Tag Archives: Colombia

La Serrana, Colombia – Mural


Where: Salento, Colombia. It is a small town in the coffee region of Colombia. It offers some wonderful coffee tours, hiking, horseback riding, and gorgeous scenery. This place was definitely a stop I would suggest for people that actually want a vacation. The energy of the mountains are gran and infectious. I painted this mural in the kitchen of ¨La Serrana ¨ a hostel about 25 minutes within walking distance from the town. They offered vegetarian meals in their restaurant, camping, nice movie theatre room

What: The mural was located in the kitchen about 35 feet long and 5 feet high. The mural wrapped around the kitchen and was split into thirds. This was the best paint that I have used on all my travels as the owner is from New York and we had the same idea of what acrylic paint was.

Length of time: Three weeks painting about 5 hours a day.

Accommodation: I spent the three weeks in a tent! This was my favorite accommodation yet! I also had meals at the restaurant that were amazing. While at La Serrana I chose to beome vegetarian as well!

What I learned: Working in communal spaces can be exhausting. I had a lot of people cooking around me and even spilling on the mural! I would prefer a place more secluded, but it was a great experience. Often people would interrupt me while painting or ask if I worked at the hostel.







Traveling from San Agustin to Popayan


Happy April! Traveling day! San Augustin to Popayan, which is a little backtracking through one of the worst roads I’ve ever ridden on.

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There were two options for crossing the ecuadorian border from San Augustin.

Option 1: Stay south from where we were, however that included some minor potentially dangerous options, and some pretty amazing options. Moca the town we could of visited is known as “the gateway to the jungle” and to visit the Colombian jungle would of been amazing. That was just one bus away. Then you would have to hire a driver to who owns a truck to get you across 6 hours on “the trampoline of death” road as it is a one-way dirt road that is on the ledge of cliffs which in one second toucan easily slip off of. This part didn’t sit we’ll with me, and the fact to hire a driver is quite pricey. The buses are more dangerous to take on that road and are advised against taking. Then the final straw was that we heard a traveler in Jan of 2013 get into some trouble with the paramilitary and said that its not worth traveling as they pose a threat and have been known to steal and mistreat people on their way to the border.

Option 2: Backtrack back to Popayan, and then take a bus to Pasto and then cross the border from there. This is a typical way of getting to Ecuador and recommended. So we decided to do this instead. Seemed faster, cheaper and less potentially dangerous situations.

Out of San Augustin it’s important to but a ticket one or two days in advance. There are few busses and every “day of” inquiry we had, they were always full. We eventually bought a ticket to Popayan with the bus company Cootranslaboyana Ltda- estelar. It is the second bus station from the corner with the tourist information sign. Don’t ever ever go with this bus company. They straight up lied to Steven and I and overcharged as there were more stops than discussed and the bus was one hour later than discussed. It’s one thing to be late, and its another thing to lie about it blatantly. They literally told us the exact opposite of the truth. Really rubbed me the wrong way.

The bus ride was 4 hours but can be anywhere from 3.5 – 6.5 hours so be sure to check what type of vehicle you are traveling in and how many people will be on that bus. Definitely makes a difference. The ticket was $30,000 for two ($15.00 USD).

In Popayan at the bus terminal we caught another bus to Pasto which was a 5.5 hours. It cost $20,000 COP ($10.00 USD). You can definitely negotiate the price a bit, especially if there are two or more people traveling together. It was a long and windy road, also tough after a previous 6 hour bus ride.

San Agustin – The tombs of the forgotten


Stolen by tomb raider the hundreds of tombs from the rolling hills of San Agustin, the stone figures of the region represent a culture long forgotten.

There are about 10 different sites in the region to view these mysterious sculptures. Each figure representing something different than the rest. The tombs laid on display above ground for viewing. Many of the figures had stone tablets laid across the figures or behind. Some were beneath the ground as well.


My favorite part of the tour was the fuente de lavapatas which was volcanic rock that had flowing water from a stream manipulated and then carvings of animals, people and designs that we’re important to the culture. Just amazing.

The only thing that bothered us seeing over 150 sculptures there was no information on the artifacts or the people if the area. All we were told was what the figures looked like and nothing more! They say that the society that built them was gone before anyone can remember. What a shame right?


