James Gibeault


James Gibeault

I officially have the travel bug, and the only cure is... more travel.

South America » Colombia » Bogota January 16th 2015

After leaving Barlovento, it was about an hour and a half along the highway to the airport, which is outside of Santa Marta on the opposite side. Fortunately we took a highway around the city and missed all the traffic. The airport itself was, well, unique. It was completely open air. Our check in for Avianca was on the main level, all the while looking out at the ocean and feeling the near 30 degree morning heat. Also, yeah, the airport is right on the ocean. Like feet from the water. It seems like an odd use of such prime real estate, but there are mountains pretty much everywhere else, so I guess this gives pilots a nice easy approach. Through the open air security, we once again brought all of our liquids without even having ... read more
At the Cake Shop
Ice Cream Lunch
Decadent Dinner and Dessert

Outside of the entrance to Tayrona, we set to work trying to figure out how to get to our fancy hotel that we had booked in Barlovento. We new it was close, but we didn't have a good map. There were some taxi drivers that wanted to charge us an exorbitant 40,000 pesos, so I phoned the hotel and asked them the best way. They said it was just as easy as catching any bus heading east and telling them you were going to Barlovento, and the drivers all new it. And it was just that easy. After getting off the bus, it was a short 10 minute walk down a quiet lane to the hotel known as Barlovento. Lonely planet describes this as the “single most beautiful place to hang your hat in the area ... read more
Our Home For the Night
The Lakeside
The Seaside

After a not-so-good sleep, we got up and headed out to catch the bus to Tayrona. We grabbed a street breakfast on the way to bus. I don't remember what we had, but it was probably bunelos. At the bus stop, the first one was full, but they come every fifteen minutes so we caught the next one, and we were at park gate an hour later. Thanks to our hammock reservation, we got to skip the line at the park entrance. The trip into the park starts with a short 1-2km walk along a road to the start of the trail, so we elected to take the van shuttle to save some time. It was about an hour and a half walk through some beautiful scenery to our hammocks in Arrecifes. We passed by lots ... read more
Hittin' the Trail
That's Some View Right There
Crowded Trail, But Great Scenery

South America » Colombia » Santa Marta January 10th 2015

We took a bicycle taxi to the bus station to save some walking. It only cost us 6000 pesos instead of the10000 it cost to get into town. Prices may vary... We bought tickets to Santa Marta on direct bus, but the six hour bus ride took eight hours, which is the norm for Colombia... On the bus we bought arepa with egg from one of the many vendors that got on at one of the stops, and it was delicious. We should have bought more bus snacks on this trip. There's really no downside. We took a taxi to Hotel Miami and got a room. One of the staff had a huge Great Dane that was super friendly. I don't think dogs that big really know how big they really are. We needed food so ... read more
Hello Mr. Police Officer, Can I Try Your Segway?
Santa Marta

South America » Colombia » Sucre January 8th 2015

It was another early morning to catch a bus. We were advised by the guesthouse we had booked in Tolu to catch the first bus, since it's high season and it might get crowded during the day. We got up at 5:30am and quietly left hostel. We were surprised to see many people sleeping in the common area on mattresses. We didn't even hear them come in. A taxi came to get us and took us through the30 minute ride to bus terminal way on outskirts of Cartagena. We bought our bus tickets to Tolu and then ate some breakfast Buñuelos, as has now become tradition. Then we boarded our nice air conditioned bus for a three and a half hour ride west of Cartagena. Some of the scenery looked like safari country. We we got ... read more
Our Bicycle Taxi
Starting Our Boat Ride Through the Mangroves
Sea of Sombreros

South America » Colombia » Cartagena January 6th 2015

At the airport just outside of Medellin, we checked in for flight to Cartagena. I'm usually not fond of flying during a trip, because I like seeing the countryside in between place, but after some 12-16 hour bus trips already, flying seemed pretty attractive. And Mauricio had advised us to fly to the coast because the scenery along the way doesn't vary much. And a 1 hour flight in place of a 14 hour bus ride seems like a good decision, especially considering, the cost of flying domestically within Colombia is not much higher than taking the bus. Inside security we found the Avianca lounge. Oh the perks of Star Alliance Gold membership! I only had to fly 50,000 miles in the last year to get it... Thanks, work! This is the reward for all those ... read more
Walking With Peter
Colonial Cartagena
Sunset in Cartagena

South America » Colombia » Medellin January 4th 2015

We had another slowish start to our day, and packed up and checked out of the hostel. We got breakfast at Sams before catching the bus to Medellin. In Medellin, we took the metro to our hostel. It's sure nice to have a metro since buses are usually hard to figure out for me. Even the Trans Milenio in Bogota seemed unnecessarily complicated. Medellin is the only city in Colombia with a metro, and in general this city seems very modern by comparison. The city sits in a valley, and the elevated metro is actually a great way to see the city. We found our hostel in a quiet neighbourhood on the southern end of the city, and checked in. We booked a private room, and it was really nice, like a nice hotel room. With ... read more
Outdoor Botero Statue
Square Out Front of the Museum
Inside the Museum

South America » Colombia » Antioquia January 1st 2015

After breakfast at the cafe down the road from our hostel in Pereira, we prepared for another long day on buses. We took a taxi to the bus terminal, and our taxi driver was a pretty funny guy. He kept razzing other taxi drivers. They didn't find it quite as funny as he (or we) did. We drove past a dog walker with about six dogs, and he shook his head and said, “No no no no no...” Not for any money would he do that job. Well, mayb... no no no no no. Our bus to Medellin was a nice big bus. I slept for about 4.5 out of the 5.5 hours. And there were some windy roads so that was no small feat. I got woken up at rest stop and had to get ... read more
Dummies on the Roadside
Arriving in Guatape
The Daytime View

South America » Colombia » Risaralda December 29th 2014

We left Salento in the middle of the afternoon and took a bus to Pereira at 2:50pm. There wasn't anything particular that we had planned, but we were making our way to Guatape, and had stayed in Salento a little longer in order to squeeze in the plantation tour. Getting to Guatape was going to take about 4-6 hours from Pereira to Medellin, and then another 2 to Guatape. So it was just as well that we were breaking up the journey by stopping in Pereira, since the bus from Salento was going to take over an hour just on it's own. Pereira is a fairly large city. It's clean and efficient looking. We once again took a taxi to the hostel, which was on the outskirts. Felipe was working the desk and checked us in. ... read more
Shame About the Food
This is What Disappointment Looks Like

South America » Colombia » Quindío » Salento December 29th 2014

Salento is a cute little town. We got off the bus at the busy plaza with lots of outdoor restaurants. There's no question that tourism is the main industry here (mostly Colombian tourists) but this place has some draw cards. There's coffee plantations you can visit, and a beautiful hike through La Valle Cocora. That was our mission. We wanted to stay at a place called the Plantation House right on the edge of town, and it was pretty darn quiet out there. They had space for us, so we found beds on the first try and didn't have to wander around much. And this place was going to be a nice quiet retreat, and a big change from the congestion of San Gil. The hostel also has two rough collies that are really lovable and ... read more
Pony Rides
Salento Square

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