Ibagué Tolima Tour Guide
This is a guide to Ibagué & Around. So you can go and explore on your own.
There is still so much more to explore.......................
From Bogotá - (El Dorado airport) take a taxi to “terminal de transporte”. Be careful how much you pay to the taxi driver (shouldn’t’ cost more than 20,000 COP) Ask first as there is no meter.
When you are arriving to terminal, tell the taxi driver to stop at “entrada 2” from where the buses heading to Ibague leaves. When you enter the hall look for a company called “Velotax” or “Bolivariano” Ask for the fast bus 3 - 4 hours depending on traffic in Bogota, buses usually stops at small city called Melgar an hour from Ibagué, for 15 minutes and you can buy a drink and snack.
By plane - Other option for those who want to travel more comfortable and faster is to go from Bogota to Ibague by plane. This route operated two airlines: Aires (www.aires.aero) and Avianca (www.avianca.com). Book your flight in advance! Prices can vary between 80-150,000 COP one way. Flight takes about half an hour.
To the South of Ibagué You can find the small antigua town of Rovira 22 km and from there the gate-way to coffee farms, (Not like the large haciendas in the coffee zone) that dot over the mountains. Where the territory around is mostly mountainous and surrounds the rivers Luisa, Manso, Andes, chili, Coello, Cucuana and Tuamo.
The small villages of Payandé 26 km where there is also rivers and waterfalls that have shaped the landscape and on to the small village of Valle de San Juan.
From Rovira there are off road tracks, you can take a ride in a 4x4 with beautiful & breathtaking views to the coffee farms.
Fincas located in tierra caliente (warm areas) almost always have swimming pools, while those in tierra fria (cold areas) are more like a traditional farm house.
Links to My favorite place's only 1 hour from Ibagué:
- Cascadas Chicala 6 waterfalls near to Payande
- Valle de Los Munecos Beautiful rock/sand stone formation close to Rovira
- El Araque This gorge has amazing waterfall's and easy rock-climbing area Near to Rovira.
- Villa Restrepo Village North of Ibagué and look out at Juntas only 15 minutes north
- Rovira The small town where it all started for me in 2011 with my second trip to Colombia.
- Valle de San Juan Small village
- Visit Fincas Luisa & Buena Vista Alta The small coffee farms (1 hour from Rovira)
- Cascada Charco Azul Close to Rovira and is one of the most frequently visited by the locals.
- Los Andes On the way to Rovira passing El Araque and 13 ks though the central Andes.
To the South of Ibagué The town of Rovira (Altitude 850 m).
The town of Payande (Altitude 655 m)
Both have a tropical rain-forest climate average 28 °C
Volunteer Projects & Work:
(Note: For teaching English is normally for at lest one year and you will need to apply in your own country for the work visa. Good rates of pay, accommodation and after one year you will also be paid for your flights or % towards)
- Work Away - Host List
- Let's Go Volunteer in Ibagué. Working with children, Women & Elderly. Visit the WEBSITE for more information.
- YMCA Ibague See WEBSITE
- SENA - Teaching English see WEBSITE
- Teach English at The Oxford Centre see WEBSITE
- Teach English at The University of Ibagué
- Teaching English and stay in Hostel for free see WEBSITE (Minimum 1 month) NOTE: The hostel is one room with two beds.
- Teach at Gimnasio Campestre see WEBSITE
- Just 4 kids English club
- Want to learn Spanish here? The University of Ibagué does an annual summer course for foreigners.
- Learn Spanish with instituto connections Alex Charry email: email@example.com
Ibagué there are hotels around the main bus station and up market hotels can be found in and around the center, I cannot recommend any of them in Ibague as I have not used them and some of those around the bus station look a bit run down. there are plenty of reasonable budget options, best to do a search on trip adviser first.
