Fincas – In Search of Paradise
Dotted across the countryside throughout Colombia, are literally thousands of small parcels of land with country homes. These are commonly called fincas. These can range from the typical colonial style country dwelling to fabulous mansions and everything in between.
The Colombian culture, while it may be focused in the city throughout the week, escapes to the refuge of the country for weekends, holidays and any other excuse that they can invent. Colombians are the ultimate Escape Artists. During Christmas and Easter, large urbans centers like Medellin virtually become ghost towns due to the mass migration of their inhabitants to the rural areas.
The finca or farm is something affordable for many Colombians. They may be small plots of land with a humble home that cost $10,000 USD (4 or 5 family members may band to together to accomplish this) or mansions with every amenity available, situated on large tracts of land. Not all are actually farms. They might be what is considered a country home or ”casa campestre’ but all serve the same purpose – an escape from the city. In many cases they are in actual fact a holiday home in a rural setting. They function much like a cottage for many North Americans.
That being said fincas can be working farms. In searching for a property to buy, you will often find them listed as fincas productivas (producing farms) or fincas recreativas (recreational homes).
No matter how simple or small the finca may be there is a status afforded to a city dweller who owns a finca. There is a certain elevated position granted to those who can say, ”we are going to our finca the weekend”. The finca grants a toehold to the country for those longing to escape with their family from the chaos of the city.
The trip to the finca may be an event in itself as the family is readied, the vehicles are packed and the kids and pets are loaded. The entire extended clan may descend on the property and the fun and games begin. Many properties have football nets and various activities unfold throughout the day. The evening may include music, copious quantities of ´comida’ and ample amounts of aguardiente.
Throughout the week, many properties are not left empty. Often the finca may employ a caretaker, a ”Mayor Domo”, who works fulltime and maintains the grounds. They may even live on the property with their family to provide a constant presence on the land. The Mayor Domo’s wife may be tasked with keeping the house clean and helping with the meals when all the family and friends arrive for the holidays.
One of the challenges of finca life is who do you trust. Hiring an honest and trustworthy Mayor Domo can be a challenge in itself. This is something you need to be extremely cautious with, especially if you will be out of the country for long periods at a time. A good Mayor Domo is worth his weight in gold. He and his family will care for you and your property. The corollary to this is you must treat them with care and respect as well. There are certain labour requirements to be met. Not only that, a concern for their living conditions is important. Many families live in hovels and are treated as second class citizens. A simple lesson here is treat them well and pay them fairly and most times they will return the courtesy.
There are some companies that rent fincas for weekends, holidays and extended periods. Some houses are massive and can accommodate 20 or 25 people. They may have swimming pools, soccer fields and many other amenities to make your stay more enjoyable.
A question that is often posed to us is how secure is it to live in the country ? In some areas it is perfectly safe to own a stand alone home but for many individuals it is more comfortable buying in a rural urbanization where the entire land area is fenced and the entrance and exit is controlled by 24 hour security.
More and more people are choosing to live outside of the city and commute daily. A well chosen location can grant you peace, serenity and a very economical way of life. For example, the finca in the photo essay below is for sale. It has a property tax of approximately $400.00 USD per year. The water bill is approximately $10.00 USD per month. Plant your own garden, grow your own fruit, compost all of your organic waste and very quickly your life style is simpler and healthier.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIlhs5tJIDI – Casa Paraiso
If you are interested in knowing more about the finca in the photo essay, country living or viewing fincas for sale, please contact us at ESCAPEARTIST COLOMBIA via the form below.
Many thanks to Carlos Valderrama for photos 2,4 & 5.