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Colombia

Curious what backpackers do in Colombia? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Letzter Family Dinner Abend mit Wendy, Peter, Annika, Juho und Pam in Santa Veronica bei Elkin und Maria nach einem Kitesurf- oder Strand- Tag

  • Colombia!

    From the reserve I caught a bus to the border town of Tulcan, there a taxi takes you to the border where the immigration office is. Fun Fact: both countries offices are more or less your responsibility to go to and get you stamp. Otherwise you can pretty much just walk across the border and skip the immigration part, however leaving might be a different story if you never got your entry stamp.

    I waited in line in Ecuador with both those coming and leaving and got my exit stamp. I thing walked across the Rumichaca bridge that leads into Colombia. Interestingly enough Ecuador has big welcome to Ecuador signs, Colombia does not.

    Once across I got into another much larger line in the rain for the Colombian immigration office. It sort of felt like waiting in line at an amusement park as the office is partially outdoors and the booths look like ticket counter. After an hour or so I got my entry stamp and was on my way.

    I shared a taxi with two French guys into Ipiales the border town and walked to a cheap hotel called Hotel Belmonte. I planned to stay the night there. I walked a bit around the town if mostly stores as Colombia is much cheaper than Ecuador and many people cross over to buy goods.

    It was odd not using dollars anymore but 2000 pesos ( less than a dollar) for an empanada and coke! Ya can't beat it!

    My first reaction to Colombia was the buildings seemed a bit more colorful and the sidewalks were tiled.

    The next day I got up early and caught a local bus to Las Lajas sanctuary a neo-gothic church built between a gorge where a deaf and mute girl once heard the Virgin Mary and cured her while traveling in a storm.

    The sanctuary is really incredibly beautiful placed between two large mountain walls with a river rushing underneath! It is regarded as Colombia's most beautiful church.

    It felt good to be I another country with a while slew of new places, people, and adventures awaiting!
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  • My next stop in Colombia was the city of Pasto. It's not the most popular place for tourists, but it's on the map so I wanted to go.

    I was incredibly lucky to get to Couchsurf at the home of Angie along with her sister, mother, and crazy little dog Isis.

    I spent the days hanging out with Angie, her friends, as well as her family and friends. I got to walk around and more or less get a very informative tour of the city with a friend named Oscar who seemed to know everything about the city from where a statue of a saint was actually constructed from a statue of Vladimir Lenin to how the city's theater used to be abandoned and home to an XXX movie theater.

    I was also able to get out of the city and go to Laguna de la Cocha. A large lake close to Pasto that has amazing views, great trout and lots of little boats to take you around the lake and to a small island in the middle.

    My last night I attended a Youth Orchestra concert at the local museum and the music they played was amazing with all sorts of Latin influence.

    Statue Picture: Apparently 65 years ago when the church was finished a sculpture from Cuenca, Ecaudor was commissioned to create a sculpture of the church's Saint. The sculpture had apparently run short on time and used a statue of Vladimir Lenin he was working on to create the Saint. This can be seen I the face of the Saint and the fact that he is not wearing sandals rather military style boots!
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  • Popayan also known as the city of white is known for its historic colonial center painted in all white. It's small windy streets, many churches, and bustling town square all make it quite a charming place to be.

    I arrived on a Tuesday in the late afternoon and wound up walking around and eventually sitting at a bar called El Sotareño which has been around about 55 years, is still run by the owner Augustine and still has a wall of salsa, tango and other Latin records which played through the night.

    I met a group of girls at the bar who ended up showing me around the town the next days and bringing me to eat the best food, dance at the coolest club, and enjoy most of what the small town has to offer.
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  • Silvia is a small village located in the Oriente of Colombia a hour or so from Popayan. It's famous for its Tuesday market which I didn't get to see as I went on a Friday, but regardless the town was very quaint and relaxing with a large central square and surrounding mountain sides.

    I took a walk up over city into the hills where two dogs followed me the whole way. From there you could see the farmers I their fields and city below.

    The city itself and surround area is home to 6 indigenous tribes the most pre leant being the Guambia people known for their colorful purple/blues halls with hot pink trim, flat reed hats and the men who carry darkly stained wooden staffs with silver attachments.

    After walking around I found myself in a small hole in the wall restaurant where I got coffee and empanadas with the traditional hot sauce made with peanuts. And that's where I took that awesome picture of the man looking out door from inside the restaurant.
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  • Santiago de Cali the salsa dance capitol of the world. I spent a week here and loved every minute of it. It was a nice mixture of exploring, relaxing, dancing , and art.

    I arrived and spent my first nights in a hostel in the are known as San Antonio. It's built on a hill has many colorful old houses, a large park and the center for art in the are with many artists living there and galleries tucked into buildings.

