Having arrived in Bógota at around midnight, I was shocked that my hostel bed had gotten cancelled in the middle of the night (Better stay away from Casa Quinta Hostel!). Thus, I decided to stay at the airport until the early morning, and then took the bus to the (for the next day) booked Mola Hostel. They kindly gave me breakfast and let me stay in the bed already at 7am. After finally having slept a couple of hours, I took part in the Street Art Walking Tour in Candelaria. It was a great one and afterwards I went with two other German trvelers to the Botero Museum – Fernando Botero is a famous Colombian artist known for his paintings and sculptures of inflated human and animal shapes.
In the morning, I did another walking tour, this time in the city center featuring the cathedral, the theater, and other important places and buildings. Afterwards, I went to the Gold Museum (Free entrance on Sundays!) and strolled around the streets, which are blocked for cars on Sundays making way for streets vendors, artists etc. One of the highlights of the day was the view from Monserrate hill during sunset and at nighttime.
Cathedral of Bógota
Looking up to Monserrate
Looking down from Monserrate
The next day, I went with Olga, another German girl, to Zipaquirá in order to stare in awe at the high ceilings, the chandeliers, the huge crosses, and the amazing carvings in the Salt Cathedral far deep down in a mine. That was truly an unforgettable experience (but also the lunch menu for 1,69 EUR). Really worth seeing!
1,69 EUR Menu 🙂
Main Square of Zipaquirá
Walking towards the Salt Cathedral
Afterwards, I took an Uber Pool to the bus
terminal and from there a bus to Armenia – the gateway to Salento in the
formidable Coffee Region.
The first couple of hours in Salento were spent in the hammock at Ecohostel Las Camelias before I was granted access to my luxurious one-man tent featuring bed, chair, and even electricity. After the pouring rain had finally stopped, I met up with Luke from France in order to go on a coffee tour at one of the farms. The guide was very funny and smart, making it an interesting afternoon (I even got sweet Panela tea instead of coffee) before falling asleep pretty early in my comfy tent…
My fancy One Man Tent
Our Tour Guide at the Farm
Coffee Plants all around us
Panela Tea & Coffee
The next day, it was time to discover the Cocora Valley with the world’s highest palm trees (up to 60m). Having crossed many suspension bridges while making our way through the jungle, Luke and I met four German guys at the hummingbird hut with whom we continued the hike to the palm grove. A breathtaking sight!
Hiking through the Jungle
Swinging inmidst the tall Palm Trees
With my five great hiking buddies
That night, I took the last bus to Pereira in
order to catch the night bus to Medellin.
Having arrived very early in the morning at the bus terminal of Medellin, I checked in at Experience B&B Estadio (very cheap but brand new hostel in Laureles) waiting for Anika to arrive from the airport. We started our joint adventure in Colombia with a great walking tour through Comuna 13 – a former ghetto and dangerous drug district but now a hub for street art and break dancers.
In the afternoon, we took part in a second walking tour though downtown learning about its history while visiting the most important plazas and buildings of Medellín. The next day, we strolled through the botanic garden, walked along huge shopping streets, climbed Nutibara hill up to Pueblo Paisa, and looked at the city from high above in the cable cars.
One of the many malls
Views of Medellin
Anika & me
Botero’s Fat Cat
Views at Night
Having seen the city of Medellín, we decided to take the bus to Guatapé in the morning. In order to get to the top of the big rock there, one has to climb almost 700 steps – but the view is totally worth it! 🙂 And the town of Guatapé itself is not less worth seeing. What a colorful, cute little place! Totally worth stopping by and strolling through the streets with the painted houses.
The Rock of Guatapé
The Stairs leading up
Colorful Village of Guatapé
The next morning, we took a flight to the Caribbean island San Andrés which is situated next to Nicaragua but belongs to Colombia.
Having arrived at the island, we took the bus to San Luis where our hostel Big V Raizal Home was located. There, we were given a warm welcome by the local family owning the house. Having had a relaxed afternoon at Sound Bay Beach, we had a good night watching the locals sing and dance. I got up early these days, spending the mornings at the beach, watching the sun rise. One day, we walked around the island having a look at the rock formations, the clear blue ocean, palm coves, and some small villages. Having seen the island, we spent the afternoon and the next day at Cocoplum Beach where I walked/swam over to Rocky Cay, a tiny island in the middle of the sea, and an old ship wreck where I snorkeled with a local in order to spot many colorful fish and corals.
Cristal Clear Water
At the Beach
Relaxing beneath Palm Trees
Snorkeling in a Ship Wreck
For the last two nights, we moved to Palmare House at another part of the island. How crazy it was to get there with a buggy and with the wrong address… But we had many locals helping us with that. Our last day on the island was just spent relaxing at Spratt Bight, the city beach, before we took a flight to the mainland the next morning.
Having arrived in Cartagena, we took the bus to the city center where Dora Hostel was located. Feeling a bit exhausted because of the stressful check-in for the flight (we tied both backpacks together to count as one and the airline staff was VERY strict and annoying), we chilled in the hammock for a bit before taking part in a free walking tour through the old town.
Discovering the City Center
It is said that one will come back to Cartagena when touching her boobs – so I guess, we will… 😉
That night, we discovered this amazing city in the dark and had some drinks with Maten from Israel whom we had met at the airport earlier.
