Travel, Food & Books

Santa Rosa de Cabal

Founded in 1844, Santa Rosa de Cabal is a lovely town located about 40km away from Manizales, and 15km away from Pereira. This town, which is well-known for its Chorizo and Hot Springs is located at an altitude of 1,715 meters above sea level and with an average temperature of 19 °C.

There are two famous hot springs in this place. Termales de Santa Rosa de Cabal and Thermal Reserve San Vicente. Having only a night in this place, we only managed to go to one of the hot spring, San Vicente.

Pereira to Santa Rosa de Cabal

We started our journey in Pereira, and since it wasn’t far from Santa Rosa, we thought of taking a taxi straight from the hotel Cafeira. However, when our ride came, a taxi we ordered via Tappsi Easy apps, he told us that he couldn’t drive us to Santa Rosa because he didn’t have a permit.

We had no choice but to ask him to drop us at the bus terminal. The taxi costs 6,300 COP, much more expensive than taking a bus to Santa Rosa which costs 2,300 COP per person in a thirty-minute ride.

If I was not mistaken, the bus to Santa Rosa de Cabal was parked on level 2 at the terminal, and no pre-booked ticket was needed. When we got on the bus, we were the only two passengers on it, and thankfully we didn’t have to wait until it was full.

We left the terminal not long after that with only the two of us, and the driver did try to get more on board, but he only managed to get two more passengers along the road that we drove past. On our way, I also saw the San Vicente office and the bus stand, and I think that’s where the pick-up point if we’re going to the hot springs from Pereira.

Hotel Dulces Sueños

This hotel was located about 550 metres away from Basilica Menor de Nuestra Senora de las Victorias. We arrived at this hotel quite early at 11:20 am, and thankfully our room was ready. During the check-in, we asked them about the San Vicente Termales, and since they’re also authorized to sell the package, we didn’t hesitate to buy it from them. It saved us time from looking around the town searching for the same thing.

The hotel didn’t offer breakfast services, but they had a communal kitchen where we could make our simple breakfast if we wanted. The Wifi in this hotel was great, but the only thing I didn’t like was the mattress quality, it was hard to my liking, but for a night stay, I think it was alright.

ChoriSant Santa Rosa

This restaurant has served its own manufactured authentic Santarrosano Chorizo ​​since 1965. Their Chorizo was made with selected meat using traditional recipes. They also contributed to the production of the 1,917.8 meters Chorizo ​that obtained the title of longest Chorizo in the world for Guinness World Records on 5th March 2011.

This restaurant was located next to Bolívar O De Las Araucarias Park, 450 metres away from the hotel where we stayed. We had lunch here, and we loved our meal. I had Chorizo with passion fruit sauce (Chorizos al Maracuya), and Mistela Maracuya drink- passion fruit mixed with lemongrass and other herbs. Mike had Chorizo with beans (Cazuela de Frijoles), and Uvazo drink – Grapes mixed with Cinnamon and Cloves.

ChoriSant Santa Rosa Food and Drinks Prices

Bebidas Calientes
2,000COP - Chocolate / Cafe Tradicion (Tinto)
2,500COP - Pintado
2,900COP - Esspresso
4,500COP - Aguapanela con Queso

Bebidas Frias
2,700COP - Gaseosa Pequena
2,900COP - Sirope
3,200COP - Gaseosa Light No Retornable
3,900COP - Uvazo / Mistela Maracuya / Limonada / Te Helado (Nestea)
4,500COP - Poker / Aguila / Redds
5,000COP - Club Colombia
7,000COP - Apostol
7,500COP - Corona / Heineken 
3,900COP - Palitos
4,500COP - Patacones / Croquetas de Yuca
4,900COP - Papa Criolla
5,500COP - Papas a la Francesa
10,400COP - Ceviche de Chorizo: Chorizo picado en salsa de la casa con un toque de pimienta

