Pereira, Colombia

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For other uses, see Pereira.
Skyline of Pereira
Flag of Pereira
Official seal of Pereira
Nickname(s): La Querendona, Trasnochadora y Morena
Motto: Pereira con Vida
Location of the city and municipality of Pereira in Risaralda Department.
Location of the city and municipality of Pereira in Risaralda Department.
Pereira is located in Colombia
Location in Colombia
Coordinates: 4°48′51.4″N 75°41′40.41″W / 4.814278°N 75.6945583°W / 4.814278; -75.6945583Coordinates: 4°48′51.4″N 75°41′40.41″W / 4.814278°N 75.6945583°W / 4.814278; -75.6945583
Country Colombia
Department Risaralda
Region Andean
Foundation August 30, 1863
 • Mayor Juan Pablo Gallo Maya
 • City 702 km2 (271 sq mi)
 • Metro 628 km2 (242 sq mi)
Elevation 1,411 m (4,629 ft)
Population (2016 est.)
 • City 472,023
 • Density 670/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Pereiran
Time zone Eastern Time Zone (UTC-05)
Area code(s) 57 + 6
Website Official website (Spanish)

Pereira is the capital city of the Colombian department of Risaralda. It is located in the foothills of the Andes in a coffee-producing area of Colombia officially known as the "Coffee Axis". Pereira, alongside the rest of the Coffee Axis, form part of UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia".[1] It is the most populated city in the Coffee Axis and the second-most populated city in the Paisa region, after Medellín. Pereira is also part of the Central West Metropolitan Area, which has over 1,000,000 residents and is composed of Pereira and the neighboring cities of Dosquebradas and La Virginia.

As the capital of the department of Risaralda, Pereira houses the headquarters of the Government of Risaralda, the Departmental Assembly, the Departmental Court, the Metropolitan Area Authority and the Attorney General. It also serves as the headquarters for numerous public companies and institutions of the Colombian state. Being in the center of the Golden Triangle (which consists of the cities of Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali), Pereira has become especially important in the fields of trade and commerce.


Pereira owes its name to the lawyer Francisco Pereira Martínez, a man who was close to the fight for independence for a city in the territory that once belong to the old Cartago. The village of Pereira was named in honor of him after his death.

The city of Pereira is known as "la querendona, trasnochadora y morena" and "the pearl of Otún".


Map of the city.

Pereira is located in what is known as the Golden Triangle, because it is located in the middle of Bogota, Medellin and Cali. Pereira is located in the Central Cordillera (mountain range) of Colombia in the valley of the river Otún and part of the Cauca river valley. To the north is La Virginia, Marsella and Dosquebradas. To the northeast is Santa Rosa de Cabal and to the east is Tolima. To the south is Quindío and Valle del Cauca and to the west is Balboa and Valle del Cauca.


The city follows the relief of the land with some steep or high areas. Its elevation is about 1,500 metres (4,900 ft). It is located in a zone of high seismic vulnerability.[2]


The main lake if the city is the Lake Otun, which feed the River Otun. The river system of the municipality includes the rivers Cauca, The Barbas River, The Old River, The Otún River, the Consota and many tributaries.


The indigenous people of Pereira were the Quimbaya, a community of gold artisans.[3]

In about 1540 CE, the Spanish arrived in the area. The first settlement, Cartago Viejo was founded by the conquistadors, Jorge Robledo and Diego de Mendoza. In about 1691, the settlement was moved to the current location of Pereira.[4]

In 1816, the brothers, José Francisco and Manuel Pereira, took shelter near the settlement after the defeat of Simón Bolivar and his army at the Battle of Cachiri. José Francisco died on 24 August 1863. On 30 August 1863, Remigio Antonio Cañarte, a priest, arrived from Cartago and founded Pereira at the site, granted by the Pereira family for the city, which is now the Plaza de Bolivar.

