The Free Things to Do in Pereira, can be done all in one day, or spread out during the course of your visit. This post will save you some time and effort searching for stuff to do (for free) during your stay here. A great day-trip style adventure where you can see the city, gain a perspective about it’s beautiful landmarks, and take some fun photos! Let’s dive in…
One of the many beautiful street murals Pereira, this work of art has a life all it’s own. The Emberá people are an indigenous tribal group native to the Departamento del Chocó. Years of conflict has also seen many of these people caught up in the violence of Colombia’s civil war. They sometimes called “The People of the Corn.” This mural is a living symbol which captures the beauty and spirit of their journey. Located at the corner of carrera 5 and calle 20. You can find more mural-art on Calle 21 between Parque Olaya and carrera 12.
2. La Señora de Nuestra Pobreza Cathedral
One of the few places in Pereira which has remained relatively unchanged since the founding of the city, this cathedral was originally built in 1874. It was the first lot to be constructed by the city founders. The building has survived two major earthquakes of which one required some reconstruction. Today you can find a quiet moment inside it’s aged sanctuary as you explore the city. While not terribly beautiful on the outside, the kodak shot can be found on the inside when you look up at all the wooden cross-bracing of the rafters.
3. El Diario del Otún
The tallest building of it’s type in the coffee triangle, El Diario del Otún is a stunning Pereira landmark and great for getting your orientation. The statue itself is named “Prometeo” or Prometheus, quite fitting considering the amount of business which happens here. The building features 24 above ground and 6 below ground floors. It is also the tallest building in the Coffee Axis of Colombia. Located on Calle 19 along the Naked Statue Tour between Parque Olaya and Plaza Bolivar. Tip: be sure to try the “aromatica” sold by the cafe inside and below the main entrance, it’s the best in Pereira!
4. Jeep Café’s
Located at all the major plaza’s you can always find one parked at Parque de La Rebeka, Plaza Bolivar and Plaza el Lago. They are cultural landmarks even if they aren’t fixed to one spot because coffee has for so long been the life blood of this region. Featuring what is probably the most fresh coffee in Pereira, these converted Jeep Willy’s are a roaster/grinder/barista on wheels. When ordering be sure to ask for a “tinto” for a small dark espresso, or a “pintadita” for the same preparation with milk added. Businessman in Pereira can often be seen gathered around on stools having a shot of Colombia’s finest as they go about their day. A social icon as much as a landmark, this is a must-try experience! Feeling a bit froggy? All coffee jeeps carry a bottle of whisky and aguardiente for that extra touch when the situation calls for it.
5. The Founders Monument
Complex issues, difficult emotions, trial, tragedy and hope. These are all themes that resonate from this iconic monument to the founders of Pereira. Much like issues of modern times Colombia too has suffered it’s own various refuge crisis’. During La Violencia (the violence) of the 19th century Pereira was founded by liberal refugees who fled from Antioquia to the badlands along the river Otún and built a new future there. Located on the Avenue Circunvalar one block east of Calle 14. Tip: This is a great “after-lunch walk” if you are dining at one of the many gourmet restaurants, cafe’s and eateries located along the avenue Circunvalar.
5. The Naked Bolívar
The only sculpture of Simon Bolívar of it’s type worldwide, the naked Bolivar (or the Bolívar Desnudo) is created as a representation in the style of Prometheus (also). Having caused a bit of a sensation upon it’s inauguration in 1963, it is a celebrated symbol of liberty and independence in the city today. The statue is sculpted in bronze by master Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt and weighs 14 tons. Tip: You can enjoy a lovely birds-eye view of the entire city from above the plaza in the sky bar located on the top floor of Hotel Soratama located on the Carrera 7 facing Plaza Bolívar. Check with the front desk for normal operating hours.
6. The Biggest Skatepark in Colombia
Believe it or not, Pereira has the biggest skate park in Colombia and is one of the top 10 biggest skate-parks in Latin America. You will find all types of people, backgrounds and origins here. We have met people a couple times now, who only came to Pereira for this one attraction. Tip: Right behind the skatepark is an Olympic swimming pool, which is also open to the public. Read more>>
7. First Thursday Art-Walk – Circunvalar
The first Thursday of every month, you can experience artwork, live music and varying artisan craft/market events. Basically, it’s a quietly rowdy block party where local youths can show up and look rebellious. Live music will be playing, and it is very diverse and talented. Local businesses on this block of shops, local residences, restaurants and upscale boutique shops will host different art exhibitions for local and regional artists. It is a very diverse and open scene with every type of person in attendance. Tip: Camden Town sells beer “to-go” cheaper than it does to drink in. The best deal is Erschlinger tall beer in a can for 11,500 cop or ~$3 USD. Great alternative to Poker if you like imported brews.