The Zona Cafetera - or Coffee Triangle as it is also known - is a picturesque mountain region where much of Colombia's ‘black gold' is grown and harvested. The climate is pleasant, the countryside green. Visitors can stay in traditional farmsteads called fincas, and this is a great way to learn about coffee growing and roasting at first hand. Some of the more luxurious fincas are in former colonial mansions, with swimming pools and top class facilities. Others are more rustic in feel, but all provide access to the high-altitude coffee plantations and other surrounding natural attractions.
The towns of Manizales, Pereira and Armenia - to the west of the capital Bogota and south of Medellin - are the three main hubs of this important coffee growing region. The Parque Ecológico Rio Blanco, near Manizales, is regarded as the best place in Colombia for bird watching. Hummingbirds are prevalent here, with more than 30 species, while toucans, parrots and woodpeckers are other frequent sightings. There are also lots of butterflies and orchids that can be admired on hiking trails in the park.