Having torn ourselves from Colombia's idyllic Caribbean coastline, it is time to explore what the interior of the country has to offer.
As mentioned in a previous entry, Colombia's geography is dominated by three parallel chains of mountains, northern extensions of the Andes. The valleys formed by these chains channel the waters of Colombia's two longest rivers - the Magdalena and the Cauca - all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. Being so high and so close to the Equator, the climate in this part of the country is cool and wet. Not the hot, tropical place you might assume Colombia to be. Happily, this climate makes for an awful lot of green: the upper slopes of the cordilleras
are blanketed in vast tracts of weird and wonderful tropical cloud forest which are particularly looking forward to explore.
Our next few weeks are dominated by these mountains. Travelling in a straight line anywhere in Colombia's hilly heartland is next to impossible: lots of bus rides up and down very wiggly roads are unavoidable. Our circuit takes us through the picturesque towns of San Gil, Barichara, Villa de Leyva and Tunja, Colombia's capital city of Bogotá, cloud forest ringed Manizales,
coffee-growing Salento and handsome Popayán. Horseriding in fossil-encrusted valleys, kayaking down tumultuous rivers the colour of milky coffee, sipping experimental cocktails in the fancy bars of Bogotá, gazing open-mouthed at clouds of shimmering hummingbirds in cloud forest: the fascinating highlands of Colombia are a real discovery.
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