***If you want to combine an easy to moderate hike in a Oaxacan cloud forest which is home to an organic, eco balanced coffee farm (would you have known that the highest quality organic coffee can be grown in the jungle?) with the excellent guidance of a well educated environmental scientist, Gustavo Boltges, who is also a knowlegeable birder, enjoy three meals catered by the Hotel Santa Fe restaurant ( which everyone knows is the best meal in town), and sleep well in a sweet adobe built lodge, with a fireplace and king size bed in your private room with stone tiled bathroom y shower, and wake up the next morning to a cacophony of tucanetes, owls, orioles, and burros, well, this is the adventure for you. Laurie Banks, New York
***On February 21st we went up to the Finca for an overnight stay. We were picked up at the Hotel Santa Fe in Puerto Escondido (whose management owns the Finca) and driven up to the 4,000 feet level, arriving at about 4pm. Our delightful host was Gustavo Boltjes, an Environmental Studies graduate of Norwich University, UK. He brewed us our first (of many!) delightful shade-grown coffee. He explained to us that the finca grows coffee on the basis of a lunar cycle – get him to explain this to you. We checked into our room in a new building in the style of Hotel Santa Fe, which is not surprising as the new buildings are being constructed by Robin Cleaver, the genius of the Santa Fe. He has decorated with antiques found locally, including the doors. But the king-size bed is thoroughly modern. We toured the coffee-making equipment all driven by a small water –powered turbine using water piped down from the slopes above. Gustavo explained how the organic coffee is fertilized using material from the estate, and pesticides are similarly local.
We were here primarily to see birds, and we saw many as we wondered around the estate, That afternoon we saw the Green Jay and the Russet-crowned Motmot, and the Audubon’s and Bullock’s Orioles with the Yellow-winged Caciques put up a grand display competing for the bananas put out for them.
Gustavo is a magnificent chef and prepared a superb Mexico dish for dinner, We then luxuriated in front of a wood fire in our room until going to bed. Unfortunately we slept too well as we missed the owls calling just outside!
At first light the birds woke us with a delightful chorus and we were immediately up to see what had arrived. First was the Emerald Toucanet soon joined by the Masked Tityra, Flame-colored Tanager and Blue Mockingbird – all feeding around the building in the trees above. Later they were joined by Rose-throated Becard, Painted Bunting (no less than three males in one location!) and White-throated Robin. These were the spectacular ones but there were many more warblers and hummingbirds including the Blue-capped Hummingbird. We then proceeded down the entry driveway and added to our list.
A tasty breakfast finally drew us away from the birds. A butterfly enthusiast would do well here too. Gustavo is very knowledgeable on the trees and flowers. He is also expert on the birds of the estate but will not admit it.
In the afternoon he drove us back to the Hotel Santa Fe. A very enjoyable day!
John Tyacke and Julie Berger of Toronto, Canada
***Finest Mexican coffee I have ever had, and I visit many fincas in Oaxaca, for many years. I would like to know when your coffee is available to buy on line. Charles Herlihy, British Columbia .
Hello: I spent a most marvelous 24 hours recently, during the last week of november 2008, at Finca las Nieves.
I was travelling by myself and staying for a week at Hotel Santa Fe in Puerto Escondido.
I read about la Finca on Santa Fe's website and immediately knew I wanted to visit and spend a night there.
Our driver, guide, instructor, chef, interpreter, and caretaker was Gustavo Boltjes, a tri-lingual young man who clearly loves oustanding people, coffee, the environment, and Oaxaca!
Everything was interesting...from the drive to the plantation, to the hike and nature exploration around its property, to the coffee growing and making process.
Everything was delicious...from the oranges hacked down and opened w/ Gustavo's machete during one of several hikes to the mout-watering mole and homemade tortillas served the night before. Three filling and delicious meals plus snacks were provided.
The rooms were simple, but spacios and lovely, well-equipped...with modern bathrooms, plenty of storage, comfortable mattresses and pillows. What a great sleep I had, after a great meal, lovely company ( 2 couples...one from Sweden and the other from Denmark), and the most fabulous star gazing imaginable.
I highly recommend a night at Finca Las Nieves as a memorable and most pleasant experience for anyone travelling alone or as a couple or family! Laura N. Chick, Los Angeles, California