Eje Cafetero – The Rich Coffee Triangle of ColumbiaBy Ryan F
Colombia is synonymous with coffee but amidst the Andean summits and Caribbean waves lies the Coffee Triangle where you will find a collection of world’s best coffee beans among other gems. Locally known as Eje Cafetero, the Colombian coffee growing axis is located in rural Paisa region comprising of four departments; Caldas, Quindío, Risaralda, and Tolima.
The Zona Cafetera is brimming with warm Paisa people who are known for their hospitality, sense of humor and cordial nature. The coffee plantations are filled with men sporting magnificent mustaches and draped in marvelous ponchos, carriel, and aguadeño hats. Cafes are the hotspots where people, especially senior citizens, meet up for a cup of joe and a heart-to-heart session. The axis houses a number of gourmet coffee bars, restaurants with fine-dining options, hotels, and villas.
It is a tourist-friendly location and the locals welcome the travelers wholeheartedly. You can visit the plantations to learn about the growing process and coffee production. It is best to visit during the harvest seasons when fincas are busy reaping the ripe coffee cherries. The primary harvesting occurs from September to December, while the secondary harvesting, known as ‘mitaca’, takes place in the months of April to June.
The paisa region has several attractions including the Colombian National Coffee Park, award-winning Hacienda Venecia, the stunning Catedral de Manizales, Quindío Botanical Gardens and Cocora Valley. Do explore the nearby towns such as Salento, Filandia, Pijao, Buenavista, Marsella, Aguadas, Santuario, and Genova, and marvel at their architecture and culture.