A city built in 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 mini Medellin with a variety of shopping centres, 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, but unfortunately, the other people that 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 because it was already full. We didn’t want to spend another hour waiting for the next one, so we hailed the bus to Chinchina, a municipality located about 15km away.
It took about 30 minutes to reach the town and cost 4,000COP per pax. From Chinchina, there were plenty of buses going to Manizales, which was about 17km away, and it cost 3,700COP for the 50 minutes journey. It was raining when we got there, 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 150metres 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 clearly stated in the Cedula, and we saw it from the printing copy when he asked us to sign. He 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 happen to us, and they need to contact the embassy then it will delay the process.
The standard double room that we booked thru Agoda was spacious enough for the two of us – 27 m². The view in our room was facing another building, and although it didn’t have an air-cond, it wasn’t warm during day and night. We have free Wi-Fi with a great connection, a flat-screen TV with plenty of channels, safety box, minibar, and the king size bed was comfy. The hotel also has a Sauna and a bar. My only comment was the lack of socket for the minibar. We have to unplugged the TV in order to use it.
The breakfast on Sunday was in buffet style with plenty of choices, but on the next day, I think because there weren’t many people in the hotel, they gave us 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 meals quality was alright, and it’s cheap at 16,000COP 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 a much 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’re there at 1:15 pm, they served our meals in record time.
The food and drinks price in La Antioqueña:
Starter 7,900COP - Paisa / Bistec A Caballo / Migas de Arepa / Tradicional 9,800COP - Caldo de Costilla / Tamales Lunch 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 Meat 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 Fish 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 Portions 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 Drinks 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
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 has a roof on it so, we took our time, enjoying the view and our hot drinks. I also had the dessert, 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 Pasteleria 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 Snacks 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
Rancho & Café
This cafe located in the busy street of Carrera 23, and it’s close to the Aereo Cable. When we were there, we met a friendly Colombian who treated us a few bottles of beers and two chorizos! It was our first time that the local bought us drinks instead of 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.
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
Another great local drinking place that’s only 290metres away from the hotel we stayed. Although there’s no stage or designated space for the local to dance, it didn’t stop them from enjoying the night by utilizing every available space they could find. The people on our next table treated us with Manizales Aguardiente – Cristal, and I quite like it as it didn’t have a strong taste of alcohol, very easy to drink.
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
This 131-foot tower in Chipre neighbourhood located 1.1km away from the hotel we stayed. People said that it’s best for the sunset view, and it has panoramic views of Manizales city also the ten other towns in the Coffee Zone. However, luck wasn’t on our side, the place 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 also on higher ground which ensures a beautiful view of Manizales city.
Iglesia Adventista del Séptimo Día
This beautiful Seventh-day Adventist Church located 550metres away from the hotel 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 is nearby to the Iglesia Adventista del Séptimo Día. This public space named after Colombia president who served the country between 1934 ~ 1938, and 1942 ~ 1945.
Basílica Inmaculada Concepción
This church located 700metres 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 has beautiful, carved wood interior implicative of a ship’s hull.
The statue of Francisco José de Caldas stood opposite the church’s square. He is considered the father of engineering in Colombia for his work contribution. In the square, often we see people hang out or play chess.
Ernesto Gutiérrez Park
This park situated next to Basílica Inmaculada Concepción, about 700metres away from the hotel we stayed. It’s a park tribute to Ernesto Gutierrez Arango, who died at the age of 79, and during his lifetime, he served as mayor of Manizales twice, achieved great fame in the bullfighting world, and he was also 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 is the highest cathedral in Colombia measuring 106metres from the base including the cross and lightning rod. Besides being the tallest, it also has 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 plan to go up to the tower, but because we chose to do it on the day before we leave Manizales, our time was limited. The ticket must be purchased 30 minutes before it started. 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’re quite disappointed but settled for the view from Tazzioli cafe which was also on the same building. I have to console myself by thinking that the tour 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 eyes. 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 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. 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 has a great view of the nearby barrio 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 the speed of 3.8m/s carrying 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 the fees of 1,900COP but need to get the card before one can use the service.
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 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 located about 10.6km 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 cost 2,150COP 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 minutes walk to the entrance.
Once we’ve 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 runaway can only be used by turbo propeller aircraft, and it only operates in daylight hours with the flight often being delayed and frequently closes its operations due to its geographical location that makes it very susceptible to climatic conditions – rain, fog and wind. There’re only two airlines that flying to this place, Avianca and Easyfly, and the destination either to Bogota or Medellin.
That’s all from this nine days travel during Semana Santa week in the Coffee region. We first began our journey in Cali before moved 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