If you’re here, I’m assuming you’re considering going to Filandia. I’m not even going to try and “sell it” to you – just do it! By far my favourite Pueblito in Colombia (I came away wondering where I can find the money to buy a Finca here and turn it into a hostel)! You will not regret visiting this place.
TOP TIP: stay here instead of Salento and visit Salento as a day trip!
1. Get On First Name Terms at Helena Adentro
(try the smoked hummus & choripan)
You’ll struggle to find a write-up about Filandia that doesn’t include this as a must visit. In one weekend I went for dinner twice and lunch once – it’s the best food I’ve had in Colombia since I arrived in February. A great fusion menu of Colombian classics (with a twist….for the better!) and others from round the globe. Try the smoked hummus and the Rabbit Sandwich and the aubergine (eggplant) and the…. OK, just order one of everything…and don’t ever leave.
2. Get Lost Finding Cascada Doble Waterfall
(Cascada Doble - Double Waterfall)
One and half hours walk through the hills surrounding Filandia will bring you to La Cascada Doble (Double Waterfall). It’s a really pleasant walk and the waterfalls are pretty. The waterfalls sit on private land, and as such there is a 6,000p entry fee. At the time I went (May 2018) they were closed for the building of some steps to improve access (though I managed to beg & “por favor” my way in for a sneak peak.
I think the real appeal of it, is that there is no signage and so you need to tap on the doors of local farmers to keep asking for updating directions – it all feels like a mini adventure.
For those who like to know where they’re going, I’ve written up exact directions here.
3. Pick, Roast and Brew Your Own Coffee; Finca – El Carriel
(35,000p + 5,000p bus)
(Me picking beans, and said beans roasted and ready to grind)
Going to visit a coffee farm in Colombia – the home of coffee is absolutely essential, and why not do it here in Filandia – the centre of Colombia’s Eje Cafetero. I went on somebody’s recommendation to “El Carriel Finca”, and I’m recommending the same to you.
The owners and their dogs take you all the way through the process of planting, growing, picking, drying, roasting and drinking the coffee. You complete the process yourself wearing traditional Paisa clothing and get to take home the coffee you’ve roasted at the end.
All the hostels in Filandia have an associated Finca for tours. El Carriel belongs to “Colina de Lluvia” – pop here when you’re ready to go to the Finca (a couple of hours before you want to go). Pay 35,000 to the hostel and they’ll provide instructions on which bus (it’s 20mins outside town) and notify El Carriel that you’re on your way!
“El Mirador del Quindio” is located just a 15 minute walk outside Filandia and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape! It’s definitely worth the climb the structure itself is cool to walk up and see also.
5. Salento for a day
I highly (100%) recommend staying in Filandia and visiting Salento/Valle de Cocora as a day trip. Filandia is just ever so slightly less touristy (or maybe I mean less Gringos) and it also feels a lot more upmarket with loads of artisan stores, restaurants and cafes compared to Salentos slightly more “key ring shop/coffee shop/hat shop/repeat”.
You could go to Valle de Cocora in the morning and then wander Salento in the afternoon. Read all about my 9 THINGS TO DO IN SALENTO, + 1 NOT TO DO HERE
6. Take in Sunset & Chocolate Cake at Coffee Landscape
This little converted garage – coffee shop doesn’t feature on Google maps, but it’s at the very end of Calle4, off Carrera 6 and overlooking Carrera 7. They have outdoor seats at the “dead end” of Calle4, overlooking the view. The chocolate cake is the best and the owners even better! Great spot for sunset. Search “Las Heliconias” on google maps – it’s next door!
7. Cafe Cultivar
This trendy hipster spot is the perfect place to soak up the views of the surrounding countryside while sipping on some of the best coffee Filandia has to offer. Also a great spot to hide from the rain and do a bit of blogging.
8.Eat/Drink/Dance the Night Away
(TukTuk does awesome Vietnamese Spring Rolls!)
The foodie-scene in Filandia is surprisingly hipster and chic for a small remote town amongst the mountains of Colombias coffee region. Try TukTuk thai food (upstairs from Cafe Cultivar) – the atmosphere, decor, views and vietnamese spring rolls are what sell this place. I had the Massaman “Curry” and whilst it was perfectly delicious food, I wouldn’t say it was particularly authentic to the food I had in Thailand, but nice all the same.
Jose Fernando is another great place for food/coffee, and all the bars around the main plaza come to life at night with great dancing vibes.
9. Stay in Town
I would suggest that Filandia has so much to offer for an intrigued wanderer that you want to be staying in the town itself for at least a couple of nights so you are never too far from your next Artisan Coffee.
Bidea Hostel is where I stayed and is really clean, modern, centrally located with just the right amount of quirky as well as a free breakfast included. BOOK HERE
10. Don’t stay in Town
(Finca el Guacamayo swimming pool – take me back!)
When you’ve overindulged in Filandia’s best restaurants, go and detox at a Finca outside of town for a few nights. I stayed at “Finca el Guacamayo”, which offers beautiful modern accomodation in a traditional finca setting, with unrivalled views and a stunning swimming pool! The owner is a bit of a legend in the Eje Cafetero region it must be said also!
Check it out on AIRBNB
11. Loosen the purse strings
(Gifts galore in Filandia)
Go on! Buy that sombrero you want so much! Nearby Salento is swamped with repetitive “souvenir” shops, yet Filandia has somehow missed that wave and skipped straight to artisan land. There are loads of great opportunities to buy local produce, hand-made gifts, clothing jewellery from the multitude of boutique shops – particularly along Calle 7.