The State of Risaralda is located in the western center of the Andean region; located between 05º30’00’’ and 04º41’36 ’’ north latitude, and between 75º23’49 ’’ and 76º18’27 ’’ west longitude. It has an area of ​​4,140 km2 which represents 0.36% of the national territory. It limits to the north with the states of Antioquia and Caldas, to the east with Caldas and Tolima, to the south with the states of Quindío and Valle del Cauca and to the west with the state of Chocó.


The State of Risaralda extends approximately 3,592 km, which represents 0.3% of the total area of the country and is part of the so-called Eje Cafetero (Coffee Axel).


The state of Risaralda borders six (6) states: To the north with the states of Antioquia and Caldas, to the East with Caldas and Tolima, to the South with Quindío and Valle del Cauca and to the West with Chocó.

Administrative Division

The State is divided into 14 municipalities: Pereira as the capital city, Apía, Balboa, Belén de Umbría, Dosquebradas, Guática, La Celia, La Virginia, Marsella, Mistrató, Pueblo Rico, Quinchía, Santa Rosa de Cabal and Santuario; 19 townships, numerous hamlets and populated centers


It is made up of a central area of slightly undulating topography with an average altitude of less than 2,000 meters above sea level. This area is surrounded by the Central and Western Mountain ranges, the Central exceeds 4,500 meters above sea level in the Nevados (snowy peaks) of Santa Isabel and Quindío and the Western reaches an average of 4,000 meters above sea level in Cerro (hill) Tatamá; the two mountain ranges are separated by the Cauca River canyon.


The hydrographic network is made up of the San Juan and Cauca rivers; the first occupies 32% of the area, its most important tributary is the Tatamá River and is constituted by the rivers Guarato, Agüita, Chamí, Río (River) Negro, Mondo and Mistrató rivers. The Cauca River basin occupies 68% of the total area; Its main tributaries are La Vieja, Risaralda, Quinchía, Campoalegre, Otún, Opirama and San Francisco rivers.


The economical activities of the department are agriculture, livestock, industry and commerce. In the agricultural products, the production of coffee, sugar cane, banana, cassava, cocoa, pineapple, potato, corn, cotton and some fruit trees stand out. Livestock has dairy and meat purposes. Industrial production is concentrated in food, beverages, textiles, paper, and coal. The commerce is located mainly in the capital.


According to preliminary data from the 2005 census, its population is 859,666 inhabitants, of which 665,104 correspond to the municipal capitals and 194,562 to the rural sector, of which 418,236 are men and 441,430 women, grouped into 231,592 households that inhabited 231,780 housing.

* Preliminary data from the 2005 Census Population. Source: DANE


The climate is influenced by the humid air masses over the Western Mountain range and the Cauca River depression; This situation causes two marked tendencies to appear, one very wet with a dry tendency, on the eastern slope towards the Cauca River valley.

The rainiest months correspond to April-May, and October-November; the average rainfall for the state is 3,000 mm per year. The state has 5 thermal stages from the valley of the San Juan, Risaralda and Cauca rivers to the snowy peak Santa Isabel; the warm represents 9% of the departmental total, with average temperatures of 24ºC; the temperate, between 18 and 24ºC, represents 51%, the cold, with temperatures below 12ºC, occupies 8%, and the snowy, which covers 1% of the total area of the state.

Regional Characteristics

This region is characterized by the diversity of its landscapes, its natural, cultural and ethnic wealth, high population density and great export capacity. Its 3,592 square kilometers of territory are framed by sites of immense ecological and environmental variety, such as the valleys of the Cauca and Risaralda rivers, the rich biodiversity of El Chocó, the Los Nevados (snowy peaks) National Park and the production area of the best coffee in the world. Its capital, Pereira, is one of the Colombian municipalities with the highest coffee, citrus and pineapple production, a city with great dynamics in the construction of large commercial areas and a leader in the production of soft papers.

Communication channels

The road infrastructure of the state of Risaralda is oriented to the articulation with the national trunks that seek to link the Pacific from the center and west of the country; The two main routes belong to the south - north system, through the western corridor, and the trunk of the coffee axel, which are currently linked with the trunk of the states of Antioquia, Valle del Cauca and the Caribbean coast. Despite the steepness of the topography, there is a good system of roads that communicate with each other to all the municipalities of the state. The capital has an air terminal that allows communication with neighboring cities, as well as international flights.


The state of Risaralda offers countless tourist attractions from a natural, cultural and scientific point of view. The coffee culture, its architecture and the hospitality of its people, makes visiting Risaralda an unforgettable experience. As tourist attractions, the Ukumarí natural park, Los Nevados and Tatamá national natural parks, the Río Guarato natural reserve, the Santa Rosa de Cabal hot springs, the La Nona Forest reserve, the railway route and the educational nature trail Palo Santo; Also important are the Matecaña zoo, the Don Manuel Forest, the Alejandro Humboldt botanical garden, in the municipality of Marsella, and numerous cultural events.


The main indigenous tribes that inhabited the region were the Quimbayas, Ansermas, Quinchías, Chancos, Chamíes and Panches; the first conqueror to arrive in the region was Sebastián de Belalcázar in 1534; coming from the Cali, he traveled through the old Caldas to the La Vieja river, he continued his march along the Cauca river to lands that he baptized with the name of Anserma; later he arrived in Cartama, today Marmato (Caldas); Jorge Robledo founded the first town - Cartago - in 1540. The presence of black communities in Pereira dates back to the 16th century, when they were employed for mining work; the majority came from Valle del Cauca and the Pacific coast; Virginia's black community was founded in the 18th century.

In the same way, since the mid-nineteenth century the presence of a strong colonization from Antioquia has stood out, which has marked the development of this state. In the year 1536 the Risaraldense territory belonged to the Quito audience. When Gran Colombia was constituted in 1825, Risaralda became part of the state of Cundinamarca; in 1860 it belonged to the Sovereign State of Cauca and to the province of Gran Cauca in 1886, until the year 1905, when the state of Viejo Caldas was created, of which the current territories of Caldas, Quindío and Risaralda were part. On December 1, 1966, through Law 70, the state of Risaralda was created.

Close Menu