The coffee producing areas of Nariño are situated in the municipalities south of the Valle del Río Patía, the main ones being La Unión, and the small towns of Bolívar, Mercaderes andFlorencia located in the south of the Cauca department. Other important coffee producing municipalities are those surrounding the Galeras volcano such as Sandoná, Consacá, Bomboná andChachaguí
Each of the municipalities in Nariño produces its own wonderful handicrafts and the department is surrounded by the most beautiful landscape and places to visit.
Interesting sites in the Andean region include the city of San Juan de Pasto, the Galerasvolcano, the Santuario de las Lajas and the Laguna de la Cocha.
San Juan de Pasto is the capital of the department and home to theCarnaval de Blancos y Negros, which takes place every year during the first week of January.
Very close to the city of Pasto is the Volcán Galeras, which rises to 4276masl (14,000 feet) and houses the upper part of the flora and fauna reserve, with its vast number of species including white-tailed deer, spectacled bears, armadillos and foxes. Its slopes are also where a significant proportion of Café de Nariño is produced.
In the Azufral volcano(4700masl or 15,400 feet),84 km (52 miles) from San Juan de Pasto, lies Laguna Verde. It is called the Green Lagoon, because the sulfur mines in its depths give it its emerald green color.
Santuario de las Lajas lies one hundred and five kilometers (65 miles) from Pasto, in the municipality of Ipiales. It wasconstructed on stone slabs on the slopes of a mountain in the middle of theRío Guáitara canyon. The sanctuary is a popular destination for Colombian and foreign pilgrims and tourists alike.
Laguna de la Cocha,the second largest lagoon in the country, is situated 25km (15 miles) from Pasto. In the center of the lagoon at 2830masl (9,300 feet) there is an island flora and fauna reserve called Corota, home to a great variety of birds and plants among which colored ducks, fisher geese and a variety of fish including rainbow trout. The vegetation is ample and varied with flowers such as atriums, bromeliads and orchids (the national flower of Colombia), which decorate the landscape of the isle and the lagoon.
Westwards, 300km (186 miles) from Pasto on the Pacific coast, is Tumaco. The municipality has long beaches such as Morro and Bocagrande and the main economic income here is from fishing and African palm plantations.
South of the Colombian Massif, extending over 65.856 hectares (163,000 acres) and at 4500masl (14,800 ft), is the Doña Juana – Cascabel volcano complex. The complex is made up of the Doña Juana, Ánimas and Petacas volcanos together with group of geographic and ecological formations which make up one of the most incredible of Colombian landscapes and house a large part of the hydric resources that supply the north of Nariño and some areas in the south of Cauca with water.
The park is home to high mountain, forest, ravine and lagoon ecosystems where there are over 470 bird species among which the Andean Condor. There are also a number of mammals such as the spectacled bear, mountain tapir and puma.
Among the vegetation present, it is worth highlighting the fern and flowering plants which represent 8% of Colombian high mountain plants and 6% of high mountain plants in the world.