In the 1920s particularly, settlers from Antioquia moved to Pereira for its economically strategic location, fertile soil, and good weather. The settlers grew large quantities of high-quality coffee in the mineral-rich, volcanic, Andean soil.[5] Other produce included sugarcane and cattle.[6] Settlers also came from cities such as Valle del Cauca and Bogotá. In the economic recession of 1999, and the low-growth years of 2000 and 2001, some residents of Pereira emigrated to the United States and Spain.

Towards the years 2005 and 2006, Pereira recovered from decline and went into an economic boom, with new office, retail and housing development, and most importantly Megabus, the main public transportation system in the área was opened to the public.

In the year 2015 the new Biopark Ukumari, was opened to the public, in its inicial pase with 2 bioregions. It is planned to have up to 8 bioregions including Andean Mountains, African Desert, Amazonas and many more, including a section designed for mechanical rides.

During these year up until 2016, Pereira has been an epicenter of massive urban redevelopment with many worldwide companies opening in Pereira new stores, factores and logistical centers. The unemployment rate has lowered significantly from being one of the highest in the country, to the national standard of 9%. Pereira is starting to convert into the capital city of the Coffee Axis or Eje Cafetero region, with many residents from many neighbouring cities like Armenia and Manizales coming to Pereira to buy good and clothes in stores that are unique to Pereira.


A panorama of Pereira

The Pereira municipal area covers 702 square kilometres (702,000,000 m2). Pereira is divided into 19 neighbourhoods: Ferrocarril, Olímpica, San Joaquín, Cuba, Del Café, El Oso, Perla del Otún, Consota, El Rocío, El Poblado, El Jardín, San Nicolás, Centro, Río Otún, Boston, Universidad, Villavicencio, Oriente y Villasantana. Pereira has also rural neighbourhoods called Altagracia, Arabia, Caimalito, Cerritos, La Florida, Puerto Caldas, Combia Alta, Combia Baja, La Bella, Estrella- La Palmilla, Morelia, Tribunas. Pereira together with La Virginia, and Dosquebradas form the Area Metropolitana de Centro Occidente (AMCO). This means the three cities work together and share many services like Megabus for a better living for all the citizens.


In 2005, Pereira had about 576,329 residents and was the sixth largest city of Colombia. Pereira has a twin city, Dosquebradas (about five minutes drive from the Plaza de Bolivar), which has about 200,000 residents. With a total population of about 986,000, the Pereira conurbation also includes La Virginia. Pereira, Dosquebradas and La Virginia comprise the Pereira metropolitan area. As a result of urbanisation, Pereira has one of the most equitable distributions of wealth in Colombia.[7]


The new logo in use from 2016 of the new elected Mayor Juan Pablo Gallo M

The municipality of Pereira has a diversified economy in its economic structure, the primary sector accounts for 5.7% of the GDP, the secondary sector shows a relative weight of 26.2% in the municipality and the tertiary sector is the most representative with magnitudes 68.1%. Pereira's grew 3.7% in 2004, certainly this year was successful where several events revived the economy, as the flagship program of the national government, greater fluidity in the financial system, residents sent overseas who have an important impact on consumption, the above accompanied by improved oil prices, coal, nickel, coffee. These developments were reflected in the increase in both the supply and demand for goods and services.

Trade is the second generating employment activity, Pereira has been carrying out a process in formal trade, an important part is already in shopping centers (Alcides Arevalo, Bolivar Plaza, Lake Plaza, Novacentro, Parque Arboleda, Pereira Plaza, Victoria, Unicentro, etc.) where there is a wide variety of products and services which can be seen in the short term as successful.

Hotels and resorts in recent times have been constructed, several establishments located in downtown Pereira and in the outskirts such as Sonesta Cerritos which can be interpreted as an expansion of visitors to the city for various reasons, creating added value in different sectors.


