Travel, Food & Books


A city built on ridgelines with steep slopes, Manizales has more beautiful churches in one precinct than any other city that I’ve been to in Colombia. Founded on 12th October 1849 by settlers from Antioquia, this place is like a mini Medellin with a variety of shopping centres, and nightlife (Thursday ~ Sunday) and it has a subtropical climate with year-round monthly temperatures around 16.5°C.

Bus from Santa Rosa De Cabal to Manizales

It was about an hour waiting for our ride to Manizales on the roadside before it finally arrived. Unfortunately, the other people who came later than us rushed to the bus, and when it was our turn to get on it, the driver told us he couldn’t take any more passengers. We didn’t want to spend another hour waiting for the next one, so we hailed the bus heading towards Chinchina, a municipality located about 15km away.

Waiting for a bus to Manizales in Santa Rosa roadside

It took about 30 minutes to reach the town and cost 4,000 COP per pax. From Chinchina, there were plenty of buses going to Manizales, which was about 17km away. It cost 3,700COP for the 50-minute journey. It was raining when we got to Manizales, and the bus dropped us at the edge of the town, so we took a taxi to the hotel.


Hotel Pop Art Las Colinas Manizales

This hotel set in the historic centre was only 150 metres away from the most visited places in this city, the Cathedral Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Manizales. During the check-in, we gave our Cedula as requested, but the staff didn’t input our nationality correctly, which was clearly stated in the Cedula.

We saw it from the printing copy when he asked us to sign. He had registered Mike from the US and me from China! It looks like it wasn’t a big deal, but just in case of something unfortunate happened to us, and they needed to contact the embassy, then it would delay the process.

The standard double room that we booked through Agoda was spacious enough for the two of us – 27 m². The view in our room was facing another building. Although it didn’t have air conditioning, it wasn’t warm during the day and night.

We had free Wi-Fi with a great connection, a flat-screen TV with plenty of channels, a safety box, and a minibar, and the king-size bed was comfy. The hotel also has a sauna and a bar. My only comment was the lack of a socket for the minibar. We have to unplug the TV to use it.

The breakfast on Sunday was buffet style with plenty of choices. However, the next day, I think because there weren’t many people in the hotel, they gave us a selection.

Food and Drinks in Manizales

On our first day, we had our lunch at the Cafeteria Restaurante Olimpia located about 150m away from the hotel. Mike had chicken while I had beef, and it came with a bowl of tasty soup each. The meal quality was alright, and it was cheap at 16,000 COP for the two.

Our second-day lunch was at Restaurante Alejandria located 550m away from where we stayed. While having lunch in this place, a few beggars that passing by the restaurant stopped and asked us for money. We would have had a much more peaceful lunch if only we sat further inside the restaurant.

Before leaving Manizales, we had lunch in a restaurant called La Antioqueña, located next to the cathedral. It’s a nice restaurant, the food was lovely, and because there weren’t many customers when we were there at 1:15 pm, they served our meals in record time.

The food and drinks prices in La Antioqueñ

7,900COP - Paisa / Bistec A Caballo / Migas de Arepa / Tradicional
9,800COP - Caldo de Costilla / Tamales

5,900COP - Patacones con Hogo o Guacamole / Morcilla con Arepa / Chunchuya
6,900COP - Patacones con Carne Desmechada
7,900COP - Salchipapa
8,900COP - Carne Antioqueña
9,800COP - Hamburguesa / Porcion Chicharron
10,800COP - Chuzo de Cerdo / Plato de Chorizos Soup 
9,800COP - Crema de Pescado / Caldo de Albondiga
9,900COP - Caldo de Costilla
10,800COP - Ajiaco
11,900COP - Mondongo

Nuestros Tipicos
7,900COP - Bandeja Antioqueña
13,900COP - Fiambre
14,900COP - Cazuela de Frijoles
20,800COP - Bandeja Paisa / Sobre Barriga Criolla o Dorada
22,900COP - Bisteck a Caballo

