Protected by the banks of the Otun and Consota rivers, Pereira offers visitors incredibly varied scenery, immense natural resources, surprising biodiversity and genuine warmth on the part of its inhabitants.
Capital of the Risaralda department, the city was founded in 1863. It is renowned for its beautiful setting, from the snow-capped peaks of Los Nevados National Natural Park to the warm waters of the Cauca River. The surrounding countryside provides tourists with a wide range of attractions such as, among others, the natural hot springs at Santa Rosa de Cabal, trips down the Cauca River, the PANACA farming theme parks and the Colombian National Coffee Park.
Pereira is not lacking in infrastructure either – it boasts the region’s only international airport, a building that sees 250,000 passengers pass through its doors every year. Another point of interest is the Cesar Gaviria Trujillo Viaduct, a 600-metre long, 100-metre high cable-stayed bridge that connects Pereira with Dosquebradas, a neighbouring city. The bridge, completed in 1997, has become an iconic, much-photographed landmark and symbol, much like the town’s bronze statue of Simon Bolivar.
Pereira, the busiest commercial hub in Colombia’s Coffee-Growers Axis, possesses more shopping centres than any other adjacent departments or cities, and is noted for the variety of domestic and international cuisine on offer.
Sport forms an important part of the day-to-day lives of the city’s residents, as demonstrated by its Olympic village complex, featuring an Olympic-sized swimming pool, as well as its martial arts arena, velodrome, open-air aerobics area, tennis and basketball courts, and the Hernan Ramirez Villegas Stadium, of course.
Home to Deportivo Pereira, a club that enjoys a healthy rivalry with Manizales-based side, Once Caldas, the ground hosts top-flight league matches. Numerous sporting events have been held at the stadium, such as the National Games of Colombia in 1974 and 1988, and the 1987 and 2005 South American U-20 Championship, among others.