Wax palms in Cocora Valley in Colombia

Things to do in  Andes

Colombia’s most dramatic landscapes

A scenic section of the world’s longest mountain range passes through Colombia and is divided into three distinct areas: the Central, Western, and Eastern Andes. The Colombian Andes is world-renowned for its coffee plantations, lush flower fields, and Medellin, the City of Eternal Spring that’s undergone a radical transformation from one of the world’s most dangerous places. Among other things to do, the range also comprises the picture-perfect pueblos of Villa de Leyva and Barichara—often voted Colombia’s prettiest town—the adventure capital of San Gil and even the metropolis of Bogota. Running adjacent to the Pacific Coast, the western Andes overlook the salsa-dancing city of Cali and encompass the giant palms of Valle de Cocora.

Top 3 attractions in Andes

Park of Life (Parque de la Vida)

Park of Life (Parque de la Vida)

The Parque de la Vida (‘Park of Life,’ in English) is a public space in the Colombian city of Armenia. The park features 20 acres of paved walking trails, tiered waterfalls, and bamboo bridges. In case of rain showers, visitors can duck into any number of small cottages located in the park until the storm passes. Visitors to the park can see fish, ducks, and geese swimming in calm, man-made lakes surrounded by trees. The park also has a skating rink, a bandstand, and occasionally hosts craft fairs.With cultivated gardens and forested areas, the tranquil Vida Park is a welcome respite in the middle of the city. At Christmas time, the park is decorated with numerous lights and is a wonderful place to visit at night. Walking around the entire park takes about an hour.More


Recuca (El Recorrido por la Cultura Cafetera) is an innovative coffee farm, near Armenia, Colombia, offering tours that give the visitor a glimpse into life on a finca. After arriving at the farm, visitors dress up in traditional clothing that would have been worn by Colombian coffee workers (‘cafeteros,’ in Spanish). After the requisite photo op, guests take a guided walking tour to learn about how (and why) Colombian coffee production is different than that of its other Central and South American neighbors. Visitors get to strap on a basket and head into the plantation to pick coffee beans before returning to the hacienda to learn about the coffee-making process. See the beans processed through a machine to have their skin removed, how the beans are oven-dried, and learn where the beans go after they leave the farm.Visitors can learn some traditional dances as they get a lively introduction to the world of coffee production and the lives of the cafeteros. You’ll also learn about the history of the Jeep “Willy,” the distinctive vehicles used to transport coffee beans in Colombia, and of course you’ll taste coffee. For an additional cost, you can enjoy a traditional lunch at the hacienda. Please note: it’s best to reserve in advance for the lunch option.More
Gold Museum (Museo del Oro Quimbaya)

Gold Museum (Museo del Oro Quimbaya)

The Quimbaya Gold Museum (Museo del Oro Quimbaya) is a museum located in Armenia, Colombia, designed by Colombian architect Rogelio Salmona. The building prominently features both water and bricks in its exterior design. Visitors can follow the history of Colombian gold through the art and craftsmanship of the indigenous Quimbaya culture, whose artifacts are preserved in a the museum’s exhibits. The museum houses a large collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, including almost 400 gold objects, a fine ceramics collection, stone sculptures, and wood carvings. Most of the pieces originate from the pre-Columbian Quimbaya civilization, as well as the Emberá people and other Amerindian tribes. Most of the pieces have been restored and preserved by experts from the Gold Museum in Bogotá, Colombia.Some of the museum’s most important pieces are the gold poporos (traditional devices used to store and chew sacred coca leaves) and the zoomorphic vases. Goldsmiths from this period also made realistic and stylized animal figures. Among the most frequently represented are snails and insects in a state of metamorphosis, like butterfly pupae, which may have held meanings connected to the cycles of nature. The museum has a children's library and a room for temporary exhibits, among others, and offers guided tours.More

All about Andes

When to visit

The driest months in the Colombian Andes are from December to March; however, the Andean region is prone to downpours throughout the year, thanks to its high altitude. The higher you go, the cooler the temperatures, so be sure to bring plenty of warm clothing, whatever time of year you’re visiting. April through June and August through October see the heaviest rain, which could scupper plans to hike some remote mountain trails.

Getting around

The Colombian Andes has a cost-effective and convenient public coach network, with routes covering all of the major towns and cities in the three parts of the mountain range. Popular companies include Bolivariano and Expreso Palmira but do bear in mind that mountain routes are windy and steep, so they aren’t ideal if you suffer from travel sickness. If that’s the case, consider taking a domestic flight.

Traveler tips

Though a recent rise in popularity has seen many places in Colombia become firm fixtures of the traveler trail, some quiet towns have remained undiscovered. The Andean town of Jardín is one of them, and its lush natural landscapes and perfectly-preserved colonial architecture will undoubtedly make you fall in love with it. You can also rappel down waterfalls in the nearby jungle and sample coffee grown in the world-famous plantations surrounding the quiet town.

Local Currency
Colombian Peso (COP)
Time Zone
COT (UTC -5)
Country Code

People Also Ask

Do the Andes go into Colombia?

Yes, a significant part of the Andes mountain range goes into Colombia. Winding their way through the heart of the country, the Andean area is the most popular part of the country and is home to lush coffee plantations and dramatic natural landscapes.

What activities can you do in the Colombian Andes?

The Colombian Andes are the ideal place to unleash your inner adventurer. San Gil is famous for white-water rafting, while the mountains themselves are a wonderland for hikers–popular routes include the Cocora Valley trek through the coffee region of Salento and the more challenging Cerro Tatamá hike.

What is the altitude in the Colombian Andes?

The highest point of the Colombian Andes is Cerro Tatamá, a mountain that boasts a height of 13,500 feet (4,100 meters). The average altitude of the area is around 6,600 feet (2,000 meters), so make sure you take time to acclimatize when you arrive; otherwise, you might feel dizzy and short of breath.

How long should you spend in the Colombian Andes?

You could spend weeks exploring Colombia’s Andes, but opt to spend a few days exploring each of the sections categorized as central, east, and west. The mountain range encompasses the cities of Medellin, Cali, and Bogota, so it’s worth using each of these as a base for taking day trips into natural surroundings if you’re short on time.

Why are the Andes important to Colombia?

The Andes are important to Colombia because they’re home to most of its agricultural hubs and mineral deposits. They also encircle some of the country’s major cities, such as Cali, Bogota, and Medellin, and were home to some of the most important pre-Columbian indigenous settlements.

What are the top attractions in the Colombian Andes?

The top attractions in the Colombian Andes include Valle de Cocora, famous for its towering palm trees; Mt. Monserrate in Bogota, from which you can see the entire Colombian capital; and Los Nevados National Park, home to snow-capped peaks and some of the highest points in Colombia.

Frequently Asked Questions
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