Being a hub on the coffee tourist trail, Armenia is well connected. By bus, there are connections to many major cities, the nearest one being Pereira less than an hour away. I paid about COP$8,000 to get between Armenia and Pereira. The bus terminal can also get you directly to Parque del Café and Salento. To get into town, a booth at the front of the taxi stand will print out a ticket with a price based on your destination before you get into the taxi.
To get around in town, there are public buses that run the length of the city in both directions. Taxis are metered. We paid about COP$5,000 to $6,000 from our hotel in the city center to restaurants in the Zona Rosa. If visiting the Jardín Botánico del Quindío in Calarcá, buses marked “Mariposario” leave frequently from Parque de la Constitution.
Hotel Castilla Real
There are lots of accommodation options in Armenia ranging from budget to luxury. A good affordable hotel to stay at is Hotel Castillo Real, just a couple blocks from Plaza de Bolívar. It’s a great value for the price of COP$70,000 per night. We had a double room that was clean, comfortable, and had excellent wifi. A nice breakfast was served until 9:30am and the staff was incredible. They helped us plan our activities for the day and always greeted us with a smile. The only negative was that the double bed was actually two twin beds pushed together.
Allure Aroma Mocawa
An excellent luxury hotel is the Allure Aroma Mocawa. We stayed there with a large group and we have to say it’s one of the best hotels we have stayed at in Colombia. A spacious and modern double room cost about COP$200,000 for one night. The only problem is that check in is a long and drawn out process. To check our group into 8 rooms, it took an hour.
The hotel features The Grill (a restaurant with mediocre food), a rooftop pool and bar, and is a short walk from several restaurants.
Tierra del Fuego
For dinner, we tried Tierra del Fuego. It’s hidden behind a strip mall but there are a few signs guiding diners to the restaurant. They serve Argentinian style steaks and are open daily except Mondays until midnight. The steaks were big enough to share and were priced between COP$24,000 to COP$30,000 with a sharing fee of COP$3,500. Unfortunately, the quality of meat wasn’t that great. The best part of the meal was the empanada appetizer.
We also tried Wasabi, a sushi restaurant. We had a special with four rolls of sushi along with two starters and fried ice cream for dessert. It was enough for three or four people. Everything was excellent and we would go back there again. The meal came out to about COP$89,000 including tip.
On the road between Armenia and Pereira, just north of the city, is El Solar. This restaurant with quirky decorations features excellent meat and fish dishes and is a fun place to take a group.