Colombia - Hacienda Guayabal & the Zona Cafetera
About five hrs by bus from the south terminal in Medellin is the pueblo of Chinchina. Another ten minute cab ride from this nondescript place is Hacienda Guayabal. Tucked away nicely in the rolling hills this working coffee plantation is 100 hectares of peaceful bliss and is a place where your coffee cup is never dry. Not yucky gas station coffee or fast food joint coffee either. This is the real deal, grown here, harvested here, roasted here and poured in your cup here. I can say that this was the best coffee I have ever tasted.
This place is not really for those on a strict hostel trekking budget, but if you have been holding back for a good splurge or a celebration or even to just kick back and be pampered, by all means come here. You will be glad you did.
Ok right off the bat the price (at the time of this writing) for a matrimonio (double) which includes breakfast is COP $45,000 or about $23US per person. Or you can get the all inclusive for COP $85,000 or about $50US per person. This option includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, with desert. They really do a great job of taking care of you. A gentleman here will ask you what time you want your meal served, always checks to see if you want an espresso or other coffee, or...heaven forbid some other beverage. Speaking of which, beer was included with the meals. The rooms are fine, ours included a big TV, which we never turned on. Who needs to watch TV when you have all that beautiful scenery everywhere you can see. The wifi was free and worked quite well. The upper floor has a large wide full length balcony/walkway that has chairs & small tables for sitting, relaxing, playing cards, etc. Overall very comfortable and muy tranquilo. There are a myriad of tropical birds about as well, which always is a plus in my mind. The pool is also a refreshing way to finish off a day...or maybe even start one.
The views are beautiful, as you can see 360 degrees of rolling hills in the foreground as well as mountains in the background. Many different shades of green, punctuated with varying colors from the many types of flowering tropical plants that also call this place home. It was so great to see all the coffee growing all around. But of all the things that we enjoyed, none topped the Londono family, whose hospitality and friendliness was not to be out done. Sra. Londono was a joy to talk to and her meals were prepared like she was making them for her family. She always had a smile on her face and was always making sure that everything was perfect for our stay as well as the other guests. Her son, Jorge Londono was also helping out at the Hacienda. His knowledge of the whole coffee process was amazing and I no longer look at coffee as just another hot beverage. He was obviously passionate about coffee and passionate about the quality of Colombian coffee that his "finca de cafe" produced. These folks made you feel like part of their family and we had the most relaxing and enjoyable time during our trip to Colombia right here at the Hacienda.
We arranged to go on the coffee tour which cost $20,000 COP or about $10 US per person. We stuck with a Spanish speaking guide, but you can ask for an English speaking guide for an additional $5,000 COP or about $2.50 more a person. Our guide was an exceptional gal and was extremely well versed in everything about the production of coffee. Our tour was with four other people and lasted about 4.5 hours in all. We even got to pick coffee out in the fields. We were shown why Colombian coffee is truly the best in the world and what makes the coffee from Guayabal so high quality. The tour ended with Jorge explaining & demonstrating how to make a perfect cup of espresso. This was followed up by our guide presenting all of us with very nicely made certificates, which made for a great keepsake of the coffee tour. Then we all sat down for lunch and enjoyed each other's company chatting about the tour and Colombia in general. A very relaxing and fun way to spend a morning and part of the afternoon.
We ended up spending four days & three nights at Hacienda Guayabal. I think I have mentioned it more than once in this writing, but it bears mentioning again...You will have a great time here and feel like you are welcomed into the Londono family. We are looking forward to another stay the next time we are in Colombia.
To get here go to the south bus terminal in Medellin and go to the "Flota Occidental" ticket booth. Ask for tickets to "Chinchina" (chin-cheena). The trip takes about 5 hrs, maybe 4.5 if you are lucky. Then when you get off the bus hail a cab to "Hacienda Guayabal". The cab ride takes about 10 minutes and will take you well off the beaten path, but don't worry, you will arrive to a very nice site. The bus ride cost (at the time of this writing) COP $30,000 or about $15US per person. The cab should be COP $7,000 - $8,000 per person, so be sure and negotiate this cost prior to getting in the cab. If the driver won't negotiate, hail a different cab.
A few more images from our stay at Hacienda Guayabal...
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