Calarca is a city in central eastern Colombia, in the Quindio department. Like most cities in this region, Calarca is well known for its coffee plantations, plantain and manioc. Calarca is only four kilometres from the regional capital, Armenia. It was founded in the late-19th century by settlers from Salento, and was first a very industrial city with a focus on mining.
The easiest way to get to Calarca is to get a bus into Armenia from Bogota or Medellin - both about six hours away - or from Cali (two hours away). From Armenia, it is a short fifteen minute bus ride into the centre of Calarca. If you are arriving late, its best to ask your hostel about transport from Armenia. Also, hostels in Calarca are mainly found in the outskirts of the town. Expect the hostels here to be similar to other hostels in the coffee-producing mountains: extended lanais, fresh coffee, a tranquil feeling, and relaxed guests.
One of the best things to do in Calarca is visit the fincas, or coffee plantations. At most you will be able to take a tour, taste the fresh roasted coffee, and learn about how coffee is produced. Coffee made this city wealthy, and the writers gave it culture. Calarca has produced several highly acclaimed writers, cartoonists, poets, and artists. Throughout the year there are festivals celebrating both the culture and the coffee in Calarca. Don’t miss the Fundación Museo Gráfico y Audiovisual del Quindío (the Graphic and Audiovisual Museum), the Monastery of Saint Damian, up in the hills, or El Mariposario, the butterfly museum in the gardens.
Other activities in and around town include exploring the Peñas Blancas park, which has a network of trails for hiking and mountain biking. There are also companies in town who offer paragliding, rock climbing, and mountain biking through the hills.
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Calarcá hostels. Welcome.