12,800COP - Churrasco 200g
13,800COP - Lomo de Cerdo 200g
19,800COP - Costilla BBQ
20,800COP - Churrasco 350g / Lomo de Cerdo 350g / Asado Personal / Chuleta / Picada Antioqueña
21,800COP - Punta de Anca
22,800COP - Baby Beef / Medallon de Cerdo en Salsa de Champinones / Churrasco de Pollo
32,900COP - Asado Para 2 Personas

20,800COP - Mojarra / Bagre en Salsa Criolla
21,900COP - Trucha a la Plancha 450g
23,900COP - Trucha en Champinones / Trucha al Vapor / Trucha al Ajillo 450g
25,800COP - Trucha a la Marinera
1,500COP - Porcion de Aguacate
1,900COP - Porcion de Arroz
2,200COP - Porcion de Papa Salada
3,900COP - Porcion de guacamole
4,500COP - Porcion de Papas a la Francesa / Porcion de Ensalada Antioqueña / Porcion de Papa Criolla
5,200COP - Porcion de Frijoles
5,900COP - Porcion de Mondongo / Porcion de Ajiaco

800COP - Tinto
1,200COP - Cafe con Leche / Aromatica de Frutas
2,300COP - Gaseosa / Limonda Natural / Jugo en Agua
2,800COP - Botella de Agua
2,900COP - Juga en Leche / Milo Frio / Milo Caliente
3,500COP - Agua Panela con Queso
3,600COP - Cerveza (Aguila Light, Poker, Club Dorada)
5,900COP - Limonada de Coco
6,900COP - Jarra de Jugo en Agua
8,900COP - Jarra de Jugo en Leche
9,800COP - Copa de Vino
57,000COP - Botella de Vino 

Tazzioli Cafe

This cafe located on the second floor of the cathedral building offers a partial view of the city. When we were there, it was drizzling, but the cafe had a roof on it so, we took our time, enjoying the view and our hot drinks. I also had the dessert, a brownie with ice cream, and I loved it.

Food and Drinks prices in Tazzioli Cafe

Hot Drinks
1,000COP - Aromaticas en Bolsita
1,100COP - Tinto Tradicional
2,200COP - Te en Agua / Leche
2,300COP - Aromaticas Pulpa Frutalia (Papayuela, Mora, Maracuya, Uchuva, Fresa, Pina, Durazno, Naranja, Manzana, Uva)
3,000COP - Cafe Americano / Te en Leche
3,300COP - Cafe Manizaleno
3,800COP - Cafe Expreso
4,300COP - Macchiato
4,500COP - Chocolate / Aromaticas Naturales
4,700COP - Capuchino
4,800COP - Mocachino / Cafe con Leche / Milo
5,000COP - Carajillo Amareto
5,300COP - Chai Latte
6,000COP - Carajillo Crema de Whisky
7,500COP - Capuchino con Amaretto
9,300COP - Capuchino con Crema de Whisky

Cold Drinks
2,200COP - Agua / Jugos Hit Caja / Jugos Cifrut / Cool Tea
3,200COP - Copa de Helado
3,300COP - H20
3,500COP - Gaseosa Postabon
4,000COP - Jugos Naturales en Agua
4,800COP - Avena Casera / Milo / Cafe Helado Sabor Vainilla / Coctel de Frutas Sin Alcohol / Jugos Naturales en Leche
4,900COP - Malteada
5,100COP - Soda Italiana
5,500COP - Limonada de Coco / Granizado de Cafe
6,500COP - Affogato
9,300COP - Malteada con Crema de Whisky

2,800COP - Dedo de Queso
3,000COP - Blondie
3,200COP - Torta Integral
4,000COP - Pastel de Pollo
4,300COP - Tortas (Chocolate, Cafe, Naranja, Zanahoria, Semillas de Amapola, Maria Luisa, Queso)
5,200COP - Brownie
6,700COP - Brownie con Helado
10,000COP - Sandwich Vegetariano

1,000COP - Choclitos / Galletas (Dux, Quaker, Tosti)
2,000COP - Papa de Limon / Doritos / Cheese Tris / Mani la Especial
2,200COP - De Todito (Natural, BBQ, Mix)
2,500COP - Mani Gourmet
2,800COP - Chocolatina Jumbo
3,200COP - Cafecitas
3,300COP - Galletas sin Azucar
Plaza de Bolivar from Tazzioli Cafe

Rancho & Café

This cafe was located on the busy street of Carrera 23, and it was close to the Aereo Cable. When we were there, we met a friendly Colombian who treated us to a few bottles of beer and two chorizos! It was the first time that the locals bought us drinks instead of us buying them one.

