Let’s learn a little bit about Marquetalia, Caldas Colombia

In July of 2019, I was invited to visit a coffee farm in Marquetalia, Caldas. The owner of the coffee farm invited me to first learn more about how their coffee is cultivated and second to educate me about this unique town. The owner was adamant about introducing me to her town of Marquetalia because when it comes to Colombia, foreigners typically visit the touristy spots such as Medellin, Cartagena, or Bogota. But there are so many beautiful and unmentioned towns “pueblos” in Colombia that are worth visiting, such as Marquetalia, Caldas.

Marquetalia, Caldas

Marquetalia is a town and municipality in the Colombian Department of Caldas. Caldas is a department of Colombia named after Colombian patriotic figure Francisco José de Caldas. It is also part of the Paisa Region and its capital is Manizales.

Brief History

Marquetalia is home to one of the villages that are considered the birthplace of the FARC guerillas. In May of 1964, there was a military operation against Marquetalia, which was part of a United States initiative called Plan LASO (Latin American Security Operation). This initiative was allegedly meant to suppress dissent and possible communist rebellions that might spring up in the region. 16,000 Colombian troops, backed by the U.S., attacked the village of 1,000 inhabitants, only 48 of whom were armed. These 48 fought against government forces at Marquetalia and then escaped into the mountains along with the other fighters.

The survivors of the Marquetalia "commune" held a meeting on May 27, to create a more formal insurgent organization with the main goal of seizing power from capitalists and directing Colombian society according to Marxist doctrine. At the end of the meeting, clearly defined ideas were in place, which continued to be used for the later birth of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC in 1966.

Coffee

Aside from Marquetalia being the birthplace of FARC, which is no longer an active movement in this region, it is located in the famous Coffee Region / “Eje Cafetero” and is host to some of the best gourmet coffees that I have ever tasted in my life. The Coffee Region is composed of three departments of; Caldas, Quindio and Risaralda.

The cultivation of the coffee constitutes the form of subsistence for the greater part of the population of the municipalities of Pensilvania, Samaná, Manzanares, Marquetalia, Aguadas, Aranzazu, Pácora, Ríosucio, Supía, Anserma, and San José, which are all located in the Department of Caldas. The agreeable climate and the rich soil of this Department with the process of manual picking and the ecological benefits permit the production of the best quality coffee in harmony with nature. One word: DELICIOUS!

My short visit to this town was truly amazing. Not only was I exposed to the vast countryside, and beautiful coffee farms, but also sugar cane and even plantain farms. I was able to complete a short and rewarding hike that allowed me to get a capture the beauty of the countryside from the top of the hill. Most importantly, I felt safe and the people were nothing but friendly. I was welcomed with open arms. Overall, I would highly recommend a visit to this beautiful region and town. You won’t regret it!