Parque Los Arrieros is an entertaining theme park in Colombia’s UNESCO World Heritage listed coffee country aimed at protecting the region’s culture and heritage. It’s located on the road between the towns of Quimbaya and Montenegro. When traveling through the region, you don’t hear much about it and it isn’t well publicized, but it has been around January 2014.
Los Arrieros features several different shows and activities, including comedy shows, singing and dancing, a skills demonstration by arrieros (muleteers) and cowboys, and a nature walk.
We arrived on a Sunday at around 11:15am, arriving in the middle of the first show. We paid our COP$36,000 admission fee (as of April 2017) and ordered and paid for our lunches. From there, we enjoyed an organized day in the park, catching each show by following the directions of the park’s employees.
Seeing the Park
It’s possible to walk through the park at your own pace, but you would miss the shows so it’s best to follow the suggestions of the employees. The shows are excellent, but unfortunately for non-Spanish speakers, everything is in Spanish. Anyone who isn’t fluent in Spanish would miss a lot of the humor, and that’s the main reason the visit the park.
There are several characters that visitors become familiar with during their visit to the park and by attending the shows. Each character interacts with guests in a humorous manner and audience participation is encouraged. There’s the town police officer, a sleeping security guard, town drunk, village idiot, and more. They’re quick to think of jokes and good-humored insults to throw at each guest as they walk by.
Of all the shows, our favorite was the last show at the “town square” where all of the characters put on a hilarious “wedding”. Another favorite was the demonstration by the arrieros, who told about life in the old days and their desire to keep their culture alive. The ad-lib songs full of jokes and insults aimed at visitors are also a hit. The first theatre show was fun, but it lasted too long.
Lunch was ready at 1:30. It was fair at best and some of the food was a little too greasy. The prices were a bit high but that’s to be expected at a theme park. It’s done cafeteria style, where you pay in advance and are given a ticket to pick up your meal. Plates are huge so it’s possible to share. Marisol and I shared a fiambre and an order of chorizo.
About the Park
Parque Los Arrieros is the new player in the region, and it has a lot of potential. It’s a very different experience when compared to more well-known parks such as PANACA and Parque del Café, which although great attractions seem more commercialized and corporate. Los Arrieros is a breath of fresh air and a great way to experience the Paisa culture and humor without the distractions of roller coasters or farm animals. It’s all about the people that make Colombia’s coffee region such a wonderful place to visit.
To get to Parque Los Arrieros, having your own transportation is best. If going by bus from Armenia, you can take one heading to Quimbaya and ask the driver to let you off at the entrance to the park. From there, it’s a long walk down a gravel road to the entrance. There’s a hotel at the park if you wish to stay overnight.