Another guy that joined us, Fernando told us to come again tomorrow, and we promised to see him again because we loved it there. However, when we got there the next day at about 2 pm, the cafe was closed.

Blue Hat – The guy who bought us drinks & Fernando wore a white shirt

Note: Fernando recommends drinking Chicha, fermented drinks that have been around since 9,000 years ago. However, until now, I haven’t tried it yet.

Drink Prices in Rancho & Café

3,500COP - Cerveza Poker Costena
4,000COP - Carveza Light / Cerveza Club / Cerveza Redds
32,000COP - Aguardiente Media
39,000COP - Ron Media / Brandy Media
60,000COP - Aguardiente Botella
70,000COP - Brandy Botella
80,000COP - Ron Botella 

Rincon Samaneño

Another great local drinking place that’s only 290 metres away from the hotel we stayed. Although there was no stage or designated space for the locals to dance, it didn’t stop them from enjoying the night by utilizing every available space they could find.

The people at our next table treated us to Manizales Aguardiente – Cristal, and I quite liked it as it didn’t have a strong taste of alcohol, very easy to drink.

Aguardiente Cristal

Drink Prices in Rincon Samaneño

600COP - Tinto / Aromatica
2,000COP - Gaseosa / Aguardiente Shot
2,500COP - Ron Shot / Brandy Shot
2,800COP - Poker Costena
3,300COP - Club / Aguila / Redds
16,000COP - Aguardiente ¼
20,000COP - Ron ¼
26,000COP - Aguardiente ½ Ctal
27,000COP - Aguardiente ½ Light 
34,000COP - Ron ½
36,000COP - Juan d'la Cruz ½/ Brandy ½
42,000COP - Aguardiente Blls
44,000COP - Aguardiente Blls Light
50,000COP - Aguardiente Caja 
53,000COP - Aguardiente Caja Light
60,000COP - Ron Blls
65,000COP - Brandy Blls
66,000COP - Juan d'la Cruz Blls
80,000COP - Old King Wisky Blls
160,000COP - Chivas
300,000COP - Leon Dromido 

Interesting Places in Manizales

Chipre Tower

This 131-foot tower in the Chipre neighbourhood was located 1.1km away from the hotel where we stayed. People said that it was best for the sunset view, and it had panoramic views of Manizales City also the ten other towns in the Coffee Zone. However, luck wasn’t on our side, the place was shrouded by fog when we got there!

Nuestra Señora del Rosario – Chipre

The construction of this Romanesque-style church began on 24th October 1948 by Priest Esteban Arango González. Located 350m away from Chipre Tower, this church was also on higher ground which ensures a beautiful view of Manizales city.

Iglesia Adventista del Séptimo Día

This beautiful Seventh-day Adventist Church was located 550 metres away from the hotel where we stayed. When I first saw this building, I immediately thought of Disneyland. But sadly I couldn’t find information about the construction date.

Plaza Alfonso Lopez Pumarejo

This plaza was near to the Iglesia Adventista del Séptimo Día. This public space was named after Colombia’s president who served the country between 1934 ~ 1938, and 1942 ~ 1945.

Basílica Inmaculada Concepción

This church was located 700 metres away from where we stayed. The construction of this neo-gothic church began in 1903 after Mons. Gregorio Nacianceno Hoyos blessed and placed the first stone, and Father Luis Carlos Muñoz continued the work. It had a beautiful, carved wood interior implicative of a ship’s hull.

The statue of Francisco José de Caldas stood opposite the church’s square. He was considered the father of engineering in Colombia for his work contribution. In the square, often we see people hanging out or playing chess.