    The owner of the hostel took me to a house party across the street where people were dancing salsa, making bruschetta and chatting. From there to a club called mikasa where it was the closing night and packed with people on all levels dancing.

    The rest of the week I stayed with a couchsurfer Lorena and her mother. Within an hour of being at their place the couches were pushed away and I was getting personal salsa lessons.

    The days were spent exploring the city center, San Antonio at night where people fill the park playing music, telling stories in a small amphitheater and more.

    I was lucky to meet another artist and got the chance to print some of my photos and wheatpaste them on walls in the area.

    Another day we went to Río Pance to the south of Cali to bathe in the cold water.

    Two nights were spent dancing at different salsa clubs where the atmosphere is extremely cool but hot and I got to see the talent that some of these locals had. It's as if every one there can dance salsa although the locals do admit not everyone can dance.

    Overall Cali was a very fun and left me thinking of all the other places Colombia must have to offer!
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  • Buenaventura doesn't have the best reputation as it used to be one of the most violent cities... I won't go into more details you can google it, but today it's center is quite safe and from what I experienced I quite like it and the people.

    90% of the city is African American and has one of the more important ports in all of Colombia.

    I stayed two nights there with a Couchsurfer who is helping to build a cultural center there. I walked around the city center taking photos and ended up meeting a parking lot attendant, a girl who cells minutes to call on a cell phone and another woman and her children who were trying to lure people to their restaurant. I spent the good part of the day chatting with them about the city and my travels and their kids wanted plenty of photos taken of them.

    The city itself is very bustling as a port city but has a sort of chat that I imagine you might find on Cuba. I found a street cafe filled with gentlemen chatting, drinking coffee and getting their shoes polished while reading the newspaper. I sat down there every morning to write and soak in the atmosphere.
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  • La Barra is a small fishing village on the western coast of Colombia. With a population 300 and only accessible by an hours boat ride to the town of Juancacho and the with motorbike along the beach at low tide it's nice and secluded.

    I spent three days here enjoying the beach, camping, bonfires at night, swimming in the warm Pacific, eating fish, and exploring the manglar forests that surround the area.

    The hostel I camped outside of was very lovely with a lovely older lady Dolores who made the meals and always called you "love".

    The beachside are lovely despite the trash that floats in from Buenaventura and because of its secludedness you could always find a place alone for yourself on the beach.

    One day we took a small boat into the winding maze of manglar channels and went to a natural fresh water pool to swim it was incredibly refreshing and I imagine so many more places lay hidden amongst these Forests.

    In the end it was nice to get to the warm coast for a few days and be completely without connection to the real world, but only with that of the real world of the folks of La Barra...
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  • San Cipriano is a tiny one road town in the middle of the jungle of western Colombia. Accessible only by train tracks using a genius vehicle called a "Brujita" which is essentially a wooden cart which uses ball bearing wheels and is attached to a motorcycle.

    I spent a couple days there hiking up and down the river and into the jungle where there are plenty of birds, mini waterfalls and plants to be discovered. I swam in a crystal clear river with not a person in sight.

    The seclusion of this town in the jungle and its vastness really provides some great hiking, alone time and a world of discoveries.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Colombia, Kolumbien, Colombia, Kolombië, Kolombia, ኮሎምቢያ, كولومبيا, Kolumbiya, Калумбія, Колумбия, Kolombi, কোলোম্বিয়া, ཀོ་ལོམ་བི་ཡ།, Kolumbija, Colòmbia, Kolumbie, Kolombia nutome, Κολομβία, Kolombio, Columbia, Kolonbia, کلمبیا, Kolombiya, Kolumbia, Colombie, An Cholóim, Coloimbia, કોલમ્બિયા, Yn Cholombey, Kolambiya, קולומביה, कोलम्बिया, Kolonbi, Կոլումբիա, Kólumbía, コロンビア共和国, კოლუმბია, កូឡុំប៊ី, ಕೊಲಂಬಿಯಾ, 콜롬비아, کۆلۆمبیا, Kolombya, ໂຄລຳເບຍ, Kôlômbia, Колумбија, കൊളംബിയ, Kolumbja, ကိုလံဘီယာ, Korombiya, Kholombiya, कोलोम्बिया, Colómbia, କୋଲମ୍ବିଆ, کولمبيا, Colômbia, Kulumbiya, Kolombïi, කොළොම්බියාව, கொலம்பியா, కొలంబియా, Kolómbia, Кулумбия, โคลอมเบีย, Kolomipia, كولومبىيە, Колумбія, کولمبیا, Cô-lôm-bi-a (Colombia), Kolumbän, קאלאמביע, Orílẹ́ède Kòlómíbìa, 哥伦比亚, i-Colombia