Table of Contents
The Best Things to do in Filandia, Colombia, contributed by Kaylee and Mark, who blog at These Foreign Roads is the ninth small town exposé in the series Small Town Explorer.
The villages and towns we visit in our travels are often the hidden gems of a country or region. In this series readers are introduced to small centers around the globe, from travel bloggers who have experienced the location firsthand; featuring their uniqueness, their history, what to see and do, and often where to stay and where to dine.
A picturesque coffee town situated in the foothills of the Colombian Andes, Filandia is a photographers playground. With its vibrant, colourful buildings tucked away in the lush green rolling hills of coffee farms, it will definitely put a smile on your face. The name Filandia comes for the words ‘Filia’ meaning daughter and ‘Andia’ meaning Andes. That said, the ’Daughter of the Andes’ should definitely be a stop on your journey through Colombia.
Filandia, Colombia: What to See and Do
Mirador de Filandia
A twenty-seven-metre tall observation deck with a 360-degree platform overlooking the surrounding hills as far as the eye can see. While the views can be spectacular, it is often quite tough to get a good view most days due to the moisture in the air. If you get any chance on a cloudless day, this is a definite thing to check out, especially if you can get a clear evening and watch the sun setting over the countryside. The cost to enter at the time of writing is 8,000 COP.
Cruise the Countryside on a Bicycle
There is plenty of beautiful countryside to explore around Filandia and numerous things to see and do nearby. There are plenty of walks you can do around the town, but many of the farther places to visit require hitching a ride in the back of a Jeep Willys or booking a tour with a company to get in a full day of events.
However, the cheapest way – also the method that gives you the most freedom to explore – is by bicycle. The most popular biking route is Filandia to Quimbaya, since it is a great way to check out the countryside, and is downhill most of the way. Stop in at Hostel Bidea to rent a bike and get a free map and tips on the route. Also, if you don’t want to ride back up the hill (which most people don’t) wave down a Jeep Willys – the most common mode of transport in the area. Most drivers will happily take you and your bike back into Filandia for a small fee.
If staying at Hostel Bidea, you’ll get a free bike rental! Just be sure to confirm a day in advance.
Hike to the “Secret” Double Waterfalls
Okay, they might not be a secret these days, but they can still be a little tricky to find. Tucked away deep in a steep valley outside of town, this gorgeous set of waterfalls are the perfect spot to cool down from the Colombian heat. Head out of Filandia to the north and follow the backroads as they wind east through farmland. Eventually, you’ll find a small house where you’ll pay the owner a small fee to cross his property. As a bonus, he’s cleared a fairly nice path down behind the house to the falls below. Once there, relax and cool down in the refreshing pool, or bring a picnic and stay a while. Asking around town for some detailed directions is probably a good idea. However, any locals you pass along the way will be able to point you in the right direction.
When in Colombia, without question – you must play Tejo. If you’re unfamiliar with the country’s national sport, in essence, it involves drinking a lot of beer, while throwing lead pucks at small explosives. Make sure to hit up Cancha de Tejo Cafe Pueblo for a couple hours in the afternoon or evening. The game is free to play as long as you are buying beer, this is the rule. It is actually tougher – and louder – than it looks but is a must try!
Visit a Coffee Plantation
If you have never witnessed how coffee gets from the field to your cup, you definitely should. This is especially crucial while visiting one of the best coffee regions on earth! The most popular coffee tour is from Finca El Mirador which costs 20,000 COP per person and includes a cup at the end of the tour. You’ll be able to watch the entire process, from the growing of the fruit, the gruelling harvest, fermentation and roasting. You’ll certainly have a new appreciation for every sip.
Filandia, Colombia: Where to Eat and Drink
In the far Northwest corner of town, overlooking bright green fields, Cultivar Cafe is the best place to come for a local coffee. It is a bit expensive, but if you can score one of the two tables outside on the patio overlooking the rolling coffee hills, it is very worth it. Especially if you work on your computer or just want to relax the day away.
This is the top restaurant of the entire region and is known throughout Colombia for their unique blend of traditional ingredients with modern preparation methods. Originally, the restaurant was only opened on the weekends, so the owners could return to their farm for the week to cultivate and harvest their fresh produce for the menu. Today they are opened every day of the week and have added farmland to produce more for the necessity. They use 100% natural ingredients, whether it is the cheese they produce, to the mixes in their amazing cocktails, to the jams they sell on the side, there is a very good reason this restaurant continues to collect rewards. If you eat anywhere during your visit to Filandia, Helena Adentro must be the spot.
Filandia Colombia: Where to Stay
The most popular place for backpackers in Filandia is Bidea Hostel. Their rooms are large, beds are comfy, there are some fantastic common areas and a fresh breakfast is included. As well, free coffee and tea are available all day to keep you fuelled for your exploration.
There are plenty of other options in Filandia from simple, budget hostels, to high-end hotels and gorgeous boutique Bed and Breakfasts. There are also farm stays around the area if you would rather have the tranquillity and learn a bit more about the culture or the region.
Filandia, Colombia: How to Get to Filandia
Though distances may appear close on the map, travelling through this region of Colombia takes some time. The high, twisting mountain roads lead to long hours on the bus. Most visitors to Filandia arrive from Bogota via Armenia. Buses run several times a day, including some overnight options. From Armenia, it’s a 30-minute ride to Filandia. If you’re already in the area, likely the town of Salento, it’s a short 45-minute ride in a Jeep to get here.
If arriving from Medellin, we suggest spending some time in the spectacular village of Juayua on your way down. Not only will it break up the long journey, but the ride from Juayua to Filandia is quite… interesting.
Filandia, Colombia: When to Visit
The temperatures are great all year-round. April and May are the wettest months. However, don’t worry if this is the only time you can visit. The temperatures are warm throughout the year and even during the rainy season, the sun is out most of the afternoon!
For more information on visiting Filandia and the rest of this stunning country, check out our Complete Guide to Backpacking Colombia! (http://www.theseforeignroads.com/2018/07/22/ultimate-guide-backpacking-colombia/)
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.