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Organic farming and permaculture

Organic farming and permaculture in Finca Carpe Diem

Besides being a hostel and nature reserve, Carpe Diem also disposes of a few hectares for ecological farming and permaculture. Surrounding the hostel, bordering our protected area and crossed by the Manzanares river, you will find a beautiful and flat piece of land where we grow all kinds of fruit trees, cultivate vegetables and raise different animals.

Surrounding the hostel, bordering our protected area and crossed by the Manzanares river, you will find a beautiful and flat piece of land where we grow all kinds of fruit trees, cultivate vegetables and raise different animals.

The farm grows a diversity of fruits, including 5 different mango species, 2 advocado species, all sorts of oranges, lemons, grapefruit, guanabana, coco, guayaba, nispero, zapote, cashewnut and many others. We also produce our own coffee, honey and some vegetables. We grow fish, pigs are messing up around, chickens clean the area and mules are awaiting a passenger. To this respect please also check How to get Here or mule treks in Paso del Mango.

We grow fish, pigs are messing up around, chickens clean the area and mules are awaiting a passenger.


Experiences in tropical farming and permaculture

Arriving here some five years ago, we did not really have any experience in tropical farming. Yes, Nele grew up in a farm in Belgium and Kobes father was born in a farm – but still, running a Belgian productive farm and growing fruits and vegetables in Colombia is quite a different story.

I remember a guy who said (with respect to adventurous hiking), ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad organization’. Would this also count for tropical agriculture and small-scale farming? We are still on the search for the answer 🙂

As for now, our experience has been a matter of trial and error. In Carpe Diem, the weather has often been a major factor for the luck or lack thereof: heavy rains have ruined the harvests, while burning sun in some cases did not let us grow anything.

We had no experience in beekeeping but from the locals  we apprehended to divide them, to maintain the beehives healthy and of course to harvest honey.

We also experienced it is quite a hazard to make small-scale farming economically viable. For instance, bringing fruits down from our little mountain to Santa Marta for sale, in many occasions cost us more than the potential benefits. We picked thousands of oranges, took them down to Santa Marta and tried to sell them on the local marketplace…a pretty nice way to get to know the local economy!

Riding the mules in Carpe Diem

Father hiking with young son

Owner, Kobe, hiking with his son Boris, watching over Carpe Diem’s forests

Pick a thousand oranges, take them down and try to sell them in the Santa Marta marketplace was a nice way to get to know the local economy

Self-sustainability and curiosity

Pomelo en organic farm of Carpe Diem

Pomelos – or a special kind of grapefruits, very sweet

Now we decided to farm only for ourselves and for our guests. Today, the basic structures of the hostel (rooms, restaurant, etc.) are set up, people steadily find their way to Carpe Diem, poco a poco 🙂  And as we found some piece and tranquility in the touristic part of Carpe Diem, we have also become interested in exploring how far we can get with the farming part of life…is it possible to grow enough food for the basic needs of ourselves and lets say twenty guests? And, while doing this, can we create some creativity and diversity in our meals? Would it also be possible to grow and cultivate without using any insecticides and pesticides? Permaculture is a big word recently used by many and covers a range of different ways of ecological farming….To this respect, we are driven for a great part by curiosity: is it really possible to find harmony between economy and ecology on a local scale, can we create a small world in which people witness it is possible to have comfort, dispose of internet and have nice food, but also care for nature? Are we able to teach all these basics to our children?.…we reckon the answer is yes, but still, maybe it is striving towards these goals that really makes life interesting.


Pig near permaculture base of Finca Carpe Diem

One of the Carpe Diem pigs. Was originally a present of a Wayuu community that we visited for Kobes work

Bananas from the permaculture base of Carpe Diem

Manzano or a special type of banana riping in the common place of Carpe Diem

Mangos and permaculture in Finca Carpe Diem

Mangos….almost ready to eat

Marañon from the organic farm in Finca Carpe Diem

Marañon and cashew nut…delicious!

Permaculture is a big word recently used by many and covers a range of different ways of ecological farming….to this respect, we are driven for a great part by curiosity: is it really possible to find harmony between economy and ecology on a local scale, can we create a small world in which people witness it is possible to have comfort, dispose of internet and have nice food, but also care for nature?

People who are interested in seeing what we are doing, please check our website for accommodation options and activities. We also accommodate people who want to learn basic skills on ecological farming and construction; on beekeeping and coffee harvesting.