A Travellerspoint blog

Colombia

Gold, salt and art in Bogota

Bogota is the capital and largest city of Colombia and has a population of about 8 million people. We had been told there was not too much to do there but with our flight out of South America leaving from there we decided to give it a few days to explore it.

Our flight from Santa Marta arrived in the early afternoon on Thursday. However with some confusion over our flight and delays we were put on an earlier flight but our luggage was still put on our original flight. So once we arrived in Bogota we had to wait around the baggage carrousel for over an hour for our bags. Eventually they arrived and we were able to catch a taxi to our hostel, Hostel Fatima in La Candelaria. That night we just explored the local area and grabbed dinner.

On Friday we visited Museo del Oro which contains over 35,000 items of gold. There were some really impressive sculptures, jewellery and masks made out of gold. So we looked through the museum for some time marveling at items that were made hundreds of years ago. One really impressive piece was one of a raft depicting the El Dorado myth where priests from ancient tribes would throw gold and precious stones into the water during a ceremonial offering. It was cast in one piece using the lost wax technique, which basically acted like a mould where they poured the molten gold into. Considering it was made 500-700 years ago it is really an unbelievably intricate sculpture.
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Later that afternoon we explored the city around the historic centre of La Candelaria. One thing I have really loved about South America is the variety of things you can buy on the street or from people on public transport. It never fails to surprise me what people are selling. One street we walked through you could buy chocolates, batteries, dog hats, tv remotes, stockings, fruit, toys, nuts, socks, tea towels, paintings, jewellery, fly swatters, face cream, bags, perfume and ice-cream all from people with sheets on the pavement.

On Saturday we headed up the funicular up Cerro de Monserrate, one of the mountains surrounding the city. At 3200m it gave us a great view across Bogota. At the top were lovely gardens, a church, souvenir shops and restaurants. After exploring there for a while we headed back down to the city on the cable car.
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After lunch we headed to Donacion Botero which is an amazing free museum containing artwork not only from Botero but also 85 other pieces from artists like Picasso, Miró, Dali, Renoir, Matisse, Toulouse-Lautrec and Monet. It is all from Botero's personal collection which he has donated for display. It was really a great little museum. We then has a look around some of the rest of the historic centre before heading out for some drinks at BBC (Bogota Beer Company). Let me tell you the beers there were really good although a bit on the expensive side. We found a great little pizza shop for dinner and then headed to bed.
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On Sunday we headed out of Bogota to Zipaquira, a town 50km north. We caught the TransMilenio local bus system to Portal del Norte where we changed onto a little minibus for the hour journey to Zipaquira. We arrived in the town and made our way through the squares and streets to Catedral de Sal. The Salt Cathedral is a cathedral and surrounding tunnels built in old salt mines 200m underground. We wandered through the tunnels which had crosses representing the crucifixion of Christ. It lead us to the stunning cathedral carved out of an old salt mine. It was huge and beautiful with the natural patterns of the salt creating wonderful walls and roof. We then took part of the Miners Experience which adorned us with helmets and lights and allowed us to walk through narrow dark tunnels and put us through a simulated explosion. We also got to try our hand at mining some salt with a pick. It was actually really hard work to break any decent size chunks off. We then watched a 3D film which explained the history of the mines back from when ancient tribes use to collect the salt 400 years BC to modern day where they are still mining using modern techniques. I loved the fact that we had to wear the old school red and blue glasses for the 3D. Really shows you how technology has advanced over the last few years.
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After the mines we headed into Zipaquira for some lunch. We stopped into a restaurant and ordered roast chicken, potato, salad and cola. Instead of cola we ended up with Cola Polo's which was a weird beer, cola mixed drink. There was also no utensils for eating, just plastic gloves so it made for an interesting meal.
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We headed back to Bogota and since there was not much open because it was a Sunday night just got a pizza and some beers from BBC. Not the most authentic meal for our last one in South America but there weren't too many options. It was then time to head to bed as we had an early flight the next morning.