Anika, Maten & me at the bar
The next morning, we strolled through the city again before going to Playa Blanca, a nice beach about an hour away, where we got on a boat that took us out in order to swim with glowing plankton in the ocean. What a magical spectacle! 🙂
Mesmeriting Bioluminescent Plankton
Having had our favorite hot dogs at plaza de la Trinidad again but no drinks, we were able to get up early the next morning and get on a tour to volcano El Totumo where we took a mud bath in the crater – a truly unique experience and, as it is said, a blast for the skin. Afterwards we felt like 10 years younger. 😉 Then, we went to a nice hotel to get lunch and take a swim in the ocean and the pool. What a great day! It ended in the bus to Santa Marta…
We spent the night in Haba Eco Hostel in Santa Marta and took a walk through town the next morning – well, there was not much to see but the cathedral and the beachfront… Thus, we took a bus to Minca early in the afternoon and strolled through the small village before we watched the sunset and chillaxed in the big hammocks at our hostel Casas Colibri. In the morning, we slept in, relaxed, and then hiked to the waterfalls. Later, we went back to Santa Marta to get prepared for our jungle adventure in the Sierra Nevada…
We decided to undertake the Lost City Trek with Expotur, one of the biggest companies for this kind of thing. They picked us up in the morning and at noon we were having lunch at the starting point of the trek. So each day we hiked about 10 km through the jungle along the river, were provided with fruity snacks, three very delicious meals per day, a bed at night, and some stories about the life of the indigenous people living in these lands. We also passed by some inhabited villages.
In the Camp
At the River
Walking through the River
Little pigs in the Way
On the third day, we finally climbed up the 1,200 steps through the jungle to the entrance of Teyuna, the Lost City (“Ciudad Perdida”) which had been rediscovered in 1972. What an amazing view! It was just overwhelming to see some 200 terraces, piled roads and many circular plazas carved in the mountainside in the middle of the jungle. This city had been founded about 2,800 years ago and had been inhabited by the Tayronas. It is widely known as the Colombian Macchu Picchu.
On the Way
Looking at the Lost City
On the fourth day, the others in our group left to go back to civilization but Anika and I decided to stay another night in the jungle. Thus, we got to keep our cook Diego and Samuel, one of the guides. These two more days were great: We went swimming in the river, did a detour to a waterfall, got delicious meals just for ourselves, and relaxed in the midst of all the jungle plants. After that, we were taken to our next hostel near the main entrance of Tayrona Park.
Having stayed at La Perla Tayrona (owned by Tom from Germany) for one night, we got up early in the morning in order to seize the day in Tayrona National Park. We walked from El Zaino entrance along the coast brimmed with lush green jungle, rough rock formations, and sandy beaches up to Cabo San Juan where we stayed for a swim and a sunbath before going back the same way.
Through the Jungle
At the Beach
The same night, we went to the small hippie town of Palomino and were dragged to La Iquanita Guesthouse where we got a great deal for the room and were treated very sweet by the ladies there. The next morning, we strolled along the beach and the river, took a look at the small hippie village, and then hopped on a bus Northwest.
To get to the Cape and the Northern most point in South America was not that easy… First, we took a bus to Riohacha and from there a van to Uribia where we had to take a 4-wheeler in order to make it to Cabo de la Vela. Here, we stayed overnight in a place organized by Juya Tours – wood sheds and hammocks directly at the beach. The next day, we relaxed there until afternoon and then did a tour to see the unrealistic landscapes of Cerro Pilon de Azucar and Ojo de Aqua before enjoying the sunset at the lighthouse.
The next day, we went further North to the area of Punta Gallinas, the Northern most point of South America, here we had several stops again: muddy lakes with pink and white flamingos, a lookout to unrealistic moon-like landscapes, the Taroa sand dunes where we took a swim, and the stone piles at the lighthouse. Having had a very relaxed lunchtime in a hammock, we undertook the journey back and made it just in time to our overnight bus from Riohacha to Bucaramanga, and from there, we took a smaller bus to San Gil.
Having arrived in San Gil, we were picked up on the street by some helpful guys who guided us to a hostel since we hadn’t booked any so far: La Casona de Don Juan. It was the best hostel we could have ended up in – a wonderful atmosphere, cheap prices for great rooms, and an amazing owner who took care of us and our needs from the beginning. That day, we hung out there, had a great lunch, and strolled around the city center…
After having slept in, we decided to visit the colonial villages in the hills. Thus, we took a bus to Barichara, a wonderful colonial village in the mountains where we got delicious pastries, enjoyed the stunning views, visited a botanic sculpture garden, and walked around the white painted houses. From there, we hiked all the way to Guane, another village of that kind, with a center square and a church. Not having seen enough of these houses, we went to Pinoche afterwards. 🙂
Botanical Sculpture Garden
As San Gil is widely known for its extreme sports, I just couldn’t resist doing the highest bungee jump in South America with an altitude of 140m. The hardest part was to jump head first off the platform. After that, it was just amazing to hang there in the air viewing San Gil and its surrounding mountains from high above.
Before the Bungee Jump
I did it! 🙂
Having had that adrenaline-filled experience, we had to rush to the terminal in order to get on the bus to Bógota and from there to Cali.