Have you had a cup of coffee from the famed Colombian Coffee Region? If so, you know why these flavors are sold all over the world.
We traveled to Jardín
in the department of Antioquia
, and finally, Filandia
, and Pijao
to find the best spots for you to visit. People who live in these three departments, as well as Caldas
, are known as Paisas
. Colombia’s coffee heartlands have attracted tourists from all over the globe for their magical landscapes, laidback lifestyles, and of course, for the world’s favorite warm beverage. We want to give you a closer look at our favorite Paisa
towns that may not be on your radar.Freshly roasted coffee beans
A Glance at Paisa History
Before we jump into why these towns are so special, let’s head back a few centuries to when the colonization of this region began. The 16th & 17th centuries were marked by terror and violence carried out by the Spanish invaders on the indigenous inhabitants of present-day Colombia. Towards the end of the 17th century, wealthy Spanish families began bringing African slaves to the area. A uniquely diverse group of Iberians founded the towns we highlight in this blog. These people included the Basque, Castilians, Andalusians, Galicians, Muslims, Sephardic Jews, as well as those of Romani descent. These different heritages heavily influenced the social fabric of Paisas today.
Today’s Paisa Gems
Now that you’ve gotten a sense of the history of the Paisa
, coffee-growing region, let’s show you why the off-the-beaten-path towns are worth the visit. While coffee production didn’t begin in the area until the latter half of the 19th century, today, Paisa
coffee is widely considered some of the best in the world. What’s more, Marsella
, and Pijao
are all on Unesco’s list of Cultural Heritage Coffee Towns
Jardín, AntioquiaPrincipal square in Jardín
Driving south from Medellín, our first stop, Jardín
, Antioquia, features colorful colonial architecture surrounded by spectacular natural beauty. In the principal square, sit lush gardens lined with hand-painted chairs and fruit markets. For its physical allure and proximity to Medellín, Jardín has become a popular place to visit. However, IMPULSE’s tour
of the town goes beyond typical sightseeing to offer you a traditional meal with fresh trout and a visit to a local coffee farm. At the farm, you'll learn about the local planting, harvesting, and processing of their beans. You’ll end the tour by trying the final product with the farmers!Chapolera or Paisa woman who collects coffee beans
Sitting in between the San Francisco and Cauca rivers, Marsella
delivers unparalleled greenery and fertile land to grow coffee and other crops. On a visit to Marsella, you can check out local coffee, cacao, and buffalo farms. The buffalos were introduced to the region in the 1960s and are milked to make delicious buffalo cheese.Farmer Luis Fernando with his buffalos
The three-story ‘Casa de la Cultura’ or Culture House and is one of the only structures this large in the whole region. This landmark serves as a music and art event space, as well as a museum, exhibiting artifacts and testimonies of pre-Columbian and Paisa
history. Let us know when you’re planning to go to Marsella, and we’ll put you in touch with our local contacts!Casa de la Cultura, Marsella
Filandia, QuindíoCoffee filtration experts at Cultivar Café, Filandia
Founded by Spanish settlers in 1878, Filandia was previously inhabited by the Quimbaya indigenous people. The name, Filandia
, translates to “Daughter of the Andes” and is home to famous wicker basket makers. Protected by the local Artisan Association, these basket weavers form an integral part of the town’s culture. These baskets were initially used by local farmers to collect coffee beans, but are now sold for their ornamental beauty. Rubi, one of the local artisans, shows visitors the basket weaving process that includes lots of love for details.Local artisan, Rubi, showing miniature woven baskets
While you won’t read about Finlandia in most guidebooks, you’ll enjoy engaging with the passionate artisans and coffee brewers when you visit!
Two hours south of Filandia, you can find Buenavista
, another picturesque town you should put on your list. Once called the ‘Landscape of love and peace,’ its name Buenavista or ‘Good view,’ certainly lives up to the hype.Overlooking the San Alberto Coffee estate, Buenavista
One of Buenavista’s main sights is the San Alberto Coffee estate where you can sip on a house brew while enjoying a stunning sunset. The coffee produced here is some of the most sought after both within Colombia and internationally. It is perhaps the volcanic soil from the nearby inactive volcano, Nevado del Quindío, that creates such an extraordinary flavor of the beans harvested in Buenavista.
Pijao, QuindíoCoffee pickup truck, Pijao
Just down the road from Buenavista, you’ll arrive at Pijao
, whose name takes after a federation of indigenous people that lived in the region. In this remote town, life moves slowly, and visits from tourists are few and far between. Pijao offers you the opportunity to appreciate how a town brings in coffee from farmers to the point of sale to the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia. Visiting Pijao is quite an original experience for coffee lovers. In fact, the acclaimed Azahar Coffee sources one of their delicious blends from Pijao.
Are you ready to venture off the beaten path and explore these picturesque towns and farms in Paisa country? Step into landscapes of love, peace, and delicious coffee on our Quindío’s Magical Towns
experience or our Jardín Day Trip
. For towns not included in our tours, feel free to reach out to us to help plan your adventure and experience the intriguing history and colorful culture of Colombia’s coffee region.