And so this brings an end to our time in South America. Luckily we still have 2 more months of travel ahead of us so while it is sad to leave such an amazing continent I am really excited about the next part of our journey.

Next stop Havana, Cuba!

Posted by SamJohnston 08:44 Archived in Colombia Tagged bogota zipaquirá salt_cathedral museo_del_oro Comments (1)

Discovering the Lost City

Taganga and the Ciudad Perdida trek

It was way back in Brazil when I first heard about the Lost City trek. A 5-6 day trek through the hot, humid Colombian mountains to a city that had remained hidden under jungle for four centuries. Sure it isn't everyone's idea of fun but it sounded like a great adventure and one I really wanted to do. A lot of our itinerary in Colombian centered around leaving ourselves enough time to fit in the trek.

From Cartagena we chose the cushy air conditioned door to door transfer to Taganga. Sure it was a tiny bit more expensive but the thought of having to lug my backpack all the way back to Cartagena's bus station in the unbearable heat and humidity and then sit in a possibly non air conditioned bus for a few hours confirmed it was a good option. So we had quite a pleasant drive the 4-5 hours it took us to Taganga.
On the way we drove through Santa Marta which is the main town of the area. We had decided to stay in Taganga a little fishermans village 10 minutes away from Santa Marta and we were really glad we made that decision. Santa Marta is filled with people and hustle and bustle. Just 10 minutes drive away you have Taganga, a quite little town right on the sea where everything is very laid back.

We checked into our hostel Bayview Hostel. Our room didn't have air conditioning but the guy assured us that there was a good sea breeze that cooled the place down.

Over the next few days we spent relaxing in Taganga preparing for our trek to Cuidad Perdida. I wasn't feeling too great so we booked our trek in for Thursday which gave us a few days to relax and enjoy some down time. Our original hostel turned out to be rubbish and after a stifling hot night of not being able to sleep at all we changed to the much nicer Maisa Summer House. It had air conditioning and a nice pool and a much better vibe.

We also discovered quite a few of the nice eating establishments of Taganga including Cafe Bonsai, a great place for coffee and cinnamon buns and a place we frequented way too many times while we were there but it was just so good.

So on Thursday morning we were picked up by our guide Pedro. We had to sit around on the side of the road for a while while they picked up the others in our tour from Santa Marta but after an hour or so we were on our way to the start of the trek. We drove for about an hour along a highway before turning onto a dirt track through the mountains for another half an hour. We arrived at a little town where we had our lunch and got to meet the others on our tour. There would be 6 of us plus our guide on our tour.

After lunch we set out to begin the 46km round hike. We had to carry all our belongings for the 5 days but the food was transported by mules or our chefs. It was stifling hot and within about 15 minutes of walking I was bathed in sweat. Luckily after about an hour we had a stop to swim in a river which really helped us cool off. But then it was another couple of hours walking to our first camp. Thankfully after one steep section they had watermelon waiting for us. I have never had watermelon that tasted that good before. Somehow I developed huge blisters on the back of both my heels which made it extremely painful to walk. Now I had to get new shoes after the Inca trail but I had been wearing in my shoes for over a month but that hasn't seemed to make a difference. Maybe it was the heat or how much I was sweating but I now had a big problem. It was such a relief to take off my shoes at the end of the day and enjoy another swim in the river. That night we spent in a basic camp sleeping in hammocks.
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The next morning we set off around 8am. It was nice to get going while it was still a bit cool but it still didn't take long until we were all dripping in sweat. I had switched to wearing my trekking sandals which was a huge relief on my feet. The morning was quite tough with lots of uphill. Along our way we stopped at an indigenous sugar mill which was interesting to see and also provided some shade for a few minutes. We also passed through a small indigenous village on our way which we got to walk through and learn a bit about the semi-nomadic people.
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Our camp for that night was a big row of bunk beds under a shelter. We spent the afternoon relaxing, swimming and playing cards. That evening we had some of the local indigenous kids around wanting to play. They were quite funny to watch initially as they were shy but soon became use to us all and got quite naughty.

