Starting your tour with a journey up a gravel road to a wonderful Finca that produces not only prize-winning coffee but wonderful, sweet cacao and an unimaginable variety of organic tropical fruits. You’ll be greeted with a smile and a refreshing freshly made juice before starting your tour of this astounding farm.
Walking into the valley you’ll feel like you are on another planet surrounded by cacao, coffee, exotic fruits, wonderful nature, birds, and wild bamboo. Your guide will be explaining to you the complete process of the production of both the Cacao and Coffee, as you’re walking through this lush paradise. You’ll cross a small hand-made bridge to continue your journey through the plantations and into a forest of thick bamboo.
Next, you’ll begin your journey up and out of the valley to discover more trees of exotic fruits, along with many wild-growing fruits such as pineapples. You’ll come to a 120-year-old house made of Bahareque (a mix of timber, bamboo, mud, and cattle pooh in the construction of the walls). Once here you’ll not only be shown, but you’ll also get involved with roasting the cacao and coffee beans on the 100-year old stovetop, and actually make the freshest coffee possible, along with some of the richest chocolate you’ll ever try in your life.
This isn’t just a tour where you watch and learn these wonderful artisan methods. This is an experience where you’ll get the chance to make and enjoy the coffee and dark chocolate as they have for hundreds of years.
By now, you’ll be feeling a bit peakish and will head back into the town for a scrumptious lunch at one of the many restaurants and a bit of “me-time” before your afternoon adventure to an artisan trapiche (panela factory).
Traveling for a short time, you’ll pull off the main road and up a long driveway to the source of some of the finest panela produced in Colombia.
The production here runs all year long and begins in the fields with the backbreaking work of cutting the sugarcane by hand with a machete. This work begins as the sun comes up and continues throughout the day until the setting of the sun in the evening. The sugarcane is then transported to a Trapiche on the back of a mula (a cross between a donkey and a horse) where it is pressed to allow the green sugarcane juice within to escape, and the discarded stalks set aside to fuel the fires burning for this day’s production.
The sugarcane green juice is then moved into a process of boiling, stirring, mixing, and scooping the boiling liquid from pan to pan. Continuing for some time until the syrup has processed enough to be removed to a tray where it begins to cool and thicken. At this time, it is moved, twisted, and turned until it begins to take a new fudge-like form. This is then molded into Panela patties and set aside to cool down completely before it is wrapped and packed for sale.
Once you’ve learned all there is to know about the finer details of this artisan craft dating back over 500 years into the 1600s, you’ll begin your relaxing journey back to your accommodation with the fresh smell and taste of fresh and healthy panela on your mind.