Cartagena Coffee Triangle -
South America

The Coffee Triangle

Our direct flight from Ft Lauderdale will take us to another world, Colombia’s Coffee Triangle. The three areas that make up the triangle; Caldas, Risaralda and Quindío yield nearly half of Colombia’s coffee crop. The combination of pleasant temperatures, abundant green valleys, fertile lands and extraordinary snowy peaks meld together to produce some of the world’s finest coffee. Our visit to this interesting mountainous spot is a journey back in time to a more tranquil and traditional Colombia, where people live on farms and coffee is king. By staying in a typical coffee hacienda we will live surrounded by lush pristine nature, learn the coffee culture, meet warm and friendly locals and enjoy a true adventurous ecological experience.

Day 1: We depart for our direct flight from Ft Lauderdale Airport to Armenia, Colombia. Private transport has been arranged to take us to a charming Coffee Hacienda know as “Hotel Bosque El Saman,” designed in a rustic style that fits our experience. Staying in a “Finca” or Hacienda provides an opportunity to get a feel for the district’s ambience and harmony and a great place to relax after a day of exploring. On our way to the Hotel we stop to visit the Butterfly Museum and Botanical Garden, Calarca Quindio.

After check-in you have the remainder of the afternoon free to enjoy the hotel’s facilities. El Bosque del Saman is an old farm surrounded by extensive coffee plantations and offers comfortable accommodations, superior service and a popular restaurant, all in a carefully reconstructed environment with an unforgettable view.
Tonight we will gather for a welcome dinner and typical dance show provided at the Hotel in our honor. For a glimpse of the Hotel click here.

Overnight: Hotel Bosque El Saman
Meals: Welcome Dinner


The coffee region for many people is the heart and soul of Colombia, it’s a cultural epicenter. With every turn, a spectacular panorama changes your perspective, from the rolling hillsides of fertile coffee plantations to plunging valleys and high mountains. “Campesino” or rural life continues as it has for centuries--planting and harvesting coffee, plantains and many other fruits in this lush and fertile land. A visit to the Coffee Triangle permits you to experience the tranquility of the region. It also offers the opportunity for adventure and friendly encounters with locals going about their daily lives.
So hang onto your hats, here we go on our fun filled day !!!

Day 2: Full day tour of Filandia, Valle Cocora and Salento
Early this morning following our typical Colombian Breakfast we depart for a full day of adventure. Coffee is the heart and soul of this area and today you will see how this simple bean affects Colombians and many other people the world over, who enjoy the delicious flavor of fine coffee. Our Coffee tour will leave you with a lasting impression of life in the coffee region. As we travel thru its quaint towns and marvel at the stunning views in our string of “Willys” World War II Jeeps, the traditional means of transportation in the region, we’ll see many local folks hard at work on the steep slopes of the coffee plantations. Passing thru Filandia with its quaint architecture we stop at the Mirador del Quindo lookout, for a Kodak moment then onto Lunch in Cocora. Our welcome drink of Canelaso will be waiting for our arrival. Here we see the tallest wax palm in the world and take an hour horseback ride to the cloud forest. Lunch will be served at Juan B. Restaurant where you can choose the house specialty “golden garlic trout” or one of the other delicious choices. We will return via the town of Salento famous for its architecture, arts and crafts workshops, exquisite desserts, and the impressive lookout to the valley, arriving back at our Hotel in time to freshen up for dinner.
Overnight: Hotel Bosque El Saman
Meals: B/L/D

Juan Valdez is a fictional character that has appeared in advertisements for the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia since 1959, representing the Colombian coffee farmer. He typically appears alongside his mule Conchita, carrying sacks of harvested coffee beans. He has become an icon for Colombia as well as coffee in general.


Day 3: Learn about the Coffee Process, Coffee Tasting and Canopy Walk above the Coffee Plantations.
Today it won’t be necessary to leave the area. Right here at the Bosque del Saman, in the heart of the triangle of coffee we can enjoy and learn step by step everything about the coffee process, from cultivation to the benefits of the bean. Here we can personally interact in the process; by collecting the ripe beans from the trees, placing them in the sun to dry on bamboo stretchers, participate in the manual roasting process, grinding and final proper preparation, culminating in tasting delicious cups of gourmet coffee.


  • Coffee seeds come from a bean that grows on bushes; it is green and sweet, I was told. Sure enough I peeled one of the green beans, pulled out the seed and tasted it. It’s a common candy among coffee growers and is indeed very sweet.
  • With time (about 1 month) the green bean becomes red, after turning red it becomes dark purple or brown
  • At this point the bean is very dry and it’s very easy to extract the seed, which is what we know as the coffee bean.
  • From here the seeds are baked under the sun in large trays until they are finally sold.