The third day of the trek was through thicker jungle and we set off quite early. The path was quite narrow and tricky to walk in places. We also had a couple of river crossings to navigate. We had to wade across some rivers up to our thighs deep in order to cross. The current of the river was very strong which made it really tricky to navigate without falling in. But we all managed it ok in the end. Our camp for the third night was some mattresses inside a tent located under a shelter. We arrived into our third camp in time for lunch so we had plenty of time to rest and relax that afternoon.

We were up bright and early on Sunday at 5am to start our climb to Ciudad Perdida. After about half an hours walk along a narrow path we reached the bottom of the stairs. Now there are suppose to be 2000 stairs to climb. I didn't count them all but I would say it is probably a pretty accurate number. The stairs were quite narrow and covered in moss so they were quite hard to climb but it was very tranquil climbing through the jungle towards a city that once had thousands of people living in it. We reached the start of the city and were given an explanation about it as we explored around it. Now I had read and been told not to expect amazing ruins and the main things about the trek was the journey and scenery getting there but I was impressed with the size and location of the city. It was spread out amongst the jungle broken into different areas for different purposes. Ciudad Perdida was built by the Tayronas between the 11th and 14th centuries and was their biggest urban area. After the Spanish wiped out the Tayronas the city disappeared under the jungle vegetation for four centuries until it was discovered by grave robbers in 1975. Exploring it really made you feel like you had stepped out of an Indian Jones movie. We climbed up to the highest point for fantastic views over the city and mountains.
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After a few hours exploring it was time to walk back to camp and have lunch. After lunch we set out on our return journey. Only about 1km from camp disaster struck. Alex severely twisted his ankle. The path was really narrow and muddy and he really hurt himself. We got it bandaged up pretty much straight away but were told he would need to make it back to the next camp a mere 8kms away. Because the path was so narrow the mules couldn't make it down there so the only option was to walk it or be piggy backed. So for the next 8kms he hobbled along using our walking poles as crutches. Of course there was a huge thunderstorm and tonnes of rain which made the walking even more difficult. The path was so muddy and slippery it required concentration on every step. Alex soldiered on and we made it into camp while it was still light. We could then properly inspect his ankle which had swelled up to about 4 times it normal size and had a nice big bruises formed on it.
Now we were in the middle of the jungle so there was no ice so he just had to deal with compression, elevation, ibuprofen and a massage from an indigenous lady.

On our last day we had to make to back to our original start point for lunch so we set out nice and early again. Thankfully Alex agreed to catch a mule back which would give his ankle a rest and hopefully not inflict anymore damage. What didn't help is his mule getting its leg stuck in a crevasse tipping him off shortly into the 12km journey. The last day of the trek was really difficult. It was unbelievably hot and sticky. All I can say is that I have never sweated so much in my life then I did on the Lost City trek. After lots of up and down over 7 hours we eventually made it into town for a well deserved cold drink and lunch.
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We then were crammed into the back of a jeep for the 2.5 hour journey back to Taganga where we were able to finally get some ice onto Alex's ankle.

The Lost City trek was amazing. Sure it was tough but what made it really difficult was the heat and humidity. The scenery was stunning and it was very peaceful walking along through the jungle across rivers to such an isolated destination. Iit was a real magical experience and one I would recommend for those looking for adventure.

The next 2 days we spent in Taganga resting Alex's ankle and trying to get the swelling and pain to reduce. In all honesty lying next to a pool wasn't too difficult for me. We had wanted to visit Tayrona, a national park with beautiful beaches but with the way Alex's ankle was we didn't make it. We managed to get him rested and he slowly could walk better on it again. It is still something that is going to take some time to heal though.

