Category Archives: Zona Cafetera

Zona Cafetera, Quindio, Armenia Risaralda

Hacienda Venecia – Caldas, Colombia

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Hacienda Venecia

(57) 320 636 5719
Vereda el Rosario (vía Chinchiná in the coffee motorway)
Manizales, Caldas, Colombia

www.haciendavenecia.com

Hacienda Venecia is a full operational coffee farm  in the picturesque Zona Cafetera in Colombia; Not far from Manizales, a 6 hour drive from Medellin.

While exploring this lush area, the Hacienda Venencia is a good place to stop and even spend the night, as the Hacienda offers two lodging  options.  A beautiful hundred year old  hacienda house, surrounded by gorgeous gardens, with  a pool and free roaming turkeys!  As well as a newer  house transformed into a hostel, with a shared kitchen, both shared and private bathrooms as well as a camping area with beautiful view over the coffee plantations.

We did not stay the night, but the other tourists we met briefly seemed very happy.  A few were part of a state-wide bird watching tour.

The Zona Cafetera in Colombia has the ideal altitude (3600 to  6000 feet) to grow the highly valued arabica strain.  At the hacienda, we took a day long coffee class, that starts with a walk through the plantations, viewing the different states of the grains.  Then you are guided through the entire process of fermenting, drying etc.  And the end of the afternoon,  we gathered in the Hostel house to compare the smells of the different coffee grains to a standardized library of aromas; all the while  drinking a lot of coffee !!

Funny enough, we found that many of the brands we knew from around the world sourced their beans direct from the Hacienda Valencia !!  There are many different farms to visit in this rolling green paradise; pick one and go !

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Hacienda-Venecia-001some of the brands Hacienda Venecia sells beans to
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Jardin Botánico del Quindío – Armenia, Colombia

Jardin Botanico Quindio, Colombia

Jardin Botánico del Quindío

(57) 67427254
(57) 310 404 5223
Avenida Centenario 15-190, Kilómetro 3 Vía al Valle
Calarcá Quindío, Colombia

www.jardinbotanicoquindio.org

OPEN HOURS:
10:00am – 5:00pm
(above photo © Johana Arias)

The Botanical Gardens in Quindio, Colombia is small and special.  The entire space covers 15 hectares (36 acres) of which only 3 hectares (7.2 Acres) are open for  public visits. This is a lovely theme in Colombian parks.  Their main goal is to conserve, such that a large portion of parkland is set aside and not available for public access.

Walking the winding paths through the forests one can identify (with the help of the cheery, knowlegable guides) many species of palm trees.  Colombia has the second largerst diversity of palms in the world with 235 known varieties.  At the garden in Quindio, you can enjoy 150 of these species spread though the forest.

Another Botanical attraction is the wide assortment of ferns, giving the park its Jurassic feel.  Ferns are the most ancient of plants on earth; so old that they predate seeds, and reproduce with spores.  They are everywhere at the botanical garden from smaller ground dwellers to the arboreal, tree-like, ferns.  The Heliconias or birds of paradise, is another species demonstrating its wide variation, with 71 species are on display.

The main selling point of the garden is the Mariposario – or butterfly house.  This net structure is built in the shape of a butterfly and is home to an array of surprisingly friendly butterflies.  If you go slow and gentle, you can easily have one of the large Owl butterflies as your ride-along companion.

Jardin Botanico Quindio, Colombia

What makes this particular garden wonderful is its mix of accessibility and wildness.  The paths are clear, but minimal, outlined with Guadua taken from the fallen stalks that decorate the forest.  The local Guadua – a species of bamboo native to the region and the strongest in the world – has its complete life cycle on full display.  With visible specimens ranging from young sprouts  to full adulthood.  Interestingly, The Guadua achieves its full high within the first 6 months of its life and can vary between 5 – 30 meters in height and a diameter  between 2 -22 cm.  As the  the guadua reaches towards its full height, it sheds its a paper-like skin along the way.  As they age, the stalks slant over and decompose creating a geometric pattern throughout the forest. The guadua also performs an amazing water purifying process.  Each morning it absorbs water from its surroundings and then releases it purified and perfect that at dusk!

Jardin Botanico Quindio, Colombia

Other interesting spots adorn the park, such as the small, camouflaged bird-watching cabin; with simple seating and one-way glass, overlooking a beautiful garden where fresh fruits attract the colorful local birds.  There is also a fun suspension bridge over a deep gully, a mini-maze and one of the region’s popular lookout towers.

Jardin Botanico Quindio, Colombia

 Jardin Botanico Quindio, Colombia

Jardin Botanico Quindio, Colombia

Jardin Botanico Quindio, Colombia


Jardin Botanico Quindio, Colombia

    Jardin Botanico Quindio, Colombia

Jardin Botanico Quindio, Colombia

Jardin Botanico Quindio, Colombia

Jardin Botanico Quindio, Colombia

Jardin Botanico Quindio, Colombia

 Jardin Botanico Quindio, Colombia

 Jardin Botanico Quindio, Colombia