Pereira travel guide

Pereira Tourism | Pereira Guide

You're Going to Love Pereira

Pereira is the capital city of the Risaralda Department of western Colombia. With a population of more than 500,000, it is an important economic and cultural center. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known as the "Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia".

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Pereira

1. Lake Otún

Lake Otún is a small lake at 12,000 feet in the Andes. It is an important breeding ground for many birds, and visitors can fish for rainbow trout.

2. Santa Isabel

This dramatic volcano is popular for its spectacular views, hiking, and climbing.

3. Ukumari Biopark

Ukumari Biopark is the largest theme park in South America, focused on the preservation of the animal and plant life of the region.

4. Architecture

The city has an interesting mix of modern, colonial, and republican buildings, especially around Victoria.

5. Nightlife

Pereira has a vibrant nightlife with lots of bars and clubs, especially in the Avenida Circunvalar area.

What to do in Pereira

1. A Liberating Experience At The Center Of Town

Pereira's focal point, the Plaza de Bolivar is a great place to start an exploration of everything this charming Andean city has to offer. Built in the 18th century, the square was once the center of the colonial city, but now (as with many Colombian squares), it's a grand homage to the Liberator, Simon Bolivar. The centerpiece is "Bolivar Desnudo", an 8.5 meter tall statue of the great man, but for many the highlight will be exploring the shopping streets around the square.

2. Pereira's Spiritual Heart

The religious nexus of the city, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Poverty can be found just off the Plaza de Bolivar, and it's well worth popping inside to check out the interior. If you're used to soaring arches and dazzling stained glass in cathedrals, it might prove a surprise. Instead of showy features, Pereira's cathedral is a brickwork masterpiece, more in the tradition of the Mezquita at Cordoba than traditional European churches. And it's a deeply moving, tranquil place to spend some time.

3. Go Wild In This Unconventional Botanical Attraction

The tourist highlight of the sprawling Universidad Tecnológia de Pereira, the city's botanical gardens show off the rich biodiversity of the Andean foothills, and the UNESCO-protected "Coffee Cultural Landscape" of which Pereira is a part. When you visit, you'll come across beautiful orchids, walks through shady bamboo groves, a fascinating apothecaries' garden showing how locals use plants for medicinal purposes, and plenty of bird life, too. The whole place has been deliberately left semi-wild, making it very different to standard botanical gardens, and giving a vivid peek into the life of the rainforest. If you love nature, it's an absolute must-see.

4. A Gorgeous Catholic Creation

A complete counterpoint to the intimate cathedral, the Iglesia El Claret is a Baroque/Gothic fusion, and an architectural delight. Located on Carrera 7, a few hundred meters west from Plaza Bolivar, it's a much more ornate affair, with intricate stonework and crenellations, and a bright interior nave. And when you've had your fill of spirituality for the day, the neighborhood around the church is packed with seafood restaurants and laid-back student bars, so it's a great place to kick back and fill the evening with entertainment.

5. Family Fun In Coffee Country

Another must-visit for budding biologists is the excellent Bioparque Bonita Farm. Situated a few miles northwest of Pereira's city center, the Bioparque is a working family farm that's been set up as a thriving ecotourism destination. The owners will be happy to show guests around the coffee plantation, giving some insight into where your espresso gets its kick, as well as showing off local residents like snakes and the odd tarantula or two. The butterfly enclosure is a particular highlight, making it a great place for families to head during their time in Pereira.

1. A Liberating Experience At The Center Of Town

Pereira's focal point, the Plaza de Bolivar is a great place to start an exploration of everything this charming Andean city has to offer. Built in the 18th century, the square was once the center of the colonial city, but now (as with many Colombian squares), it's a grand homage to the Liberator, Simon Bolivar. The centerpiece is "Bolivar Desnudo", an 8.5 meter tall statue of the great man, but for many the highlight will be exploring the shopping streets around the square.

2. Pereira's Spiritual Heart

The religious nexus of the city, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Poverty can be found just off the Plaza de Bolivar, and it's well worth popping inside to check out the interior. If you're used to soaring arches and dazzling stained glass in cathedrals, it might prove a surprise. Instead of showy features, Pereira's cathedral is a brickwork masterpiece, more in the tradition of the Mezquita at Cordoba than traditional European churches. And it's a deeply moving, tranquil place to spend some time.

3. Go Wild In This Unconventional Botanical Attraction

The tourist highlight of the sprawling Universidad Tecnológia de Pereira, the city's botanical gardens show off the rich biodiversity of the Andean foothills, and the UNESCO-protected "Coffee Cultural Landscape" of which Pereira is a part. When you visit, you'll come across beautiful orchids, walks through shady bamboo groves, a fascinating apothecaries' garden showing how locals use plants for medicinal purposes, and plenty of bird life, too. The whole place has been deliberately left semi-wild, making it very different to standard botanical gardens, and giving a vivid peek into the life of the rainforest. If you love nature, it's an absolute must-see.