To avoid a 20 hour overnight bus ride with Alex's ankle we decided to catch a plane to Bogota instead. Now we have traveled all the way through South America overland on buses from the tip of Argentina in Ushuaia to the north coast of Colombia so it would have been nice to finish it overland but catching a plane ended up being such a better option and not that much more expensive. So on Thursday morning we bid Taganga goodbye and headed to Santa Marta airport for our flight. Our flight was delayed but with the airport located right on a beach it wasn't too difficult to waste some time with some cold drinks.
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Next stop our last destination in South America and the Colombian capital, Bogota!

Posted by SamJohnston 15:32 Archived in Colombia Tagged lost_city taganga cuidad_perdida Comments (1)

Beautiful Caribbean Cartagena

After our 14 hour overnight bus from Medellin, we arrived into the bus terminal in Cartagena to a wall of heat. We caught a local bus the 7kms to the centre of town which took about an hour and then had a very hot and sweaty walk to our accommodation at Casa del la Chicheria in the historical centre. We checked in and were shown our dorm room. Unfortunately the bunks were triples and somehow the only free beds were two at the very top. Luckily the room had air-con though, an absolute must with the heat and humidity of Cartagena.

We had showers and went out to explore the city a bit and grab some lunch. Then at 2pm we were picked up for our transport to Volcan de Lodo El Totumo.

Volcan de Lodo El Totumo, located 50kms away from Cartagena is a semi active volcano that you can swim inside the crater of. Don't worry it is filled with luke warm mud, not lava! Since I heard of it, it was something that I wanted to try especially given my new obsession with volcanoes. Driving down the road towards it you just see this mound poking seemingly out of nowhere. We got undressed in the minivan just leaving on our swimsuits and taking our camera. We then had a quick dash across the rocky surface to the bottom of the volcano. We handed our camera to 'the camera guy' who would use our camera to take photos of us for $3000 pesos. Then we had the short climb up the stairs until we were standing at the edge of the crater which is filled with mud.
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We took it in turns to submerge into the mud. The crater is only about 5m in diameter so it was a bit crammed in there but there were local guys in there that helped you in and covered you in mud and also gave you a bit of a massage. Needless to say the girls all got longer massages then the guys :-)

It was a really bizarre sensation being in the mud. It was so thick and smooth it was a real effort to move around in it. It was also super buoyant so you just floated up to your chest regardless of how hard you tried to submerge yourself further. It was a really weird feeling to not be able to touch the bottom and knowing the bottom basically lead way down into the earth. After about 1/2 an hour of laying around in the mud we got out still completely covered head to toe with mud. It was then time to walk down to the lagoon 50m away where there were local woman there to help you wash of the mud. Alex and I entered into the water and got thoroughly washed down. It was even so thorough that my lady removed my bikini top to wash it out! Not such a great thing when there are other people standing around watching.
All nice and clean we returned back up to the minivan to get dressed and enjoy a cold coconut.
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That night we were both exhausted so just went out to dinner at Pizza in the Park which allowed you to sit in the park to eat and drink. It was a lovely warm evening made even more enjoyable by the fat middle age man that turned up to do Shakira impersonations while we ate our dinner.
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On Sunday we headed out of town to enjoy Islas del Rosario. We made our way to the port and found an affordable tour that covered all the places we wanted to go and was on a fast boat. At about 9am we set off with every seat on our boat taken. It is something that has really amazed me about South America. No matter what type of organised transport you are on, every seat is always taken. I just don't know how they manage it every time. We cruised out of the harbour getting a magnificent view of the Cartagena skyline. It is filled with lots of white high rise buildings and is stunning against the blue ocean.