In the region of Pereira, agricultural employment is 70 percent in permanent cropping, 8 percent in annual crops and 22 percent engaging transient workers. Agricultural products include a variety of crops such as sugarcane, cacao and rubber, cereals, coffee and livestock. Pereira is part of the Colombian coffee growing axis.[6]


Pereira's main manufacturing product is apparel. Other products include aluminium goods, motorcycles and telecommunications technology. Pereira also hosts multinational corporations such as Avesco, Nestle and Coats. In the future, Ethanol may be produced in Pereira, as sugarcane (an essential raw material for ethanol production) is farmed in the nearby Cauca valley.[8]


Pereira is a centre for transport logistics. Logistics companies include Servientrega International Logistics, FedEx, DHL, Central and TCC. There are logistics centres in Dosquebradas and Alpina.

In 2016, two major companies opened logistal center in Pereira. The first was Deprisa, the subsidiary company of Avianca of correspondence and mail, it opened in Pereira as a logistal center of the whole Region of the Coffee Axis. The second being the Logistical center for the national supermarket chain Exito, with a logistical center serving as well as before, the entire Coffee Axis Region, that compromises the cities of Manizales, Pereira, Armenia and Cartago.

Pereira is also in the process of being two logistical parks, which already houses important national companies like D1 Supermarkets distribution center, as well as Alberto VO5 national distribution center.

Pereira also houses the Zona Franca, or Free Zonewhich is becoming increasing important at a national level.

Trade and commerce[edit]

Trade and commerce is the second biggest employment sector in Pereira and in 2010. Commercial enterprises include malls, home centres, hypermarkets and supermarkets. There are also fast food outlets, hotels and a convention centre.


Pereira is known nationally for being an important city of tourism, attracting visitors for being in the center of the Coffee Cultural Landscape of UNESCO. Pereira has several landmarks which attract tourists like the Bolivar Statue, the Viaduct, and its many open air Swimming pools and recreational parks. Lake Otún and Santa Isabel, provide a destination for sports adventure tourism. Pereira also has a "night life" with bars and nightclubs located mostly in the Circunvalar Avenue. Pereira is also a Health Destination, with many clinics providing many health care specialist, as well as Estetic Clinics.


City Center at night

In the city center you can see different buildings, dominated by the republican style buildings of few floors, in the Ciudad Victoria, you can see from buildings modern style to colonial style (being very few), being the area covered by the center, Ciudad Victoria, and Av. Circunvalar, historical, modern, economic and commercial center of the city.

The reconstruction of the old gallery sector is the largest project of social and economic renewal has been made in the city. Since the early 80s he began to speak in Pereira of the need for action renewal in the area due to the deterioration of this sector. Through the figure of the Urban Renewal municipality allowed the development of what is now Ciudad Victoria (Pereira) | Ciudad Victoria, which has varied public spaces, among which the Plaza de Bolivar, located in the streets 19 and 20, between Seventh and Eighth races, opposite the Cathedral of Our Lady of Poverty, it is famous for its Naked Bolivar monument. The area is the main center of commercial and financial activities of the city as well as a meeting place for its inhabitants.

There is also the Lucy Tejada Cultural Center, located at the site of the central gallery, where the Cultural Institute of Pereira is located, the Band, the Issuer "Remigio Antonio Cañarte", the station Pereira Air, the Municipal Library, Exhibition Hall and the headquarters of the Academy of History from Pereira, music workshops, theater and dance and shops related to the cultural theme. It was opened in 2005 on the occasion of the celebrations of the city.14 anniversarias For a more direct communication between Ciudad Victoria and industry Avenue Circunvalar there flyover, a bridge that allows two-way connection, both pedestrian level as ciclorruta.

The most important stage of concerts, artistic performances and core of the cultural life of Pereira, is the Teatro Municipal Santiago Londoño, which pays tribute to one of its most prominent mecenas15. The city also has the Library and Exhibition Centre, Bank of the Republic and the Museum of Modern Art, the latter with modern exhibition halls and auditorium. Pereira is considered one of the cities with the best infrastructure in the country the famous Hotel Colonial is one of the most renowned attractions

Victoria has the Egoyá Linear Park between Calles 14 and 18, with 0.6 ha of parkland. Its name comes from the old broken, now underground, Egoyá through the center of the city. On the other hand, the Civic Plaza Ciudad Victoria, is where the main events and festivals in the city are made.

