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.
OPEN HOURS: 7:00am -7:00pm Tuesday – Saturday
9:00am -5:00pm Sunday
As of 2013, Maison Grazia is the best pastry shop in all Colombia. French pastry chef Raphael Haasz, formerly of Daniel in NYC ,and his lovely Colombian wife Claudia Oyuelo (head chef – trained at the French Culinary Institute also in NY and also worked at Daniel) bring to Colombia a taste of elegant food. In a City where most restaurants are just a mediocre discolored copy of European and American favorites, this is sorely needed!
Beyond the beautiful fact that they bring excellent quality, attention to detail, top ingredients, they bring knowledge and education to the local palates via their short classes. For example, Grazia is probably the only place in Colombia that you can find real ice-cream. Prepared in the classic way, with actual diary, eggs, cream, flavor and NO corn syrup! absolute joy for every foodie and expat in the country 🙂
There are also madeleines served out of the oven (the traditional french way). Serving Breakfast, Brunch, lunch, coffee, tea time and early drinks – anytime is the perfect time to go.
The viennoiseries and breads, always better just out of the Oven, were a part of our daily schedule during our last months in Bogota. We used to buy them a day ahead and know the baking schedule, arriving just as they were ready to pull apart in a crusty joy. Maison Grazia is right on the courner of carrera quinta and calle 69. A lovely space that combines inside and outside with a slick black facade. A five meter tall vertical garden that serves as a backdrop to the glass island pastry counter tricks out the design and furniture concept by Oda Asociados Ltda.
Thank you Chefs – you have finally brought true culinary artistry to Colombia!
On the Caribbean coast of Colombia, 10 km north of the world famous Parque Tayrona, is Playa Koralia ~ a very pretty and secluded hotel.
Playa Koralia offers the wide empty beaches that one dreams about over the long days looking out the window at an asphalted cityscape. One can literaly walk to the water and look left and right up and down the beach and not see another sign of habitation. Combine this with elegant bungalows, outdoor dining and beach-side bar and one has found the ultimate getaway.
I would recommend a longer stay – it is after 2-3 days when the peace of Koralia really begins to take hold. You suddenly find what life is/was without deadlines, appointments, schedules and people telling you what to do. You want to wake at 5, grab a lunch and go bird-watching? Koralia is there for you. You want to dance till the wee-hours, sleep late and wake up to a lush breakfast? Koralia provides. Lay on the beach reading, scour the mountains trekking, climb to high lagoons or surf – You can truly, finally do what you want to do without asking permission – be free and visit Playa Koralia – Colombia’s sundrenched gem!