Explore the cozy streets in the center of Filandia
If you travel a bit longer through Colombia, you will find that the structure is the same in most villages. Right in the center is a central village square / park with a large church. The streets around it are built in blocks, so you won’t get lost quickly. The streets in Filandia are anything but boring because most of the houses are painted in all colors of the rainbow. You will find small shops, bars and restaurants both on the square and in the streets around it.
Filandia is on the rise among backpackers and I expect that it will become increasingly touristy in the coming years. At present, tourism in Filandia consists mainly of Colombian tourists, which means that it is a bit busier, especially during the weekend. Recently there is a good collectivo connection with the tourist town of Salento, which means that the percentage of Western tourists will increase rapidly in Filandia.
Although the Valle de Cocora is closer to Salento, you can also visit this special palm tree valley from Filandia. The valley is known for the towering wax palms, these are the highest palm trees in the world. At Valle de Cocora you can choose a short walk directly to the palm trees or a combination of the palm trees with a cool trek. This second option takes around five hours and along the way you will come across beautiful viewpoints. As it often rains in this area, a raincoat or poncho is recommended. If you have nothing with you, and rain is predicted, you can buy ponchos (4000 COP) and rent rain boots (5000 COP) at the entrance to Valle de Cocora. Despite some blisters, we were very happy with the rain boots because some (climbing) paths were quite soggy. Shoes with a good profile or rain boots are therefore a must!
Transport Filandia to Valle de Cocora
On the central village square in Filandia you take a Willy (shared taxi jeep) to Salento. This costs 5500 COP per person per way. In Salento you switch to a Willy that takes you to the starting point of the Cocora Valley. This costs 4000 COP per person each way. Do you get the chance to stand behind the Willy? Take this opportunity (at least when it’s dry) because from this place you can enjoy fantastic views along the way.
The Zona Cafetera is known as a coffee region so a visit to a coffee farm should not be missed if you are in this area. Although you will find massive coffee farms in the area of Salento with tours of all shapes and sizes, the coffee farms around Filandia are much smaller. We went to the El Berlin coffee farm and this was one of the highlights of our Colombia trip.
El Berlin coffee farm
The western name of this coffee farm initially scared us off, but this turned out to be completely unjustified. The Colombian owner of the farm has no relationship whatsoever with our neighbor, but has chosen to maintain the age-old German name. The owner of the coffee farm, the world traveler Nicolas Spath, runs the farm and gives the personal coffee tours. This consists of a tour, picking coffee beans to roast them and finally drinking a cup of homemade coffee. In addition to his passion for coffee, he is a professional photographer. Or no, he is a world artist. He takes special photos with his retro camera that he has traveled all over the world with. As a reminder you get a retro photo home.
– Entrance fee: 50,000 COP p.p.
– Transport: Nicolas picks you up in Filandia
– More info: Coffeetour El Berlin
There are several good accommodations in Filandia. We stayed in the nice apartment Apartahotel Calle del Tiempo detenido in the nicest street of the village. In the restaurant across the street, salsa is danced on weekends and the apartment is a one-minute walk from the main square. In the same street you can eat delicious Asian food at restaurant Tuk Tuk and within a few minutes walking distance you will find the cozy restaurant / bar Helena Adentro.
Jeep from Filandia to Salento
Recently, Willy’s (old shared jeeps) have been running daily between Filandia and Salento. This ride costs 5,500 COP per person per way and they leave and arrive at the central village square in both places. The jeep takes 35 to 40 minutes and the first one leaves around 8.30 a.m.
Tip: buy your return ticket immediately when you know what time you want to be back to be assured of a place. We did this last minute and had to wait 2.5 hours because the jeep was already full.
We traveled from the mountain village of Jardín to Filandia. Because of the route through the mountains, this is a very long drive. You have a number of options to go from Jardín to Filandia / Salento. The most chosen route is a bus to Rio Sucio, Pereira and Filandia or Salento (changing trains twice). This route takes a total of 7 to 8 hours. On the advice of a ticket seller in Jardín, we took the bus to La Felisa. There we switched to the bus to Pereira, to transfer to the bus to Filandia in Pereira. This should take 7 hours, but due to road works we have taken 10 hours (27-02-2019). The costs for this bus trip were a total of 54,900 COP (26,000 + 22,000 + 6,900). There are also shared taxis between Jardín and Salento / Filandia but on our date this taxi was unfortunately not available due to maintenance. It would take only 3.5 hours in total and although it often takes longer in practice, the difference is therefore very large.
Bus from Pereira to Filandia
– Take the Espresso Alpaca bus at the Pereira Transportation terminal
– Cost: 6900 COP
– Frequency: every hour
– Duration: approximately 45 minutes
Bus from Filandia to Pereira
– Leaves at the bus stop right next to the central village square
– Frequency: every whole hour
– Cost: 6900 COP
– Duration: approximately 45 minutes
Taxi Pereira Bus terminal to Pereira airport
– Duration: approximately 15 minutes
– Costs: approximately 15000 COP