The Last Coffee Arriero in Colombia?

Written By: jeff

Posted On: June 1st, 2012

career break travel adventures in Colombia, arriero, Colombia National Park

The former backbone of Colombia's coffee industry, the arriero. Copyright

No, he’s not Juan Valdez.  If you go visit the National Coffee Park near Armenia while traveling in Colombia, you will meet this guy and learn about the arrieros. An important part of Colombia’s coffee history, the arriero is the guy who took the coffee from farm to port through the Colombian mountains. One arriero could have up to 10-15 horses and donkeys loaded with coffee. Once trains and roadways became dominant, there was less work for the arrieros and they became less common. This guy (so sorry I cannot remember his name) is one of the last arrieros in Colombia. He’s got lots of stories so if you get to the park (and speak a little Spanish), maybe you can get him to tell you a few stories from the old days. He works for tips and coffee, so be sure to take care of him. Happy to make this photo of him this week’s Suh-Weet Shot.

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