Santa Rosa de Cabal is a town in the department of Risaralda, on the slopes of the Andean Cordillera Central, west-central Colombia. The city is the “entrance” of the national park “Los Nevados”. Santa Rosa de Cabal is classified “heritage of humanity” (el Paisaje Cultural Cafetero colombiano.
Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia ) since 2011. The label reflects a centennial tradition of coffee growing in small plots in the high forest and the way farmers have adapted cultivation to difficult mountain conditions.
The area is also well-known for its “termales” (thermal pools) that spring up in those mountainous landscapes. Apart from the richness of its landscapes, Santa Rosa de Cabal has also a rich underground with gold, silver, and mercury mines nearby.
WHAT TO DO – Santa Rosa de Cabal
Santa Rosa de Cabal is a great place to discover the coffee culture. Indeed, the town is part of the coffee triangle” (eje cafetero) and it is possible to visit “haciendas” spread across the area to discover why Colombian coffee is so famous worldwide… various types of coffee grows around Santa Rosa de Cabal and farmers happily transmit their knowledge and love for their work to visitors.
Another asset of the area is the presence of thermal pools called “Termales”. Those thermal pools are non sulfuric and therefore odourless which is good news for sharp-nosed customers who wish to spend some time pampering themselves in a wonderful landscape. Please bear in mind that the access to the thermal pools is chargeable and is a bit costly.
Santa Rosa de Cabal is a great base for making the most of the surrounding lush countryside. The city being surrounded by parks, each with unique features, there is plenty to do around :
“El Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados” (The National park Los Nevados), is famous for its wonderful landscapes. Los Nevados peaks with the volcano Nevado del Ruiz at 5,300 m above sea level.
Cycling, exploring waterfalls and mountains, or fishing trouts in the lake of Otún (laguna del Otún) are a few examples of activities which can be practiced in the area.
“El Parque Regional Natural Las Marcadas” (Regional park of Las Marcadas) where petroglyphs carved centuries ago by indígenas can be seen.
In the town itself, while strolling around, have a look at the architecture as it has a strong Antioquian influence and therefore buildings such as “La Escuela Apostólica” (the apostolic school), “la Estación del Ferrocarril” (the railway station), “la Plaza de Mercado” (the marketplace) or “la Casa Campesina” ( the farmers’ house) worth a look.
Take also some time to visit the “Basilica Menor de Nuestra Señora de las Victorias” (minor basilica of our lady of victories) which has a typical architecture of the Antioquian colonisation with gorgeous stained-glass windows.
In front of that basilica, a nice park called “Las Araucarias” referring to the 12 araucarias embodying the 12 apostles.
“El Vitral de la Milagrosa”, located in the “is another must see as it’s one of the biggest stained-glass window of South America.
To conclude with thing to do in Santa Rosa de Cabal, don’t miss the typical dish of the region : “la bandeja paisa”, which is composed with beans, chorizo, pork rind and eggs.
The “Chorizos Santarrosanos” are hand-made with shredded pork and have a reputation for being the best of the country.
Freshly fished trouts are also quite famous and they taste even better if you caught them yourself 😉
HOW TO GET THERE – Santa Rosa de Cabal
You have frequent buses from / to Pereira (every 10 minutes) and the trip lasts around 45 minutes. Routes from Manizales is also available and lasts around 1 hour. Buses depart every 15/20 minutes.