Pereira is another city in the coffee region, not as big as Armenia but still a decent size. It kind of feels more warm and homely, and reminded a lot of my hometown, Brighton. When one asks a Colombian about Pereira, the first thing they will say is there’s a lot of prostitutes and easy, beautiful ladies. My guy friends kept being ask if they were in Pereira for the woman. However, when wandering the streets, there were women on street corners but not as many as other people made out. Anyway, that wasn’t the reason we were in Pereira; we knew a couple of people from our programme who were teaching there.
After the journey from Salento, we arrived at night and felt tired so we literally hopped in a taxi, checked in at out hostel and found food before heading to bed. And yes two of the guys did go out looking for the ladies without any success.
The following day, we causally got up and ate the breakfast provided by the hostel. Then two of the people we knew that lived there gave us some options to do for the day; chilled day walking around the city having coffee, a short hike or a long hike. Majority of us went for option one: relax and look around the town. We met all the others staying in different parts of the city before departing ways to do our different activities. One of the guys showed us around the city; the shops, plazas, university and statues. It was extremely busy with people bustling around and some street performers in the squares. It is a small enough town to do everything on foot but if you want to go to the outer part or any hikes then you would need to take a bus.
With our feet feeling tired, we sat in a café and ordered coffee, and debated what to do next. In the end, we bought some food from a supermarket, and cooked a plantain and bean curry with rice at our friend’s apartment. His place was in the centre of town, with a balcony overlooking the city, which was beautiful. We chilled on the balcony, eating the curry. It was delicious; I hadn’t had a plantain curry before but it was so simple and easy.
After a few people decided to go to the botanic garden (which unfortunately was closed), while the others, including me, went back to the hostel to take a nap as I was feeling slightly under the weather.
Once I had some well-needed rest, I had perked up a bit, ready for the evening. I had a shower and put on some evening clothes before heading out. First, we bought some street food to fill our stomachs (I had arepa con queso, of course), then we went to the supermarket to buy snacks and drinks.
Early evening, we all plus some others, piled into a different friend’s apartment and chatting on the balcony with some music blaring. It was so nice to catch up with other people form my orientation that I hadn’t seen for over a month, talking about our new town, schools, teachers, friends etc. Tim flew and soon enough, we had to leave the flat, and find somewhere else to drink. We, first, went to a street, which apparently, normal is full of people and open bars but it wasn’t when we were there. We pasted the streets, finding a place which filled our wants. Finally, we entered a bar, playing salsa music and serving beer. The place was empty but with a bi group of us, it was still fun as we took over the dancefloor and attempted to salsa. I had had lessons so I knew the steps but some of the others weren’t quite dancing to the rhythm.
Once we had enough, we took a taxi to out of town the a bar on the hill, which had a magnificent view of the city at night (I didn’t take my phone so I couldn’t take a photo but it was amazing). We stayed here for the rest of the night; drinking, talking and dancing. It was a lot busier than the other place, full of mostly Colombians. A few of us left a little earlier than the others as we were still not feeling 100 percent. However, it was a great night.
The next day, we rose from our beds mid-morning, packing our bags and eating brekkie. Carrying all our luggage, we checked our, caught a taxi to the bus terminal and purchased a ticket to Medellin in a minivan. I lived here so I was going back home but the majority of others were staying here for a few days to visit. The journey back to Medellin took 6 hours and was pretty uneventful, except that my seat was so uncomfortable.
Pereira was a nice stop off but there wasn’t too much to do unless one wants to hike or go to museums. I really liked the atmosphere of the town but normally backpackers wouldn’t stop off here.
Where I stayed: Coffee and Travel Hostel – It was a quite place in the centre of Pereira with a small balcony looking onto the street. I stayed in a dorm room with a shared bathroom. There wasn’t enough socketss per bed but it was clean and comfy. They had a kitchen area and provide a basic breakfast in the morning.