Among the most representative works of the city they are:

  • Naked Bolivar: Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt. Bolivar plaza.
  • Monument to the Founders: Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt. Carrera 13 with Calle 12.
  • Chained Prometheus: Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt. Technological University of Pereira.
  • Without Christ Cross: Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt. Church of Our Lady of Fatima.
  • Rebeca: Leonidas Mendez. Park Avenue Cardigan Circunvalar.
  • Railway: Monument to Transport. Waterfront Transport Terminal.
  • Jorge Eliecer Gaitan: Alexandra Ariza. Jorge Eliecer Gaitan Park, opposite the San Jorge Hospital.
  • The Obelisk: Hernando Hoyos. Calle 17 with carrera 6.
  • General Rafael Uribe Uribe: A. Franco Cano. Park Lake.
  • The Traveler: Antonio Segui. August 30 avenue, roundabout Cuba.



Pereira's airport is the Matecaña International Airport. It was built between 1944 and 1946 and opened in August 1947. It operates both nationally and internationally. It is currently undergoing a large expansion which will include a new control tower, a longer runway, new access roads and new destinations such as New York, which will make Matecaña International Airport one of the most important of the country. In 2016, the airport has launched the licitacion process for the construccion of the new terminal building. Also both runway expansions hace been completed as well as the new control tower, the most modern and technological control tower in the country. Also the Zoo has moved out of Matecaña Zoo and has been moved to the new Biopark Ukumari, this menas these lands have been given to the Airport to use for more expansion to is access road and an Office and Hotel Complex.


Pereira is at the center of the transport hub for Caldas, Risaralda and Quindio. Autopista del Café are the highways which connect Armenia, Manizales, Pereira and Cartago. (Coffee Freeway).[9] Other main urban highways include: 30 August Avenue, Circunvalar Avenue, The Americas Avenue, The Railway Avenue, Belalcazár Avenue, The River Avenue and streets Sixth, Seventh and Eighth and other highways. Pereira street system is aligned in grid system, with road numbers going up in carreras from the River Otun, and street number going up from the neighbourhood Alfonso Lopez. It is important to note that beyond Alfonso Lopez, the streets become afixed with a letter E, to denote East, for example the Kennedy neighourhood is completely composed of streets like Street 7E, Street 10E and so on.

SITM or Mass Public Transport[edit]

Pereira is currently undergoing a transitional phase, in which the traditional buses of the city are replaced completely by a Mass Public Transportation system with a Cable Car system.

Urban Bus[edit]

Soon to be replaced, is a bus system which has almost 50 routes in the city, which has a cost of $2.000 which is paid directly to the driver in cash, which has coverage in most areas of the city.

Cable Car

Part of the new development plan of the new mayor Juan Pablo Gallo M is to build 3 new lines of Cable cars across the city. Currently the mexican transportation consultants Transconsult are investigating which are the most viable routes and locaciones for the cable car. It has been anounced that the possible route can be from Industrial Park (Parque industrial) to the Airport, Villa Santana to the UTP University and Villa Verde to the City Center. Construcción on the first line is programes to commence ending 2016 or the first month of 2017.


Megabús is the mass transport system of Pereira which was founded in 2006. It compromises 3 trunk routes that link Dosquebradas and Cuba, and feeder routes which connect the rest of the metropolitan area including La Virginia, Puerto Caldas, Cerritos, Morelia, and many other neighbourhoods, which connect with the trunk routes at Interchanger stations. Since 2016, Megabus has embarked on the tasa of connecting the entire city, with new routes to important áreas of the city that before didnt have a Megabus route. One of these new routes is to the UTP University vía The Américas Avenue and the Transport Station.

Cesar Gaviria Trujillo Viaduct[edit]

Pilares del Viaducto César Gaviria Trujillo.

The architectural award winning César Gaviria Trujillo Viaduct, a cable-stayed bridge, was opened on 15 November 1997. It is named after César Gaviria, the 40th president of Colombia, who was born in the city of Pereira. The viaduct links Pereira with Dosquebradas and the cities of Armenia, Pereira and Manizales. The length of its centre span is 211 metres (692 ft), one of the longest in South America.[10]


Pereira is located in a warm moorland area. The average temperature is 22 °C (72 °F). The annual average rainfall is 2,750 millimetres (108 in). There is a large degree of biodiversity in the region.

