Manizales, a university city in the UNESCO World Heritage listed Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia, isn’t very touristy but does have a few sites of interest, including a few nature parks just outside of the city and Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados.
A good place to start is Plaza de Bolívar, the main plaza in the historic part of the city. The centerpiece of the plaza is a unique statue of Simón Bolívar in the form of a condor. It’s called El Bolívar Cóndor and was erected in 1991.
Another interesting building is the Palacio de Gobierno, which houses the government offices for the department of Caldas. There is also the magnificent cathedral, which you can read about here. It’s got the tallest church tower in Colombia and offers excellent guided tours.
Next, walking east along the street behind the cathedral, we made our way to another plaza full of trees, a fountain, and a statue of Colombian hero Francisco José de Caldas, for whom the department of Caldas is named.
To the west side of the plaza, several small souvenir booths sell all kinds of crafts and souvenirs at low prices.
On the east side of the plaza is the Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción. It was built in the early 20th century and has some gorgeous woodwork on the face of the church and inside.
To the northwest of the city center is the district of Chipre. It lies uphill at a higher elevation from the rest of the city. Here you’ll find the church that was once the cathedral of Manizales, also named Nuestra Señora del Rosario.
There is also a lookout, Torre al Cielo. This lookout tower costs COP$3,000 to ride an elevator up to the top for amazing views of the city. There is also a restaurant a level below, and for an extra cost an opportunity to do a “sky walk” on the outside of the tower attached only by a lanyard.