The land of coffee (and winding roads) - Zona Cafetera

Manizales Travel Blog

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Coffee 'cherries'

Reached Manizales after an 8 hr bus journey through the mountains, which was a little hard on the stomach.  Stayed at Kaffe Experience (free Wi-Fi) as Mountain House was full.  Headed out in search of food and bumped into two german girls from the hostel. We found another fine set dinner (almuerzo) for 4.000 ($2).  We were very excited as we could have cauliflower instead of the interminable beans!  Over dinner we decided to head to a coffee farm with Anna and Birthe the next morning.

After a Taxi and bus, we arrived in Chinchina.  There were no chinese in sight, but we did find another almuerzo for 2.500 in a rather rough looking place.  Food was good and nobody had any ill effects.  Everybody in Chinchina seemed to know where we were going and pointed the way to the bus station for the next bus which brought us to Hacienda Guayabal.

We signed up for the tour in English, so had to wait for the one English speaking tour guide, Diana, which was worth the wait.  A 2hr tour took us all round the farm, from sowing the initial seeds to drying them after harvest.  Very interesting lesson in horticulture!  The farm also had several stands of guaduas, which is what we would probably call giant bamboo.  Used for all sorts of construction; buildings, foot bridges, scaffolding.  We noted the nearby peaje roof was built of the stuff.  The farm also had a large wild growing area of varied Heliconias.  Tropical flowers from plants related to the banana palm.  The flowers were spectacular. (See photos).  After the tour we had some of the coffee, freshly ground, which was very satisfying.  Unfortunately as in a lot of these places, the best coffee goes abroad and most Colombians have to drink the inferior beans.

Onto Cali, where we intended to spend 3 nights relaxing...

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Coffee cherries
Coffee 'cherries'
Manizales
photo by: alexindc