The city of Pereira is one of the oldest colonial settlements in Colombia, after being colonized by the Spanish in the mid-sixteenth century. Before his arrival, the area was home to the Quimbaya, a native tribe long. Today the city is the capital and economic center of the department of Risaralda, which is one of the regions most important coffee growing country. The soil in this area of ​​Colombia, together with the adjacent departments of Quindio and Caldas, is rich in volcanic minerals that made it an especially good place to grow coffee, leading to the region known as 'Eje Cafetero' ( Coffee triangle) also home to Salento.


Location and Geography

Pereira is located in the western region of Colombia inland, in the valley of Otún river that descends from the western side of the Andes Mountains. The steep slopes of the valleys in this region provide excellent conditions for growing coffee, but have made the city planning something of a challenge, with the streets of Pereira is designed to work with the ground. Pereira benefits from being in a central location between the three largest cities of Bogota, Medellin and Cali.


Attractions in Pereira

In the center of Pereira is the Plaza de Bolivar, the main square of the city where many people go to relax and socialize, with the square also is the center of the financial and business district. The city is also an important consideration for those seeking outdoor recreation, with nearby Lake Otún, being a popular destination for fishing and for birdwatchers as several rare species of birds are found there. The lake lies within the Los Nevados National Park, which is also a popular destination for hiking and mountain biking.

Interesting Facts of Pereira

One of the most notable features of Pereira is the huge viaduct César Gaviria Trujillo, which is about four hundred forty meters long and is one of the longest bridges of its kind in South America. The bridge is the main link with the neighboring city of Dosquebradas, and demonstrates the engineering challenges encountered when working in this mountainous part of Colombia.

The city is also home to the largest zoo in Colombia, the Matecaña City Zoo, which has more than eight hundred animals divided into forty two acres. The collection includes many imported species, such as lions, elephants and Bengal tigers, while there is also a focus on the preservation of endangered species in South America. The zoo is also home to a museum of natural history, which is a great place to learn more about the natural history of the region.