I love coffee. Having lived in the Bay Area for the past seven years (minus the past year of backpacking), I can safely say I’m a coffee snob. I’m not so bad as to swirl a mug and say something like “There’s notes of pencil shavings in the nose,” but I can definitely taste things like over-extraction and bitterness, and I will go way out of my way for a good cup of single origin, third wave coffee. Planning our trip to South America, we were interested to tour a Colombia coffee farm, but we weren’t expecting Colombia coffee to be some of the best coffee we’ve ever had. Turns out that we were very wrong. During our Colombia coffee farm tour in Salento – a must-visit town in Colombia’s beautiful Eje Cafetero, the coffee region – we learned that Colombian coffee has been sorely mistreated in the USA. Colombian coffee isn’t meant to be dark roasted and bitter (and shouldn’t be relegated to the likes of Folgers)! We tasted farm fresh light and medium roasted coffee and learned about the truth behind Colombian coffee straight from the sourec.
Colombia is one of the world’s biggest coffee exporters to USA. What that means is that all the best beans go stateside and Colombia gets the second class run off. So typically, Colombian coffee is best enjoyed outside of Colombia.
That is, unless you go on a Colombian coffee farm tour.
We took Colombia coffee farm tours in both Minca and Salento, and by far our favorite Colombia coffee farm tour experience was Finca el Ocaso in Salento!
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Visiting Finca el Ocaso in Salento
One afternoon in Salento, Colombia, Lia and I strapped on our Camelback, popped an SD Card in our camera, zipped up our luxury tent flaps, said adios to the resident hostel puppy, and headed down the street from our hostel (the scenic and incredible La Serrana) to Finca el Ocaso, aka Ocaso Coffee Farm. Finca el Ocaso is probably the most well known and widely advertised coffee farm in the Salento area, which we usually find off putting, but their reviews were great so we decided to give it a shot.
But first, of course, we started on our 2 km downhill stroll in the most us way possible: by going the wrong way.
Instead of taking the road we were supposed to, we took a sketch overgrown trail on accident. It was going in the right general direction so we saw it to the end, where it thankfully met the actual road (which is why this post is about doing a Colombia coffee farm tour, instead of getting lost in a coffee plantation somewhere in Colombia and having to find our way back to civilization). Even though we technically got lost for a while, it was an easy walk and we were #blessed with sweeping views of the surrounding landscape: Colombia coffee farms as far as the eye can see! Salento is absolutely stunning, y’all.
Finca el Ocaso has handy inspirational signs that countdown the distance for you along the way, which kept us in high spirits as we approached the coffee farm. But once we reached the cheerful “0 meters left!” sign, we realized the signs were full of lies and we still had the obscenely long driveway to walk up.
As we approached the farmhouse, we were greeted by a farmer taking a break in the shade of a banana tree, because everyone in Colombia is the most friendly person ever. We meandered around the winding driveway and took in the gorgeous view of the grounds. Finca el Ocaso looks exactly like what you’d imagine a picturesque Colombia coffee farm to look like: a red and white colonial farmhouse set in a lush green landscape, with a cheerful road winding right up to it.
Colombia Coffee Farm Tour at Finca el Ocaso
Lia and I combined managed to pick only 4 ripe berries in 15 minutes. We would make terrible coffee farmers.
We finished our Colombia coffee farm tour with a cup of delicious, first class Colombian coffee, roasted and ground right in front of us. It was sweet and acidic and everything you’d expect from an organic, single origin, small batch cup of coffee (and I say that with the snobbiest of fancy coffee expectations).
Third Wave Coffee in Colombia
Practical Information about the Finca el Ocaso Salento Coffee Tour
- Cost: 10.000 COP/ $3.50 for a basic tour; or 50.000 COP/$17 for a premium tour
- What to Expect: 1.5 hours of exploring the plantation, learning about the coffee production process, and of course a delicious cup of fresh made Colombian coffee. Tours are offered in both English and Spanish.
- Hours: Tours are offered daily at regular intervals from 9am until 4pm. Tour times can be found here.
- How to get to Finca el Ocaso: From some hostels, like La Serrana, you can walk! From the center plaza of Salento, take a Willy. This is the only form of public transportation in Salento, and it’s super fun. For more inforation on Willys and other forms of Colombian transportation, we have a whole guide to transit in Colombia.
Practical Information about Visiting Salento, Colombia
- How to get to Salento: We took a bus from Medellin – it was cheap and incredibly scenic, but also 12 hours long. Alternatively, you can fly from anywhere within Colombia to Periera or Armenia, and bus from there. We’ve got more information on how we got to Salento in our massive Colombia itinerary post.
- What else to do in Salento: Salento is a haven for lovers of the outdoors (and coffee, obviously). The most famous and beautiful hike in all of Colombia is here: the Valle de Cocora. You can spend your days horseback riding, trekking, bird watching, or just relaxing and watch the sun set over the valley. Honestly, Salento was our favorite place to relax in Colombia, and that’s saying a lot, because we loved everywhere in Colombia.
- Where to stay in Salento: We highly recommend La Serrana for both budget and mid-range. We’ve written a full review of our stay in their luxury glamping tents. There are also plenty of fantastic hostels in Salento. If you’re willing to spend a little more, you can actually stay in the farmhouse at Finca el Ocaso!
Psst: We’ve got a ton of other resources for Colombia that you’ll want to look at before your trip!
- What to Pack for Colombia
- The Best Hostels in Colombia
- Colombia Itinerary: Ultimate Guide to 1 Month of Backpacking Colombia
- 30 Things Nobody Tells You About Backpacking in Colombia
- A Complete Guide to Transportation in Colombia
- The Best Colombian Food: What to Eat in Colombia
If you’re interested in coffee, how about visiting a coffee farm in Thailand? Oh, and did you know that we have a third wave coffee shop guide to Lima, Peru?
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