- Hotel 3rd Avenida Carrera 3 #16-79, 730001 Ibagué Teléfono:310 8655337
I can recommend the following in the towns of:
- Los Pinos Hotel Tel: 317 7415778 Facebook Page
- La Villa de Barba Blanca Casa # 4 Eentrada Villa Restrepo. Ana Cel: 311 487 4489. Jhon Cel: 310 884 2711.
- Hotel Club Campestre Chicala Tel: 287 72 22 Cel: 317 274 38 23 Facebook Page
- Hotel Villa Ana Maria Tel: 312 4068621. Facebook Page
Address: Centro Facilitador de Servicios Migratorios Calle 10 # 8-07 Tel: 273 1018
Find yourself in a place you can’t imagine leaving and going home doesn’t seem like such a good idea anymore?
Extend your 90 day tourist visa with another 90-day tourist visa
Open's 8am to 4pm. Take your passport with you, even if you are only going to ask for information. Photos are taken in the office.
You will need:
- Your passport,
- Onward ticket (Proof of an onward journey, either by land, air or sea)
- And payment Col. $87,000.00. (The easiest way to pay is via credit or debit card at the IA office. Cash payments are possible, but these must be made in advance and are only possible by depositing the renewal fee directly into the IA account at specific bank branches within any given city)
Tourists can stay for a maximum of 180 days in Colombia within any given calendar year. Though the counter resets at midnight on 31st December. So foreign visitors who travel June/July to Colombia, they can leave the country over the holiday season and re-enter in the New Year for 180 days more.
If you want to stay in country for a period longer than a year, you will need to investigate the various visa options detailed on the official government site.
Study TP-3 Visa or non profit voluntary work TP-6 visa. is applied for in-person at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores office located in Bogotá at Avenida 19 # 98-03, Torre 100 Building, 3rd Floor. The office is open from 7:30am until noon. Most probably you'll also need to hire some professional assistance from specialist law or visa service firms.
Looking for permanent visa? Put USD100,000 or more into a Colombian venture or property and you will get a visa for life.
Private Medical: Clinica Centro Medico La Qunita. Carrera 5a No. 39-72 Tel: 2648795
Health while in Colombia: The main illness is stomach upset "travellers diarrhoea" from contaminated food & water. If this continues for more than 24 hrs then seek medical advice as you may have contracted a bacterial infection. (You will need time to rest)
There is also widespread risk of Dengue and Chikungunya in Colombia. As with travelling in a tropical country always research before arriving. Prevention is better than cure.
Security: Ibagué is generally safe, like any large town/city, keep your money and things safe and out of site. Take a taxi at night.
You will probably be stopped in the street by those known as "mendigo" they will say; give me money. Best to say hola and give them some loose change. If they look hungry, you can offer to buy some bread or give them something of your plate, if your are at a restaurant.
Crossing the road and getting on and off buses can be an experience, just be aware buses stop anywhere and will pull away while you cross the road in front of them.
Also see: Colombian News Reports
Taxis have meters and are cheap.
Bus's Local buses $1600. Velotax & Bolivariano Bus are the main bus companies from Bogota to Ibagué. 4 - 5 hours. And only 3 hours from the world famous Zonacafetera (Coffee Zone), 5 hours from Cali and 8 hours from Medellin.The Bus station has connections to all major destinations throughout the country. Regular buses, mini bus and taxis to Rovira with Velotax.
Banks Cash Withdrawals Davivienda give one of the best rates and highest withdrawals from cash machines with no fee.
Also cash machine usually gives $50,000.00 notes and many places, buses and taxi drivers don't have change. Supermarkets are a good place to change by buying a bottle of water.
Best Credit Card Halifax clarity credit card gives a good exchange rate and no cash withdrawal charge, but they charge interest daily. To avoid interest charges, you can make a payment on-line to your credit card the same day or a few days before. And for best rates check online before withdrawing as rates can change daily.
Money Transfer Send money from UK to Colombia via Giros Seguros and collect from a bank.
