Coffee, Cannabis & Color in Colombia

October 22, 2023 · High Times

Ignoring warnings from my family and that internal fear monster informed by nothing more than movies about narcotraficantes, I board the plane for an adventure in Colombia. From the moment I see Santi’s welcoming smile as I wheel out of the baggage area, I feel my anxiety dissipating. This is going to be an amazing weekend with Wind Hill Tours, the brainchild of Damian Holman, a cannabis grower based out of Maine. He, his wife Sonja, and their business partner Santi have brought down two other “cannabis influencers” (Mary Pryor and Ace King) to assess the tour and to advise how to make the experience as amazing as possible.

Scooping our baggage, Damian drives us out to Finca El Huerto. As we pull up, I look through the open air foyer and directly out to the Andes Mountains. My mouth drops open as I walk onto the splayed-out ranch estate. Bougainvillea and other flowering trees and shrubs form a semicircle around the infinity pool. The rooms of the house encircle the trees and I instantly feel wrapped in a cocoon of nature’s luxury.

We relax, smoke some provided pre-rolls, and chat as the chefs prepare our first dinner. Damon tells me his vision for Wind Hill Tours as the first all-inclusive resort experience focused on wellness through the lens of cannabis. I advise him that he will be able to provide the best possible experience for his guests once his own cannabis grow is established. There is nothing like providing single-source quality as flower or hash. Though the industry is nascent—personal consumption in Colombia is decriminalized and a proposal to legalize cannabis for adults is currently in motion at the time of my visit in fall 2022—there are no growing conditions quite like those found in Colombia with its fertile volcanic soil and consistent 12/12 photoperiod. I open the pre-rolls and reroll them with rosin smeared on the paper.

That’s better.

At the crack of dawn the next day, I throw on a light hoodie, grab my already packed chillum, and pad out to the pool. I appreciate the lightly scented breeze that whispers through the valley songs of contentment. Facing out to the Maravelez Valley, I take a deep hit and surrender to the thick smoke which overtakes my airway, charges down into my lungs and blossoms into a pleasant warmth before sliding back through my lips. Almost immediately I feel tension releasing from my face. I had slept very well, but sometimes I need THC-laden moments like this to truly let go. The sun has just begun banishing the thick fog that had been blanketing the mountains when I finish the last of my chillum. I knock it firmly into my palm and allow the ashes to fall down before disappearing in the fragrant wind.

Our first stop is a coffee finca, La Pradera. We start on a small hike to the property, crossing bamboo bridges over rushing creeks, wild coffee bushes crowding the path, and other tropical flora. Santi gives us the coffee tour, plucking unripe, yet still potent, berries for our sweet sucking pleasure. Upstairs at the coffee terrace, we sip perfectly prepared coffee, appreciate the mountains, and enjoy the sweet sounds of salsa and merengue.

Newly charged with caffeine we head over to the cannabis farm, IQ&A. We are warmly welcomed and sensing our haste, the team hustles us into blue scrubs and head coverings before ushering us into the greenhouse. My face alights with joy seeing these wonderfully healthy plants. Although each household in Colombia can grow up to 20 THC plants, this legal grow is strictly CBD. We sashay through the rows; admiring the bountiful life and delight in the various terpene rich varieties. The grow is as impressive as any in California’s Emerald Triangle. We finish off the tour in a lofty perch, smoking chillum and talking about the amazing view of the Andes.

Sunday morning finds me laying by the pool and puffing flower and rosin in my chillum before it is time for yoga with Jimy Betancurt. I slide through the poses with ease as I am in the zone; uncaring of any of life’s trivialities. Jimy assures us that with proper breathing and technique, we can achieve the same state of oneness and stillness that we get from our cannabis. I believe him, but I take another puff just in case.

A few hours later, we pass around joints of Cholado, Bubblegum, and Bubba Kush as we head for Salento, a small town known for its wild color; as if some larger than life artist had selected all of the doors, shutters, tiles, and window sills, and splashed every surface with a different hue. We traipse through the town and up 242 stairs directly to the Alto de La Cruz lookout which gives us the best view of the town. The combination of the glaring pigments, the sun beating from above, and the effects of several joints has my head swimming in surreal, slightly off kilter awe.

After a much-needed lunch, and under a persistent mist, we make our way to the nearby Valle de Corcora. We are looking to see the tallest wax palms in the world. As the Jeep barrels steadily down the road, trees and grasses sporting the most verdant leaves reach out to further entice our senses. Between the grand flora, we get glimpses of wild horses running with wild abandon; oblivious to our wide eyed stares. A few waterfalls punctuate the grand landscape.

We arrive at the valley under relentless rain and I look at the proposed hiking path dubiously as the sodden ground squelches with every step. I awkwardly slip and slide my way over the fairly steep course and just when I am exhausted from the thigh workout (and mentally pooped from the lack of THC), I see the turnaround for the loop. It is a beautiful overlook of the valley and the wax palms, some of them 200 feet tall, stand erectly and in complete defiance of gravity. We have been advised not to fly the drone, but the view is just too tempting. Truthfully I too am ready to throw care to the wind and I take out a vape pen to replenish my endocannabinoid system. I plop down at the feet of a statue of Groot and I shake my head in wonder at all of the lusciousness of this whole endeavor. Colombia has been good.

This adventure has been a heady expression of nature’s beauty and bounty. As THC has coursed through my body, my mind has soared wildly; buoyed not only by the cannabinoids, but also the sense of wonderment as Colombia reveals its next fascination. I have spent my time in Colombia reveling in the psychedelic experience of smelling, tasting, hearing, feeling, and seeing everything in a larger than life way. In one weekend, Wind Hill Tours has made considerable strides in its mission to provide a safe oasis for personal rejuvenation through cannabis and immersion in nature, as well as contribute to a new narrative of all that Colombia can be. (Full Story)

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