Colombia 5: Filandia,Marsella and Hacienda Guayabal

The village Filandia was even more colourful and laid back. We enjoyed the vibe before we departed to one of the important destinations: an excellent bio producer of coffee for which Colombia is so well known for.

Kaffee aus Kolumbien – ist er wirklich so gut wie allgemein angenommen wird? So beschlossen wir mal eine Plantage zu besuchen und eine Pflück- und Verarbeitungstour mitzumachen. Zwischendrin lag Marsella mit dem Alexander v.Humboldt botanischen Garten.

We found the coveniently situated camping site El Santuario within walking distance to the Filandia town centre.

Filandia did not disappoint with its brightly coloured buildings, gift shops and restaurants.

It could be called Jeep city -all taxis based on various models of Jeeps and transporting locals and freight into the mountains.

We proceeded via Pereira towards Marsella, where we wanted to visit the Alexander von Humboldt botanical gardens. No problem, our GPS said, a normal road would take us there. This was not the only time that the OSM maps in our Garmin took us on a route one would better not travel on. The road became smaller and smaller, directly into the jungle, fully overgrown to the extend there was no turn around. So we had fun moving and cutting tree stumps and rebuilding bad sections. It became obvious that it was only used by motorcycles nowadays.

The botanical gardens in Marsella were reasonable kept and offered a glimpse into the flora of Colombia. We spent a pleasant 2-3 hours there.

Our route to the coffee farm Finca Guayabal went via Chinchina. Here we had a camping spot next to a large roofed area in the gardens of the finca, which also has an excellent restaurant. The shed also offered a covered area where we could disassemble and troubleshoot our fridge/freezer, which had packed up two weeks prior. Unfortunately our efforts where inconclusive and we could not repair the unit or find what seemed to be an intermittent fault.

A very knowledgeable young guide, Felipe, was punctual the next day to introduce us to the art of coffee growing and processing as well as the right way to make a good cup of Colombian coffee.

He took us into the plantations armed with the right headgear and baskets to sample the effort of handpicked coffee beans. Here all coffee is picked by hand to ensure that only ripe and full flavoured beans are picked -which we learned is not done in other countries where coffee is harvested (often by machine) ignoring the ripeness of the fruit.

Interesting to us was also the bio control of the small beetle that penetrates the beans -fermented rice juice is sprayed and the farm is almost completely free of it.

On the 63ha land Guayabal produces Arabica coffee and Colombia is the third largest producer of coffee, but in outstanding quality. They harvest twice annually due to the high rainfall and excellent soil conditions on the steep slopes, where the pickers very often have to be secured by ropes.

Coffee is dried and skinned and then exported -roasting generally happens in the country where the coffee is consumed. Only the largest beans are exported, smaller ones are consumed in the country.

The OMA brand of coffee is very good, we learned, and only coffee from Colombia has the “Arabica” type trademark – not Arabicas, which often is not from this country.

After the tour within the beautiful setting of the finca we had a coffee tasting, prepared at different temperatures and durations – we realised that these two factor play a significant role in the taste of the cup that you drink.

The gardens presented very good opportunities to photograph various species of birds.

After such a good time in the remote areas we were ready to face Medellin – a city so well-known due to the Medellin drug cartels of the past. What would such a city look like today?

A beautiful road awaited us getting to Medellin.

This post covers 22nd-25th September 2016




Author: Dieter

A passionate traveller and photographer with an urge to share the beauty of our planet.

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