Blogs from Colombia, South America


South America » Colombia » Bogota March 21st 2020

The title for this blog was inspired by an English friend of mine... not a particularly intelligent one, mind you, but a good friend nonetheless. When he enquired into my immediate travel plans in the present climate of global paranoia, and I mentioned that the Colombian president had just announced a nationwide curfew from 8pm Friday to 5am Tuesday (the announcement was made on Thursday afternoon) and that I was therefore considering making a quick dash for the capital, Bogota, before the curfew came into effect, he responded that it sounded like the plot of a Hollywood movie: 'Escape to Bogota', with Bruce Willis in the lead role. I would have suggested someone younger, taller and better looking, but I was hardly in a position to argue. If anything I felt more like Jack Bauer racing ... read more
Sunlight and Shadows
Prowling like a Panther

South America » Colombia » Santa Marta » Ciudad Perdida March 17th 2020

With my first week in Colombia having been spent on the Caribbean coast, it was only natural for me to want to spend my second week in the mountains... and what better way to shake off the big city cobwebs than by joining a 4-day guided trek through the rainforest-clad lower slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta – the world's highest coastal mountain range?! But having neglected to take my passport with me to the Expotur office in the centre of Santa Marta when I paid for the trip a couple of days prior, I first had to take a minivan into town on the Monday morning (9thMarch) to take care of this little aside... only to find that the centre of Santa Marta had lost power, so that not only was the office ... read more
A darker shade of green
Lush Valley
Forest Giant

South America » Colombia » Cartagena March 8th 2020

Colombia is an enigma. Named after a man who never set foot in the country, it contains a greater wealth of biodiversity than any other country on the planet apart from Brazil, which is seven times larger. With coastlines fronting both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, it also boasts over a thousand kilometres of the Andes mountains (which split into three parallel ranges on the way north into Venezuela) as well as a separate mountain range in the north, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, that rises straight out of the sea to heights of over 5700 metres – making it the highest coastal mountain range on Earth. Add to that an enormous expanse of grasslands, known as Los Llanos, and a significant portion of the Amazon rainforest, and you end up with a natural ... read more
Gateway to a city's historic heart
El Libertador
Atmospheric streets

South America » Colombia » Cartagena January 26th 2020

I did finally figure out how to add photos on my last blog, and spent an hour downloading and writing captions...only to find out that I could not re-post! Arrrgggghhhh! But, think I’ve got it nailed (thank you Lynn, for your guidance and patience) and hopefully you’ll be able to fully enjoy this blog on COLOMBIA Part 2. MAGICAL COLOMBIA After leaving the densely packed resort town of Rodadero, we drove about 1/2 hour over a mountain to the beautiful town of Santa Marta. Upon arriving at our Air B&B, the BOUTIQUE HOTEL CACTUS SUITES, we realized we had forgotten to take our passports and cash from the safe in Rodadero! Drove like a bat-out-of-Hell (or, like a local) back over the mountain to get them, stopped on way back to Santa Marta at cute local ... read more
Santa Marta Church
Waiting for lemonade with coco, my new favorite

South America » Colombia » Cartagena January 19th 2020

SECOND OF SEVEN COUNTRY TOUR OF SOUTH AMERICA My first (and last) blog ended upon our arrival in Cartagena from 10 days in Mexico City. Cartagena, the old town, is bright, alive and a magical step back in time. Horse drawn carriages on cobblestone streets, colorful colonial buildings with balconies dripping with bougainvillea and Passion flower, smell of Creole spice and coffee lingering in the air...and local women in traditional garb selling fruit from baskets they carry on their heads. Added to this mix are world class restaurants, luxury brand stores, little yellow taxis everywhere...people...lots and lots of people! It’s all a bit overwhelming upon arrival and it didn’t help that several cruise ships had brought hundreds of people ashore the next day. And, of course, with the arrival of cruise ships came the hordes of ... read more
Rodadero Beach - view from 9th floor apartment
Rodadero Beach - first night’s dinner, great creole shrimp
Rodadero Beach - Walter’s fantastic black squid ink paella

