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Pereira is the capital city of the Colombian department of Risaralda.It stands in the center of the western region of the country, located in a small valley that descends from a part of the western Andes mountain chain.Its strategic location in the coffee producing area makes the city an urban center in Colombia, as does its proximity to Bogota, Cali and Medellin and to the sea and the biggest airport in the whole area.In 2004 it reported a population of 576,329.The area of Pereira was inhabited, before the European colonization, by the Quimbaya, known for their artworks in gold.The Spaniards established their first settlement in the area around the year 1540.The town of Cartago was first founded here by the conquistators Jorge Robledo and Diego de Mendoza; it was then moved around 1691 to the place where it is today.

In 1816, the brothers Jose Francisco and Manuel Pereira took shelter in the area after the defeat of Simón Bolivar and his army at the battle of Cachiri.Francisco Pereira Martinez wanted to found a city on this ground, as a shelter from the Spanish.On August 24, 1863, four days after Pereira's death, priest Remigio Antonio Canarte headed a caravan from Cartago, and founded the city of Pereira six days later (August 30) where presently is the "Plaza de Bolivar".In time, settlers from Antioquia occupied the area and established themselves in the city.Pereira was favored by its economically strategic location, fertile soil, and good weather.The settlers grew large quantities of high-quality coffee in the mineral-rich volcanic Andean soil; this is still the most important crop produced in the area, which is in the center of the so-called "coffee axis" (eje cafetero) region.

The municipal area is 702 km2, bordered on the north by the municipalities of La Virginia, Marseille Dosquebradas in northeast Santa Rosa de Cabal and east by the department of Tolima, south with the departments of Quindío and Valle del Cauca, west with the municipality of Balboa and the department of Valle del Cauca.Pereira is the first urban center in the Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis.Pereira is on the central mountains, the valley of the river Otun, and part of the Cauca river valley, Pereira like many Colombian cities, has high areas of difficult access or flat spots or a little steep, the streets of the city made pursuant to the relief of the area, the Avenida case as the river that crosses the river valley Otún, so it has few hills but several ondulcaiones side.

How to Reach

By Air

Matecana International Airport, the largest and busiest airport in the region.Receives domestic flights of Avianca, Aires,COPA Colombia (Former AeroRepublica),ADA airlines, Easy Fly, Aexpa, etc.Domestic non-stop flights go to Bogota, Medellín (Olaya Herrera domestic airport), Cartagena, Barranquilla, Cali and San Andres island.There are daily international direct flights to Panama City as well These are operated by COPA Colombia and Aires.The flight to Miami has a short stop in Cartagena.

By Bus

Currently buses run in and out of Pereira's main station,Terminal de Transporte de Pereira.The station is clean and has standard amenities.Multiple bus companies have regular routes to destinations around the country.To get there from the airport you can take a taxi ride.

By Car

Pereira is about 6 hours from Bogota by car, in the Bogota-Melgar-Ibague-Armenia road.The trip is about 4 hours from Medellín and 3 hours from Cali (Pereira-Cartago-Buga-Cali).

Key places to visit
Matecana City Zoo, Los Nevados National Natural Park, Cesar Gaviria Trujillo Viaduct, La Pobreza


Places to Visit

Matecana City Zoo

Is located in Pereira, Colombia, the work of the Society of Public Improvements Pereira, who on January 26, 1951, through a management buy the 17 hectares (42 acres) of farm Matecana.The initial goal was to build a football stadium, but the ground was not considered useful for this, and decided to spend at a botanical garden and playground.Currently the zoo is at its Matecaña master plan renovation of facilities that aim to change cages by plant more closely resemble the natural habitats of the animals exhibited originating ecosystems, providing a better quality of life for animals and a better understanding to the community who daily visit.The zoo has a collection of 800 individuals from 150 different species, between birds, mammals and snakes from Americas, Africa and Asia, plus some endemic animals. In the garden there is also a great diversity of flora endemic and native to the area.

Los Nevados National Natural Park

Is a national park located in the Cordillera Central of the Colombian Andes.The 5,300-meter high volcano Nevado del Ruiz is dominating Los Nevados.Out of the 55 protected areas in Colombia,Los Nevados National Natural Park was the third most visited in 2009, with 50,045 visitors.The most visited was the Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park followed by the Tayrona National Natural Park.

Cesar Gaviria Trujillo Viaduct

Is a cable-stayed bridge connecting the neighboring cities of Pereira and Dosquebradas in Risaralda, Colombia.It is one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in South America and, at the time of its completion in 1997, ranked 20th in the world.The bridge has a total length of 440 meters, including a central span of 211 meters.There are four traffic lanes and two sidewalks, giving a total width of 26 meters.There are two towers that have a height of 56 meters above the deck, which in turn has a maximum height of 55 meters above the Otun River.

La Pobreza

In this city it's easy to see why the Spanish would choose locations high up for planting cities,and why the later Colonialists from Medellin and State of Antioquia who founded this city choose this relatively high location to mount a new city 130 years ago.The climate is moderate and very healthy, and nothing like the humidity and heat you'll find in valleys down below.

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