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Introducing Armenia

Far more slow-paced than its rivals, Armenia is the most traditional of the cities in the Zona Cafetera and feels more like a big town than a departmental capital. Its residents are proud of their coffee culture – and are never too busy to enjoy a cup in one of the city's many small cafes.

Like its neighbors, there is not much in the way of attractions here for visitors. Devastated by an earthquake in 1999 that flattened much of the city center, Armenia has never fully recovered. The center of the city is makeshift – check out the hastily reconstructed cathedral, made of prefab concrete slabs – and the de facto center has moved north of downtown, along Av Bolívar.

Most travelers will pass through Armenia only long enough to change buses for Salento. Still, the city is interesting enough for a day trip – the new pedestrian mall that stretches along Carrera 14 makes for a pleasant stroll, and Parque de la Vida is worth a visit.