Wake Up And Smell Coffee – In The Heart of Colombia
Wake up and smell coffee in the rolling mountains of Colombia, South America. Join me on a quick journey through the heart of Colombia.
One of the many benefits of creating your own online business is that you are not restricted to work or live in one location.
Instead, you are free to travel, explore, and work from anywhere in the world.
I recently finished a short 12 day trip through the coffee region in Colombia, South America known as Eje Cafetero and wanted to share my “traveling/working online” experience with you for three simple reasons.
1). Colombia’s coffee region is amazing. To be able to wake up and smell coffee in Colombia’s country side is a slice of paradise – And should be on everyone’s bucket list of places to travel.
2). Working online and traveling is a reality with just a little discipline (see below for suggestions).
3). Working online and traveling is one of the most amazing benefits of creating your own online business.
Wake Up And Smell Coffee In Tranquility and Beauty:
Colombian coffee is considered some of the finest coffee in the world. It has been a dominant export for Colombia to United States, Germany, France, Japan, and Italy. The coffee region in Colombia is a sub-tropical climate that is filled with rolling hills and mountains.
Scattered through the hillsides are coffee plantations, charming Spanish colonial style villages, and friendly local Colombians.
The coffee region is located in the center of Colombia and is composed of 4 departments of Colombia. You can think of the departments as we think of States in United States.
They are Caldas, Quindío, Valle de Cauca and Risaralda.
For our trip, we spent the majority of our time in the department of Quindío. This area contains the major tourist attractions that we wanted to see…
- Salento, Colombia – Second largest tourist destination in Colombia behind Cartegena.
- Los Terminales de Santa Rosa – Hot springs outside the city of Pereira
- Parque Nacional del Café – or National Coffee Park (museum and amusement park) outside of Armenia, Colombia
Starting from Medellin, Colombia:
If you are going to create a trip to Colombia, you should consider starting out from Medellin. It’s international airport will provide the most economical flights into the country and the city is definitely worth exploring. It has international art museums, ecological parks, incredible night life, and an eternal springtime-like climate.
Plus it’s a great launching point to reach the coffee region by bus. If you need a place to stay in Medellin, check out our Guest Homes for Travelers called – The Art House.
Taking off out of the south station of Medellín, we were recommended by locals to use the bus company called Buses Occidental to travel from Medellín to Armenia. The bus company was great, they provide comfy seats that recline way back so that you can sleep easily or watch a movie.
The travel time is 6-8 hours covering a distance of 268.5 km or 167 miles with an average speed around 38 km/h or 23.6 mph. So quite slow, but that’s OK.
If you’re traveling in Colombia, just expect that life passes by at a slower pace and enjoy it.
Although the bus ride is slow due to the mountainous terrain of the Andes Mountains, the countryside views are brilliant. Flowing with lush rolling mountains, traditional Spanish style villages, and endless views of coffee plantations scattered with banana, bamboo, eucalyptus, and plantain trees.
Arriving in Armenia, Colombia (Colombia’s Coffee City Capital), we immediately booked another bus and arrived in Salento, Colombia.
A charming traditional Colombian village that has a small population of 3,600 people. What’s interesting about Salento, is that it’s actually the second largest tourist destination in Colombia. With such a small size, it’s incredible that it’s second in tourism just behind Cartagena, Colombia.
The region is a large river valley with towering mountains that provide spectacular hiking, horseback riding, camping and of course, the colonial Spanish town of Salento.A town now based primarily on tourism and artisan work that is loaded with wonderful restaurants, traditional Colombian bars, artisan products and an overall super laid back vibe.
You could easily spend a week getting to know the area. There’s hiking, horse back riding, or just chilling out sipping a cerveza in the town square.
From there, the next major tourist attraction was the hot springs of Santa Rosa National Park. You take a short walk through this breathtaking park along a stream that leads up to the thermal pools.
Check out this cascading waterfall that feeds a spring creek next to the hot springs park. The whole area is just a slice of heaven.
