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Graham Williams & Louise Jones Travel Blog This is our journal logging our trip through Central and Latin America from July 2005 to the present date. We update it and add new pictures every two to three weeks. At the moment Will is travelling in South Africa, while Lou is living in Buenos Aires.For more background reading on our travels go to - http://journals.worldnomads.com/will/


COLOMBIA | Tuesday, 10 January 2006 | Views [1981] | Comments [2]

We celebrated Christmas on a beach on a lovely islamd off Panama City and had Christmas dinner, Panamanian style, in the evening at a good hotel.  A few days later my sister flew back to England and we flew across the Darien Gap to Medellin in Columbia.
Columbia suffers from a bad reputation, being synonymous in Western minds with drugs cartels, guerillas and civil war.  From what we have seen so far, Columbia is a beautiful unspoilt country and, with the exception of a few known hotspots, no more dangerous for tourists than neighbouring countries.
There are very few Western tourists here but plenty of Columbian tourists as this is their big holiday season. People seem genuinely interested in foreign visitors.
In the modern cities of Medellin and Manizales we stayed in pleasant middle class suburbs which were very reminiscent of Spain about ten years ago. We then spent a week in and around the small nountain town of Salento, 2000 metres up in the Andes, on the edge of the National Park Los Nevados. This friendly town still has locals riding their horses through the plaza. The local speciality is trout, which appear on every menu.  On the bus up to Salento we passed through the coffee area with row upon row of shiny coffee bushes surrounding colourful wooden houses.  Coffee is one of Columbias two big exports - cocaine being the other.
From Salento we did a three day trek up into the National Park.  The walk started in the Valley of Corcora with its tall stately wax palms.  These trees originally grew, millions of years ago, by the Pacific. As the Andes rose they adapted to life inland high up in the mountains.  They tower above the other trees to create a forest above the forest. We walked up into the cloud forest and stayed in a wooden cabin belonging to a research station.  The next day we climbed higher to the terrain known as paramo, with its low level unique shrubs, cacti and flowers.  We stayed in a remote and simple farmhouse at over 3000 metres with the family and a half a dozen Columbian walkers.  We watched the farmers wife making cheese and then she cooked dinner for everyone which we ate squashed into the tiny kitchen, the only room with any heat or light. The FARC guerillas apparently hide up in these hills but we saw no sign of them, only army soldiers lower down out on patrol.
The next day we had a long 8 hour walk back down to Corcora. Rain had turned the track to mud and we had to wade across two swirling swollen rivers.
We then spent a weekend in Columbias second city of Cali with its modern shopping malls, cinemas and cosmopolitan restaurants. This morning we got the bus south to Popayan, a small city full of old colonial buildings all painted in white.

Tags: On the Road



hello, i would like to know if it is possible to travel to Cartagena Colombia by car? i was told that you have to send the car by ferry from Colon Panama. any idea about this or information? anything is a great help. thanks alot Eder

  eder dadul Jun 27, 2007 6:28 AM


No idea I'm afraid. I suggest you post this question on the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree bulletin board.


  Will Jun 28, 2007 5:41 PM

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