Today I begin with the first blog post in our Local Feature Series on Authentic Tourism featuring local entrepreneurs and craftspeople that have caught our attention and appreciation.
I’d like to introduce you to Benito, his wife Diana and their lovely hacienda, Finca Organica Pomarrosa Ecolodge in Rio Chico. They are located on the mountain just behind Quinta Oasis.
Pomarrosa is a family-run organic farm that practices community ecotourism, agro-tourism and environmental education. Here they grow cocoa, coffee, and organic fruits. A day at La Finca Organica Pomarrosa is an unforgettable learning experience.
You have the opportunity to have intimate contact with nature and as you discover this natural world you learn about yourself too.
Benito and his wife began opening their finca to the public in 2008. With about seven hectares of lush vegetation, coffee and cacao, the finca makes for a journey through time when our area was known for its agriculture and coffee and cacao production.
Recently four of our guests went on our custom excursion to Pomarrosa to experience the natural beauty of the mountain and learn the traditions of how coffee and cacao are processed.
Benito’s wife Diana met our intrepid explorers at Quinta Oasis at 830am to begin the walk from the center of Rio Chico into the heavily forested trail that would lead them to Pomarossa.
During a 45 minute hike where they were introduced to a variety of trees and birds. They arrived at Pomarrosa and were enthusiastically greeted by the family and given a short introduction to the history and traditions of coffee and cacao.
Time stands still here. The gift of allowing your body to integrate into your natural flow – movement, food and rest – allows you to connect to yourself and to your environment in new ways.
This is one of the pleasures of the authentic travel experiences we offer. It’s not the glossy version of Ecuador. Here you connect to the people, the culture and the traditions in very personal ways. There’s no hurry, no strict agendas or timelines, simply the flow of what feels natural.
After a traditional home-made almuerzo (lunch) and a rest our explorers participated in the processing of the coffee and cacao, from the harvesting to the drying and roasting to the grinding, they learned how this family produces two of Ecuador’s famous and delicious products. Although Benito does not sell coffee or cacao commercially, he produces enough for his family to make a living and to share the experience with international travelers like our guests.
Our group was well rewarded with a tasting of the chocolate and coffee that came from the afternoon’s work with an added bonus of bringing back samples for their next day’s breakfast.
When asked about the experience here is what one guest said (and the others agreed).
“Every morning in Germany I make my coffee before heading to work. Sometimes I stop at a coffee shop instead. Never once did I consider where this coffee came from. Never once did it enter my mind that there was somewhere a family or a group of people whose hands worked the raw fruit and took it through an intricate process so I and millions others could enjoy our coffee.
Getting to know Benito and his family and learning how coffee and cacao are processed coffee has changed me. I will never again simply drink a cup of coffee taking for granted that somewhere in the world there were people whose livelihoods depend on this coffee that I and others drink without a second thought.”
Another guest commented,
“I was so taken by Benito and his family. They were so happy to host us and share their traditions with us. They were humble and kind and generous. And the food was presented to us with love and care. This was a very personal experience and one that I will always cherish.”
Benito and his wife asked that I share this with you.
“When you leave us, we hope you take a real sense of Ecuador. A natural green world of preservation and conservation of the environment, of good practices of the community and integral sustainable tourism.”
We hope that you’ll visit Finca Pomarossa during your stay at Quinta Oasis and experience our version of authentic and eco-tourism while you support our neighbors in sharing the gifts of their traditions, gastronomy, culture and land.