By Lisa Loverro
Most people would never consider a visit to the country of Colombia when planning a trip, and while this country has had its fair share of violence, it’s all a thingof the past. With its beautiful countryside, cosmopolitan cities and first class accommodations, Colombia is a viable, safe option for an exotic vacation. And as we all know, it has some of the bestcoffee in the world! When I was graciously invited by Spirit Airlines (www.spiritair.com) to hop on their inaugural flight into Colombia’s city of Armenia, in the coffee-rich region of the Andeanmountain chain, I immediately jumped on it. Having been to Colombia twice before, I was anxious to get back the region of the country I had not yet explored. Spirit Airlines is the first internationalcarrier to service the city of Armenia, with non-stop flights from Ft. Lauderdale, making for easy access into the country’s “Coffee Triangle.” The cities comprising this triangle are Armenia, Manizalesand Pereira. All three, unique and different, offer outdoor adventure, nature exploration and coffeesipping…and perfect for anyone interested in an “off-the-beaten-path” getaway
To date,there’s very little tourism in this region from outside of Colombia, making for an authentic experience. First up was, what else, but a tour of a coffee plantation. We headed to the Recuca CoffeePlantation outside of Armenia to take a “behind-the-scenes” tour of just what goes into making that perfect cup of java we all crave! The plantation itself was beautiful. Lush plantain trees, acres ofcoffee plants and local workers picking through the beans, not to mention the smell of fresh brewed coffee coming from the hacienda located on the premises. After a tour and sampling of the coffee, wewere fired up and ready to roll to our next destination, the Cocora Valley National Park. With its temperate climate and almost daily rainfall, Cocora was filled with acres and acres of lush, rolling...