Where: Manizales, Colombia
When: 11th – 13th May
Rio, Sara and I woke up nice and early to catch bus to Manizales, which is about 8 hours north west of Bogota. Got to the bus station which was enormous and sorted out tickets. We were not so much looking forward to the bus trip but it turned out to be a bus trip with a view! Colombia is very mountainous, on this drive we drove up through the Andes. WOW, I can’t even explain how beautiful it was, so many lucious green mountains, at one point we were even driving through the clouds! So the drive wasn’t as bad as expected, we arrived in Manizales with little expectations. From the bus terminal we took a cable care over the city! On a clear day we could see the glaciers and volcanos in the distance. The mountain city was much bigger than I expected and because it was night the whole place was lit up and it was just amazing. We got showed to a hostel by a little boy and it turned out to be our best decision. We were welcomed into Hostal Mirador Andino with open arms by the lovely Colombian ladies. We had a whole 12 bed dorm to ourselves with a baclony, a massive kitchen, hot showers, fresh muffins and a rooftop terrace which provided and amazing view over the city! After sorting our room out we walked down the main street and ate out for dinner, then came back and had an early night. After a visit to our trusty Exito the next morning we set off on a walk to Parque Los Yarumos, lonely planet and google maps said it was a 40 minute walk, but they lied and it was well over an hour. We arrived and the parque was closed! Just our luck. So back to the centre it was where we walked down the main street and visited two catherdrals and the main plaza. Had an extravagent dinner of tacos and settled in on the couch with some tea.
We went on a coffee farm tour the next morning. Hacedina Valencia was an awesome coffee farm and the tour was educational and intresting, not to mention I got 3 espresso shots…how I have missed real coffee! We learnt a lot about the origins of the beans and then walked through the coffee plantation to where the beans are peeled, sorted and bagged. Afterwards we saw a traditional colombian home which had magnificent views over the valley. We came back to the city, made another trip to Exito and then went back to cook dinner.
On the last morning we decided to make another trip to Los Yarumos, we arrived and turns out the majority of the park is closed and all we could do was a 400m circuit. damn. But the circuit was nice and at least it wasn’t raining (rain was also a frequent occurence in manizales). We went back to the hostel to finish packing, said goodbye to our lovely hosts and then we were on our way to Medellin!