Armenia is the capital of the Quindio Department, and is situated in the west of Colombia. Armenia suffered from an earthquake in 1999 which destroyed most of the city centre, and has not yet fully recovered. Known as ‘Ciudad Milagro’ – Miracle City, Armenia was rapidly reconstructed following the disaster, although done in a makeshift manner. It’s an important economic city in Colombia, with a well-connected airport, making it ideal for conferences and business events. The economy is agriculturally based on coffee, plantain, and banana production.
Tourism is also growing, with holiday home rentals, theme parks, leisure centres, country clubs, and of course restaurants popping up in the south of the city. There is a rich culture and folklore to experience, with events such as the Chaloperas beauty pageant, where you can see the traditional coffee harvesting dress. Or take to the streets and discover locally-produced handicrafts, such as leather handbags or furniture made of bamboo. There are lots of great things to do in Armenia, such as visiting the Museo Quimbaya or seeing the beautiful Jardin Botanico del Quindio. Explore the area and visit the Los Nevados National Park, or learn about the coffee industry at the Colombian National Coffee Park Below is our Armenia travel guide with information on all the best things to do, places to go and what not to miss.
MUSEO QUIMBAYA – This museum has artifacts that date back to the pre-Columbian era from some of the tribes that once lived in the area. This museum contains gold objects, pottery, stone, and wooden items, one of the most important being the poporo, an item that was used to chew coca leaves. These items give an insight into the life and times of the indigenous people that would have been living in the area.
JARDIN BOTANICO DEL QUINDIO – This beautiful botanical garden is great to pass through and enjoy the scenery. It is 15 hectares and contains one of the best butterfly houses in the region. This building houses around 2000 insects. The park has a lookout tower which offers a great view.
PANACA – This park is located just outside of Armenia and contains about 4500 breeds of domestic animals, some of which are considered rare. The best part of visiting this park is that they sometimes put on animal shows, including pig racing.
*** WHAT NOT TO MISS ***
Armenia has one of the nicest butterfly houses and parks in the area - one place that you do not want to miss out on during your stay in Armenia.
Armenia has a few restaurants that can be found around the city centre. One of the most popular is La Fogata (Av Bolivar 14N 39) which provides international as well as local dishes, and of course, good coffee!
The best place to go for true coffee is Café Jesus Martin (Tienda Salento Cra 6, # 6-14 ) – you’ll be enticed in by the aromas. You can even purchase coffee here – a great souvenir to remember your time in Armenia.
For a more unique experience, head to Container City Armenia (Avenida Centenario 19-60) – here you’ll find a variety of food and drink places, all centred around a large terrace and seating area. Come here to enjoy the great atmosphere and music with friends.
In Armenia, you can find the Zona Rosa which is the nightlife area. One of the best places is the Marijuana Bar (Carrera 14a 10an Number 19) which has DJs, live music and plenty of drinks - this is a great place to enjoy the night. Another bar to check out is Flor de Loto (Cra. 14 #18 Norte-76 a 18 Norte-144) for cocktails and a good atmosphere.
The average temperature in Armenia is between 18 to 21 degrees Celsius. The driest month of the year is July and the wettest month is April. The rainy season runs from September to May.
There is an airport located 13km outside of the city centre, which offers flights from Medellin (3 hours and 10 minutes via Bogota, with Avianca) and Bogota (1 hour 5 minutes with Avianca).
There is also a bus terminal situated 1.5km out of the city, which has buses running from Bogota. It costs about $20 per seat and takes around 8 hours.
Armenia mainly offers nice clean hotels that can be found close to the bus terminal or the main city plaza.
Hostal Casa Quimbaya (Calle 16N # 14-92) has a nice, relaxed atmosphere, and very welcoming staff who’ll make you feel at home. There are dorms and private rooms available with comfy beds, and the place is kept in good condition. There’s even a cool bar, with opportunities to meet other backpackers.
Another decent place is Wanderlust Hostel (Carrera 14 #1-24), which is very clean and modern. Each bed has a spacious locker, a light, and a plug. There’s a great kitchen and dining area, and an outdoor patio to enjoy.
Always be careful and make sure that the taxis or tour buses that you take are safe and well-maintained.
Be careful after dark not to wander outside of the main city square.