The ultimate hotel guide to Colombia's coffee region

Colombia’s verdant ‘coffee triangle’ and neighbouring Cocora Valley are home to some of the country’s most memorable vistas — and notable places to stay.

By Hannah Summers
Published 14 Nov 2022, 07:03 GMT
The main house at Hacienda Venecia, surrounded by lush coffee plantations.

The main house at Hacienda Venecia, surrounded by lush coffee plantations.

Photograph by Karolina Wiercigroch

Best for coffee fiends
Set on a working coffee plantation, this is the perfect place for those seeking peace and quiet, while wanting to be well-placed for local excursions. The mountainous setting is just a 30-minute drive from Manizales, one of the three main cities in Colombia’s coffee triangle. It’s full of character: all red-and-white spaces with huge original shutters and statement tiled floors. Head out to the wraparound balcony for a drink, or laze by the pool to watch peacocks roam the lawns. Don’t miss the Coffee Lodge, where you can taste freshly made local brew. From £110.

Hacienda Bambusa was restored about a decade ago, keeping the bamboo and clay exterior.

Photograph by Hacienda Bambusa

Best for nature lovers
This former farmhouse outside Armenia offers ample opportunity for hikes among the lush, green slopes of the Cocora Valley. It was restored about a decade ago, keeping the bamboo and clay exterior, while beautifully designed bedrooms inside feature dazzling white linen, velvet cushions and colourful artwork. You could spend your time simply lounging by the pool, but there’s a lot to do, including jeep tours or bird-watching, the highlights of which include the spectacled parrotlet and the rufous-tailed hummingbird. From £165

Best for spa seekers
This beauty of a boutique hotel has everything you’d expect from a luxury stay, including one of the best restaurants in the region, a refreshing pool and individually styled rooms, many with high, sloping ceilings, outdoor hot tubs and hammocks. But the real draw, especially after a day of hiking in the region, is the little spa, where you can bask in the jungle setting and try treatments such as the Guazalak ritual, involving fire therapy and volcanic stone massage for a physical and mental reboot. From £78.

Hotel Sazagua boasts individually styled rooms, many with high, sloping ceilings, outdoor hot tubs and hammocks.

Photograph by Hotel Sazagua

Best for adventurers
Located in the heart of Salento town, this new-build boutique hotel wouldn’t look out of place in Scandinavia thanks to the pale wooden exterior of the main cabin, and fresh interior in the rooms. Aside from the lovely laid-back vibe this creates, the main draw here is the location, minutes away from the cafes and coffee shops of Salento, and close to the Cocora Valley. The team will happily book you coffee tours, bike trips and hikes, or there are plenty of companies on the doorstep if you prefer to arrange things independently. From £70, room only

Best for epicures
Revel in the mountain scenery while only a five-minute stroll from Salento at Kawa Mountain Retreat, an eco-conscious hotel with large lodges, treehouse-style cabins and, in The Colonial House, colourful rooms, many with outdoor tubs for soaking up the views. The team are known for going the extra mile to make your stay special, from booking tours to the Cocora Valley, which you can see from the retreat, to the lovingly prepared breakfast of freshly squeezed juices, fluffy pancakes and plenty of coffee. Be sure to fuss over the resident dog. Doubles from £62.

Coffee tours, run by Hacienda Venecia, include an extensive introduction into coffee production, from seed to cup.

Photograph by Karolina Wiercigroch

Best for views
The name says it all. ‘Mirador’ means ‘viewpoint’, and the stunning valley and mountain vistas certainly take centre stage at this lofty hotel. Enjoy them over breakfast from the huge open-air terrace; swinging in a hammock while parrots chatter nearby; or from one of the bedrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and views from the bed (some also have outdoor whirlpool baths). Interiors at this mid-range hotel are simple yet homely. From £105.

Published in the November issue of  National Geographic Traveller (UK) 

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