After dropping off some passengers at Playa Blanca we continued along to Islas Rosario, which is a set of small coral islands. On the way we stopped by some little boats of local people selling food in the middle of the sea. Alex and I got a delicious plate of prawns and langoustines.
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The scenery was amazing with crystal blue water. You could tell we were in the Caribbean. We were then given an option of visiting an aquarium or going snorkeling. We of course choose snorkeling. So we drove over a coral reef where we hopped out of the boat and got to swim with amazing coral formations and hundreds of coloured fish. The current was quite strong and pulled us away from the boat but the guide said it wasn't a problem as the boat would pick us up from the other side of the reef later. So we swam around for about 45 minutes enjoying the warm water and all the fish. We then had about a 1/2 an hour trip back to Playa Blanca where our lunch of fish, plantains and rice was waiting for us. We got to spend a couple of hours relaxing on Playa Blanca, a beautiful white sand beach. Alex and I spent our time swimming and enjoying Coco Loco's, a delicious cocktail served in a coconut. Then it was time to board the boat for the trip back to Cartagena. It was a great day out even if we both ended up a little bit burnt.
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That night we headed out to La Cevicheria great little restaurant in Cartagena. We shared 2 dishes, one of ceviche marinated in lime, coconut, chili and cilantro and a seafood rice. Both were very delicious!
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On Monday morning we had a wander around the town grabbing breakfast and walking along the old walls that have protected the city for hundreds of years. Then it was time to return back to our hostel for our transfer to Taganga.
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Cartagena is a beautiful city. It is filled with wealthy, gorgeous Colombians enjoying the sun and sea. It definitely had lots to see and do but it was time for us to move on to be able to fit in the Lost City trek before our time in South America comes to an end.

Next stop Taganga!

Posted by SamJohnston 17:22 Archived in Colombia Tagged cartagena mud_volcano playa_blanca volcan_de_lodo_el_totumo islas_rosario Comments (0)

Voluminous and Transformed Medellin

Now I'm sure lots of people have heard about Medellin and it is probably not for positive reasons. With Pablo Escobar's Medellin drug cartel dominating the worlds cocaine market in the late 80's and early 90's Medellin wouldn't have been a great place to be. It was once the worlds most murderous city! But give it a decade or so to move on and you have a fantastic city that has really transformed itself.

From Salento we caught 2 collectivos to Pereira where we changed to a normal bus. It was then about a 5 hour drive to Medellin. We caught a taxi from the bus station to our hostel, The Wandering Paisa. After checking in we had a wander around the area we were in and grabbed a Bandeja Paisa for dinner. It is a typical Colombian dish of chorizo, ground meat, pork rind, fried egg, beans, rice, avocado, arepa, salad, tomato salsa and cilantro. Stuffed we returned to our hostel and just chilled out there that night.

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On Thursday we visited Museo de Antioquia which houses a lot of Fernando Botero's work. For those who don't know who he is, he is the artist that creates all the fat or as he likes to call them "voluminous" sculptures of people and animals. The museum is located in Plazoleta de las Esulturas which has an outdoor display of several of his amazing sculptures.

The museum was filled with his paintings and sculptures including the famous “Pablo Escobar Muerto (Pablo Escobar Dead) and Pedro paintings. Botero had donated a lot of his artwork and other work from other artists to the museum so it was full of interesting things.

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After the museum we had a juice and caught the metro to the Acevedo station where we transferred onto the Metrocable, a cable car that runs over some of the poorer neighborhoods of Medellin. We caught it to the top station of Santo Domingo and transferred to Line L. The cable car has really helped transform the peoples lives living in the surrounding areas, allowing them to travel quickly and safely. Line L took us up for about 15 minutes to Parque Arvi. Here there were lots of opportunities to go hiking, do adventure sports, visit lakes but unfortunately we didn't have the time to do too much except have a quick look around. We did get some great views over the city though.

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That night we met up with Alex's Spanish teacher from London Lena, who has moved back to Colombia with her husband. They took us to a great little pizza place called Cafe Zorba in El Poblado. They then took us on a drive around the city to see some sights before finishing up a fantastic little coffee shop. It was really great to be shown around by some locals.

