If you've drank coffee anytime in the last 2 decades, there's a good chance that it came from Colombia. Colombia has been known for its coffee and is one of the staples of its economy and one of its biggest exports.
Colombian Coffee Beans
Colombian Coffee Beans
Colombia has great weather conditions that allow it to produce the best quality coffee in the world. Coffee growing and farming in Colombia is taken as seriously as wine development in California or France.
Not only is coffee one of Colombia's biggest exports, but it also provides a lot of tourism opportunities. As travel conditions have improved in Colombia, many coffee farms have taken on a bed and breakfast approach, providing accomodations, and great hospitality and the chance to tour a fully operational coffee farm and taste the best coffee in the world.
Tours are usually inexpensive, and accomodations are plentiful. There are over 700 coffee farms listed in Colombia, mostly clustered along a region known as the "eje cafetero" or the coffee region which is a mountainous area about 100 miles west of Bogota. Colombians frequent these farms a lot to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, and for good reason. A coffee farm is a tranquil place with great weather, beautiful landscapes, lots of outdoor activities, and lots to experience.
A typical coffee tour consists of a horseback ride or hike through a real life coffee plantation where you can see how the beans are grown and watch the farmers hand pick the unique beans that give you your fresh cup of coffee every morning. You will be surprised and amazed by the beauty of the countryside and the complicated mechanics of a working coffee farm. You will be schooled in the history of the coffee trade and how it has shaped the culture of Colombia as well as how it is packaged, and sent off to be used in your coffee maker at home. Finally, you will experience friendly people, a quiet, serene nights rest, and an abundance of other activities that make up Colombia's coffee region.
Be sure not to miss the coffee museum with a big amusement park called el Parque Nacional del Cafe. Here you will find a wide range of exciting tours attractions, entertainment and rides. Great for the kids. Just don't give them too much coffee.
The coffee region is centered around 3 towns, Manizales, Piedra, and Armenia. Everywhere you go around these areas, you find coffee farms and coffee related amusements. The coffee region is located in the mountains, about 100 miles West of Bogota. This area operates similarly to how Napa Valley in California operates, but with coffee, not wine.
It help to know a little spanish in this area becuase this is still a growing tourist area and is still mostly Colombians. The ideal situation would be to go here with a Colombian since they enjoy going as well and having them show you around.
Regardless of how you choose to spend your Colombian vacation, you should definitely consider at least bringing back some fresh Colombian coffee to use at home and/or for gifts for friends. I promise you that after experiencing fine Colombian coffee, your morning cup will never be the same.