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 !
some of the brands Hacienda Venecia sells beans to
Located in Hotel Casa Sana Agustin, a beautiful colonial house turned hotel, on one of the prettiest street corners in the old city; Alma’s speaks to the true colonial past of this wonderful city.
The menu shares many favorite Peruvian classics, with a mild influence of Colombian & Asian cuisines. Peruvian cuisine is quite in vogue throughout Colombia, thankfully.
The restaurant is open pretty much all the time, features courtyard dining and a lovely bar that opens during the evenings. Add in excellent service, cool AirCon and good wifi speed, and Alma quickly becomes the place to hide during the heat of the day. A great place to have a good coffee, bite of lunch and get some work done while visiting Cartagena.
Aji Miso marinated Chilean sea bass, grilled sweet chili shrimp, seaweed, and coconut miso sauce
Salmon tiradito with pink peppercorns, scallions, sea salt and Spanish olive oil
Asian tuna tar-tar tossed with ginger, onions and soy sauce served with avocado mash, papaya mole and yucca chips
The largest vegetable, fruit, cereals and grain supply market in Colombia, and the largest we have visited in the world. 420,000 square meters with 57 warehouses and 6,500 vendors. Adaily movement of 12.400 tonnes of produce. Visiting Corabastos makes you ask how there could possibly be a hungry person in this world. There is SO MUCH FOOD!
If you can, the best time to go is about 7:00am. Corabastos is not tourist friendly, so never go alone. Also keep in mind to dress down so as not to attract attention from the occasional pick pocketer; keep your wallet in safe place and hide your camera when not shooting.
If you actually intend on buying food, remember this is a whole sale market. The smallest amounts sold are individual crates or boxes. You can hire a porter for a few thousand pesos to walk with you and bring your boxes along for the journey.
If you are a serious market-eer, then it is well worth the trip. The sheer scale and smell is something we have see nowhere else. Try imagining 30m x 50m of nothing but carrots 3m high! Corebastos is on the edges of Bogota, about a one hour plus drive from central areas.