On Friday we did a Pablo Escobar tour. He is probably the most (in)famous Medellin citizen so we decided to learn a bit more about his rise to power and life. Over a few hours the tour covered his life story, showed us many of the huge buildings he had built, where he was killed and his grave. He was once the 7th richest man in the world and even offered to pay off all of Colombia's foreign debt. We learnt a lot of interesting stories about him which gave a real insight into how he was both loved and hated by locals. One thing was for sure, you didn't want to be on the wrong side of him with thousands of deaths attributed to his cartel. He had so much wealth he did some crazy things. He had a country house with a fully stocked zoo which has now led to biggest hippo population outside of Africa as no one knew what to do with them after his downfall and they went wild. Regardless of what people think of him, he was a big part of Medellin's history and I think important to know his story so that you can properly understand how much the city has transformed itself over the last 2 decades.

Pablo Escobar's Grave

Pablo Escobar's Grave

House where Escobar died

House where Escobar died

Rooftop where Escobar was shot

Rooftop where Escobar was shot

That afternoon we headed to botanical garden but since it was Colombia's Independence Day it was closed for a concert and since we didn't have tickets we couldn't get in. Most other things were also closed so we headed back to our hostel for a few hours.

Our short visit to Medellin was then over so we went to the bus station for our overnight bus to Cartagena. Medellin really is an amazing city and a great place to visit, even for a short time.

Next stop the sunshine and heat of Cartagena!

Posted by SamJohnston 14:11 Archived in Colombia Tagged medellin botero escobar Comments (0)

Coffee Time - Salento

Colombia is known for many things but one thing we were very interested in sampling was its coffee. After quite a lot of rubbish coffee throughout South America we had our hopes set on a decent cup once we arrived in Colombia and what a better place to go then where Colombian coffee beans are grown.

Zona Cafetera covers a region with quite a few towns but we had decided to visit Salento, somewhere that everyone we met raved about.

We caught a local bus from Cali to Armenia. From Armenia we had to catch a little collectivo to Salento an hour away. It turned out to be quite an interesting ride. Firstly it was quite a small bus so we had to cram in with our backpacks needing to sit with them on our laps. We then drove through the streets of Armenia mid afternoon where there were junkies sitting on the pavement shooting up on busy streets just meters away from cafes where people were sitting enjoying coffee. Then halfway up a hill there was a huge clunk and the bus lost all power. Turns out the rear axle had snapped so we had to wait on the side of the road for a new collectivo. But as soon as we left the highway and headed down the winding roads into the lush green hills we knew the journey was well worth it.

We arrived in Salento and headed to our accommodation at Plantation House. It is a 100 year old coffee farm located in Salento. It was bought 4.5 years ago by Tim an Australian guy and his wife. They now run it as a hostel and also a small coffee farm further down the valley.
We dumped our bags and went to explore the town. It is only a small town but was so beautiful with traditional houses and streets nestled in between amazingly lush hills. The town was quite busy with Colombians there on weekend trips. As always seems the case in South America there was a random parade which involved cowboys and cowgirls on their horses going through town. Sounds ok until you throw in that a lot of them were drunk and they were followed by a guy sitting in a back of a ute setting off fireworks with his cigarette! What could possibly go wrong with that situation?
Random parade in Salento

Random parade in Salento

After surviving not being kicked or trampled by a horse we went to what we had been told was the best coffee shop in town, Jesus Martin. It was indeed a very good strong, smooth coffee with silky, creamy milk. Definitely the best coffee we have had in South America. The long wait was worth it.

Best coffee in South America

Best coffee in South America

That night we went out to a restaurant and sampled some of the local specialties trout and patacones (fried corn sheets). It was quite tasty especially since my trout was covered in a creamy garlic sauce.