Nuestras Delicias (Experiencias)
10,400COP - Autentico Chorizo Santarrosano
10,900COP - Menu Infantil Chorisant / Choriburrito (Infantil) 
11,400COP - Chorizo Asado / Chorizo Frito
11,900COP - Chorizo Mixto
12,900COP - Especial Vegetariano
13,900COP - Chori-exotico / Chori-criollito / Arroz Chorisant
14,900COP - Chorizos al Maracuya / Chori-mignon / Arriero-gourmet / Pollo a la Parrilla
15,400COP - Chori-buritto
15,900COP - Cazuela de Frijoles / Carne a la Parrilla
16,400COP - Asado Mixto
17,400COP - Crunchy Burger
18,900COP - Bandeja Paisa
28,900COP - Salmon Teriyaki
29,900COP - Picada Chorisant
69,000COP - Platos Familiares 
5,000COP - Flan de cafe: Tipico flan con todo el gusto de cafe / Frutos Rojos: Fresa y Moras caladas con crema de leche y cereza / Brevas con queso: Deliciosas brevas caladas en panel y porcion de queso / Moras con queso: Moras caladas con porcion de queso / Fresas con crema leche: Fresas caladas con crema leche

Opening Hours: 7:30am ~ 11:00pm (Mon ~ Sun)
Address: Carrera 15 # 12-49 Parque Araucarias
Delivery / Reservation: Tel +57 (6) 3648410
WhatsApp: +5763648410

Bolívar O De Las Araucarias Park & Basilica Menor de Nuestra Senora de las Victorias

This park built in 1930 is the main one of this municipality, and it was only in 1989 that they installed the monument of Libertador Simón Bolívar in the centre. This park has steel benches, a large green area, and pedestrian paths shaped like a diamond. Around the park, there are food stalls, handicrafts, souvenirs etc. The beautiful church, Basilica Menor de Nuestra Senora de las Victorias is just across from this place.

Monumento al Machete

Located 100 metres west of the Araucarias parks stood two giants Machete and Peinilla with a length of 4.5 metres, and a thickness of 1/2 inch, it’s the largest in the world. Both items were made of the same material as the traditional Machetes and weighed approximately 100kg each.

This place has a cafeteria, selling products based on coffee, fast foods, the traditional Santa Rosa chorizo, ice cream, an information point, handicrafts of the region, and a booth selling the package for San Vicente Termales. It’s also where the meeting point for the bus to the hot spring is located.

San Vicente Termales

We bought the night package from the hotel where we stayed and it cost 70,000 COP per pax including round-trip transport, dinner, refreshments, access to 6 thermal pools and 2 thermal steam rooms. It costs 55.000 COP for children aged 3 to 10 years old.

Due to some miscommunication, we waited for our ride in the wrong place. Down the road next to Barrio La Estación Park, the area was quite dodgy, and we could see it the moment we arrived there. In front of us, a guy was smoking crack, at the park, a group of teenagers doing god knows what, and next to us, an old lady smoking weed and the smoke wafted to where we stood while waiting for the bus that never came.

We stood there for almost an hour, and during that time some guy approached us and talked to Mike about how he loved the USA, but what he didn’t know was that Mike was from the UK. It took him about ten minutes before he finally asked for some money, but Mike didn’t give him any, and he left after that. Not long after that, another man approached us, and I thought here we go again!

However, he actually came to tell us that the place was quite dangerous and asked us to leave the area. We followed his advice and walked further up. That’s where we met a gentleman who’d helped us call the company, and another elderly guy who was also around there took us to the correct waiting place at the Parque del Machete.

When we arrived there, we were lucky that the bus was still there waiting for the passengers, and at 6:00 pm sharp, we left the place. Getting out of the town was quite tricky, and with the narrow gravel road, it took an hour for the 20.5km journey before we finally reached the hot springs.

During the bus ride, our guide talked about the facilities, dinner time, rules et cetera, and also told us to gather at the entrance before 11:40 pm.

Rules & Regulations

  • Pets are not allowed
  • No outside food is allowed
  • Smoking is not allowed
  • No alcoholic beverages and soft drinks allowed
  • Guns or weapons are not allowed
  • No campfires
  • Take care of wildlife and do not litter
  • Children under 12 years old must be accompanied by a responsible adult
  • No loud music allowed
  • A maximum of 2 hours is recommended inside thermal pools or hot springs, and to keep hydrated, take short cold showers every 15 minutes starting from your feet all the way up to your head.

