Country Overview: Travelling in Colombia

Also available for private parties and evening functions, but we're booked up for a while.

Also available for private parties and evening functions, but we're booked up for a while.23-Jun-2009 04:51, Panasonic DMC-FX3, 2.8, 5.8mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 200

Introduction: Colombia is the 26th largest country in the world and bigger than France and Spain put together. Its history of drugs and violence has also put off many travellers (and nearly us), but on travelling through this amazing country it has become our favourite so far in South America. Named after Christopher Colombus, even though he’s never set a foot there, in the last few years it has increasingly opened to tourism and allowed backpackers to fully appreciate this great country.

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Gallery: Crossing the Colombian border in Ipiales and Las Lajas Cathedral

Trying to direct a Colombian on how you want your photo to look is very difficult, and potentially life threatening when he still doesn't get it &*&^|%£^& right. But hey, its still a good photo! :o)

Trying to direct a Colombian on how you want your photo to look is very difficult, and potentially life threatening when he still doesn't get it &*&^|%£^& right. But hey, its still a good photo! :o )06-Jul-2009 18:18, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL, 9.0, 28.0mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 400

After a few days chilling in San Agustin, it was time to head to Ecuador. Quick sharpish; we’re developing a habit of liking countries we visit too much and that’s no good for our timetable. So with trepidation we headed to the Colombian/Ecuador border at Ipiales keeping our fingers crossed; and managed to sneak in a quick visit to the magnificent Las Lajas Cathedral near Ipiales on the way. Maybe we shouldn’t rush… perhaps Colombian border control would much prefer it if we stayed?!

Continue reading Gallery: Crossing the Colombian border in Ipiales and Las Lajas Cathedral…

Gallery: Treasure hunting in San Agustin!

The novelty had worn off slightly for us by now as well...

The novelty had worn off slightly for us by now as well…03-Jul-2009 21:52, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 6.3, 30.0mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 400

San Agustin was a must stop for us; ancient carved stone heads and animals set in a tranquil town high in the mountains. We had heard many negative comments, which always help as your expectations can only be beaten. Yes its true there are more statues and carvings than you probably need, but they are a great insight into the history of the land and stretch back to 3,500BC. Beyond the statues you’ll find a great town that is very helpful for your budget and a great place to kick back and escape the heat.

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Gallery: Mud and Magic in Cartagena, Colombia!

Looking forward to beautiful soft skin...

Looking forward to beautiful soft skin…30-Jun-2009 16:59, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL, 10.0, 95.0mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 400

We arrived in Cartagena in the late dark evening, and even though it was (as warned) damn hot, it was a place we could not miss even if we only spent a couple of days exploring this beautiful city. The architecture and history is famed, as well as the mud volcano we took a swim in. It is hot though, damn hot, and very humid. One of our last stops in Colombia, and one of the first that I could walk completely unaided in…

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Gallery: One week with PADI & Paddys in Taganga!

Underwater there are only so many funny faces you can make!

Underwater there are only so many funny faces you can make!24-Jun-2009 02:29, SONY DSC-P8, 2.8, 6.0mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 100

We’ve spent the last week in Taganga, Colombia a small fishing village north of Santa Marta. We only meant to be here a couple of days but thankfully can sum up the whole week in one post – one of the main benefits here is that it is so chilled we could have stayed even longer! Plus… miracles happen… I can walk again! Its also one of the cheapest places in the world to try for your PADI Open Water, so we decided to give it a bash…

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Gallery: Paragliding in San Gil and Meandering in Barachi!

Right... my turn!

Right… my turn!18-Jun-2009 21:47, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL, 5.0, 65.0mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 100

We arrived in San Gil after our first decent length bus ride from Bogota. Famous for its Extreme Sports, we were worried what options would actually be available to us with a cripple on board. Even horse riding was a concern, with knee gripping a fairly crucial part. However, we managed to find one of the best towns in Colombia to date, at 1,277m altitude it is in eternal springtime with a low crime rate and a friendly population. We only had a few days, but we had a great time and would love to return.

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Gallery: Zipaquirá’s Salt Cathedral, Pablo Escobar and Monserrate in Bogota all in one day!

A bit blurred, but our best attempt to get a photo of the loving couple in the cathedral.

A bit blurred, but our best attempt to get a photo of the loving couple in the cathedral.16-Jun-2009 19:46, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL, 3.5, 28.0mm, 1.3 sec, ISO 1600

In one day we visited the amazing Salt Cathedral at Zipaquirá, the strangely interesting Colombian Police museum in Bogota, and viewed the sunset from the summit of Monserrate. It was a busy day attempting to squeeze in as much as possible into our last full day in the Columbian capital, all of it good.

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Gallery: Museo del Oro & Botero in Bogota

"Some wear feathered hat... and at the head of them all go the leaders, the oldest in the middle... And the leaders have gourds full of chicha put in their hands and the pipers play very long flutes" Bartolome Briones de Pedraza, 1540.

"Some wear feathered hat… and at the head of them all go the leaders, the oldest in the middle… And the leaders have gourds full of chicha put in their hands and the pipers play very long flutes" Bartolome Briones de Pedraza, 1540.14-Jun-2009 19:59, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGITAL, 5.6, 105.0mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 1600

Bogota is the capital of Columbia, and the third highest capital city in the world at 2,640m – twice the height of Ben Nevis. We flew in last Friday from Salvador, Brazil at 8pm and all the positive feedback we’d heard about Colombia is true. It’s a beautiful and geographically varied country with exceptionally helpful and friendly locals; we’re already going to be staying at least twice as long as planned!

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Itinerary: South America

South America ThumbWe’re even closer to heading off – more goodbyes have been said at Kelly & Ben’s amazing wedding this weekend and we’ve both now had our last day at work. Current weather in Rio as I write is a balmy 28°c! We’re now hopefully pretty close to actually knowing our route so all the details are below. Its still, and always will be, in flux, but that is the nature and fun of backpacking!

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