After a long wait, the cab stops in front of the gate of our home in Sopó. It is the only cab driver in the village with a car that can handle this ride. That’s promising. The route via Pionono is familiar territory until we turn left. The nicely paved road turns into a dirt road full of holes and stones. But it gets worse, as it soon turns out. A sharp right turn brings us to a muddy road where we no longer drive, but slide. Exactly this day that I am taking my parents to a very special hotel in the mountains, it is raining cats and dogs. The car slides from left to right and back again. While my little dog Juaco is fine with it all, the three of us sit frozen with fear in the back seat hoping we don’t slide down the mountain into the abyss. After a hellish ride, we finally arrive at our destination, where the cab driver announces that he has no intention of picking us up again tomorrow over this road. There we are, in the middle of nowhere somewhere in the Colombian mountains. My parents undoubtedly think this is the most exciting gift they have ever received from me. Until out of the bushes cheerfully owner Nicky hops out and takes us to one of the most extraordinary hotels we have ever slept in.
Jardín Colibrí: an ecological stay with an extraordinary family
They also call it “the school of life,” and for good reason. English Nicky and her Colombian husband Mao bought this piece of land some 20 years ago where, over the years, they built this hotel themselves. In the most sustainable way possible, close to nature.
When their house was finished and they moved here, their two children, Ati and Oliver, were born. Children growing up in the middle of nature far away from everything, where they learn at an early age to keep bees, grow vegetables and work in the fields.
By now they are both attending elementary school, quite an undertaking as it takes Nicky about four hours of time a day to take them to school and pick them up again. The family lives off what they have on the property: vegetables, lots of fruit, sheep, chickens and bees. And we get to take a peek into their self-sufficient lives this weekend.
Enjoying in a colorful eco-hotel Colombia
The cab has already rounded the corner while we walk up the wet stairs with our suitcases. Nicky takes us to the main residence of the hotel, which is attached to the house where they themselves live. She gives us a tour and explains a few things about how they live and what we can find in the hotel.
Soon she places us on the colorful couch where we are served deliciously warm, and so welcome, hot tea and coffee. Nicky is a tremendously passionate and welcoming woman who truly believes in the lifestyle that makes her and her family so special. Rain or not: we are thoroughly enjoying the experience.
An estate to be jealous of
Although we live very nicely ourselves, not at all far away from here by the way, this is quite impressive. It is now 4:30 p.m. and it stopped raining. Everything is soaking wet, but still we head out to see the estate. We struggle through dense bushes and through tall grass, enjoying the wonderfully fresh air and marveling at the size of this place.
We see so many beautiful and special things. From exotic fruit trees to a small greenhouse they put together from plastic bottles. The lambs running after us are too cute and the view of the cottage where we are staying this night is unreal. I can totally picture myself living like this someday, too. Fantastic right?
Sleeping in a dream house
When Nicky pointed out the cottage to us our first reaction was “is that whole house for us?”. So, yes. Imagine a white house with brightly colored murals such as sunsets and salamanders, grass on the roof where you can sunbathe in nice weather, a hammock in the middle of the room, a stone floor and walls that make it extra cozy and a fireplace to keep you warm.
Oh and I haven’t even mentioned the bathroom. Because the toilet is full of nature, which stands among small gardens. The bedroom with the large bed in the middle with a skylight above it and a hammock next to it should not be forgotten either. Everything is made of natural materials. Think tables made of pallets and a roof made of bamboo and wood. Truly a dream cottage.
It gets even more beautiful: hiking through the beautiful Colombian mountains
As if the estate itself is not spectacular enough, you can also take several walks here. We opt for the short walk of about 30 to 40 minutes that leads us first uphill, and then through the neighbor’s estate to a viewpoint. From there we look out over Guatavita and Lake Tominé. And let that be precisely among my favorite areas of Colombia. The views are impressive and with also lovely weather, this is the perfect morning hike. We walk back the same way to end this perfect stay with a nice hot cup of tea and lots of family fun.
Since the cab won’t come back, Nicky takes us back to the village in her car. I definitely could have stayed an extra night in this paradise, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves nature and traveling off the beaten path!
Some things to consider
Staying at this particular hotel is simply very special, but certainly not for everyone. So please consider the following things before you book:
- The hotel Jardín Colibrí is located remote. And by that I mean really remote. You can make beautiful walks, but going to the stores or a village is out of the question. This residence is really meant for enjoying the peace, hiking and playing games. But above all, to experience a slice of self-sufficient living.
- The hotel is located in the mountains at about 3,000 meters, so it is cold. Every cottage has a fireplace and for good reason. The fireplace keeps you warm, but it does not extend to the bathroom. The shower is hot, but the bathroom is cold. Possibly you will be lucky and have days of sunshine, if not don’t forget to bring a thick sweater and thick socks.
- In the mountains it rains regularly and the climate in Colombia is impossible to predict with any accuracy. So there is a chance that it will be raining (some of the time) when you are there. Don’t let the rain ruin your stay: you can hike even in the rain, and otherwise it is wonderfully cozy in the cottage.
- You’re in the middle of nature, and that means there may be insects walking or flying around that you’d rather not have around you.
Where is Jardín Colibrí located and how do you get there?
Officially, the estate on which the hotel stands belongs to the village of Guasca, but in practice the hotel is located exactly between the villages of Sopó, Guatavita and Guasca. In the middle of the mountains, far away from everything. To get there you need a cab or your own car (4×4). The best route is from Guasca. Take the bus to Guasca and find a cab there to take you to the hotel. It is also possible to get there from Sopó (that’s what we did), but there is only one cab driver with a car that can handle this ride. If it has rained a lot, there is also a chance that he will not want to drive up. So if you are coming from Bogotá, via Guasca is the best option.
What do you bring?
Because of the remote location and changeable climate, it is helpful to bring a raincoat, good walking shoes, an extra pair of shoes, thick socks, warm pajamas and something to do (such as Rummikub).
- You can cook there yourself.
- Better not drink water from the tap, but fill your bottle with the filtered water from the family’s kitchen.
- You can’t buy lunch there, but you can buy breakfast and dinner (both not included in the price).
- They make delicious vegetarian meals.
- Almost all the food they use (except for rice, flour, pasta, butter, oil and a few more basic things) comes from their own garden and their own animals.
- They have all kinds of games lying around to cozy up by the fireplace. You can also play table tennis and darts.
- Pets are welcome. A very sweet dog and several cats also live on the property.
- You can go there with both English and Spanish.
- A deposit of a portion of the final price is required. That price, as in most fincas, is higher than what you pay in a hostel.
- It is not a backpackers’ hostel, yet backpackers come here regularly. So if you are lucky you will meet more nice people too!
Stay at the end of the world: book your special stay in Jardín Colibrí here!
Far off the beaten track, ecological, in beautiful nature and lovely people: a very special experience you will never forget. Get to know the real Colombia and discover how families live so far away from everything. This is not a hotel you go to without making a reservation first, so book here your stay in advance. The price depends on the season, but it is a bit more expensive than a hostel anyway. But 100% worth the money!
One of the things I love about Colombia are the unusual hotels. Of those places you don’t have in many places and where you feast your eyes so impressive it is. Jardín Colibrí is the stay for you if you also want to get to know such a place. Also still quite doable from Bogotá. Click here for more exceptional hotels in Colombia!
This article contains affiliate links, click here for more information. This article is not a collaboration with the hotel, but a sincere recommendation from me to you, to give you the chance to discover Colombia in its pure form.