Armenia is a city of around 250,000 people situated at 1,400 meters above sea level. It’s the capital of the Quindio department, one of the three that forms the Eje Cafetero (coffee area), perhaps one of the most attractive areas in Colombia. In Quindio you will find: to the north of Armenia, the gateway to The Parque Nacional de los Nevados, where the highest peaks in central Colombia rise to perpetual snows at more than 4,500 meters. At the Quindio side of the foothills of this national park, lays the magnificent Cocora valley, where the National Tree of Colombia, the wax palm grows, and whose municipality of Salento is a top touristic destination famous for its culinary delicacy: fried river trout, for its guadua crafts and furniture (the strong native bamboo cane), its art galleries and its fame for being the bohemian centre of regional artists. From here you can take an spectacular hike to the park and also walk along the historic Camino del Liberator, the path used by Colombia’s 19th century Liberator Simon Bolivar to move his army between the west of the country and Santa Fe de Bogota during his successful independence campaign from Spain.

To the south of Armenia, as it gets closer to sea level the temperature favors not only Quindio’s agricultural economy like coffee, citric fruits and plantain, but a renewed tourist industry in the shape of villas for rent, theme parks, eco-hoteles and family day leisure centers, not excluding all time favorites like local cuisine restaurants, exhibition centers and country clubs specialized in fishing, game, tennis, golf and cart racing.
Armenia can be reached by road or by plane, its airport is situated only 20 minutes from downtown, its bus station connecting to all cities and all surrounding towns. The road to Bogota takes only 6 hours and its well served by public transport although a car drive is well worth it for the fabulous scenery crossing the eastern branch of the Colombian Andes. Armenia combines its contemporary development with the all traditional ways of its forefather’s heritage (the founders of Armenia came from northern Antioquia only 116 years ago). It’s also continuously expanding (a big earthquake struck in Armenia in 1999 and since then much rebuilding has taken place). Armenia is currently one of the top two touristic destinations in Colombia. By Olga Lucia Rodriguez Hyland.

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