To tell the story of Finca El Diamante, La Manchuria, La Oliva, La Gloria and La Humareda is to talk about the life of the Vélez family, a large family of fifteen uncles and more than 60 cousins.
In the 1950s, our grandfather Fernando Velez V. conquered these lands with his children and his family, and covered with coffee the fields and mountains of the hamlet "La Humareda". Since then, our family has always maintained a commercial and agricultural activity in the region, but only Finca el Diamante, La Manchuria, La Oliva and La Gloria have remained in the hands of the Vélez family.
Roberto Velez's children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren remember growing up waiting for weekends and holidays to climb the mountain, play in coffee plantations and with animals. These were happy days among the mules, the coffee plantations, the Christmas donuts and the simple moments with the family.
But as in every story, there is always a villain, as well as many Colombian families victims of violence, we had to abandon these lands in the 90s. This plague, called terrorism, insecurity and fear, has emerged and grown up in Colombia. The mountain then buried El Diamante and hid this jewel under the bush.
10 years later, the most daring and visionary of the family recovered the land and made their way through the undergrowth to find what was once the El Diamante. With the idea of reviving our land, we planted more than 100 hectares of pine trees. Thus, the pines gave another face to the mountain and created an atmosphere of peace.
On the back of the mules, we mounted the materials to rebuild the old house which had disappeared under the weeds to make an exact replica of the house that once hosted our grandparents. The result was a mixture of emotions between melancholy and joy.
The family had grown naturally and had new expectations and ambitions. The dream of building a larger, more comfortable home began to grow, to ripen like a red coffee cherry ready to be harvested. The house then became an imposing hacienda, beautiful and powerful, ready to share its dazzling views with its visitors.
Finca El Diamante then turned into a paradise to be discovered, in the middle of the mountains of Salgar, a place worthy of the magical realism of the texts of Gabriel García Márquez. Honoring his name, this diamond was then reborn after forced abandonment, violence and solitude, to become a precious stone, a treasure to discover, in a peaceful territory.
With the peace returned to the region, many travelers from around the world began to appear and discover a different country to the negative prejudices they had until then. Our visitors fell in love with our land and the warmth of its inhabitants. Finca el Diamante was quickly transformed as a comfortable hotel of charm, to warmly welcome anyone who wishes to live an unforgettable stay in the middle of the Colombian Andes.
We are focusing on helping our community of Salgar, and in particular the one of the hamlet of "La Humareda", by providing them with fair work, education and training in the agrotourism sector. In particular by helping young people and children to benefit from a good education.
With the purchase of farms La Manchuria, La Oliva and La Gloria, former properties of the Velez family, and with visits from friends and family from abroad, the idea of developing a tourist complex is slowly emerging
These four farms are now part of a major project that Armelle and Eduardo Velez develop and include:
Unfortunately we are currently running into many gaps in vocational training, particularly in the tourism sector, and transport infrastructure, but we are happy to be able to open a new field of action to balance regional development, especially for young people. We therefore hope, thanks to entities such as the SENA (National Service of Learning), to expand teaching in a way that is more adapted to our needs, without forgetting the development of craftsmanship.
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