On Monday we headed to Valle de Cocora (Cocora Valley) for some hiking. We we crammed into one of the jeeps in the main square for the 11km drive to the valley and the start of the walking trail. The first part of the trek was through trails that ran through green fields with cows. We soon made it to the forest where it was a bit of an uphill climb. We had to cross the river several times on very dodgy wooden bridges. I think it is a miracle I didn't end up in the water.

Bridge crossing in Valle de Cocora

Bridge crossing in Valle de Cocora

We walked for about 2.5 hours until we made it to Reserva Natural Acaime which houses a hummingbird reserve. Our $3000 peso entrance fee included agua de panela (hot sugar cane drink) and a chunk of local cheese. So we sat there and had great break enjoying watching the dozens of hummingbirds zipping around our heads.

Agua de panela con queso

Agua de panela con queso

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It was then time to set off up to La Montana an hours walk up to the top of the hill. Once we reached the top we had amazing views as we walked back to town across the valley and over the hundreds of wax palms. The wax palms were amazing with some of them 60m high. It was a stunning walk through the valley and it definitely lived up to its reputation.

Valle de Cocora

Valle de Cocora

]Wax Palm in Valle de Cocora

Wax Palm in Valle de Cocora

That night we went for dinner and drinks at the SpeakEasy bar. It is owned by a Australian guy from Perth, Dave. We had met Dave in Cali and with an Ozzie burger on his menu we had to stop by. Of course when we arrived there were a bunch of other people from the hostel in Cali that had decided to come to Salento too. So we had a couple of beers and a burger.

We then decided to head out to try the 'national sport' Tejo at Los Amigos. Now Tejo is played in a big warehouse and involves clay, metal weights and gunpowder. We started out on the beginners courts. The game basically involves throwing a metal weight at a packing crate full of clay. The aim is to get your weight in the centre of a metal ring which gives 9 points. However on the outside of the ring you position 2 pink triangles which are packed with gunpowder. If you hit one of these it explodes giving you 3 points. We played in teams and Alex and my team won all our matches (first to 21). We each got a few explosions and I got my weight into the centre twice. It takes a while to get use to the loud bangs that echo around the warehouse and it was really funny to see some peoples reactions when there was explosions. Coupled with a few drinks and a warehouse full of people playing, it made for a really fun evening out.

Tejo court

Tejo court

Alex playing Tejo

Alex playing Tejo

The next day was all about coffee. We started off with a detailed explanation about coffee from Tim, the owner of Plantation House. He really knows his stuff and over an hour was able to tell us all about the planting, growing, drying and roasting of coffee. We learnt lots of interesting facts which I won't bore you all with here. We then walked down into the valley to his Don Eduardo coffee farm. There we got to see the coffee plantation as well as plenty of other fruit and vegetables also growing there. We were then shown examples of the beans through different stages and got some coffee roasted fresh for us. Fresh roasted coffee beans are delicious! We were then brewed a cup of coffee and got to enjoy it overlooking the valley and coffee farm. A very enjoyable morning.

Enjoying a cup of freshly roasted and brewed coffee at the Don Eduardo coffee farm

Enjoying a cup of freshly roasted and brewed coffee at the Don Eduardo coffee farm

We had lunch and then headed to our second coffee activity of the day, our Coffee Preparation Course at La Eliana restaurant. We met Jesus and for the next few hours we did nothing but talk about coffee and sample different preparation methods. At the end we even tried some coffee wine which was like a delicious home made version of Kahlua. Jesus was extremely knowledgeable and we left with our brains filled with so much information about coffee.

Fueled up on about 6 cups of coffee we had a walk around town and then up to the mirador for a great view across the valley. Later that night we had dinner again of the local specialty trout and patacones.

Trout and patacones

Trout and patacones

Unfortunately on Tuesday it was time to move on. Salento is such a beautiful little town with so much to do and see. I can completely understand why there are so many expats living there.

Next stop the infamous Medellín.

Posted by SamJohnston 12:04 Archived in Colombia Tagged coffee salento tejo cocora_valley Comments (0)

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