Also read The best ways to send money abroad: a quick guide
Things To Do In Ibague:
- Ciclovia: Every Sunday & festivals Ciclovia open 7 till 1pm. The main street "Quinta" Carrera 5a is open to cyclists. And passing Iglesía Del Carmen.
- Main Plaza: Parque Simon Bolivar with the beautiful Cathedral Primada de Ibague. Have a coffee at Monte Blanco Cafe on the first floor or in the evening enjoy one of the restaurants next to the cafe, where there you can find a very good Mexican food.
- Library: Biblioteca Alberto Santofimio. Address; Carrera 9 Calle 72; Avenida Guabinal; Jordán VIII Etapa. There is literature in English, also a large number of Colombian atlases.
- Gym: There are many gyms in Ibagué, and crossfit has become popular.
- Jardín Botánico San Jorge
- Colombian folk festival every year at the end of June
Fresh food from the markets are sold in restaurants close by and the good ones have a big turnover of people. You just need to arrive at the best time to enjoy the atmosphere.
There are many restaurants and many cafes selling bread and cakes!
If you are a foodie then the small shops & stalls found in the small towns & villages are the best place of all, for free range products.
Things to try:
- Lechona: Consists of a roast pig stuffed with yellow peas, green onion, yellow rice, and spices cooked in an outdoor, brick oven for about ten hours. And sold in Ibagué at a Lechonera.
- Longaniza: A sausage similar to a chorizo and the best ones can be found north/west of Ibagué on the road to Villa Restrepo.
- Arepas De Choclo: Sweet Arepas made with Cheese from the country (Queso Campanero) Best ones are also found north/west of Ibagué on the road to Villa Restrepo.
- Plátanos I like mine ripe "maduros" con queso
- Patacón Fried green plantain - served with soup
- Soups - there are many different soups to try - Look for Sancocho
- Arepas are made from GMO Maize/corn (Organismo genéticamente modificado) Maiz Transgenico. Harina P. A. N. produced in Colombia and exported to many other countries, is produced with corn that IS GENETICALLY MODIFIED and margarine is used to make them.
- UHT long life Milk is sold and used in hot chocolate and some fruit drinks that are mixed with milk.
- A lot of sugar or panela is added to coffee, hot chocolate and fruit juices, so when ordering do ask without. "sin azuca por favor" (You could just drink water and buy some limes to squeeze, too add vit C and taste)
- Bread is sold everywhere and is made using margarine.
- Pharmacy's are everywhere and small shops sell pain killers and antibiotics that can be brought single or as many as required.
- Fitness Market near to multi centro Cra 6a #61-71 Prados del Norte 2 sells coconut water and coconut oil amongst other things. Facebook
Markets: By coming to the markets, will give you a crash course to living in Colombia.
There are many markets in town known as plazas and you will discover all types of exotic fruits and the common fruits back home but much bigger and much tastier.
(Fresh fruit & vegetables are also sold on many streets around Ibagué.)
It's worth a visit to both Plaza De Mercado La 14 & Plaza De Mercado La 21
Coffee shops/cafe's & Bars
Places you must visit when in Ibagué
- Monte Blanco Cafe: with view of the Parque Simon Bolivar (La Plaza de Bolívar) & Catedral Primada de Ibague.
- Le Petit Cafe: on the corner of carreta 2 and calle 11
- Bar Paleto: Relaxed bar Calle 10 #6b-1 a 6b-47
- Cafe Con Alma: Cr 7. 57 - 45 Rincon de Piedrapintada Facebook Open from 3 pm
- Coffee 100% puro. From Andres Cuevas Castro on the corner plaza de la 14. Cel: 311 275 6762
- For good quality coffee & Green Coffee Tea From Luis Hernando Guevara 313 605 3395 see Facebook
- Or buy from any of the coffee shops listed above.
The church is designed by a Russian and is the only one in South America.
Ciclo via -Every Sunday the main road "La quinta" is closed from 7 - 1pm for cyclists
Street seen's Ibagué