So my friends and I are asking a lot of questions. Why do they display the figures the way that they do? A lot of this doesn’t seem like its protecting he artifacts, rather exploiting them and ruining them. Are there more tombs undiscovered? Who owns these statues and why are many of them shipped to Berlin? Why did the archeologists excavate the area the way they did? None of it made sense.

We left feeling a little disappointed as even some of the tombs seemed too placed and not authenticate. What we discovered later was that no one knows anything about it because no one has made an effort to understand it. We met a man who has lived in San Augustin for 35 years who has been the first documenting the statutes and writing text about each one. It almost seems as if these beautiful pieces are going to rot away as they are not being protected or thought about in a long term sense.

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None the less I was so incredibly happy to be in San Agustin and witness what I did. We continued the day seeing many different places with artifacts and two waterfalls. This place is quite magical and lovely to visit. Definitely worth the trip.

The tour for a 8 hour tour of the land and waterfalls cost $30,000 COP ($15.00 USD). The entrance to the archeological park which was a wristband you can take to all entrances.

Coffee Tour – Salchimama


The day has finally come, after 3 weeks in the coffee region of Colombia, I am off to a coffee tour! Truth is I was waiting for my friend from Washington State to come visit me so we could go together. Steven came with his friend Jorge and we got to go on this coffee tour together.

From the center of town the tour was about 2.5 hour walk/hike down the side of a mountain to a river. Green was everywhere! There were new birds we discovered that were neon blue, yellow and red.

We finally reached the house of Pedro, the owner of Salchimama where his wife and two daughters lived. It was a tiny house resembling a tree house and their beds were all tents. The house was covered in natural art from seeds and leaves. They had great knowledge on the birds in Colombia and just loved sharing their lives with us.

The tour was all day, we learned about the surrounding vegetation and how that affects the animals and coffee. It’s truly amazing how welcoming Colombians are. They provided us lunch and then the later half of the day they took us to their tiny house a couple meters away on the top of a hill. It overlooked lulo fruit plants and coffee fields.

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The process of coffee making was surprising how simple it can be. Did you know that coffee only leaves Colombia in the form of a white bean, which actually smells like fermented vinegar? Then wherever it is exported extra ingredients are added and they charge a lot of money to sell it with additives.


The beans are found in bushes that are red and not native to Colombia. They were imported from Africa and Vietnam. Colombia has a great climate to grow the beans, making it the third latest county exportin coffee behind Vietnam and Brazil.

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The tour was $20,000 COP ($10.00 USD) and was worth every penny. However to take back the jeep instead of walking the two hours its a whopping $70,000 COP ($35.00 USD).

Did you know? Fun facts about Colombia


Thinking about making a trip to Colombia? I traveled 4 months in Colombia alone and as a woman in my mid twenties I never ever felt unsafe but rather just the complete opposite. I never found myself alone and the people were the warmest people I have met in my life, so willing to open their homes and share their lives with me.

I bought a one way ticket to Bogota in December 2012 for $250 from Jetblue, which has great deals into Bogota. It is a country that had the least amount of tourists, people take showers and wash their clothes when it rains, it has the most tasty fruits, super friendly people and beaches that you can camp or put a hammock up and just walk for days and days along white beaches with turquoise layered warm water.

colom Colombia is the 26th largest country in the world.
colom Land wise Colombia is the size of California and Texas combined.
colom There are more fruits in Colombia than days in the year.
colom Per square kilometer Colombia has the same population as the United States
colom Coffee plants in Colombia are not native to Colombia. Many of the plants come from Africa.
colom Colombia is the third largest export of coffee behind #1 Brazil, and #2 Vietnam
colom There are over 130,000 different types of plants in Colombia a third of which are endemic species. It’s also estimated that, a minimum of 2,000 plants haven’t been identified yet and even greater number have yet to be analyzed for potential medicinal purposes.
colom Colombia has the worlds second largest exporter of cut flower after the Netherlands. About 1 billion worth of flowers are exported every year, mostly to the United States.
colom People from the United States buy 300 million Colombian roses on Valentines Day.
Colombia produces the largest percent of the worlds emeralds. Some estimate that the mines in Colombia may actually contain up to 90 percent of the worlds emerald deposits.
colom Colombia is the only South American nation to have coastlines on both the pacific and the Caribbean Sea.
colom Colombia has nearly 1,700 recorded species of birds, 74 which are native to Colombia

if you are thinking about going there, GO! The only thing you need to do is a buy a ticket!

