One of the best attractions in Manizales doesn’t lie inside the city, but instead is on the outskirts. Recinto del Pensamiento is located about 10 minutes from the city. It’s a peaceful nature park with a very relaxed and easy guided walk that can be done by people of all ages.
When you reach the gates, the security guard can point you in the right direction to get to the gift shop. Guided tours are required and last two hours. They’re done in Spanish. Admission is COP$14,000 for a basic tour, and COP$18,000 for use of the tellesilla (chair lift). Tickets are bought in the gift shop.
We were then led to the telesilla for an exciting 12 minute ride over the tree tops and up a steep hill. Others in the group chose to walk the path and we met them at the top.
Next, we were served fresh coffee and sat quietly to watch local hummingbirds feed. The guide talked about the life of the hummingbirds and their importance to the balance of nature.
From there we visited a beautiful bonsai garden. There was a small bridge with a pond full of fish and a rock garden. The guide explained the significance of each element of the gardens.
The Mariposario, or butterfly pen, was just up the hill. There were several species of butterflies living inside, including a few interesting ones with transparent wings. Again, the guide did a wonderful job explaining the life cycle of butterflies and some myths about them.
The tour ended with a 30 minute walk through the forest, ending back at the gift shop where our tickets were first purchased. We really enjoyed the tour and were very relaxed the whole time.To reach Recinto del Pensamiento, a taxi is the quickest way and costs COP$10,000. The bus can take up to an hour but costs just COP$1,350. For those who want to stay longer, there is a hotel on the grounds. Other attractions include pens that hold deer, ostrich, sheep, and other animals.
Recinto del Pensamiento is located within the UNESCO World Heritage listed Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia.