This post is also available in: Spanish
A family outing in Volcan
By Pete Cortese
What does horseback riding, high-mountain kayaking, birding, a world-class yoga studio, art gallery, garden center and a historic private lakeshore residence have to do with a coffee tour? Everything, if you visit the Janson Coffee Farm in Volcan, Chiriqui.
The Jansen family has a rich, 100-year history in Volcan. A tour of the plantation and processing plant where the gourmet Jansen coffee is produced must include the intriguing offer of the Janson family’s new venture, Lagunas Adventures, a tour company that takes advantage of the stunning beauty of the location, the highest wetland and lake system in Panama.
Lagunas Adventures is headed by Emily Janson, an attentive and outdoorsy individual who teaches yoga, surfs and is also a certified kayak instructor, all of which make her the perfect guide who can also teach all there is to know about roasting, brewing and drinking excellent coffee.
I visited the Janson farm with my wife, three kids and some good friends. We started the afternoon by meeting Emily at the quaint boutique coffee shop overlooking the rolling hills of Volcan. Adjoining the coffee shop is an ample yoga studio that doubles as an art gallery for local artists.
As we strolled through the trails of the plantation, Emily educated us on all things coffee. We visited the processing facilities, including areas for sorting, roasting and packing. While the Janson coffee brand is fairly large and distributed internationally, their facilities are small and maintain a family feel. It was surprising to see all the varieties and sheer quantity produced there.
At the garden center, different types of coffee are grown and tested. An assortment of tropical flowering plants and trees is available at reasonable prices.
Across an airstrip is a private, protected area where the Jansens own homes along the lake. On the drive there, Emily pointed out beautiful birds and flora.
At the picturesque Coffee Plantation Lake House, we donned life jackets, grabbed oars and headed for the kayaks and paddleboats. After a few tips from Emily, we paddled tranquilly on the lake, enjoying the sounds of birdcalls and lapping water. For fans of fishing, locals claim there are whoppers in the lake.
The kids’ favorite part was the horse stables. The beautiful and friendly horses graciously accepted treats from them while they stroked their faces.
Next time you find yourself looking for something new to do in Panama that is a bit off the beaten path, a trip to the Janson Coffee Farm is highly recommended. Be sure to contact Emily with Lagunas Adventures for an experience that is both fun and educational.
For more information and to contact them directly, visit
JansonCoffee.com and LagunasAdventures.com.