Santa Rosa de Cabal is a lively, colorful, festive Colombian town with natural hot springs, lots of yummy restaurants, and cute cafes. While the hot springs are the main attraction for most, Santa Rosa de Cabal is filled with traditional and modern eateries that are bound to meet all tastes. All this makes Santa Rosa de Cabal the perfect pitstop to rest, relax and refuel after a couple of days of hiking in PNN Los Nevados or even day-hikes in Jardin or Jerico. If you are planning your trip through Colombia’s coffee region, keep reading for things to do, what to see, where to stay and where to eat in Santa Rosa de Cabal.
Santa Rosa de Cabal in a Nutshell
Santa Rosa de Cabal is located in Colombia’s zona cafetera between the two urban monoliths of Manizales in the north and Pereira in the south. Both Manizales and Pereira are starting points for day-long & multi-day long hikes to Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados, and Santa Rosa de Cabal hosts natural hot springs fed by the volcanoes that are active in the park. All of this, combined with the chorizo santarossano (keep reading below), makes Santa Rosa de Cabal a PERFECT respite for anyone in need of some serious calories and soothing of sore muscles.
I first heard of this Colombian tourist destination from some Bogotanos who said I MUST stop by to try Colombia’s best chorizo. I agree. I’ve had a lot of chorizo around Colombia, and here, it is GOOD. Chorizo here is different. It’s vinegary, a little sweet, salty, and so chock-full of flavor.
If you’re not a meat-lover, don’t despair; while chorizos santarossanos are definitely a reason to visit, they are certainly not the only reason. Tourists — mostly Colombian — frequent Santa Rosa de Cabal for its aguas thermales, natural hot springs fed by the volcanic activity in the PNN Los Nevados. All of this makes Santa Rosa de Cabal a PERFECT respite for anyone in need of some serious calories and soothing sore muscles. Even if you aren’t in need of calories or sore muscles in need of soothing, keep reading below to help you decide whether or not Santa Rosa de Cabal should be on your itinerary.
Things to Do
- Visit the aguas termales or hot springs. (We ran out of time and didn’t make it, but see this post for tips.)
- Eat chorizo santarrosano at Choripaco – don’t be a bore and get BOTH kinds.
How to Get There
If you’re coming from Manizales in the north, it’s a 2 hour bus ride from the Manizales terminal (there’s only one). If you’re coming from Pereira in the south, it’s about an hour. All buses leave routinely and frequently.
Where to Stay
There are only two hostels in town: Don Jose Hostal and Coffee Town Hostel. We stayed at Don Jose’s and had a fabulous time. It is in a fantastic location, just 2 blocks from the plaza on a busy, commercial street, and is family run (all the rooms are named after Don Jose’s family members and his grandchildren were working the front desk at the time we visited).
Where to Eat
You literally can’t walk a block without seeing a sign for chorizo santarrosano. While you CAN try it anywhere, we recommend going to Choripaco, which is on the way to the aguas termales, and trying both cooked varieties. If you find that it’s your cup of tea, feel free to venture into any of the countless shops and stands that sell chorizo santarrosano and let us know which is your favorite!
There are many restaurants in town that look delicious, and given that we were only in town for less than 24 hours, we unfortunately didn’t get a chance to try many. We did stumble upon Veranera, an airy kitchen and cafe, for menu del dia and absolutely loved it.
Where to Go Next
If you’re going South, options are:
- Santa Rosa de Cabal > Pereira
- Pereira > Salento, Filandia, or Armenia
- Armenia > Buenavista, Cali, Bogota, or Medellin
If you’re going North:
- All prices and durations are as of September 2019.
- We do not claim to have know the in’s & out’s of this town nor of its every restaurant or hotel. There are so many things you could do that would work perfectly fine.