In my last post I already mentioned this. The reason why we were eager on visiting Eje Cafetero was because of the many cute villages. Salento was our base for three nights. This city is one of the most popular towns of the coffee region. It is a perfect example of how flamboyant the Colombian architecture can be. But it can even be more colorful. Meet Filandia, another coffee town on an hour’s drive from Salento. Literally every window frame and balcony is painted in a different color. Personally, I liked Filandia even more than Salento. The name itself already made me think of a small paradise on earth, even though it took me a while to pronounce the name correctly (something with Finland). Filandia is not overrun with tourists and I hope it will stay this way. Of course, I understand that writing about it right now will result in more people knowing about this place, but I do not want to keep this from you. See it as a source of inspiration for how beautiful Colombia is.
Watching people on the central square
We visited Filandia on a Sunday. In the Netherlands this is normally a pretty sleepy day on which most people have trouble getting off their couch. In Filandia the opposite is happening on a Sunday. Daytrippers, families, cyclists and motorcyclists: they all head out. The results: a pleasant crowd of locals all looking to relax, rest and do something fun.
The lively central square of Filandia (Parque de Bolivar) offers the perfect place to watch people. Do what the seniors do and take a seat at one of the benches to observe the local life. Kids in electrical mini cars, men dressed in cowboy head and poncho, colorful colonial houses and the impressive silver domes of the Iglesia Maria Inmaculada: there is enough to see. And just like the town architecture is the church also pretty colorful.
Wandering around without the pack of tourists
Filandia is perfect for wandering around. This was already something I enjoyed in Salento, but it was even more fun in Filandia. Literally every street was a colorful surprise and you almost have it all to yourself. Of course, you will spot some tourists here and there, but it is definitely not the same crowd as you see walking around in Salento. This is good, because Filandia is just a tiny village. I don’t want to see Filandia filling up with tourists. The best thing about Filandia is its quiet and authentice character. Hopefully it stays like that for a long time!
Fantastic view over Eje Cafetero
Filandia is not only blessed with a beautiful colonial center, it is also located in the midst of a beautiful green sloping landscape. The best place to admire this view is from La Mirador Colina Iluminada. This is a viewpoint from a 19 meter high wooden tower. From the city center it is within a 15 minute walking distance. Entrance fee is 8000 COP.
How to go from Salento to Filandia with the public bus?
There are no direct busses from Salento to Filandia. You have to change busses to get in Filandia. No stress, this is really easy to do. I will show how I did it:
- At the bus station of Salento you get on the bus to Armenia. Let the driver know that you want to go to Filandia, then he (it is always a man) knows where you need to change busses.
- The transfer point is called Los Flores. Wait until the driver calls Filandia or Los Flores and get out. The transfer point is located along the busy main road from Armenia to Pereira. Walk a little bit back to an intersection with a small cafe.
- Wait until you a bus coming with ‘Filandia’ on its front window. Waive with your hand, otherwise the driver will not automatically stop. If I remember it correctly, the price for the two busses was around 5500 COP.
- Good to know for the way back: there is no really a bus schedule or clear indicated bus stops. The best thing you can do is to stand a strategical open place and wait until you see the bus with ‘Armenia’ at the front window. Get out again at the intersection Los Flores and cross the road to the other side. There you take the bus to Salento in the opposite direction.
Would you consider to go to Filandia?