Climate data for Pereira, Colombia (Matecaña International Airport) 1981–2010
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 35.5
Average high °C (°F) 26.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 21.8
Average low °C (°F) 17.4
Record low °C (°F) 11.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 132.7
Average precipitation days 16 15 20 23 24 21 20 18 21 24 23 20 243
Average relative humidity (%) 75 74 76 79 79 78 75 74 76 79 79 77 77
Mean monthly sunshine hours 186.0 161.0 155.0 132.0 139.5 147.0 182.9 182.9 150.0 142.6 150.0 167.4 1,896.3
Mean daily sunshine hours 6.0 5.7 5.0 4.4 4.5 4.9 5.9 5.9 5.0 4.6 5.0 5.4 5.2
Source: Instituto de Hidrologia Meteorologia y Estudios Ambientales[11][12][13]

Places of interest[edit]

Lucy Tejada Cultural Center, taken in 2005.
Bears at the Ukumarí Biopark.
  • Ukumarí Biopark, which in some time will become the largest Biopark in South America
  • Technological University of Pereira, (planetarium and botanical garden of Pereira Technological University and Guaducto, a bamboo bridge).[1]
  • Cathedral of Our Lady of Poverty.
  • Lucy Tejada, cultural centre.
  • Pereira Museum of Art
  • Jaime Mejia archaeological museum
  • Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima.
  • Consota Recreational Park: Noah's farm eco-park, water park
  • Olympic venues: village, pools, tennis courts, basketball courts and velodrome.
  • Los Nevados National Natural Park
  • Botanical Garden of Marseille
  • Plaza de Bolívar and the naked Bolívar statue.[14]
  • Lake Park or Parque el Lago Uribe Uribe, located in the heart of the city
  • Circunvalar Avenue, high end shopping boulevard
  • Victoria's City Square
  • Parque Arboleda Shopping mall
  • Unicentro or Unicenter, the largest mall in the Coffee Axis


"Naked Bolivar", by Rodrigo Arenas Betancur.
  • Monument to the founders, Rodrigo Arenas Betancur
  • Prometheus bound, Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira, Rodrigo Arenas Betancur.
  • Christ without the cross, Our Lady of Fatima church, Rodrigo Arenas Betancur.
  • The Rebecca, Circunvalar park, Cardigan Ave., Larry Mendez.
  • Train: monument of transport", transportation terminal.
  • Alexandra Ariza, Jorge Eliecer Gaitan park, opposite the St. George hospital, Jorge Eliecer Gaitan
  • The Obelisk, Hernando Hoyos.
  • Diana of the Gavi and the young of Jar.
  • General Rafael Uribe Uribe, Franco A. Cano.
  • The Traveler, Antonio Segui.


Educational computer resource center (CRIE) in the Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira.

Places of learning in Pereira include:

Pereira also has a number of training institutions associated with the National Learning Service (SENA).

Fiesta de la Cosecha[edit]

The Harvest Festival (Spanish: Fiesta de la Cosecha) is celebrated on the anniversary of the founding of the city. It has led to phrases such as "asi no vamos a llegar a ningún Pereira" ("This way, we'll never get to Pereira", meaning "this is useless") and "hicieron su Agosto" ("they made their August", meaning that someone made a really good deal, referring to the belief that everyone would sell all their merchandise at the festival of Pereira).[15]


Pereira has a huge variety in sport arenas in the city. It has the biggest and best Olympic Village in the Western part of the Country, with the recently renovated Stadium Hernan Ramirez Villegas, the Velodrome, the Olympic swimming pools, the multiple tennis and synthetic football fields, and the biggest Skate Park in the Country. It also has many other venues like the Comerce Club with many more venues.

