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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.
  • Day11

    We spent two days here exploring the city. The first day we took a boat trip out to one of the islands outside the city. The boat broke down about 3 times during the trip which the driver seemed to think was perfectly normal. In between these times we would tend to go very fast, either being bounced up and down on our seats or being soaked by the water. We stopped off to watch a dolphin show and had lunch. The next day we explored the city. The inner city is enclosed by a wall so we walked this and then enjoyed a cocktail on the wall.Read more

  • Day17

    Next stop Manizales. On the first day we visited Nevado Del Ruiz, an active volcano. A bus took us up to 4500meters but we couldn't go any further as it would have been dangerous going right to the top. Unfortunately there was a lot of fog but when at the very end it settled and we were able to see some great views. On the way home we visited a hot spring - definitely a highlight for cold water-hating me.
    The next day the plan was to visit a coffee farm, then carry on south to stop off in Pereira for a night before continuing our journey. I was 10 minutes into the bus journey before I realised I'd left my passport back at the hostel. Luckily we were with a worker from the hostel at the time so agreed to carry on with the coffee farm tour and go back and get the passport after. The coffee farm was great, we spent 3 hours there exploring and learning all about coffee. We basically learned that even if you pay for 'top quality' beans, it's probably all a lie, so I will stick to my Nescafé instant for now. After the coffee farm it was a short 3 hour detour to go back to the original hostel, pick up my passport, drive past the coffee farm again and eventually arrive in Pereira. Bed time now....
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  • Day14

    Doug taking a turn at this blog thing!
    Next stop Medellin, the place for coffee and cocaine...I was asked numerous times before coming to Colombia, why on earth are you going to Colombia of all places, I thought the answer was fairly self explanatory? (See above)
    Getting there involved another night bus, oh joy! Three hours after setting off Vin Diesel, or the Spanish guy pretending him to be him finally shut up!! But Susie snoring like a train didn't....So into an uneasy sleep.
    Next day we went on a Pablo Escobar tour, to be honest, I don't think Susie had any idea who this was, I though was extremely keen.

    The man who picked us up offered us a Coca Cola now and a gram of cocaine for later, we think he was joking, but on the other hand maybe not as it turns out he was one of Pablo Escobar's two drivers (the other one being on duty with Escobar when he died, so was also dead). This made Susie uneasy, a sense which was heightened a lot when the man shouted "NO PHOTO" in a Chinese mans face when he held his camera up to take a photo of the driver, apparently this was because he had never gone to prison and didn't want to go. I felt sorry for the Chinese man it just comes naturally to them! We also met Roberto Escobar, Pablo's brother, he was the "accountant" and spent 16 years in prison and got out early as he was a changed man, that and apparently $1 billion dollars changed hands. He also lived in a huge mansion so clearly still plenty of money kicking around.

    We then went to Parque Arví (a nature reserve and archeological site) but unfortunately we couldn't get in. Now maybe our Spanish still needs improvement but I think we were told it was at capacity. Or maybe it was because we looked dodgy as we got stopped my police 2 minutes later requesting out passports. So being told by numerous people that we should have our passports on us at all
    Times with the visa stamp we course were very organised....and did not have them on us. A argument broke out, the police in Spanish and us in English, needless to say we got nowhere. Eventually they accepted looking at a photo of our passports, which they then also took pictures of!!??? No idea why. We thought this was odd behaviour it did cross our minds that these weren't police at all!! So basically if this is the last post from us for 4 days or more, we have been abducted so please come help..............

    Lastly we went to Plaza Botero, a park with statues full of work from artist Fernando Botero, who specialised in naked statues of excessively fat people and animals! Naturally I felt right at home and joined in. Apparently statues are fine, real life not so much.
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  • Day20

    We spent one day exploring San Agustin, famous for its stone statues. In the morning we walked around the town looking for them, then in the afternoon we visited the Archeological Park, a world heritage sight, where there was yet more statues. It rained heavily but still a nice day out.

  • Day60

    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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  • Day62

    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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  • Day64

    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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  • Day65

    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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  • Day67

    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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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