Pereira is the capital city of the governing region of Risaralda in west Colombia, and has a population of over 1 million people. Housed in this city is the governing body of Risaralda, which includes the Department Assembly, Department Court, Metropolitan area Authority and Attorney General. More visited for business than tourism, this place is a coffee producing area, situated at the base of the Andes Mountains. It is one of three cities which make up the Colombian Coffee Triangle. Pereria is also part of what forms the UNESCO World Heritage Site - the Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia.
Come here to experience a real South American business city, and learn the secrets of true Colombian coffee, smooth and aromatic. Explore mountains where bananas and coffee are cultivated, and discover lush valleys with bamboo and sugarcane plantations. Pereira is the starting point for adventures to nearby nature reserves, national parks, and thermal springs. Below is our Pereira travel guide with information on all the best things to do, places to go and what not to miss.
PANACA PEREIRA – This farm-themed park has over 4,500 domestic animals. Panaca Pereira offers a very nostalgic feel of the rural Colombia and what it was like, creating the atmosphere of an old rural farm with all the animals. It even offers animal performances including pig races.
ZOOLOGICO MATECANA – This zoo has an abundance of animals that are native to this region and Colombia, including monkeys, snakes, and bears. Also at the Zoológico Matecaña you can see some animals that are native to Africa. This is one of the best things to do in Pereira.
COFFEE TOUR – Pereira is in one of the largest coffee producing areas, and there are tours offered into the countryside to see the coffee plantations. This is a great opportunity to escape from the city and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
NATURE RESERVES - Santuario Otun Quimbaya is a great park to explore and go hiking, and makes for a nice day trip out of the city. Tatama National Park is another place to spend some time; here you can see remarkable, rugged landscapes, which have been untouched.
*** WHAT NOT TO MISS ***
There are hot springs in the area that are worth a trip to visit, such as in Santa Rosa de Cabal – here you can also see a spectacular waterfall, and enjoy the picturesque countryside.
Take the opportunity to travel outside the town and experience the wilderness. The coffee trip is also great to get a look at one of the large industries in the area.
In Pereira, you can find many of the traditional foods such as a soup that is made from green bananas as the starter, and rice with some sort of meat or chicken. This is an example of the normal food that local restaurants serve.
Check out Lucerna (Cl. 19 #6-43) for a traditional restaurant located in the centre of the city. The service is very good, and the desserts are famously delicious! For Spanish food, go to El Meson Español (Calle 14 #25-57) – the paella is very good. Another place to check out is Patagonia Mia (Carrera 11 Bis #38-107), which serves mainly beef, chicken, and fish.
In Pereira, the place where you can find most of the good bars is Avenida Simon Bolivar. Take a walk along this street and you will find an abundance of bars, especially Thursday to Saturday night.
For a casual pint, go to Cerveceria Bristol (Cra. 7 #21 - 65), for artisanal and imported beer. For cocktails and clubbing, check out Tropical Cocktails (Av Circunvalar), or Paradise (Cr.10 14-75 Dosq.).
Pereira has an average climate of 21 degrees Celsius. Rainfall is experienced all year round, with an average of more than 100 millimetres of rain every month of the year. The months that have the most rainfall are April, May, October and November.
Pereira has an international airport with the destinations of Panama City (1 hour and 30 minutes) and New York City (7 hours and 10 minutes). There are domestic flights going to and from most of the main cities in Colombia, such as Medellin (3 hours), Bogota (1 hour), Cali (3 hours), and Cartagena (1 hour and 20 minutes).
There is also a bus station called the 'Terminal de Transporte de Pereira'. Here you can find trips between Pereira and Medellin (5 hours), as well as to other destinations.
The downtown area is where you can find most of the places to stay in the city. Here you can find hostels that are a moderate price for those who simply want a place to rest, as well as the more high-end hotels.
Kolibri Hostel (Calle 4 # 16-35) is a great place, with genuine and helpful staff who’ll make you feel at home. There’s a laid-back atmosphere, the rooms are big enough and comfy with spacious lockers, and there’s a nice rooftop terrace. The hostel is located in a safe, tranquil area, not far from nightlife and restaurants.
Always be cautious when going on excursions outside the city that you know where you are going, or that the tour guide is familiar with the area.
Make sure not to wander too much after dark, as there might be a chance of you being robbed.