The “hot springs” provide a therapeutic benefit like contrasting hot and cold baths going from the hot thermal pools to the cool waterfall.
With Spanish music playing in the background, the park offers everyone a relaxing, yet invigorating experience.
The Next Stop:
The next trip highlight for me was to meet up with some friends in Sevilla, Colombia.
Sevilla is a town of over 60,000 people and once was considered the coffee capital of Colombia. It’s a nice, laid back town that is nestled in the coffee region. We were lucky enough to hike some of the coffee farms as well as catch the traditional Colombian Bandola Festival.
Every year the Bandola Festival provides 3 days and nights of traditional Colombian music in the styles of; Artisan, Reggae, Indigenous, Folklore, and even Rock music.
Sevilla is very close to Armenia. So this allowed us to take a nice short day trip from Sevilla to visit the Colombian National Coffee Park outside of Armenia. The park was created within the countryside to provide spectacular views of the coffee region.
Here you can enjoy a delicious cup of coffee from Juan Valedez. Kick back and enjoy the views.
The park has 22 attractions, they offer a coffee museum tour and a dance show that displays all of the traditional Colombian-style dances.
It’s very entertaining and a bit comical, a must see. Unfortunately photography was not allowed during the performance.
The parks rides, although enjoyable, can’t compare to those that I have experienced in United States (i.e. Six Flags, Elitch Gardens, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, etc.).
But the natural beauty of the local flora and fauna were out of this world. I have never seen a more beautiful amusement park in my life.
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Mix Work & Play – Wake Up And Smell Coffee:
Now I know that part of a vacation or travel adventure is to relax and escape from your daily reality.
But if you work online, you can benefit from extending your travel experiences and continue to work on a daily basis. You just need to do a little planning and take advantage of your daily schedule.
For me, I try to spend a minimum of 2-5 hours working on my online business when traveling.
It’s definitely not as productive as working online from home. Where you can spend 6-8 hours a day without too many distractions.
But you can easily go site seeing for the day and come back and work in the evening. Or plan some time in the morning to answer emails, build website content, or complete new article research.
It just takes a little daily planning and you can have the best of both worlds.
Economical Traveling Adventure:
I think part of creating wealth is learning how to live a frugal lifestyle. It’s easy to spend money and it’s especially easy to waste money on fancy vacations.
Don’t get me wrong, I like a fancy all-inclusive vacation just like anyone else. But I feel that pampered vacations are really only good for a few days, maybe 5 at the most.
For me, I like to travel and get to know new cultures and places.
With a trip like I just described traveling through the coffee region of Colombia, you can really appreciate the Colombian culture, people, countryside landscape, and history of coffee.
As well as get to know locals and make new friends.
For the price of two adults for 12 days and 11 nights of travel, food, entertainment and lodging we spent just a touch over $1,000 dollars.
Pretty sweet deal, right? Just to give you an idea of some of the expenses we incurred, see below.
- Decent hotel rooms with internet access, comfy beds, hot water, TV and breakfast from $25/night for two adults
- Nice big dinners for two for $20
- Traditional Colombian breakfast for $3/person
- Cup of delicious coffee at internet cafe for 50 cents.
- Tall 40 ounce beer for $1.50
- 6-8 hour bus fare of $20/person
Benefits to Traveling and Working Online:
Working online and creating a business takes time and dedication. But the benefits of being able to travel and live out your dreams are a reality and well worth your time.
During my trip I tried to spend a minimum of 4 hours a day working online. Once I got my work out of the way, I return to enjoying my vacation and travel adventure.
It was an extremely rewarding and uplifting experience to go for a long hike through the Colombian coffee region.
To see plant life that my eyes had never seen before, and spend a few moments in nature snapping photos.
I guess you’d call that…BALANCE. Something we all need to strive for in life.
Thanks for reading about my travel adventures. I would highly recommend that you too, one day, wake up and smell coffee in the heart of the coffee region in Colombia, South America.