Thanks to its southern hemisphere location and unique climate, December till March is considered the best time to visit Pereira. Festival del Despecho or ‘heartbreak festival’ is a major music and arts event that takes place each November and attracts visitors from all over Colombia and further afield. The months of July and August are also a good time to plan a trip to Pereira, and the Harvest Festival in August is a celebration of thanks for the farmers and coffee growers. It also offers a wide range of sporting and cultural events, and has become a national fixture. Pereira can be incredibly busy during this period as people come from all over the country to take part.
The cheapest time to visit Pereira is during the off-peak or low season periods from September to November and from April to June. Pereira is situated in a warm, moorland region so temperatures remain constant at approximately 22 C throughout the year. The city’s unique micro-climate means that changes are inevitable, but overall conditions are pleasant and comfortable.
If you’re looking for a versatile destination that is close to several major cities, yet is within easy reach of spectacular natural scenery and has great shopping, dining and entertainment, then Pereira in the west of Colombia is certain to appeal to you.
Pereira is the capital of Colombia’s Risaralda department and it is the hub of the coffee industry in the western Andes region. Pereira enjoys an exceptional location, and it is just 3 to 5 hours from Bogota, Medellin and Cali.
A major university city, Pereira has a distinctly European feel and its unique micro-climate means that you can go from a cool, dry area to a warm balmy part of town within the space of 10 minutes. The beautiful setting and superb views from elevated parts of the city add to its appeal.
You will definitely want to take a drive over Pereira’s amazing César Gaviria Trujillo Viaduct cable bridge. A Pereira landmark, this impressive viaduct is 692 feet (210 m) in length at its centre span, making it one of South America’s longest bridges. It links Pereira with its twin city, Dosquebradas and also with the cities of Armenia and Manizales.
The El Cedral eco-park is an essential stop for visitors to Pereira. As well as hiking trails that have fantastic views over Pereira and the mountains, there is an indoor skating rink with a state of the art music system which is sure to be popular with younger travellers. There is also a large, well equipped conference centre which may be of interest to those visiting Pereira on business, as well as a choice of restaurants and cafes close to the nature trails.
The Matecana City Zoo is a top Pereira attraction, and you’ll see lots of South American species such as monkeys, bears, snakes and parrots as well as many exotic animals from other parts of the world. Those with an interest in the history of Pereira may like to visit the Jaime Mejia Archaeological Museum, while art fans will enjoy a day at the Pereira Museum of Art or the Lucy Tejada Cultural Centre.
Pereira is the ideal base for exploring the great outdoors, and Los Nevados National Natural Park is just a short distance from the city. This protected area is notable for the 17,400 foot (5300 m) high Nevado del Ruiz volcano and for Lake Otun, a lake in a volcanic crater which is an important breeding ground for many endangered species. Fishing is a popular pastime, and the lake is well stocked with rainbow trout.
Pereira really does have something to appeal to everyone; excellent shopping and nightlife, great restaurants and friendly locals. Be sure to visit city squares like Plaza de Bolivar with its famous naked statue of Simon Bolivar where locals and visitors gather to eat, drink locally produced coffee and enjoy life.
The city has good local bus services which cover the centre of Pereira, and there are also jeeps and minibus services if you wish to make trips to the mountains or local valleys. Taxis are readily available in Pereira and most work on a meter system. However, it is worth agreeing the fare beforehand as many taxi drivers will take advantage of tourists by charging for stops or not switching on the meter.
It is just a short, 15 minute drive from Matecana International Airport (PEI) to the centre of Pereira and you’ll find plenty of taxis outside the arrivals area. All taxis from the airport are regulated and set fares are reasonable.