4. A Gorgeous Catholic Creation

A complete counterpoint to the intimate cathedral, the Iglesia El Claret is a Baroque/Gothic fusion, and an architectural delight. Located on Carrera 7, a few hundred meters west from Plaza Bolivar, it's a much more ornate affair, with intricate stonework and crenellations, and a bright interior nave. And when you've had your fill of spirituality for the day, the neighborhood around the church is packed with seafood restaurants and laid-back student bars, so it's a great place to kick back and fill the evening with entertainment.

5. Family Fun In Coffee Country

Another must-visit for budding biologists is the excellent Bioparque Bonita Farm. Situated a few miles northwest of Pereira's city center, the Bioparque is a working family farm that's been set up as a thriving ecotourism destination. The owners will be happy to show guests around the coffee plantation, giving some insight into where your espresso gets its kick, as well as showing off local residents like snakes and the odd tarantula or two. The butterfly enclosure is a particular highlight, making it a great place for families to head during their time in Pereira.

Where to Eat in Pereira

Mama Flor on Calle 11 offers traditional Colombian dishes, focusing on grilled meats. With a hilltop terrace, it has great views and mains from COL$18,000. Vegetarians will prefer Vegetariano La 23 on Calle 23, with mains from COL$6,000.

When to visit Pereira

Pereira in September
Estimated hotel price
$49
1 night at 3-star hotel
Pereira in September
Estimated hotel price
$49
1 night at 3-star hotel

Pereira enjoys relatively stable temperatures of around 70 degrees all year. Spring and fall are rainier than summer and winter.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Pereira

Plane

Matecaña International Airport (PEI) has flights across Colombia and international services from New York and Panama City. The 10-minute taxi ride into the city center will cost around COL$9,000. The bus fare is COL$1,800.

Car

You can reach Pereira from Bogota in seven hours on the Ibague Armenia road. The trip from Medellin on the Cartago-Buga-Cali route takes four hours.

Bus

Pereira's main station is the Terminal de Transportes de Pereira. There are services from most major cities in Colombia. Bus fares from Bogota are from COL$32,000.

Airlines serving Pereira

United Airlines
Good (2,985 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,407 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,535 reviews)
KLM
Good (364 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,408 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,193 reviews)
Iberia
Good (972 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,714 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (607 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (355 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,338 reviews)
Spirit Airlines
Good (2,637 reviews)
ITA Airways
Good (160 reviews)
Air Europa
Good (160 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (844 reviews)
Aeromexico
Good (772 reviews)
ANA
Excellent (183 reviews)
Avianca
Good (847 reviews)
Copa Airlines
Good (539 reviews)
GOL
Good (299 reviews)
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Where to stay in Pereira

Victoria - this is a central neighborhood around Plaza Victoria, with some of the city's best architecture and some good hotels and restaurants.

Popular Neighborhoods in Pereira

Boston - this is just to the south of downtown, close to the bus station. You will find plenty of budget accommodation and local shopping.

San Nicholas - this is an area to the west of the city center, with good shops and close to all amenities.

Where to stay in popular areas of Pereira

Most booked hotels in Pereira

Hotel Sonesta Pereira
Excellent (9, Excellent reviews)
$116+
Hotel Soratama
Excellent (9, Excellent reviews)
$68+
Movich Hotel de Pereira
Excellent (8.9, Excellent reviews)
$113+
Habitat Suites Hotel
Excellent (8.1, Excellent reviews)
$51+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Pereira

Public Transportation

Pereira has extensive bus services along all major routes and into the suburbs. Fares are from COL$1,800. The Megabus service has dedicated lanes and is comfortable and fast, with fares from COL$1,600.

Taxi

Taxis in Pereira are plentiful and cheap. Meter drop is COL$1,100 and the fare is then COL$1,400 per mile.

Car

Driving in Pereira can be a little challenging and traffic is busy at peak times. Car rental is available from COL$88,000.

The Cost of Living in Pereira

Shopping Streets

The area around Plaza Victoria has a number of upscale boutiques, while the Bolivar Plaza on Plaza de Bolivar in downtown has lots of mainstream stores and food outlets.

Groceries and Other

A quart of milk in Pereira costs COL$2,200 and a loaf of bread is COL$2,800.

Cheap meal
$3.99
A pair of jeans
$94.28
Single public transport ticket
$0.97
Cappuccino
$2.00