Colombia's Quindio department is seeking to attract tourists to the nation's verdant coffee growing region by promoting tours of coffee plantations on a private hacienda.
Hacienda San Alberto in Buenavista, Quindio houses three farms built on some 45 hectares of countryside and is located 33km from the coffee zone capital Armenia. The three farms, each built gradually higher than the last, provide visitors with panoramic views of the Quindio hills and the celebrated Cauca Valley, reported newspaper El Tiempo.
The hacienda, at an altitude of 1,400 metres and with a climate of both rain and sunshine, has an ideal climate for coffee cultivation, explained Juan Pablo Villota, owner of the brand Café San Alberto.
San Alberto offers tours focused on traditional Colombian coffee culture, in which guests learn about collection, production and tasting of coffee.
On the tour guests are encouraged to wander through the plantations, gathering the coffee beans themselves. They can then watch the beans be selected and separated by hand.
After choosing the best specimens, the tasting process begins in laboratories where the coffee is roasted in different ways to produce varying flavours and aromas.
At the end of the tour, guests can relax on the terrace of each farm and sip on a locally picked, roasted and brewed coffee.
Tours of the Hacienda are open to both guests and visitors.
If the idea sounds tempting, return flights from Bogota to Armenia will cost around 500,000 pesos per person. Less pricey buses link all major cities to Armenia, and the town of Buenavista is located some 20 minutes drive outside Armenia.
Between December 15 and January 15 the Hacienda San Alberto will be offering free coffee plantation tours (without coffee tasting), and the complete tour costs 100,000 pesos per person.