We had planned on taking a 16 hour overnight bus to get from Cartagena to San Jeronimo which we were both dreading. Luckily enough we remembered someone telling us that flights inside of Colombia were almost as cheap as taking the bus. We quickly had a look a few hours before we were about to hit the road and sure enough flights were 1 hour and almost identically priced as the bus so we both looked at each other and decided we would toss on our fancy clothes and hit the airport instead! When I say fancy clothes I mean the only pair of jeans we both brought and a clean shirt.
We arrived in Medellin and took a taxi followed by a bus to get to the small town of San Jeronimo. We had booked 4 nights at an amazing hostel called Hostel La Finca which is located way up in the Colombian country side surrounded by lush green rolling hills and all kinds of Finca's. A Finca is another term that Colombians use for a farm or acreage.
Being way up in the middle of no where there is no stores to get food so we quickly picked up groceries for the couple days and found a tuk tuk which was able to carry us, our bags, and our groceries for 35 minutes up a bumpy dirt road. Lets just say this was a new experience for me. Brianne had been in tuk tuk's many times in South East Asia so she knew what to expect. Our tuk tuk was the pimped ride of tuk tuk's. It almost looked like it had been sponsored by Fox Racing with a sound system and pink and black leather seats! Talk about riding in class. I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole way up to our hostel while dancing and singing at the same time!
We pulled up to Hostel La Finca and it was more then we expected by the pictures and reviews we found online. The maintenance of the property was very well kept with amazing plants, flowers, and almost every fruit tree you can think of spread out across the property. We immediately knew we had made a great decision to get out of the city and get a first hand experience of the countryside, people, and landscape that Colombia is known for. The hostel had everything we needed and more. The rooms were very big and comfortable, not to mention for the first time on our trip we had HOT WATER! The kitchen was big and fully supplied while the pool was always clean and crisp to cool off after completing one of the many activities you can do while there. They meals that were served by the hostel were not only affordable but extremely delicious and had a healthy serving so we were never left hungry. We were supplied with a binder with directions of how to get to every activity, what to bring, and time duration which was amazing so we could plan out our days and be fully prepared. Some of the activities included waterfalls, extreme hammocking (Yes that’s a thing), hikes, colonial tours, and much more. Our favorite part of the property was the waterfall they have. We spent multiple mornings feeling like we were isolated in the jungle and relaxing from the sounds of the waterfall while working on our sun burns! We literally could have spent 2 weeks at the hostel and did a different activity everyday with a whole new experience.
The staff and volunteers at the hostel were exceptional and extremely friendly. They made all of the guests feel at home by hanging around each evening and finding out 'our story'. They had an engaged interest in where we were from, what we did, our culture etc etc. If I had to describe the hostel in a couple words it would be peaceful and relaxing.
We ended up getting lucky enough to have a coffee tour set up for us by Alexis and Mathilde who are the owners of the hostel. Being that we were way up in the Colombian countryside we knew this was a tour we definitely didn’t want to pass up! From the moment we walked up to Reynoldo (The Coffee Tour operator/owner) he welcomed us like we were his family. He made us all feel special and his contagious smile for the 4 hours we were with him made you smile the whole time on the inside if not on the outside as well. We were blown away by the passion and pride he had in making coffee to the point that you could tell it was his dream and he wanted to do it for the rest of his life. Having someone that was so in love with his job was a direct reflection on the tour. It wasn’t rushed and he took extra time to make sure we understood each process and how it worked right up to getting to enjoy the coffee ourselves while visiting with him and his family on the farm. This sounds like a good time to mention that this was the BEST cup of coffee I have ever had in my life! Even Brianne who isn't much of a coffee connoisseur flirted her way into getting a 2nd and 3rd cup from Reynoldo. He liked her so much he sent us home with a bag of coffee to use on our trip so I guess I was okay with Reynoldo smooth talking Bri because like I said it was the best cup of coffee I have ever had so getting a bag of it seemed like a fair trade to me!
The other fascinating thing about Reynoldo and his family is that everyone lived together on the property in one house and seemed like they wouldn’t have it any other way. We were lucky enough to meet his parents and something about the Colombian culture is that people are incredibly proud of their parents and want you to meet them. This is much different from the culture back home when your friends come around and you try to hide your parents or tell them to 'go away'.
The 4 days proved to be amazing and being able to get another example of how fortunate we really are with our houses, cars, toys, and lifestyle compared to the Colombian people really helps you feel grateful. We often find that we complain about the littlest things back home when really in the big picture we should be taking a different mindset into our daily life. We continue to learn more everyday together about how we can be such spoiled brats and that each day is special and not to let them go by without taking full advantage. We challenge you all reading this to sit back for a moment and reminisce over not only the sacrifices your parents made so you can have the life you live but also how fortunate we are to live in a 1st world country that we can call home.
Next Stop: Medellin (Not before another tuk tuk ride karaoke back into San Jeronimo first!)