picture of our travel plan

picture of our travel plan

Path

15 months starting in St Petersburg,relaxing on the siberian-mongolian train to Bejing.
Exploring the Asian cultures, overland to Singapore, onto Indonesia and the Philipines before heading to South America via New Zealand.
Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Llama`s await before following the Pacific coast up through Peru,Ecudor to Colombia.
Then ancient temples, colonial towns and white beaches whilst travelling overland from Panama to Mexico in Central America !!!!

Samstag, 26. Juli 2014

Colombia - Zona Cafetera & Valle de Cocora


Leaving Papayan we took a bus 6 hours north through vast regions of sugar cain, to Armenia in the heart of the 'zona cafetera' the coffee region. A second bus took us to the small town of Salento which would be our home for the next 3 nights. Set amid gorgeous green mountains 24km northeast of Armenia, this small town survives on coffee production and trout farming. Tourists are drawn by its quaint streets, typical paisa architecture and its proximity to the spectacular Valle de Cocora. Our hostal which was called Tralala, was only 100 meters from the main plaza and was very colourful and lively in the evening.

Visiting a coffee farm here is a must, and with so many to choose from we decided to visit a small organic charismatic coffee grower called Don Elias who had recieved glowing reviews. The 5km walk to the farm took us through stunning scenery. For 6000 KOP (€2.50) we was shown around the plantation, picked our own beans and was shown the process from beginning to end, finishing with us drinking our own coffee. As this was an organic farm it was interested to see the coffee plants growing next to different fruit trees which preventing the insects from attacking the coffee. A coffee plants produces 2kg of coffee beans a year from 2 harvests, and the plant lasts around 16 years. Walking back to the town we took an alternative route which was just as impressive.

The next day we took a pimped-out Willy to the Valle de Cocora, these old Americn Jeeps can be found everywhere in this region. Willy jeeps are such an integral part of rural Colombian culture that a 'yipao' is a legitimate measure of agricultural products that you can fit into a jeep (it's about 20-25 sacks of oranges).

In a country full of beautiful landscapes, Valle de Cocora is one of the most striking. We took a popular 4.5 hour hike, through 11 km of valleys, jungles, wooden river bridges, a dense cloud forest and finishing with lush green meadows filled with palma de cera (wax palm). The wax palm is the highest palm in the world reaching 60 meters tall and is Colombia's national tree. We also saw many humming birds, but even with a nice camera was still difficult to get a good clear picture due to the speed of their wings.