Manizales, Colombia (SKMZ)
The Cordillera Central is the highest of the three branches of the Colombian Andes. With mountains soaring to heights above 17,000ft, the region is heavily contoured, dotted with volcanic peaks and contains ecosystems ranging from swamps and lagoons to high Andean glaciers and forests. Deep in the heart of this mountainous area, the city of Manizales, with a population of nearly one million people, winds itself through the steep western foothills of the Central Andes. The city is a nexus of the Colombian coffee trade, with the surrounding terrain and subtropical climate providing ideal growing conditions and putting Colombia on the map as the fourth largest coffee exporter in the world. Air travel to Manizales is via La Nubia domestic airport – a challenging airport that ticks off many of the boxes that should give visiting pilots pause. I suggest pouring a steaming cup of Colombian coffee, breaking out the charts and weather, and carefully planning your entry and exit to this stunning airport.