Crossed the jungle border and I liked it
Currently traveling
  • Day25

    Cartagena

    April 2 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Arriving at night in colombias biggest coast city, I checked into a hostel in the historical center, where tourists were filling up the streets and the restaurant / bar catchers were really pushy. You couldn't walk far without constantly saying "no gracias".

    My main goal was to find a sailing boat wich could bring me over the San Blas Islands to Panama. I knew that online all the tours where sold out, but had hope to find some boat in the harbour wich needed a helping hand.
    After talking to several agencies and people on the streets with no success, I called it a day and went to listen to some live music in the famous Havanna Cafe.
    I sat down at the bar had a 19 year old rum and enjoyed the three Powerwoman singing and on the stage with their orchestra.

    At some point some girls animated me to stand up and dance. I showed my best Salsa skills with my worne out flip flops, when a blonde guy came up talking to.me. it turned out he and his partner where visiting the city for a business trip. They founded a company wich helps other companies incorporate green energy strategies into their business by offering solutions for energy efficiency, clean energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction.
    Pretty interesting guys and their office was where? Right, Berlin Maybachufer.

    We danced more and agreed to go to the beach on and small nearby island together the next day. I went back for sleeping in my very own, comfy cabin. One room had 8 of those cabins.

    I woke up in the early morning and went straight to the harbour, where one guy would take me with but on the 9th of April, wich would have been to late because the oversea trip would need 5 days and I wanted to visit Costa Rica before heading to my Teacher training on the 20th in Mexico.

    I gave up, went back to the hostel where I had to leave because the nights were booked out. So I found a cheaper hostel next to havanna cafe where I checked in and booked my flight for the next day to San Jose, Costa Rica.

    I had no stamp in my passport, not even from my entry to Peru, so I was kind of nervous if they would let me leave the country so easily. Vamos a ver.

    First, the beach date with my two berliner friends was on. It was already noon when we met at the harbour to find a boat wich could bring us to the island. We found a guy wich demanded 150K (35€) for both ways.
    He brought us to this small motorboat with two other guys on top and said 100K now and 50K on the way back. We gave him the 100K and went into the boat. It was a nice ride from a beach with many skyscrapers, so we fastly went over to the island where the drivers suddenly wanted the 50K immediately.
    We discussed, denied and went on to the beach bar when the drivers got angry and started shouting at us that they're gonna call the police. We were fine with that because we didn't do anything wrong. When they realised that we didn't react to their bluff they got angrier and came with a huge stick and literally said: "Quieres que te tratemos mal?" - "Do you want us to treat you bad?"

    Impressed by the stick 😆 and not to get into more trouble on the way back, we gave them 30K. That was enough for them and they left.

    We arrived at this sweet beach bar when we heared that the last boat off the island was already leaving in 1.5 hours, so we did our best to enjoy our little time there. The water was bathtub warm and the sun was slowly going down and no matter what we were happy being at this lovely place.

    The boat ride back with all the workers from the island was also nice when we dives into the sunset. We walked the whole way back to the central where we crossed the parts of the city where seemingly the Columbian tourists where having their holiday. It was so calm and the restaurant/bar catchers were even apologizing for stealing our time. A very different feeling.

    Back at my new hostel I beated up some french guys asses at ping pong had a pizza and went to bed 😊

    Next morning the excited part on the airport started...

    PS: not sure if Motorola is serious about the quality of the videos.
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  • Day24

    Santa Marta

    April 1 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Back to a bigger city to manage to get a new phone and maybe even some shoes :)
    After renting a bike driving around the city I was bargaining on the street on again stolen phones, but I made the decision not to support what harmed me. So i went on to some official shops were after comparing and comparing I found a brandnew Motorola smart phone with acceptable camera, double sim and good battery for 400.000 Pesos ~ 100€.
    I stayed at Casa Avelina Hostel with pool and good internet to manage this pain in the ass of relaunching everything on Android. WhatsApp still doesn't work because the number can't get approved...
    While I was working there on my computer a salsa class started wich I joined immediately. Class 2 ✓

    Uplifted by dancing i went on to discover Santa Martas nightlife. The city was quite dirty. Trash everywhere and many homeless. The center was a bit cleaner but still on some streets I felt unsafe.
    I went to see the nice but more expensive Masaya hostel (the one I started my hellride from San Agustin to Cali) where a guy opened me the door. Jakob from Berlin *lol*.
    We went to the rooftop where we met his brother and some french girls. After a while we changed to La Brisa Hostel where a proper party was going on. A huge rooftop place with 2 floors and hundreds of travellers mixed with locals. Reggeatón, Salsa, Merengue, Bachata etc was played and we danced for some hours.

