Guatemala Recap

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Length of Stay:

  • 4 days, 5 nights

Itinerary

  • Day 1:
    • Exploring Antigua
    • Visiting the Chocolate Museum
    • Trying out some new cuisine
  • Day 2:
  • Day 3:
  • Day 4:
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Beautiful ruins in the middle of Antigua (thanks @GPSMyCity)

Highs:

  • Volcanoes… so many volcanoes
  • The friendly locals

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Low:

  •  An inordinate amount of trash seems to gather around otherwise beautiful outdoor places (it makes me sad)

Favorite Hike:

  • The favorite hike that did was probably Pacaya Volcano, even though the altitude gave me a run for my money. I heard that the Indian’s Nose hike at the Lake is stupendous for sunrises, but, sadly, I didn’t have enough time to do this one.

Favorite Treat:

  • Luna de Miel in Antigua makes crêpes. Although this particular cuisine is not distinctive to Latin America, the savory Pepina option combines a French delicacy with a Guatemalan staple. Yum.
  • Traditional Guatemalan breakfast: scrambled eggs with tomatoes and onions, sweet plantains, a wedge of queso, some fruit, and coffee. Random, but filling and healthy.

 

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From Seed to Cup: My Visit to a Coffee Farm

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Straight rows of tiny well-cared-for plants.

Tall trees generous with sharing their shade.

Gorgeous mountains surrounding it all.

As an avid coffee drinker, visiting a coffee farm or roasting plant has been on my bucket list for a quite a few years. You can imagine my surprise (and delight) when I found this little gem tucked into the volcanic footholds of Guatemala: Filadelfia. While it’s name sounds similar to the City of Brotherly Love, this farm/”resort” is a family owned and operated business that had been passed down throughout multiple generations.

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At times, it felt more like a jungle and less like a farm!

First of all, the grounds (pun intended) were gorgeous! Some lucky visitors get to stay in the lodgings just a stone throw’s away from where the coffee is grown and processed. Can you imagine waking up to the smell of thousands of pounds of beans being roasted? Or looking out your window and seeing the beautiful coffee beans being carefully raked as they dried in the sun?

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A glimpse of the resort, with the drying patio in the foreground.

The tour I took was top-notch. Carlos explained everything from the nursery to the cup. I got to practice picking some bright red berries, and tasting the mellow sweetness of the mesocarp. A Unimog truck toted me around the fields, and I lavished the joy of being outside in such an interesting place. Even when I was indoors, witnessing the complex coffee-berry-washing system, I relished the experience of seeing such a tiny little plant turned into yummy high octane fuel.

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Ready to pick!

Lastly, the coffee was delicious. I enjoyed a cup while I walked around the farm and looked more closely at the birds and plants surrounding the main production facility. It was a fun morning, and this particular pilgrimage is definitely one that I’ll remember for a long time to come.

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If You Decide to Go:

  • Depending on the time of year, you may get to see more or less of the entire coffee-producing process. Apparently during the harvest months (November and December), it’s possible to witness more “action” in regards to the picking and roasting. I went during a national holiday, so it was very peaceful and quiet, but I didn’t actually see every part of the elaborate operation in play.
  • There are many other coffee farms around this portion of Guatemala. Filadelfia is one of the largest and most known; it caters towards tourists, meaning it’s slightly more commercialized than some of the others. If you’re looking to get off the beaten path, do some research! Filadelfia was easily accessible (with free transport) from Antigua, so that’s why I decided to make the quick trip here.
  • There are many other activities offered at Filadelfia if you want to make your visit longer: bird watching, camping, and mountain biking – just to name a few.