I had the pleasure of going on a two-day tour of the area, touring coffee farms, eating local food and hiking. It was quite honestly one of the most enjoyable two days of my life. Sure, you can go to Colombia’s Eje Cafetero, Colombia’s world famous coffee axis, but why pass up this gorgeous region only a couple of hours from Bogota?
I did my adventure through Andes EcoTours, which specializes in excursions to off-the-beaten-path areas, and sustainable tourism. Andes EcoTours deserves a large amount of the credit for the adventure being so enjoyable for me, with their friendly, knowledgeable and professional tour guides, as well as smooth logistics.
One of the main draws of the adventure was going to coffee farms and observing the process that is involved in making coffee. More accurately, I got to participate in the process. That’s right: I got to participate in the whole process, right from picking the coffee beans to serving up a cup of delicious coffee. Let me tell you, there was nothing more satisfying for me than enjoying a delicious cup of coffee; especially since I made it. Of course, the couple who owned the coffee farm, supervised the whole process.
As if the process of making my own cup of coffee from scratch wasn’t riveting enough, the next thing I knew, I was engaged in an intense game of Tejo – Colombia’s national sport. To put it simply, this game involves throwing a metal disc at a board that is mounted at a 45 degree angle, with clay on top, and Mechas – small envelopes containing gunpower – underneath. In addition to trying to get the metal disc to land as close to the center of the board as possible, the objective is to ignite the Mechas.
At night, the accommodations were a hacienda at an old coffee farm, which can be traced back to beginning of the commercial coffee trade in Colombia.
As is the case very often in life, perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the whole tour was the unexpected. I knew that the tour would involve a hike at some point, and after realizing how rugged the terrain is in that area, I was nervous about doing such a hike when I was not exactly in the best shape of my life. Sure enough, on the second and final day of the tour, I was taken for a several-hour-long hike through some of the most gorgeous landscape I have ever seen in my life. Along the way, I got to see some indigenous rock art, school children traveling to school on horseback, lush tropical vegetation which I literally had to hack through at times, and a delicious lunch at another farm.
I came to drink the coffee, and I stayed for the Tejo, food and the breathtakingly beautiful landscape!