    After a while we wanted to see more of the city so we continued on the streets were many bars and clubs were open, but nothing attracted us.
    The guys went back and I went for some food, where I met a local wich helped me find a way and "protected" me for some money in exchange. He brought me to a small place where a grandmother prepared a rico sandwich for me 🤤.

    It was 3am and a taxi brought me home safe where I booked a recommended hostel in Cartagena for the next day.
    Now I am on the bus to there. Unfortunately the bus where I already parked my main luggage in, just drove away while I was getting a water 😳.

    The people there called the bus and he will hopefully drop it at the station in Barranquilla were I can get it back.

    Vamos a ver (let's see). I'm now 5 minutes from the station...

    GOT IT 😃😃😃

    Now off to Cartagena, in the first row as in the good ol days.

    Oh wait I have some random pictures...
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  • Day19

    Playa Costeno / Tayrona Park

    March 27 in Colombia ⋅ 🌧 27 °C

    After breakfast we took moto taxis to the back entry of the great great nature reservatory of Tayrona, because we heared its better to start from there to have the harder walking part first.
    So we started the four hour tour through the jungle to the first beach spot were we had the possibilty to sleep in hammocks. We had lunch there, it was only 3/4 pm and we had enough power to continue 2.5 hours to the next spot were we could have slept in a tent on the beach.
    The map we had was a joke. After an hour we came to a split path with no shield or direction. We pulled up the compass compared, discussed and made our decission to the right. Wrong decision.
    It started to get dark and there was still nothing but deep forrest around us when we started becoming a bit nervous.
    The jungle noices started to become louder and louder and there was one significant and ongoing roar, wich we thought is a Jaguar, because we saw many signs with "here lives the Jaguar" and so on.
    After ~2 more hours walk in darkness we found a tiny eco hostel were we found refuge. It was a local family, wich gave us two tents with mattrasses and even cooked a dinner for us. We played with the three sons a colombian game were you try to hit into a frogs mouth with metal rings and had a great sleep surrounded by the jungle symphony.

    We found out that we walked in a circle and almost been back to were we started 😅 great indiana Jones skills! The roaring was no jaguar but the scream monkeys. Still it was jaguar territory, though they are very shy and don't show off often.

    We woke up at 6 in the morning, the mother made us breakfast and we had almost the whole 7 hour hike ahead.
    Here is to say that last week the universe tested my patience because also my shoes got stolen in a hostel in Palomino, so I walked the most barefoot and the steeper paths with my flip flops. Everybody here thinks flip flop is such a funny word, also nobody else than the germans use. Great exercise for my foot 🦵!

    After half the way we finally came to the main beach were suddenly hundreds of people were chilling. We had lunch there and continued the way until we found a private beach were we had some rest and also tried the drone of Jonas! Great footage will come soon :)

    From there 5 different beaches in 15min distances were following. The most beaches there you weren't allowed to swim because the waves and current are too strong and many people already have drowned there. One playa was called piscina (pool) because it was surrounded by rocks wich broke the waves. There we could easily swim a bit.

    It became dark again at 6pm and we still haven't seen the exit, but didn't wanted to stay another night in the park. Finally we found some guys on motorcycles wich drove us back to civilization and our hostel.

    I enjoyed this bohemian beach hostel that much I extended two more nights. The days were perfect: beach, football, volleyball, ping pong and good company = happy phone- and shoeless Nino 🥰
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    Traveler

    Oh dear... All the best of luck with the rest, hope nothing else bad happens!

    4/2/22Reply
    Traveler

    Thank you! But it's not that bad if you surrender 😃

    4/2/22Reply
    Traveler

    <3 love you

    4/2/22Reply
    Traveler

    Love you too Litsa 💙

    4/2/22Reply
     
  • Day18

    PHONE STOLEN - Barranquilla Carnival

    March 26 in Colombia ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Pretty annoying that i have to do the whole getting a new phone thing, with all the TAN-Generator shit and insurance fuckup. BUT i was now longer comparing the thought:

    "Would you instead of having had these experiences there, change into not loosing your phone?" I´d say no - fuck this phone.
    You can reach me very good via e-mail:
    nino.tsavalos@web.de - I´d be happy to hear from any of you.
    You can also reach me with the same e-mail adress via iMessage or facetime.

