Throughout the year, cities across the country hold fairs and festivals where Colombian cultural and artistic expression is celebrated in a grand display. Manizales Fair is a great example, that's why we tell you all about this event so you can plan your trip to Manizales, Colombia, where you’ll fall in love with the city’s delicious coffee and fantastic climate before the event even begins.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes Manizales, one of the most highly regarded cities of the country.

What is the Manizales Fair?

The Manizales Fair is one of the most traditional Colombian fairs and festivals that makes Manizales shine every year, a city located in the heart of the Coffee Cultural Landscape, and recognized as a Cultural Heritage of the Nation. It’s held at the beginning of the year, just as the Cali Fair comes to an end, Manizales continues sparkling with the spirit of the celebration thanks to its traditional fair.

While cities across Colombia celebrate their fairs and festivals, the Manizales Fair sets itself apart by offering activities such as traditional horseback riding, bullfighting, parade of floats, musical performances and other events such as the Tango Festival. Also with vocal and string ensembles, sports competitions and folk dancing.

The Manizales Fair brings around 300,000 visitors to this special coffee city every year due to its wild popularity. Festival goers enjoy an average of 300 events during this time, most of them free of charge.

In addition to attending these events, visitors can also explore the attractions offered by the city such as its majestic cathedral, which reaches 106 meters in height, the highest in Colombia. As well as contemplate the most beautiful sunsets from the Chipre Viewpoint.

Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Rosary also called Manizales Cathedral | Colombia Travel
Credit: Jess Kraft /

Manizales Cathedral 

Explore the top 5 activities to do in Colombia by CNN Travel.

History of the Manizales Fair

Oscar Hoyos Botero created the first Feria de Manizales in 1955. Its inauguration was inspired by the Feria de Abril in Seville, Spain, and has gradually been enriched with the the customs of the Colombian Andean region and the traditional culture of Antioquia.

This is a culture that is revived in Manizales Colombia through ‘Fondas and Arrierías’: places inspired by the houses and inns where the peasants came after a long day of work to rest and enjoy music. Today, these are considered to be the ideal places to enjoy regional cuisine, some dancing and classic Colombian drinks.

This festival is particularly fun for bullfighting lovers, as it kicks off the bullfighting season in this coffee city. For this reason, national and international bullfighters flock to the city of Manizales Colombia from countries like Spain, France, Peru, and Mexico, amongst others.

Visit the Coffee Cultural Landscape.

Program of activities for the 66th edition of the 2023 Feria de Manizales

From the 2nd to the 9th of January, Manizales, Colombia, renowned as the ‘city of the open doors' due to the warm and welcoming nature of its people, a recognized aspect of Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia, opens its doors to visitors to begin the fair and festival events. The festival begins with its traditional inaugural concert, this year.


Activities you can't miss

  • Festival Nacional de la Trova: one of the must-see activities during this fair. Participants from different regions of the country sing impromptu coplas verses to contest the title of King of the Trova. A perfect fairs and festivals introduction.

  • Reinado Internacional del Café: this is one of the most important events of the fair. Female beauty contestants from 28 countries, including Colombia, compete for the title of Coffee Queen.

  • Tango Festival: A crowd favorite, people of all ages gather to watch couples dance tango on outdoor stages in the city.

  • Yipaos’ Parade: this is a must-see spectacle in which Willys jeeps loaded with coffee, green banana and typical peasant products do pirouettes on their rear wheels along Santander Avenue, one of the city’s main roads.

What else can you do in Manizales, Colombia?

Nevado del Ruiz Volcano in Manizales | Colombia Travel
Credit: JM88 /

Nevado del Ruiz Volcano in Manizales 

While you’re here, you could also pay a visit to Los Nevados National Natural Park, which encompasses one of the most complex mountain systems in the country. It is located between the Nevado del Ruiz, the Nevado de Santa Isabel and the Nevado del Tolima.

This expanse of 58,300 hectares provides the perfect conditions for hiking, cycling, wildlife observation and much more. Come here to see the wax palm, the most representative of this area and also considered the national tree of Colombia.

Read: Mystery and splendor in Los Nevados Natural Park.

Craving a relaxing bath? Head over to the thermal springs. Need a pick-me-up? Visit a coffee farm and learn all about the process of harvesting and grinding coffee.

If you’re a wildlife lover, you can also visit the Rio Blanco Reserve, one of the best places for birdwatching in Colombia and the Los Alcázares Ecopark where they can also spend the day birdwatching over 140 different bird species.

If you are thinking of visiting the Coffee Cultural Landscape, take the opportunity to visit Manizales Colombia and enjoy these activities offered by the Feria de Manizales. Join the Colombian fairs and festivals!