Stef

fer de lance

Stef


I'm mainly a nature's lover with a net preference for snakes, lizards, crocodiles and frogs. But i try to always incorporate landscapes, architecture, people and other stuff related to the country where i go, so that it could please to a larger audience!



South America » Colombia May 13th 2019

Trip almost over. Before returning to Cartagena found a small place about 50 kms South of it to relax. Small hotel is just at the exit of San Basilio de Palenque. This is a small city founded by escaped slaves. They are proud of their heritage and there are many opportunities of visiting this culture if you are interested. Hotel was fine, located on a small farm but only problem was ......the road!!! In this part of the country, no major highway to connect major cities, so there are tons of trucks on the road...annoying! About 35kms from the hotel, found a small nature park near city of San Juan Nepomuceno. That's the greenest part of the region for kms around!! There are howler monkeys to see if you haven't seen any elsewhere. Little problem with ... read more
Los Colorados park
country side
view from balcony

South America » Colombia » Barranquilla May 8th 2019

Actually, not Baranquilla itself, but Puerto Colombia, 16 kms West of Baranquilla center. This is a small city with almost no tourists in view, with beach front and a long "malecon", (boardwalk along the sea). This city is a getaway for families of big Baranquilla. The atmosphere is relaxed and it's quite safe with all the families and children around. The ocean color is not Caribbean turquoise but it's okay. Along the malecon, many artists painted benches and other objects. The small animated center is one street inland of malecon. The hotel we stayed was Hotel Boutique Porto Bello. It's by far, the nicest hotel around! We arrived on a Sunday afternoon, and all weekenders left the hotel, so we were alone for 2 days! With all the personnel to ourselves, we felt like movie stars! ... read more
puerto colombia
art on malecon
airplane on malecon

South America » Colombia » Santa Marta May 3rd 2019

After 7 days straight in baking hot temperature, it was time for a relief! We took the road. From Tayrona, we headed to Santa Marta, and then , took small road to Minca. You're going up all the way. At some point there are a couple of very tight 180 degrees curve so watch yourself! Minca is a very small city but it's quite compact. There are many accommodations but for peace and quiet, choose one out of the village. i chose one on Cerro Kennedy road named "tierra adentro private reserve". It's advertised as having free parking, but the road to get there are really really rough! I made 85% of the small road but had to abandoned and return to Minca. There, I parked my car in a private parking and took a jeep ... read more
bird
pet macaw
trail

South America » Colombia » Santa Marta » Palomino April 29th 2019

Still staying in hotel Kantawa, decided to do a little ride to explore east side of the region. At first, I was supposed to go to RioHacha, explore a bit the desert and then go South to completely drive around Sierra Nevada mountain range. But I changed my mind soon after arriving in Colombia. Problem with Guajira and far East, is that the desert doe snot hold many interesting attractions for me, even after looking at some blogs and read about it. So, instead, I'll stay a couple of nights in Minca after Tayrona. The drive. Road is smooth and with not too much heavy traffic. I passed succession of banana plantations, forests, little villages and coastline. About the coastline, at one point, the road is on a cliff with many nice views, but there's no ... read more
farm
farm
farm


Tayrona national park is a very beautiful place, especially on the various beaches, (sweet). But like I mentioned in first blog on Colombia, some irritants can also be found here. (sour). The model for national parks in latin america is for me Costa Rica, hands down: Parks are well organized; Trails are very well marked; Detailed maps are available; Moving around in parks by yourself is simple; wildlife is abundant. If you know Costa Rica, then Tayrona could be compared to Manuel Antonio or Cahuita national parks, in a sense of a forest bordered by sea. But organization in Tayrona is not great. Let me explain. a-Entrance: main entrance is clogged with cars and buses just beside the main busy road. Even if you bought tickets online, you need to go to 2 or 3 different ... read more
baby caimans
bat
the boot

South America » Colombia » Cartagena April 9th 2019

At this time of year, the temperature is quite high in the city around midday, 33-35 Celsius with lots of humidity. So better go out in mornings and evenings to really enjoy yourself. In the middle of the day, stick to AC or in the water. Cartagena has many beaches in the city limits. Water is not blue-green Caribbean, but it's okay. Nicer waters could be found South West near Baru and other surrounding islands. Waves are quite strong so many water sports can be done there. in the city itself, there are two major regions where beach hotels are: BocaGrande and La Boquilla, I have seen both regions and those in La Boquilla are nicer to my taste, especially those on the good side of the road. I stayed in Holiday Inn Morros when I ... read more
I am watching you
Life on the beach
beach

South America » Colombia April 8th 2019

Many people will try to discourage you if you intend to go to Colombia. They still have in mind the terrorism and kidnapping of previous decades. These days are long gone. Only remain some little pockets of unsafe territory close to border of Venezuela and Ecuador, but that' s far away from any tourist spot. But there are pros and cons if you want to come. CONS: Colombia is a modern country but development is quite uneven. A city like Medellin is modern and impressive, but not that far away, other regions tell a different story.One big grocery in Cartagena refused my credit card saying that "this type of card does not work here". In a small village in the outskirts of town, same card was accepted. This was the same with gas stations. Problem here ... read more
Baby caimans found in swamp
Beautiful Tayrona
street art in Puerto Colombia

North America » United States » Florida » Saint Augustine February 15th 2019

St. Augustine, Florida, was the first city founded by European settlers in North America in 1565. On one street you can see the oldest (and very small) house, which is converted into a museum store. The Spaniards built a fort there to protect the place. All buildings use a local rock called 'coquina', a kind of limestone made of small fossilized shells. In one state park, you can visit an old coquina quarry. This is an interesting and beautiful city. There's the Spanish colonial aspect: the fort and the old city. There are more modern and nice building like Flagger's college, which is an architecture's highlight of the city. The Aliigator's farm, is a zoo specialized on crocodiles, (all species are present there), but also showcase lots of other animals. The crocs feeding's time is a ... read more
Flagger's college
Horseshoe crab
Flagger's college

North America » United States » Florida » Gainesville February 8th 2019

We last visited Okefenokee swamp in Georgia. We did trails from the eastern part, then we drove to the western part to do trails there. We then headed South to Florida using highway 75. On the way, we never saw so many jails in one place...... We arrived at Gainesville. This is a nice medium sized town. The area around the college is particularly beautiful. The city served as a base to explore parks in the surroundings. We went to: 1- Devil's Millhopper: a collapsed big sinkhole, that you can go down to, using stairs. Although being close to town, it's a quiet place, surrounded by forest. There's a little museum to explain geology of the place and show fossils. 2-Payne's Prairie preserve: South of Gainesville. Preserve a distinct prairie ecosystem in the region. Saw many ... read more
Paynes prairie
Paynes prairie, water snake
Devil's millhopper; going down the sinkhole

North America » United States » Georgia February 4th 2019

Next part of the trip is in Georgia state. We have a special stop to do in Savannah: the Bonaventure cemetery. It's renowned for being very beautiful, leafy and full of statues, and that's right! We stopped along the coast in small beautiful small town like St-Mary. Near of Florida's border we went inland to Okefenokee swamp. This is a protected area with many trails and beautiful nature. It was a bit cool when we went so the alligators were a bit sluggish, but easy to photograph up close. Also, many carnivorous plants. In forests parts, I really like the mix of pines with palmetto. For us from the North, it seems like a weird combination to have these 2 types of plants together, but it was just an impression because they all thrive. Next part, ... read more
Bonaventure cemetery
Bonaventure cemetery
Iron balcony in Savannah




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