    Arriving at the apartment wich rented out mattresses, around 20 people from all over, slept into hammocks and mattresses in the acomodation where usually maybe 6 people find place.
    Our room with –15m2 had 4 mattresses on the floor and one hammock above :D

    The hole city turned into a gigantic street party. Every corner had their own loud music playing and selling drinks or food.
    We were really happy that me made the decision to come, so the three of us went to the main parade with hundreds of different trucks and dancers.
    Also there were probably hundreds of pickpockers. On the way to the toilet i first noticed a women, trying to open my purse...

    We continued walking down to the end of the parade, were the local people were standing in line to take fotos with us gringos :D One gave me her –3 year old daughter for a picture in my hands :D awkward but hilarious!

    We walked the street on were we came to the first party in and outside a bar. Great music, suddenly amazing disco classics got us dancing like crazy.
    I danced with all different kind of people, some were getting really close and by the time we went on to the next spot, i grabbed into my pocket where no more phone was...
    We tried to locate the phone immediately from the other guys phone, wich didnt work because i somehow couldn´t log in to my icloud... dont ask...
    There was no other chance of finding it, so i accepted it dejected.

    Somehow I managed to get over it and continue the crazy night with Jonas, Mikkel from Denmark, Alain from france, Jun from Berlin and Laura from Munich. We had a blast and moved from party to party until 5 in the morning.
    Back in the packed accommodation, my matress was already occupied by Mikkel and Alain wich left a bit earlier, but slept deep. I tried to search again with my laptop, but the device was shut down.
    First i tried to sleep on the floor, wich was to hard, then i squeezed onto the 1m wide mattress with Mikkel :D in the room without windows but ventilator. I immediately fell asleep.
    Next morning the guy who run the place organized breakfast (eggs, bread, coffee and fruits) for everybody. He made the business of the year, demanding for each mattress or hammock 100.000 Pesos... I heared from 5 more people who got rubbed this night. I got lucky not having felt the assault. One got first thrown flour into his eyes (with all the kids were throwing around) and than got sprayed at with a foamy spray, when they took his phone.

    Must sound weird but it still was such a great time in Barranquilla and I wouldn´t want to miss this.

    After breakfast, Jonas and me decided to take the Bus back to Costenho beach, to chill and calm down.
    We are now staying the second night in this BEAUTIFUL Bohemian Beach hostel, directly located in at the beach in between palmtrees, with only super chilled people (aswell as a couple from Karlsruhe :D )
    Many people stay here for months and work remotely from here, because it feels like paradise.

    Tomorrow morning we leave our big bags here, to explore the Tayrona National Park for a hike, with one night inside.

    Not having the ability to take pictures sucks...
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    Traveler

    Piczzz or it didn’t happened 😉

    3/29/22Reply
    Traveler

    Get a small camera asap!

    3/29/22Reply
     
  • Day16

    Palomino

    March 24 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Driving along the again very different landscape at the sea I had to changed the bus in Santa Marta to Palomino.

    Arriving there a moto-taxi took me to the Tiki Hut Hostel next to the beach. I checked in and went directly dipping into the rough sea. It was already dark an the waves were strong but warm.

    After showering I run into my roommate Jonas wich was from berlin too. We connected instantly and went out for dinner, before going to bed early.

    Next day I woke up in this paradise, had breakfast and walked along this gorgeous beach until a spot where I was alone for miles. I sat down under palmtrees, drank a coconut, went skinny dipping and did yoga.
    I’m Greece there is a saying: “There is non like Chalkidiki” and despite the beach conditions with the different sands, palm trees and nature, the sea itself in Greece is still the most clear and beautiful I’ve seen so far 🙂

    At noon I met Jonas with two danish, one german and one swedish guys for tubing in the river.
    We got driven to a spot up the mountain where we jumped on a rope into the lake.
    We got our tubing tires and started the 2 hour drive down the river.
    We felt a little pranked when we found out that the river won’t get any faster because there was barely water in it 😂 We approximately drove with 5kmh and lots of laughter, in beautiful nature though.
    The highlight was when Jonas somehow lost his GoPro “Action cam” in non existing action.
    We searched it without success.
    Well no, the highlight was when 2 women ran from the sand beach into us like pirates capsizing and demanding 5.000 Pesos for creating at least some action.

    After that adrenaline rush we went out for dinner in the cute village of Palomino, where we heared live music and even a small rave with a Berliner Djane.

    The accommodations in Barranquilla for carneval got extremely expensive and you would even pay around 50€/night for dorms.