At the entrance, the worker put a waterproofed hand band on our wrist before handing us a bottle of natural mineral water each. It was about 3 3-minute walk from the entrance to the locker room. The first thing we did was fill our stomachs.

The dinner was served in a cafeteria style with a choice of chicken or trout. The meal was alright, nothing fancy about it.

Before going to the pool, we changed our attire in the changing room, stored everything inside the locker, and took our towels with us. The rental of the locker with a padlock costs 2,000 COP plus an additional 5,000 COP for the deposit.

My only comment about the place was the queue for the locker service. I wished they had two lines, one for returning the padlock or getting their stuff, and another one for a new customer to rent the padlock. It would cut off the waiting time.

This one was not in use, and it had a hint of Sulphur

There were a few different pools of varying temperatures and a number of water features. During our time there, we managed to use the Thermal Steamrooms and relaxed in pools 4, 23 and 24. The pools were odourless, and no hint of sulphur was present, which was good.

What to bring to San Vicente Thermal:

  • Towel
  • Swimming suit
  • Flip flop
  • Padlock (If you want to save your $ and time for queuing to rent one)
  • A little bit of cash (For the padlock/food) – Optional
  • Camera / Phone (To take pictures) – Optional
  • Plastic bag / waterproof bag to store your wet clothes or towel and you can also put your towel inside while you’re in the pool because sometimes when there are many people, there won’t be enough space to place your towel at the railing around the thermal bath.

Thermal Steamrooms

Located one metre away from the natural bubbles pool was this natural steam room. The vapour from the thermal water outcrops was excellent in allowing us to sweat and cleanse the body of toxins.

# 4 Piscina Natural De Burbujas / Natural Bubbles Pool

This natural thermal pool was 1.51 metres and was located near the entrance. It had more than 50 geysers/outcrops on its soil, which offers a great benefit to health due to the great variety of bubbles of gases and minerals emanating from the bottom, and it had different types of temperatures.

The running water stimulates circulation and facilitates the purification of the skin, nourishing and revitalizing it.

# 23 Zona Humeda / Humid Zone

Designed with two thermal pools for adults and children, it had a mirror of water that had thermal jets. These pools contain Selenium which increases the production of endorphins that help in the healing process, stimulate the generation of collagen, improve the body’s absorption of nutrients, increase metabolism, and generate total muscle relaxation.

(While we were there, we watched the full moon rising in between the two mountains, and it was beautiful)

# 24 Piscina De Algas / Plankton Pool

This 1.28-metre pool was located almost at the end of the trail, above the rest of the thermal pools in San Vicente. It contains millions of microorganisms, with a high range of natural minerals, organic, and ions, which are essential for health, wellness and beauty as it regenerates skin cells which prevents premature ageing.

P/s: Out of all the thermal pools available in this precinct, this was my favourite as it’s scorching hot, and it’s nice to be in it during nighttime.


We had our refreshments around 10:30 pm and the free drink was Aguapanela with a slice of cheese. I didn’t order that instead, I had a hot chocolate, and we also ordered the Chorizo Plate. It all cost 18,800COP.

*One thing I would like to suggest to the management is to put a public clock around the precinct. Most people left their phones and watches inside the locker, and having the clock would help keep people on track.

The bus parked at the corner, and only came to take us exactly at the scheduled time. The drive back was smooth as there was no traffic at all, but still, by the time we reached the town, it was already 12:40 am.

They dropped us at Bolívar O De Las Araucarias Park, and while walking to the hotel, the streets were eerily quiet. We’re actually still thinking of the dodgy person we’d encountered earlier, and worried if we’ll see them again. Thankfully though, we arrived at the hotel safely.

After last night’s meals, we didn’t feel hungry at all when we woke up the next morning. We skipped breakfast and just had hot drinks from Triple C while trying to find out the direction to the bus stand for our next destination, Manizales. Our last destination for the Semana Santa holiday.

P/s: I quite like Santa Rosa De Cabal compared to Pereira, and wished that we skipped Pereira and stayed here for two nights!

Travel Date: 19th April ~ 20th April 2019

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