There´s more to Colombia than just coffee and white powder

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South America » Colombia » Boyacá
January 27th 2014
Published: April 1st 2014
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Venturing to Salento in the Zona Cafetera was like landing in the green hills of Switzerland, but with palm trees and coffee farms. Did a fantastic 11km circuit hike in the Cocora Valley, surrounded by 60 to 70 metre tall wax palms (Colombia´s national tree), with a side trip to Acaime Natural Reserve to see hummingbirds. Then I hit the heady heights (2600m) of Bogota; exploring the various parts of the capital by bike and cable car, the interesting Gold Museum, and the underground salt cathedral at Zipaquia. Next stop was the charming Villa de Leyva with colonial houses, cobblestone streets and plazas, and lots of fancy-schmancy artesan shops for visiting Bogotanos - a very pretty town with a similar vibe (and cost) to Leura in the Blue Mountains. Final highlight was an amazing 4-day hike in the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy National Park, at an altitude ranging from 4000 to 5000 metres, with some of the largest glaciers in Colombia and a fascinating paramo ecosystem with the frailejones. So ends a thoroughly enjoyable 6 week trip to Colombia.

Additional photos below
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yep the tiny blip is little ole me standing next to one of the tall buggers

the second part of the Cocora Valley walk is in lush (and muddy) jungle
Acaime Natural ReserveAcaime Natural Reserve
Acaime Natural Reserve

lots of beautiful hummingbrds - fascinating to watch
downtown Salentodowntown Salento
downtown Salento

a really picturesque town full of arty craft shops
Zona CafeteraZona Cafetera
Zona Cafetera

coffee farms
organic coffee tourorganic coffee tour
organic coffee tour

We visited this small organic family-run coffee farm and did a tour with the owner. I don´t drink coffee but I found the process pretty interesting. Afterwards you are given a cup of coffee.
Bogota sunsetBogota sunset
Bogota sunset

From the Monserrate funicular
downtown Bogotadowntown Bogota
downtown Bogota

It´s pretty cool that they block off a main thoroughfare for pedestrians and cyclists only
choose your steedchoose your steed
choose your steed

From Botero art to the modern version

representing the destruction of mining to the nature and the environment
guinea pig raceguinea pig race
guinea pig race

you bet which one the guinea pig will go into by placing coins on the bowl numbers - the locals were loving it

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