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Published: December 21st 2013
Bogota - Armenia - Salento - Medellin - Cartagena - Santa Marta - Taganga - PNN Tayrona - Palomino - Bogota
So this trip was extremely last minute, which made it fun. In total, we planned on leaving home for Colombia, and 7 days later we were there, with absolutely nothing planned. An adventure to say the least.
Overall, Colombia gets a bad rap, for good reasons if you know its history, but it was a great place to be (certainly not our favourite in South Amercia) but great none-the-less. This is one of those places that you need to go through the bad to get to the good, but the good is insanely beautiful and one of a kind and certainly worth any hassle it took to get there.
We started in Bogota, a typical South American capital, crazy and loud and in some parts sketchy. What really stood out was the graffiti, it was beautiful and is completely sponsored and supported by city officials, it really adds tonnes of colour and gives Bogota a feel all its own. We stayed in La Candelaria, a preserved colonial portion of the city and one of the
oldest places in the country, pretty cool place to walk around.
Neither of us enjoy cities so it was time to go, and next was a place that ended up being both of our favourites, Salento. Located in the coffee farming region, this charming village was perfectly situated in the mountains and right next to the amazing Cocora Valley, perhaps one of the most beautiful locations either of us have ever seen. About as green as it gets, the native Wax Palm trees spread themselves out throughout this region giving the place a one of a kind look and feel, a very powerful place. The town of Salento was cool too, spent Teri's bday there, a great place to do so and we stayed at a killer hostel on a farm called La Serrana, might just be the best hostel we have ever stayed at, and there have been lots.
Next to Medellin via a Colombian roller coaster (aka bus). Nothing like riding along a mountain ridge, 300m drops on either side, while passing 4 semis in a row on blind corner after blind corner. The bus rides are crazy, but kind of fun, and the scenery is
ridiculous, just be prepared to spend 10 hours on a bus that identifies itself as a 5 hour bus trip. Medellin was great, another big city but a way better vibe than Bogota. We had fun there, and Teri found chicken wings, her birthday gift to herself after 6 months of vegetarianism, they were devoured and I was careful not to put my fingers too close to her plate.
Limited by time, we flew to Cartagena, and the flights were not much more expensive than the buses! Cartagena was cool, a super old colonial city surrounded (where we stayed) by a fortress wall with cannons. This place, although fuckin hot, was very cool to walk around and was a photographers dream. So many colours and characters and tonnes of history.
Then it was the bus ride from hell, literally, probably our closest near death experience to date on our travels. I wont go into details but will say that we were in the front seat with a bus driver that was coming down off a drug bender (no doubt), falling asleep at the wheel, drifting into oncoming traffic, slapping himself in the face and just overall fucked. Needless
to say, I made him pull over in the middle of nowhere and drop us off, now requiring us to hitchhike to the nearest town, luckily a cool bus driver picked us up, disaster avoided and stress levels back to normal.
From there to Taganga (aka Tagongshow), for you Vancouverites, picture a tropical Pidgeon Park. What may have been cool in the past, tourism has clearly caught up with this place and its now full or the downside of such exposure and was sad really to see so many fucked up people. Anyhow, spent one more day to take a crazy fuckin boat ride in waves big enough to freak me out, and made us feel very small, to Tayrona National Park. This place is beautiful, like really beautiful, but the sea was rough, there were lots of people and we were rattled by that boat ride (all 75min of it). Knowing we had to get back on the boat in like 3 hours, we didn't enjoy Tayrona as much as we may have any other time but I'm glad we went, sort of.
Needing to chill out, seriously needing to chill out as we hadn't yet, we
planned to kill our last week in Palomino, hoping it was what we heard it was and what we wanted. Turns out it was, and then some. Days were spent doing nothing, lounging on the beach, tubing down beautiful jungle rivers and hanging out with a good friend we had met up with there from home, Devon. We needed Palomino, and it didn't disappoint. It was very good to relax and hang out with a familiar face from home, and gorge ourselves on papas rellenas and fried fish, yum.
Sad to leave, we flew to back to Bogota and killed our last day playing the national sport of Colombia, TEJO. Throwing big metal discs at a box full of clay and explosives while getting hammered, it is the most fun thing ever. And when you hit the explosive charges it is so loud and really hilarious.
So overall, Colombia was amazing. It tested our patience and was rarely relaxing, but this is what we anticipated and we loved it. The people were great and once you finally got to your spot, it was truly paradise, in its own way. We are glad we ended up here, as spontaneous
as it was.
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