Laying the Foundations for Permaculture in North Colombia
Tucked away in the Sierra Nevada with an unobstructed view of the surrounding mountains you will find Finca La Frecuencia, a permaculture eco resort and healing centre 1.5 hours away from Santa Marta on the Caribbean cost of Colombia. Owned by couple Jesse and Tala, this slice of paradise close to Minca offers serenity, rejuvenation and an opportunity to immerse yourself in all that nature has to offer, while also experiencing an area eager to go back to basics with permaculture farming and off the grid living.
We arrived from Santa Marta by taxi to Minca. Having not done my research properly for this particular route, we were met by locals in the village of Minca who stated there was no hope in hell that we were going to make the rest of the trip by car. And they couldn’t have been more right. As we piled into a 4x4 I was dubious that the roads could be ‘that bad’. However as we bobbed up and down along the dirt track to our final destination, I understood the sheer amusement on the local people’s faces at the thought of us taking on this road with a regular car rather than a 4x4.
The bumpy ride is totally worth it. Finca La Frecuencia is completely off the grid with solar panels, a permaculture garden, food forests containing fresh malabar spinach, mustard greens, chilis, giant oregano and fresh tumeric, and a cacao farm that was being sowed at the time of writing this article (June 2018). Tala takes care of the cooking which is all homemade soul food using fresh ingredients from the garden or sourced locally. Eating here you understand why food is like medicine and the magic of being able to eat produce which is grown on the land around you. Thanks to the fertile nature of the soil, high humidity and a good amount of sun, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables can grow directly on the land around Finca La Frecuencia.
The property has everything one could ask for. If you simply want to relax, you can make the most of the communal area with hammocks or use your private balcony to soak in the panoramic views of the jungle and mountains from your armchair. You can also hike to nearby waterfalls, coffee plantations or simply walk into Minca town to enjoy the chilled hippy vibe.
The eco resort is comprised of a stand-alone two-storey bamboo house with three double bedrooms with incredibly comfortable beds, shared kitchen, communal area and two shared bathrooms. The main house is split on two levels with Jesse and Tala’s living quarters on the top floor and a kitchen with eating area for guests on the ground floor. For those wanting to be truly at one with nature, there’s also a glamping tent with bedroom, outdoor bathroom and chilling area. At the time of visiting, Jesse was already planning construction for a stand-alone cabin with incredible views.
I had the opportunity to do a Chi Nei Tsang therapy session with Jesse, which is an internal organ massage. Nestled in it’s own private area, the healing room can be used for meditation and therapy sessions. My private session was incredible, Jesse was very calm and nurturing and I felt very safe and comfortable during the whole time. With the healing room perched on the side of a hill and with panoramic views over the jungle and surrounding mountains, you feel completely at one with nature and can feel its healing energy.
Falling asleep at night is another truly magical experience. With nothing around but a few locals and neighbouring wildlife, you fall asleep to the sound of the jungle lit up by the moon and thousands of fireflies. Growing up as a child in the south of France, I remember running after fireflies in our garden totally mesmerised. However this is a totally different ballgame. You feel like you’re in an enchanted world with thousands of lights flickering everywhere. The two nights we stayed, I’d had the deepest sleep I’d had in a while.
I feel very privileged to have experienced Finca La Frecuencia. Once in a while you stumble upon something truly special, and in this case we really did. With tourism running rampage on many parts of the world, and developers reaping their benefits at the cost of land, wildlife and local living standards, it's a breath of fresh air to see two people so eager to nurture the land and demonstrate that you can have pure comfort while caring for mother earth. I eagerly await our next trip to Finca La Frecuencia, where we will get to see Jesse’s developments with his cacao farm and permaculture garden which are growing ever bigger, and of course to see the magical settings of Minca once again.