It is important to note the Pereira has achieved the title of the most active city in Colombia in 2015, with important programs such as the Cycle way every Sunday, by closing the most important avenues of the city to give way for people riding bike, running or simply walking. Also every neighbourhood in the city has an Open Air gym for the use of everyone.

Pereira's main football team is the Deportivo Pereira, which plays in the Categoría Primera B. The city hosts the Hernán Ramírez Villegas stadium, a velodrome, a skating area, an Olympic swimming pool and a motocross track. Pereira is also home to the "coffee marathon". Pereira is the birthplace of the Colombian tennis player, Santiago Giraldo.


The predominant religion is Catholicism. There are also Protestant churches.

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Pereira is twinned with:


Pereira's gastronomy is rich since its climate allows a great variety of fruits and vegetables to be grown. Pereira makes part of the coffe region as well as it is one of the paisas cities. Therefore the main dishes are influenced by the paisa culture and by regions near to it. The main dishes are: the Sancocho soup, which is a soup made with chicken and beef meat, with potato, yuca, corn, sweet plantain and rice. Other main dish is bandeja paisa, which has black beans with rice, fried sweet plantain, avocado, fried egg, sausages and meat. Mazamorra, is another typical dish that is served as dessert , its made of smashed corn with milk, and sweet unprocessed sugar, in spanish panela, is added to it.

Apart form the typical plates, pereira offers a great variety of pineapple , oromiel. And small biscuits called panderos, which are made of panela (unprocessed sugar cane) .


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Colombia green guide Michelin 2012-2013." Michelin. 2012. Accessed at Google Books 29 December 2013.
  2. ^ Lallinde C. P. et al "Geological criteria for evaluating seismicity revisited: forty years of paleoseismic investigations and the natural record of past earthquakes." Geological Society of America, 2011 p79. ISBN 0813724791, 9780813724799. Accessed at Google Books 28 December 2013.
  3. ^ Caputo L. "Colombia adventure guide." VIVA 14 July 2011. ISBN 1937157059, 9781937157050. Accessed at Google Books 28 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Antiqueno colonization in Western Colombia." University of California Press. p77 Accessed at Google Books 28 December 2013.
  5. ^ Sharpless R. E. "Gaitán of Colombia: a political biography." University of Pittsburgh 1978 p16. ISBN 0822976196, 9780822976196. Accessed at Google Books 29 December 2013.
  6. ^ a b Palacios M. "Coffee in Colombia, 1850-1970: an economic, social and political history." Cambridge University Press, 25 July 2002. p162. ISBN 0521528593, 9780521528597. Accessed at Google Books 29 December 2013.
  7. ^ Hudson R. A. "Colombia, a country study." Government Printing Office, Library of Congress, USA. p95 ISBN 016088277X, 9780160882777.
  8. ^ Toasa J. "Colombia: a new ethanol producer on the rise?" Diane publishing and Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, USA 2009 p4. ISBN 1437923674, 9781437923674. Accessed at Google Books 29 December 2013.
  9. ^ "En servicio calzada de la Autopista del Café." Eldiario website. Accessed 1 February 2013.
  10. ^ "Cesar Gaviria Trujillo Viaduct." Structurae, International database and gallery of structures. Website in English. Accessed 30 December 2013.
  11. ^ "Promedios Climatológicos 1981–2010" (in Spanish). Instituto de Hidrologia Meteorologia y Estudios Ambientales. Archived from the original on 14 August 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  12. ^ "Promedios Climatológicos 1971–2000" (in Spanish). Instituto de Hidrologia Meteorologia y Estudios Ambientales. Archived from the original on 14 August 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  13. ^ "Tiempo y Clima" (in Spanish). Instituto de Hidrologia Meteorologia y Estudios Ambientales. Archived from the original on 14 August 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  14. ^ Duncan R. J. "The Ceramics of Ráquira, Colombia: Gender, Work, and Economic Change." University Press of Florida, 1998. p93. Accessed at Google Books 29 December 2013.
  15. ^ "Harvest Festivals." Colombia Festiva website, in English, 2011. Accessed 30 December 2013.

External links[edit]