Java Jeeps in Colombia


If you had a cup of Colombian coffee this morning while you read the newspaper, the chances are good that those coffee beans made part of their journey to your breakfast table, in the back of a flatfender Jeep.

TaxisJose Ricardo Bateman writes, "Here in Colombia in an area called "Departamento del Quindío" there are more than 3000 Willys Jeeps, most of them 1953-54 CJ-3B models. They say this is one of the places in the world where the most Willys are still working. This photo was taken in a small town called Montenegro. As you can see this is just one of the four sides of the main plaza of the town, and there are Willys parked all around the plaza."

See also a map of Colombia (250K JPEG).

"One of the annual festivals is called "yipao," a word that comes from Jeep pronounced in Spanish. In every yipao many Willys owners take to the streets to show their Jeeps and how much they can carry. They put so much weight on the car that the front wheels hardly touch the ground."

This photo of a CJ-3A demonstrates what JR is talking about. It shows Sebastian Lobo-Guerrero visiting the "Parque Nacional del Cafe," a theme park dedicated to the Colombian coffee tradition.

SebastianHere's Sebastian with another display at the Park. He says, "One of the attractions of the Park is a 3D movie that shows a red 3B following the different steps on the production of coffee. The movie even shows how the 3B is an essential part of the process but is also used to take the kids to school, get to the bank, buy groceries, etc."

CJ-3Bs at workTwo CJ-3Bs head down to market, loaded with bananas and coffee.

See some even more incredibly loaded Jeeps on CJ3B.info in Yipao: The Willys Festivals of Colombia.

Jeeps outside the bank
These photos, courtesy of Ricardo Suárez and Jaime Gaviria, were also taken in the coffee-growing region. One photo shows Jeeps lined up outside the "Bancafe" or "Coffee Bank," which is found in most towns.

This photo captures the mood of a hot afternoon -- the Jeeps wait while shoes are shined in the shade of the trees in the town square.

Coffee shopSebastian Lobo-Guerrero's dad spotted a coffee shop on wheels. Sebastian says, "Note the 'coffe' sign, the wrong spelling in English, or it should be 'café' in Spanish. The top white sign saying 'minutos' means cell phone minutes -- see the lady using the phone for a call. The middle white sign offers 'mazamorra', a local dish that not everyone dares to try. Not that easy to find these days, and not really recommended if you have an afternoon full of things to do; most likely you will need a long nap after eating it. The bottom sign 'arroz con leche,' meaning rice pudding, sweetened to perfection. It can not be more Colombian than this!"

Thanks to Jose Ricardo Bateman, whose Jeep was perhaps the first CJ-3B to arrive in Colombia. It was purchased in November 1952 and brought to Colombia in that month (see 1953 CJ-3B Owners and Photos). Thanks also to Sebastian Lobo-Guerrero and Bart McNeil. Map of Colombia courtesy Geology.com. -- Derek Redmond

See more Jeeps in Colombia on CJ3B.info.

See other Jeeps Around the World on CJ3B.info.

Elsewhere on the web, see a 360-degree panoramic photo of a marketplace with Willys Jeeps in Circasia, Quindio, Colombia.

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Last updated 7 August 2011 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond