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Manizales and Pereira

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Panama
posts: 38
reviews: 3
Manizales and Pereira

I would like to know if you can rent a car in either of these places to tour the coffee country. We would fly from Cartagena. What airport is the best central location? Can you recommend any moderate hotels?

San Miguel de...
Destination Expert
for San Miguel de Allende, Central Mexico and Gulf Coast
posts: 3,969
reviews: 81
1. Re: Manizales and Pereira

I have been researching a trip to the Zona Cafetera myself: I think you'll find these forums very quiet. There has not been any activity at all on the Pereira sub-forum for almost a year and the last question never got answered.

So here's what I can tell you. We decided it didn't make much difference as to which airport we flew into, as they are all very close to each other. In the end, since Aires had a $1COP sale, we picked Armenia. This suited us since we will be staying at a nearby finca called Villa Nora, which was given rave reviews in our guidebook (you can find its website easily). We are paying about $60US each per night, for full board and it's quite close to the Parque Nacional de Cafe (tacky but fun says the guidebook). We then have about a week to get ourselves to Medellin, from where we'll be flying to Bucuramanga. But we'll be using the buses not a hire car. However, I did a google and Thrifty Cars seems to be the name of a company that rents in the region. So you shouldn't have any problems with that.

I don't think there are any direct flights from Cartagena, even to Pereira, which is the biggest city in the region. You'll have to transit in Bogotá. As a Spanish speaker, I found Aires easy to book online, but be sure to write down your confirmation number as they don't send a confirmation email. They have several flights a day and a range of prices depending on how far you book ahead. Pretty inexpensive, though, whatever you pay. Aerorepública can also be booked online, but Avianca and Satena can't, unless you have a Colombian credit card (Satena not at all as far as I can tell from its website, but you can check a timetable).

I have the Bradt guide to Colombia, which was the most up to date when I went to Cartagena just over a year ago; but there's a new LP since then.

We are going next month and I plan to submit a short trip report afterwards as info here is so sparse. I hope you will do the same. Buen viaje.

Edited: 3:57 pm, February 17, 2010
Calgary, Canada
posts: 18,677
reviews: 2
2. Re: Manizales and Pereira

Unless you're a very confident/capable driver with lots of experience driving in Latin and/or developing countries forget the rental car plan and stick with the (excellent and inexpensive) bus system.

Have fun.

Cheers,

Terry

London, England
posts: 33
reviews: 1
3. Re: Manizales and Pereira

hola

I explored parts of the triangle last month so feel free to ask what u'd like. I ummed and ahhhed about public transport v rental v taxi and I have to tell you, negotiating a deal with a taxi driver through owners, receptionists and concierges turned out to be the best thing for me. A day out and about , 4 hours here, 2 hours there, 1.5 hours travelling to the major points in between, worked out between C$100-120,000 a 3/4 day to a day. It meant no stress and complete peace of mind. I based myself in Pereira and visited Armenia, Cocora Valley and Parque Nacional de Cafe amongst other places, although I didn't make it to Manizales and could easily have spent another couple of days exploring. Good luck

Panama
posts: 38
reviews: 3
4. Re: Manizales and Pereira

Thank you for your great replies. We are still trying to decide whether to go to the coffee country or down to Leticia in the Amazon. Colombia has some great airline deals now. I will post what we find out. We just spent two nights in Bogota in the Usaquen area. It was really nice because we could walk at night to good restaurants. The artists have their work displayed everywhere. We also visited the newly renovated Gold museum which is a must. I will keep you posted as to what we decide.

Colombia
posts: 3
5. Re: Manizales and Pereira

There are direct flights between Cartagena and Pereira. I live in Pereira. I would recommend spending time in Salento, Armenia, and Manizales... Pereira is a good base, especially for flying into, but not the best place to stay. You can stay on a coffee finca near Manizales or at the Decameron resort by the Parque del Cafe. Don't miss the Parque del Cafe. Be aware that driving around the region is fairly dangerous simply because people here drive wildly.

6. Re: Manizales and Pereira

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