    The danish guys knew another Canadian guy wich rents out mattresses at an Airbnb.
    So right know Jonas, me and Mikkel are only a few hours away from the great carneval. Let’s see how long we will stand this…
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  • Day10

    Medellin

    March 18 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Twenty-five years ago, Time magazine dubbed Colombia’s Medellin “the most dangerous city on earth”. Drug lords lived like princes, judges and policeman were regularly assassinated, paramilitaries invaded neighbourhoods and ordinary people disappeared overnight without trace.

    Meanwhile the birthplace of Pablo Escobar has developed with an economy that is among the fastest growing on the continent, it is one of the great success stories of Latin America.

    I had the great luck to stay at Basti and his girlfriend Juliana. He is an old friend of Mario and me and lives in Medellin for three years now, so he could show me the best spots of the city.

    We went to nice restaurants, danced salsa, played soccer on a rooftop and visited nature parks around the city.

    Actually I wanted to be on the Caribbean coast for my birthday, but since Jasper, a very close friend from Berlin arrived in Medellin on the 22. of march, I extended until the 24.

    The evening before my birthday we drove home from a day trip at the mountain. The guys had to work the next day and I was thinking what I could do to enter my 32 year on this planet.
    We drove by a huge Casino, when I asked the guys to stop over, so I could ask if there’s any poker tournament soon. Apparently it started in 30min, so I went out to tell the others I would stay and play.
    The buy in was 100.000 Pesos (~25€) and around 18 colombianos took part.
    Clearly I had my birthdays fortune on my side, but also played my best poker in a long time, so I was leading the table after a short time.
    When we came to the final table I took out two players, so we were only 4 left. The third one would get 300.000, the second 600.000 and the first 1.500.000 Pesos.
    I was very close to winning when I called an all in with my A,K against K,K and lost half of my stack. From there on the game turned against me and
    in the end I became third place…

    At 0:00 I went to the roulette table put some money on the 22 and the 3. Without luck 🍀 but with lots of fun.

    Next day I had a nice brunch, went to the barber for a fresh cut and went by metro to the famous district of Communa 13.

    The area is no longer known for gang violence, police raids, cartels and illegal trafficking.
    These days, Comuna 13 is more readily associated with graffiti, street art performances and walking tours. New infrastructure, including a cable car system and six outdoor escalators, has made life in Comuna 13 a whole lot easier for residents and opened the area up to tourists.

    After taking the cable “gondola” to see it from above I chose to walk parts of the huge area by myself and without a guide.
    I felt a lot safer than I expected and the people were as mostly everywhere in the country extremely friendly, greet on the streets and are happy to help.

    In the evening I met Jasper with his old guest family at a local pub. Basti and Juli also came there and we ordered Greek food wich was delicious 🥳

    Jasper lived in Medellin for some time and decided to buy a property outside of the center in the nature, where he’s building a house on now, so he flys over from time to time to check the progress. The guest family wich he met in Argentina helps him with the building and the paper work since they’re neighbours.

    That night they invited me to their house after the greek food and I slept there to see Jaspers property and the area the next day.
    The father made us a huge breakfast + a even bigger plate for lunch later on.
    It is a beautiful place in nature with a little spring and waterfalls running through.
    We spend a really relaxed day there and even took the opportunity of their “turkish” steam bath.

    In the evening we visited the football game of Medellin against Bogotá where we met Basti and some other friends of his again.
    It was a burning atmosphere and a good game where Medellin won 1:0 with a player less.

    I feel so happy to have had such great hosts and had the chance to dive that deep into the citys heart.
    Basti even drove me with his car at 5 in the morning to the airport. There the flight got delayed 3 hours because of bad weather.

    I arrived at 12 noon in Barranquilla where carneval would take place on the weekend. I was there two days before so I decided to drive 4 hours to the hippie village of Palomino on the caribbean coast line 🤩
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  • Day9

    Manizales

    March 17 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    From the big temperature changes and a quite cold night in Salento I got a cold, wich I felt the first morning in Manizales the most.
    Around noon I could push myself outta bed though to go and see the city.

    I walked around without big plan or research, so I landed in a favela like area where I found a gondola wich brought me to the top of the city.
    The view was amazing because you could see all the neighbourhoods from above.
    Arriving the top and at the most commercial part, the city was pulsing there with lots of people, shops and restaurants.

