A Taste of Honduran Farm Life
Finca El Cisne is a century-old farm in the coffee-growing highlands of western Honduras, about a 45-minute drive from the famous Copán Maya ruins. It’s a family-run operation that has been passed down from one generation to the next and comprises vast stretches of land where Arabica coffee and staple crops like corn and beans are cultivated, as well as tropical edibles like avocados, plantains, oranges, star fruit, and pineapple. There are pastures for Brahman cattle (they supply the farm with meat and dairy) and horses used for breeding. Environmental conservation has always been a priority at the farm, and a large chunk of forest (home to toucans and armadillos) is protected by El Cisne.
Day-long tours of the farm provide visitors an opportunity to learn about Honduran farm life and to try a variety of tropical eats. A horseback ride—led by Carlos Castejón, a member of the Finca El Cisne family—takes guests along cool mountain trails, past agricultural fields, and provides insight into cattle ranching and how shade-grown coffee is produced. “We always taste whatever is in season, too,” says Carlos. “There might be grapefruit, star fruit, coconuts, or tamarind. People also get to see where the milk and cheese used for their lunch comes from.”
Indeed, lunch at farm may well be one of the tour’s highlights. The meal is made by Carlos’s mom, Doña Esther, and incorporates El Cisne-grown ingredients prepared on a wood-burning stove. The food is traditional, but visitors shouldn’t expect just rice and beans. Dishes can include salads made with fresh watercress, cilantro, radishes, and cheese from the farm, filling beef soups, and fried taro root pancakes called tortitas de malanga. Fresh passion fruit, mandarin, or tamarind juices are served. For dessert, you might get bananas topped with cream, home-grown cardamom, and cinnamon—or smothered in chocolate. “Recently, we’ve started growing cacao,” says Carlos, “We make a chocolate sauce that’s delicious on bananas or stirred into coffee.”
After lunch and more exploring (cardamom is another significant crop grown at the farm and guests will learn how it’s grown, cultivated, and used), a soak in the nearby thermal springs is a perfect way to top off a delicious day.