country is by boat from Panama. Traveling by bus is the most common form of transport within the country. The bus station in Armenia is near the center of town. There is frequent bus service to Bogotá that costs about US$20 per ticket. The ride can take anywhere from 6 to 12 hours depending on road construction and number of stops. Renting a car to get around the country is also a possibility. Most of the roads are generally well-maintained but can be closed because of landslides during the November to February rainy season. To get around Armenia, there are taxis throughout the city that will take passengers anywhere. If the meter is off, make sure to negotiate a price before setting off.
Armenia city hall
Hotels in Armenia (Quindio)