    When Miguel finished work, we went for dinner at a market hall. Next morning I took the bus at 6 o clock to Medellin.
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  • Day7

    Salento

    March 15 in Colombia ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

    A station two of my instagram-friends recommended me independent from one another.
    I heared my call and drove 3 hours from Cali to Armenia and from there 1 hour up the mountain. The temperature differences where big, so I moved from 30* to below 20* degrees.

    Salento is a picturesque village with colourful small houses in the Colombian coffee growing area.
    When I asked the locals what is the best thing in salento to do they answered:
    “Just enjoy the calmness and the hospitality of the people. Here are all friends”

    Indeed it was super safe and cozy with great nature around.

    I was again alone on the road. Agustina stayed back in Cali because she could earn there some money and give dance classes.

    The hostel with the two huge dogs was nice and I stayed in an 8-dorm bedroom with spacious cabins.

    I only stayed for a night and a day. So after spending the arrival evening pretty calm strolling around the city and having lunch at an vegetarian restaurant, suddenly i saw a Futsal court build up at the main square of the village where at daytime the market was.
    It was kind of an official match day, the teams had similar jerseys and there were referees.
    Since I couldn’t join them I played with the kids around the court, wich were also pretty good!
    After some hours it was 11pm, the teams kept on switching and playing, I left happy for bed 😴

    The next morning I went on a hike through the coffee mountains to visit an organic plantation.
    I learned about the cultivation and production and the different quality standards. At the end of the tour of course I got to taste the coffee. To be honest I didn’t like the espresso. It was super strong and sour wich comes from the high altitude. The stretched Americano was more enjoyable.

    Back at the hostel I did a longer fascia release session with yoga because my back wasn’t that good in the last days. Anyways it’s not easy to find a routine for working out while travelling. My bag is also way to big and heavy with 18kg.

    So I left the village to visit my old friend Miguel who used to be in the same social circle in Karlsruhe, like Antonio (Quito).

    We met in Pereira were he just landed after business negotiations in Panama. From there we drove together to his home in Manizales. Another coffee city.
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    Traveler

    Happy birthday Nino!!!!

    3/22/22Reply
    Traveler

    Thank you ❤️

    3/22/22Reply
     
  • Day4

    CALI - the Salsa city

    March 12 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Due to the congress elections on Sunday, there wasn’t going on much in the city. They closed all the Bars and alcohol was forbidden, so the people don’t forget to vote.

    So I explored the 2mio big city by walking. If you were outside of the center, there was this super chill vibe. No skyscrapers no bullshit, only tiny colourful houses and many nice parks with huge old trees in it.
    I really enjoyed the strolls around.

    On monday I had a private Argentinian samba dance class by Angustina in the morning and a Salsa dance classe at in the evening.
    In between we went up the big hill to the 26m high Cristo Rey Jesus statue. Nice view over the hole city.
    The senora working there showed us a shortcut along the “crosses” to the city. From the beginning the path was hardly visible. Clearly nobody had walked there for a long time.
    We saw the crosses though and continued downwards. After 5 crosses with probably 300m in between, the bushes became to dense. We still tried to get through somehow, which made our legs suffer from lots of scratches. I’m the end
    we had no other chance to turn around again 😒
    Gracias senora!

    The regular way back would have had cost us 2more hours and my salsa class appointment. We hitchhiked and luckily two motorcycles took us with!

    I was exhausted when we arrived at the hostel for the salsa class, but I joined. I didn’t know it is so intense 😅
    The salsa teacher gave us free entry tickets for a salsa club the same night, where I could show my learned skills 💃🏻
    The atmosphere was super nice in there, everybody switched after a dance so you could dance with pros and beginners like me.

    Next morning off to the Colombian coffee route through the mountains. First stop Salento.
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    Traveler

    Cali was my dream destination many years ago. I had read a novel, part of the plot was there. So glad you made it

    3/18/22Reply
     
  • Day1

    Frontera to Colombia / Mocoa

    March 9 in Colombia ⋅ 🌧 25 °C

    Colombiaaaa!!! The country wich interested me the most before the journey.

    The frontier crossing this time was easier, though we chose the unofficially path through the jungle over the amazon river. It costed me 5$ for the 10min boat ride and another 5$ for the taxi to the next bigger bus station. There We changed money and continued the 3hour Bus journey to Macao were we stayed a night at a Eco hostel for 15.000 Colombian Pesos wich are 3,5€ 😋
    The Landscape was one of the most beautiful I’d seen so far. It was a mix of the mountains, jungle, grass fields, waterfalls and rivers.

    Next day we went on 4 hours to the village of San Augustin.
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