8 Cool Things to Do in Armenia, Quindio, Colombia
When I first arrived in Colombia I chose Armenia as a place to stay for a while. To rent an apartment, learn Spanish, and work a little. It didn’t work out as I planned and I ended up moving onto Medellin after a couple of weeks, but I did do some cool stuff while I was there. So here are 8 things to do in Armenia, Colombia.
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8 Cool Things to do in Armenia
1. Carrera 14
The first thing on this list of cool things to do in Armenia is Carrera 14 which is the main street in the city. In the city center it becomes a walking street with vehicles not allowed, and you can follow it all the way to Lorena and beyond. It makes navigation in Armenia very easy.
Turns out I never took a picture of this!
2. La Lorena
La Lorena is district in Armenia north-east of the city centre which has the Universidad del Quindío and Parque De La Vida. It is a peacful area to walk around (when not on the main road).
3. The Outskirts of Town Center
When I first arrived in Armenia I stayed in a hotel on the edge of the main part of town. During the day it’s a busy section of the city with lots of shops and restaurants. At night it seems a bit dodgy, so be sure to explore during the light of day.
There is also plaza with a fruit market and people selling second hand (or stolen) goods. Don’t flash your valuables here.
One of the top reasons I chose to live in Armenia over Ibague was for this public swimming pool. Unfortunatley it was under maintenance while I was there but I suspect it re-opens when the University starts up again.
5. El Parque De Vida
A fairly large and peaceful park just north of the city. Only 1,500COP entry. You can walk there from the center in about 15 minutes.
6. Plaza De Bolivar
As always in Colombia, the Plaza De Bolivar is a good place for eating ice-cream and people watching. The one in Armenia also has a cool looking church.
Filandia is a small town less than an hours bus ride from Armenia. It is a quaint little town with a great mirador (look-out point). It is a good day trip.
The last thing on this list of cool things to do in Armenia is to go to the little town of Salento which is less than an hour bus ride from the terminal. Here you can visit a coffee plantation, go hiking in Valle de Cocora, sample their specialty dishes, and/or just chill in this beautiful little town.
Getting to Armenia
I took a bus from Ibague. From Ibague bus terminal just look for any sales window with Armenia, and that has a worker behind it. I used Velotax. It cost 20,000 COP and was a comfortable bus. The ride there is through the mountains, i.e., if your prone to motion sickness, take some pills. It took about 3.5 hours in total. Try to get a seat near the front because the toilet is at the back and it stinks.
Accommodation in Armenia
Whilst doing all these cool things to do in Armenia I stayed in a number of different places while attempting to find a more permanent apartment.
The first was Hotel San Sebastion which I booked online a while before I arrived. It was okay. Decent sized room with a private bathroom, okay security, close to town but in a bit of a dodgy area at night. No hot water but cable TV and decent internet.
The next one I got off Air BnB was in a share house which I tested as a long term option. There where a few different types of rooms, from very basic with shared bathrooms, all the way to having a small kitchen. Most guests here were long term foreign teachers. It was fine but not for me – I prefer to have something all to myself.
The third was called Hotel El Meson De Las Flores and was also off airbnb. This one was a proper boutique hotel. A bit nicer than the previous two and had the price-tag to match, although still not that expensive (under 25usd). It was in a great location. A little noisy during the day, especially around lunch, but easy to sleep in at night. Very comfortable and good dicounts if you stay for a week or more, which is the great thing about airbnb.
The fourth was a hotel near the center called Hotel Imperial. I’d say it was on par with San Sebastian, only a tad further from the center.
The final place I stayed at was another long-term potential off AirBnb located quite far from the center but super close to the Portal Norte which is the biggest shopping center in Armenia. It was a share house. The hosts where great and the place was nice but it just wasn’t for me.
Getting into Central Armenia from the Bus Terminal
From the bus terminal I just walked it. You could catch a bus but I don’t know which one exactly. I boarded one that said centro but after talking to the driver I discovered it was headed in the wrong direction, so make sure.
The buses have different prices, but it is displayed on the bus so just pay whatever the price is. Somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 COP.
A taxi to shouldn’t cost more than 10,000 COP.
Here’s a video slideshow of all the pictures taken in the Quindio area including Armenia, Ibague (not really Quindio but close enough), Pereira (also not really Quindio), Filandia, and Salento.
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Armenia is a nice little town. There isn’t too much to do there, but there are lots of nature activities nearby and the climate is perfect.
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