Palomino, Colombia – 8 Murals


Where /Palomino, Colombia, a little town next to the Sierra Nevada’s and the Caribbean Sea. The hostel was just a month old when I arrived. The hostel was The Dreamer Hostel on the Beach.

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They Dreamer had a restaurant, swimming pool, and bar. It was a relaxing couple of weeks. The downtown had about 300 people and there was a disco tech that was open every Saturday night. There was only a handful of hostels there and the town is definitely not a tourist place. This made for a nice escape from the tourist circuit and relaxation.

What: 8 Murals in the private door rooms, and one additional mural for advertisement for the hostel on the road. The murals were all themed murals of countries so the concept of eac h piece was predetermined. The different countries were Malaysia, Peru, Korea, South Africa, Panama, Costa Rica, Tanzania, Marruecos and New Zealand. I also painted the letters outside each private room as well.

Length of time: Three weeks painting about 5 hours a day.

Accomidation: I spent the three weeks in a 10 person dormitory room. It was quite the experiance as every day you had new péople to wake up to. I learned one of the most valuable thing on my travels: always, always, always have a charged i-pod ready for sleep as many people snore, sleep talk in the dorms and it will change your life.

What I learned: 8 murals is a lot of work to paint in one location. However it was a challenge that I was glad to have taken on. What made it difficult was that there were people that were sleeping in the rooms and so getting into the physical space was quite a challenge. Sometimes I had to tell the guests to wait and come back later so that I could finish painting. It became frustrating, especially when you have a flow going while painting and then guests stop the flow because they are paying for the room. Overall this experaince was super rewarding and waking up to the sound of the sea was stunning. I loved my time in Palomino and got to do some more commercial type work here. Definitely learned how to pick up the pace painting while maintaining quality work.


Tanzania Private Dormitory


Costa Rica Private Dormitory

new zealand

New Zealand Private Dormitory


Maurecos Private Dormitory


Korea Private Dormitory

Malaysia Private Dormitory


South Africa Private Dormitory

Salento Sunset, Valley de Corcoa, Colombia


My second time to Corcoa Valley where the wax palms and fog live.


Sure enough, some yoga poses and a couple minutes later the clouds part and just a speck of the sunshine hits the valley. The most picture perfect lighting on the lime green hills. The sun behind the clouds made for the perfect sunset. We watched for the next two hours and sat in silence taking in every inch of energy that the mountains gave us. It was absolutely stunning.

Five of us decided to go on the adventure to see the sunset. We heard it’s a good show.

I have done the full 5/6 hour hike but this time we decided to do the tail end, the best part, and watch the sun go down in the valley. Typically this area is covered in fog, so we were hoping for the best around 615pm.

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Corcora Valley is a $3,200 COP, $1.60 USD to take a jeep into the Valley. You get off at a small bus stop and start the hike. The path to the right leads to the hummingbird farm and the waterfall, about a 5/6 hour hike. It’s a loop that goes along a river and then into the mountain. It ends in the valley where the palms, horses and cows are.

We decided to go left, to catch the end of the hike and it’s just about an hour where you have to dodge horses and people descending the hike. We arrived at the lookout point, a little nook of green grass at the top of the mountain overlooking at 360 view of the valley, and we were an hour ahead of schedule. The fog completely filled the valley. “Darn it! Maybe it will clear up” we thought.

As we descended we got lucky and caught a jeep back for the same price $3,200 COP, $1.60 USD. They usually stop at 5pm and we caught one magically at 730pm. Great timing right, a family was getting done with work and we caught a ride with them.

I have to make this hike again before I leave. I heard there is also a 3 to 4 day hike into the same valley that is supposed to be worth doing. Falling in love with Salento more and more each day.


At the end of the journey the jeep dropped us off in town, and we drank delicious Colombian coffee from the land at Jesus Martin, a highly recommended coffee shop in the central downtown. The cappuccinos are to die for, and the artwork to top doesn’t hurt as well!