Ernesto Gutiérrez Park

This park was situated next to Basílica Inmaculada Concepción, about 700 metres away from the hotel where we stayed. It’s a park tribute to Ernesto Gutierrez Arango, who died at the age of 79. During his lifetime, he served as mayor of Manizales twice, achieved great fame in the bullfighting world, and was also the founder and minister of the Autonomous University of Manizales and the University of Caldas.

Cathedral Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Manizales

Built between 1928 and 1939, this cathedral located opposite Plaza de Bolívar was the highest in Colombia measuring 106 metres from the base including the cross and lightning rod. Besides being the tallest, it also had a grand canopy supported by columns on the main altar, which only two places in Colombia have this feature, the church of Firavitoba, Boyacá and here.

When we were there, we planned to go up to the tower, but because we chose to do it on the day before we left Manizales, our time was limited. The ticket must be purchased 30 minutes before it starts. It’s a guided tour, and we couldn’t go on our own, meaning we couldn’t skip and go straight for the view.

We were quite disappointed but settled for the view from Tazzioli cafe which was also in the same building. I have to console myself by thinking that the tour was probably the same as the one we did in York, minus the view!

Parroquia Santuario Nuestra Señora de Valvanera

There’s not much information about this church aside from – built by Ing Alfonso Carvajal in 1945. It was just by luck that we stumbled into this church while on our way back from Fundadores shopping malls. It was the design that caught my eye. It’s located about 210m from the mall and 900m away from the hotel we stayed in the city.

Fundadores Shopping Malls (BBVA)

It never crossed our mind to visit a shopping mall during our vacation, and the visit to this mall was just inevitable, I guessed.

It was raining heavily on our second day here in Manizales, and the umbrella that we bought from the Taiwan holiday was a bit small to cover the two of us. Our shoulders were wet, and we needed to find shelter soon, and this mall just stood out in the area.

View from the Mall

While waiting for the rain to subside, we walked around the mall and bought an umbrella in Exito too. It has a decent food court, and the menu looked great and cheap. It also had a great view of the nearby barrios such as Peralonso, Los Cedros and others. We also went to the cinema to see if we could watch the ghost movie, but the show only started at 8 pm.

Aereo Cable Manizales – Founders Station

This cable car with a speed of 3.8m/s carries about 11,000 passengers per day from the neighbouring municipality of Villamaria to Carrera 23, the centre of town in Manizales. The other two stations are Betania and Cambulos – Transport terminal.

The operating hours start from 6 am to 10 pm with a fee of 1,900COP but one needs to get the card before one can use the service.

Aereo Cable Manizales

We thought of taking this mode of transportation to visit Villamaria and try their chorizo while admiring the view. However, throughout our stay, the town was always shrouded by fog, and we didn’t think we could see anything, that’s why we didn’t proceed with the plan.

Other Pictures Around Manizales City

La Nubia Airport

The airport was located about 10.6 km away from the hotel, and after getting the information on how to get there from the reception, we walked to Carrera 20 about a block away from Iglesia Adventista del Séptimo Día and hailed the bus on the roadside.

It costs 2,150 COP per pax for a journey of 40 minutes. We also drove past Torre Del Cable, which was halfway towards our destination. From where the bus dropped us, it was another 5-minute walk to the entrance.

Once we obtained our boarding passes, we still couldn’t go inside the departure hall due to the limited spaces, so went upstairs to the public waiting area which offered a view of the plane taking off and landing.

This small airport with a short runway could only be used by turbo propeller aircraft, and it could only operate in daylight hours. However, due to the geographical location that made it very susceptible to climatic conditions – rain, fog and wind, the flights often being delayed and frequently closed operations.

There were only two airlines that flew to this place, Avianca and Easyfly, and the destination was either Bogota or Medellin.

That’s all from this nine-day travel during Semana Santa week in the Coffee Region. We first began our journey in Cali before moving on to Salento where we went to Valle De Cocora – the tallest wax palm trees in the world.

After that, the trip continued to Pereira, and then Santa Rosa de Cabal, where we had a relaxing moment in the hot springs at night before finally finishing our travel in Manizales.

Travel Date: 20th ~ 22nd April 2019

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