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 the park is that there's no visitor center whatsoever. There are roads before and after the park that seem to go to remote farms, but no place to enter the park. I did explore from these roads into surrounding forest and found abundant insect life, lizards and birds. When I left, I found out that you need to ask for a guide in the
city and then walk into the park with a guide! Always best to ask things around!!
Conclusion: don't plan to drive far in the country unless you have plenty of time. Consider internal flights between major cities, and possible take bus or rent car there. I saw road/bridge construction everywhere, so I believe that within 5-10 years, the country will be far more accessible and more agreeable to drive in. Plan your trip carefully as there are many regions with absolutely no hotels of any kind for hundreds of kilometers. If you look for budget options, don't come to Cartagena area, as prices are 2-3 times what they are around Bogota.
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