South America » Colombia January 6th 2020

Our final stop in Colombia was none other than the now infamous Medellin...Pablo Escobar’s bloodshed territory made even more famous thanks to the Netflix series Narcos. After 5 weeks in Colombia we were ready for this city...and it did not disappoint - we just wished we had more time to soak it all up. We arrived in the evening and the first thing that struck me was all the million little lights that adorned the surrounding hills that made each vista look like a sparkling Christmas tree. It was extra pretty and I wondered what these homes would look like in daylight. We grabbed an Uber and feeling like locals now, Marco sat in the front and me in the back. (It turned out that Colombia wasn’t the only country with this “is Uber legal or ... read more
The gang: Marco, Daria, Angela and Sergio
With our guide in Comuna 13
View from the barrio

South America » Colombia » Quindío » Salento January 1st 2020

Salento, the name of this town is the same as the famous holiday town in Puglia; a favourite of Roman citizens. Puglia’s Salento, is an amazing strip of land covered in centenary old olive trees, with sandy shores and crystal clear sea waters; without mentioning the amazing food, but hey this is not about the Italian Salento but the Colombian one, part of the coffee triangle known as the “eje caffetero” a mountain region around 1600mt above sea level, vast green valleys mainly coffee plantations and green pastures ruling the country side. We decided not to stay in the main town but on an eco farm 3km from the centre to enjoy the country life. The idea was to find something similar to “Brisas del Campo” with a warm family and peace. The place we chose ... read more
Typical Salento Colonial style
NYE Bunch
At the coffee farm

South America » Colombia December 23rd 2019

If you Google ‘Barichara’ you will come across the words “prettiest town in Colombia” how could we not go? Plus, Nina from Gitana del Mar had highly recommended it and had put us in touch with some of her friends there. Prior to speaking to Nina we’d never heard of Barichara and so decided to take a leap of trust and just GO! After nearly two weeks with creepy crawlies in the jungle and the humidity of the sea breeze, we welcomed the super dry, desert like climate that Barichara was promising us. Several buses later we arrived in this gorgeous little quaint colonial town with white washed walls and cobbled streets. I don’t know if it’s truly the prettiest town in Colombia, but we were quite enamoured with it and the small canyon surrounding it. ... read more
Good morning Barichara
Modelling for Stamps
Bella Italia

Having not seen much Caribbean Sea in and around Cartagena we were looking forward to experiencing this part of Colombia and where better than Tayrona national park. Tayrona is named after three indigenous tribes that were grouped together and called the Tayrones - they include the Koguis, the Wiwas and the Arawaks. The whole northern coast was pretty much no man’s land up until a decade ago. Owned and managed by the paramilitary and drug lords, you wouldn’t step foot here unless you were a Tayrona or a coca farmer. As part of the peace truce and cleaning up Colombia, the coca plantations were replaced with banana plantations and land was made available to buy. We met a lot of people escaping the madness of Bogotá or Cartagena for the tranquility and isolation of the jungle ... read more
Little Karolina kissing Peppa
Marco’s drawing of Peppa
Tayrona National Park

South America » Colombia » Ipiales December 14th 2019

Der Plan war gut gewesen. Doch unser Bus wollten nicht mitmachen. Noch Nachts während wir schliefen hatten wir das Gefühl, der Bus sei irgendwo mal eine Weile stehen geblieben. Morgens blieb er dann auf jeden Fall wieder stehen - als ich aufwachte, standen wir im Stau. Die Straße war anscheinend wegen Murenabgängen gesperrt und alle warteten auf die Räumung. So liefen viele Leute neben und auf der Straße rum, vertraten sich die Beine. Ein Restaurant an der Straße machte das Geschäft seines Lebens, als gegen Mittag immer noch alles stand. Gegen 1, 2 fuhren wir schließlich endlich weiter. Anscheinend hatten wir außerdem die Entfernung bereits leicht unterschätzt, sodass wir am Ende erst gegen 9 in Ipiales ankamen - mit Quito würde es heute abens offensichtlich nichts mehr werden. Wir suchten eine Unterkunft und fanden ein nicht ... read more

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