Tag Archives: Colombia

A recipe for colonial beauty – Ville de Leyva

3 Apr

Take a good helping of cobblestones and mix well with white washed buildings topped by terracotta tiles. Add a pinch of colourful creeping plants and lightly stir in some locals steering horse-drawn carts. Make a space in the middle of your mixture for one of South America’s largest plazas and pour in a good amount of art and crafts. Whilst it’s warming in the temperate climate, sit back, relax, and breath in the aromas from French bakeries and cute coffee houses serving Colombia’s finest beans.

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Rock your world – Guatape & El Penol

21 Mar

A favourite weekend retreat for Medellin’s wealthy, Guatape makes an easy day trip from the city or is a beautiful place to spend a couple of days. A 90 minute bus ride takes you from the heart of bustling Medellin to tranquil Antoquian countryside. The year round climate is mild and sunny adding to the area’s laid back holiday feel. Mid-week the town remains relaxed and sleepy but at the weekends Colombians come to let their hair down so it’s possible to enjoy the best of both worlds.

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Urban revival – Bogota & Medellin

16 Mar

Mentioning that you plan to spend some time in the big Colombian cities of Bogota and Medellin usually causes a sharp intake of breath from all of those who have heard about their infamous reputations. For years, drug cartels, civil war and violent crime grabbed the headlines and now linger in the memory banks. But times are changing. Whilst we weren’t looking, these cities were evolving economically, socially and culturally. Much needed investment was being rapidly pumped into these hubs and the proud population was determined to make a difference. Today, Bogota and Medellin remain distinctly different in character – Bogota the historical and cultural heartbeat of Colombia, whilst Medellin is a modern hub of industry and commerce. One thing they do have in common is these über-cool metropolises are now on the up and crying out for exploration.

But which one is most worthy of your attention?

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Valle de Cocora – the sky’s the limit!

8 Mar

They say that opposites attract but we would never have expected to find these two contrasting landscapes in one place. It really was an incredible sight to see tall palm trees shooting straight up into the sky, rising like giants above a canopy of cloud forest and we couldn’t take our eyes off it for one minute. The 60 meter Quindio Wax Palm is the tallest in the world and we felt dwarfed as we craned our necks to see the tops. But we weren’t at the beach or even on the hot savanna plains where you may expect to find palm trees. We were surrounded by a mountainous region of cloud forest with eery swirling mist making the Valle de Cocora feel like a very alluring place.

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Wake up and smell the coffee – Colombia’s Zona Cafetera

3 Mar

Growing truly exceptional coffee is one of the things Colombians do best. In fact their coffee is considered to be amongst the greatest in the world so we fully expected to be left wide-eyed and shaky with the amount we intended to drink in the country’s renowned bean growing region, aptly named Zona Cafetera.

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Exploring the tombs of Tierradentro

27 Feb

Surrounded by jaw dropping scenery, Tierradentro is considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites in the whole of Latin America and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s famous for beautifully decorated underground tombs and stone statues which were discovered in the hills around the tiny settlement of San Andres de Pisimbala. We were already sold on visiting Tierradentro, which translates as “inner land”, but when someone tipped us off that the site only receives a small number of visitors each year and it was likely we’d have the whole atmospheric place to ourselves, we were rushing to buy our bus tickets to take us there.

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Selling onions at market won’t make you cry

21 Feb

Life can seem hard when you’ve been selling onions every Tuesday for forty years at Silvia market. The old couple with weather-beaten faces sat silently together staring in different directions into the distance. They were traditional countryfolk whose survival hinged on the cultivation of fruit and vegetables on their small farm for personal consumption and to sell here at Silvia’s bustling weekly market. They were Guambiano people from one of the small mountain villages of Pueblito, Guambia, La Campana and Caciques and are considered to be one of the most traditional indigenous groups in all of Colombia.

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The first taste of Colombia

19 Feb

For many years Colombia has found itself in the news for all the wrong reasons. It has been defined by civil war, high levels of crime, class ‘A’ drugs, gun-brandishing guerrillas and kidnappings. Governments all over the world advised against any kind of travel to the country and even the most daring of backpackers chose not to risk crossing the border from other South American countries where tourism was booming. During the last 10 years however, changes on a big scale have been sweeping across the country and Colombia has opened its doors to international tourism. Every person we met on our Latin America trip who had spent some time in Colombia raved about it and many described it as their favourite country in the whole Continent. We were very excited to discover Colombia’s riches for ourselves but we couldn’t shake a feeling of trepidation as we crossed into a world which had been hidden from the public view for so long.

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