Later in the day you can choose to participate in the 7 canopy walks above the coffee plantations. It’s a safe exciting way to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Coffee Plantation. Or if don’t relish such experiences you may choose to relax near the pool area.
Overnight: Hotel Bosque El Saman
Meals: B/L/D

Day 4: Flight to Cartagena. Panoramic City Tour. Dance Show/ Class/Dinner
Early this morning we bid farewell to this laid back experience as we’re driven to the airport for our flight to exciting, fun-filled, beautiful Cartagena. Upon arrival we will be met by our private transport for a short overview tour of Cartagena to acclimate you to the charms of this City. Following our check-in to the El Marques Boutique Hotel, an 8-room Hacienda built in the seventeenth century, located in the historic center of the city, we’ll have time to freshen up before our luncheon experience.

Our horse-drawn carriages await us as we exit our hotel for our procession thru this exotic, elegant, 17th century, Spanish Colonial City. The horses will be headed for “Santisimo” a restaurant serving first-class, delicious foods in imaginative ways. It’s only a few minutes walk back to our hotel after lunch, but we’ll make several stops along the way to see some of the historic sites and Plazas. The rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy our small hotel which offers a great lounge and bar opened to the inner courtyard. You can also book massages in the upstairs spa and relax by the pool. Outside, upscale shops are only a few steps away.

In the evening we have an appointment at my friend’s restaurant the “Bazurto Social Club.” (I once met Gabriel Garcia Marques here, a Colombian who won the Nobel Prize for Literature.) A Latin Dance show has been arranged followed by a private dance class and dinner. In addition to the well known dance steps such as the Merenque, Salsa and the Rumba, Colombian dance includes true African rhythms. The sounds of drums, clapping of hands and entrancing voices accompanies the dancers in their untiring rhythmic movements. The dancers jump, coordinating their hands and feet in swift motions, swaying their hips, back and forth and side to side. The man’s flirtatious movements are meant to attract his partner, while the woman responds with sensual swinging of her body. Some of this dance was brought to South America by enslaved African people during the colonization period and has evolved throughout decades. Nearby are several night spots within walking distance, where we can try out our new skills. One of my favorites is the Havana Club which is always lively.
Overnight: El Marques Boutique Hotel
Meals: B/L/D

Day 5: Early this morning, following breakfast we will go to the Marina to board the private “Majagua San Pedro” boat to Islas del Rosario, a small island less than an hour off the coast of Cartagena. This luxurious spot is in keeping with environmentally friendly practices. In addition to the relaxing private boat to and from the Island we will enjoy a welcome drink upon arrival, full use of towels, changing rooms and chaise lounges on the beach where you can spend the day relaxing. We also include in your day a boat trip around the island and a brief tour of San Martin de Pajarales Aquarium as well as a wonderful full course lunch served at your private table under the shade of the huge rubber trees. If you are so inclined, you can make arrangements at a small extra cost for a mini diving course, snorkeling, kayaks, sunfish, ecological walks or an outdoor massage. We will return to Cartagena near sunset, just in time to have a drink at the wonderful Café del Mar located on the fortress wall. From our vantage point we can sip our drinks, reminisce about our beautiful day and watch the sun slowly dip beneath the horizon of the sea. If you are in the mood for dinner later we will give you recommendations for several different types of restaurants but after a day like this I will probably choose to go to Piccolos, an outdoor café on the main street for some great pizza and a cerveza.
Overnight: El Marques Boutique Hotel
Meals: B/L

Day 6: Today you can spend your time enjoying Cartagena as you wish. If you so desire we can arrange a massage in the Spa, a shopping trip to the Armory Handicraft Market or a visit to an Emerald workshop. Everything is convenient to you where you are staying so you may want to explore on your own or just relax.

This evening we have planned a special farewell dinner. Cocktails and Hor D’oeuvres will be served in my lounge upstairs, followed by a private dinner in the wine cave located under our Hotel.
After our delicious meal we will try our luck at the Rio Casino downtown. My friend Andres who is the manager will be waiting there to present us each with a welcome drink and $25.000 Colombian pesos in chips to fuel our lucky streak. The Rio is a classy spot with a variety of gambling activities. It’s going to be hard to leave Colombia; we have had so much fun. But this is our last night, so stay as late as you wish.
Overnight: El Marques Boutique Hotel
Meals: B/D

Day 7: Non-stop flight to Miami
This morning it’s time to say our goodbyes before our airport taxis arrive. We are hoping you will join us again on another of our Luxury Adventures sometime soon. Ciao, Barbara

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