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Colombia Travel – Parque Nacional del Café

Colombia Coffee

Colombia Coffee Region by najarich, on Flickr

When you first think of Colombia travel, what do you think of? Something that starts with the letter C? No, not that word – COFFEE!

Colombia is famous for their coffee and very proud of that fact. Coffee is one of Colombia’s biggest exports and serious business, especially in the region of Colombia known as the Coffee Triangle or Zona Cafetera. They live and breath coffee here. Oh, and they also have a coffee theme park! Yep, a whole theme park, with rides, museums, shows – it’s like if Disney was about coffee instead of a mouse.

The Colombian National Coffee Park

Colombia Travel

Colombia Travel – Zona Cafetera – Photo by PiGsty

Built in 1995 by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia and the Departmental Committee of Coffee Growers of Quindío, the park is centrally located in the coffee region in the small town of Montenegro. The easiest way to reach the park is by first heading to the capitol city of the region, Armenia, and then taking a small local bus or taxi the 11km to the park.

Colombia Travel

Colombian National Coffee Park – Photo from Wikipedia

Don’t worry, this is no tourist gimmick. The park has received over 5 million visitors since opening. Both locals and foreign tourists flock to the park despite its ~$20 USD price.

What to Do

The coffee park is quite large with a variety of attractions, all somehow related to the coffee industry. You can buy a few different tier of tickets, which allow you access to all or just part of the park’s attractions. From bumper cars for the kids to interactive museums for the coffee loving adults, this park has a little something for everyone.

Shows & Museums

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Colombia Coffee – Photo by Average Jane

The park is very educational when it comes to coffee but the designers have found a few ways to make the learning part quite fun. The Interactive Museum of Coffee walks you through the history of coffee cultivation. There is a traditional dance and music performance a few times per day which explains and shows the history and culture of this region of Colombia. You can also tour a replica coffee plantation, traditional home, and indigenous cemetery. There is also a slightly less popular (and honestly a little annoying) animated “Orchid Show” which used talking trees and flowers to explain more about the coffee growing process.

Amusement Rides

The coffee park has a log flume, ferris wheel, free-fall ride, a pretty decent roller coaster, and a number of other typical theme park rides. You can also take a nice train ride through the park or a chairlift ride over the park, both of which offer great views of the park and surrounding lush, tropical landscape.

And Coffee Of Course!

Colombia Travel

Colombia Travel – Coffee

No to fear, there is plenty of coffee here as well. Walk along the “Coffee Garden Trail” and you’ll see nearly every coffee variation in the world growing. You can also see how coffee is grown, harvested, and produced for commercial use as you walk along the trail. Warning: everything is in Spanish and the provided English translations pamphlet is pretty lousy.

The coffee park is a fun, coffee lovers paradise in a region that is otherwise pretty lacking in “tourist” attractions. If you go, don’t forget to order a tinto.

Colombia Travel

Colombia Travel – Tinto or Black Coffee – Photo by matiasjajaja

Couple Travel Tips

  • In Colombia on your birthday? Check out the park’s website to score a special birthday price.
  • $40 is quite a lot to spend for two people. If you are on a more restricted backpacker’s budget, opt for the basic ticket price and you’ll still be able to enjoy the coffee trail and a few other cultural attractions (sorry, no theme park rides).
  • If you learned Spanish outside of Colombia, you might be a little confused. Tinto, while meaning red wine in most Spanish speaking countries, is a popular slang term for black coffee in Colombia.

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