Tag Archives: how long

Back to the Mountains, Salento

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Magical mountains, birds singing a symphony of songs, delicate raging rivers, potent flowers shining in the sun and shades of varadescent greens cover the rolling hills in this story book land. Salento, Colombia is one of the most beautiful places I have seen on my journey thus far. I forgot how beautiful the mountains are.

In Salento there is the most gorgeous hike that I’ve ever been on. It’s called Valley de Cocora and it’s about 45 minutes $3,500 COP ($1.70 USD) out of Salento. It’s free to do and about 6-7 hours to do the whole loop. There is even a hummingbird farm! This hike was stunning: tiny path lined with wax palms, mysterious clouds thickly wet with dew, the occasional cow, waterfall after waterfall, and rolling hill after rolling hill.

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There was one mountain that was later than the others, and the clouds would creep slowly up it, and then spiral down the side. I’ve never seen anything like it, I felt as I had fallen asleep in a fairy tale and awoken to a new world.

After traveling almost 3 months on the coast I forgot how wonderful the mountains are. Going from 90 degree heat to rain and lucious trees has made me appreciate the qualities of both landscapes. Colombia is so diverse and colorful, every place is so distinctly different.

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To get to Salento from Manizales you can go to Pereira or Armenia. Both are easy and both will get you to salento. I chose to go through Peridea. It was $8,000 COP ($4.00 USD). It was about 1 hour bus ride. From that terminal I got another bus to Salento. It was just a 45 minute bus ride for $8,000 COP ($4.00 USD). It’s a short ride and easy to catch from Peridea. The weekend schedule is different from the weekday schedule so make sure you check before you go.

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Viejando de Cartagena a Manizales

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Backpacking: when a person travels with their belongings on their back through unknown places. I have not been doing much of this as I stay in one place 3-4 weeks. My backpack usually stays on the floor of my dormitory. When I chose to fly from Cartagena to Medellin and then bus to manizales I heard that it was easy and cheap so I was ready at 11 am to travel. I took a bus to the airport. The bus was easy to take $1,500 COP ($.75 USD) and there was even free WIFI at the airport. Go for be airport in Cartagena early! At least an hour and a half early because I almost missed my flight being an hour early. Colombian time is usually late but in this circumstance it is better to be safe than sorry.

The flight was horrible. Seriously, horrible. The whole time the plane did the up and down move where your stomach goes up in knots. It was bad, but manageable. About this time it is 3:30 pm.

Once in medellin I knew I had to take a 45 min bus to the terminal where I would take another bus to manizales. The bus from the airport to medellin was $8,000 COP ($4.00 USD). The taxis are twice as much starting at $15,000 ($7.50 USD). Make sure you ask the bus driver where the bus ends and where you want to get off. The bus driver dropped us off at a place which was not the terminal so I took another bus to the metro which I knew connected to the terminal. The metro in Medellin is super easy to navigate and costs $1,500-1,700 COP ($.75-1.00 USD) to go one way from one spot to the next.

Once I got to the terminal there were no buses to Manizales. Why? Because I was at the wrong terminal. Apparently there is a south terminal as well. Don’t go to the north terminal in Medellin if you want to head south! Trial by error!

About this time it is 4:50pm and I hop on another bus for $2,000 COP ($1.00 USD) and I arrive to the south terminal. it was about a 20 minute bus ride.

At the terminal I learn that the workers jn the coffee region are on strike because of fair wages making the whole area extremely difficult to travel through. It was 5:30pm, I was tired and just wanted to get to Manizales. I decide to start asking people around and see if there was a collective taxi since all the buses were shut off. Sure enough there was one and not a bad price. $38,000 COP ($19.00 USD. There were 7 people in a van but it didn’t leave till 6:30pm.

7:00pm we finally get going, everyone in the car is from Manizales, apparently not a lot of tourists go there. The van was okay for the first 20 minutes because we were in traffic. Once we started going I was terrified of the corners that the bus driver was cutting because they were blind corners and the only thing he based off cutting the corner by was if he could see headlights. This as well made my stomach turn into knots!

The poor gentleman beside me was helping me calm down but for 6 hours this continued and sure enough I was sick the whole time. Horrible!

I arrived safely I manizales at 1:30am and slept the whole night. 6 1/2 hour bus ride hat was supposed to be 4 hours with one bus. Next time I am bringing anti nausea medicine. So glad that is over. Staying in one place for a long period of time is much easier for me than traveling at a fast pace!

Palomino, Pueblo Sobre la Playa

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Palomino was one of my most favorite places to be and I feel so fortunate to have stayed as long as I did. It has not been struck my tourists yet and is a must see if you want something tranquilo (relaxed)!

Living for three weeks in Palomino was one of the best experiences I have had so far travelling. Despite the hundreds of bug bites and sand flea bites (he-hen) I had a great time working for the Dreamer on the Beach Hostel.

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I love to get to know a place really well and feel like you have a home and family to come back to. I know that this will definitely be a place that I will be coming back to in my life.

The city itself is 3,000 people in the town (30 percent being children) and is located on the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s. You could see them from this hostel they are the worlds highest coastal peak reaching about 5,775 meters above sea level. It is about 70 km to Santa Marta, a large city and just in the Northern region of the Caribbean coast. They even have a disco tech that is open just once a week on Saturdays.

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I was able to get to know many locals and build some really great relationships there. I even painted a boat in front of one of the local businesses on the beach.

The energy here is very laid back. I am staying and eating for free at the Dreamer Hostel which is a Little touristy but nothing too bad. I have met some wonderful people and as always, practicing my spanish!

This week I am hitting 8 weeks and feeling like I have only been here for a month. Time flies when you travel so right now I am just trying to enjoy every moment. I am also working on making some jewelry as well.

To get to Palomino from Sant Marta, take a bus from the bus terminal for about $10,000 COP ($5 USD). The bus will drop you off in the town of Palomino, who ironically does not even look like a town. Find the only gas station on look across the road at a telephone pol next to a blue and yellow mural. To down this paved road for 15 minutes. You will pass signs for The Finca Escondida, and the Dreamer hostel, just keep going straight. Trust me the road does lead to the beach. The walk is beautiful and about 15 minutes long. Or you can take a moto taxi which is $3,000 COP ($1.5 USD). I recommend the walk as it takes you though the whole town.

From there you will run into a beach. Get a juice at the juice stand, Zapote con leche is the best one, and only $3,000 COP ($1.5 USD). Check out the beautiful painted boat that says “San Sebastian” which I painted!

Places to stay are cheap. If you have a tent take a left after the boat and camp for free on the beach. There are nightly Bon fires around that spot as well. Or take a right at the boat and stay at Don Aires place for $25,000 COP ($13 USD) a night in a hammock on the beach or La Finca Escondida is $25,000 COP ($13 USD) a night for a hammock or tent. Also there is the new Dreamer hostel which is $29,000-110,000 COP ($15-55 USD) for a night with beds in a house.

Another highlight was that palomino is close to the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta mountain range so the indigenous tribes are everywhere. They so sell churro a liquor the indigenous make for $3,000 COP ($1.5 USD) in town. Insane cheap and strong!