Sunday, April 13, 2014

3 Weeks in Colombia Best of the Best

It's been an amazing 3 weeks in Colombia, it went by too fast! Here's a look back at my favorite pictures from each city. 

Santa Marta


Bogota, Chia

Valle de Cocora

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Salento- Coffee Region

relaxing at our hostel hammocks

hostel morning view

trout and patacone

Don Elias coffee tour

Don Elias and grandson

center Salento

roasting the coffee beans
        Sunday morning we took a 4.5 hour bus ride to Armenia, then hopped on an hour shuttle to Salento, coffee region. We then took a “jeep”(public transportation) about 15 minutes up the countryside to our hostel, which was on a beautiful plantation, with great views of the countryside. We grabbed some dinner at the center of town we had trout (which this area is known for) and patacones with beef. We then walked back to our hostel and sat by the campfire with others from our hostel.
worker picking coffee beans
      We woke early Monday morning and were blown away by the view we had when we walked outside. The countryside was gorgeous and so peaceful. We walked about an hour to a coffee tour at Don Elias plantation, where they have over 8,000 coffee plants and all their coffee is organic. After about an hour tour we got to try the delicious coffee, and chat a bit with Don Elias himself, before walking the long, hilly way back. We were lucky enough to grab some of the hammocks right along the pasture, where we chilled out for a bit, napped and then had dinner.
                Tuesday we hopped in a jeep about 30 minutes away from Salento to Valle de Cocora. We did an exhausting 4 hour trek through the jungle, up massive hills, over streams, rocks, mud, and bridges. We walked to the top of this massive hill with a warning at the bottom saying, “Very Steep Take Your Time.” After 45 minutes of walking up this steep hill, we got to the top and it got cloudy and started raining so the view wasn't that good, but we were just happy to be at the top. As we continued walking, we got to see the quindío wax palm trees. They were pretty awesome and when we got down to the bottom of the large hill the scenery was beautiful. It felt like a different world, being around this stunning greenery and surrounded by the largest palms in the world.
our trek
wax palms
Valle de Cocora
                 When we got back to the center of town we grabbed some lunch, I got trucha con criolla sauce(trout with creole sauce), it was delicious.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cali (Salsa Capital of the World!!! )

Andres Carne de Res Chia

Andres Carne de Res

Thursday morning we woke up and did some more touring of Bogota.  We were really enjoying this city.  We waited out a thunderstorm, which apparently happens daily, but we lucked out the day before, then headed up in a cable car to see the beautiful city views.  Another great thing about this city that was not expected, is how much security there is.  Just about every street corner or block there is police officers with police dogs, and they are usually pretty helpful if you need help with directions as well.
arepa con todos

Later, we got ready and took the one hour drive out to Chia, to go to the restaurant/club Andres Carne de Res.  We heard many good things about this place so we were super excited.  People have said, “You haven't been to Bogota if you haven't been to Adnres Carne de Res.  When we got there we checked out the loaded 66 page menu.  We ordered drinks and empanada appetizers, which were probably the best I've had yet.  This place is known for steaks so we ordered steak as an entree, it was delicious!
After dinner, we hit the dance floor, and danced, chatted, and sang the night away.  This place had lived up to its reputation.  This was probably one of the best nights we've had yet, and we met some really cool people as well.

Friday morning we took an early 45 minute, easy flight to Cali, the Salsa Capital of the World!  We booked this flight here last minute, because we wanted to be in Cali for the weekend, so we'd be there on a Friday and Saturday night.   Back to high 90 degree temperatures, we walked around the city a bit, not too much to see.
 Iglesia de San Antonio 

We went to the Iglesia de San Antonio (church of San Antonio), which had great views of the city.
Later that night, we met up with a local of Cali, a friend of Brianne's (my best friend from college) that she met last year on her trip to Peru.  He picked us up and drove us to Zaperoco, known as the best salsa spot in Cali, where all the locals go.  We were told, “if you only visit one salsa bar in Cali, make sure it's Zaperoco.”  Right away we loved this place, the music, the people, the energy, it was so much fun and quite the workout.
Coffee truck

Saturday we walked about an hour to Lomo de la Cruz, which is an artisanal  market, and ate a delicious arepa con todos (arepa with everything, beef, chicken, sauces, egg), sooooo good! At night we went to the popular salsa bar Tin Tin Deo with these guys that we met from London.  It was amazing, the locals were really really good here, best I´ve seen on this trip.  We liked dancing with them because they are very good at leading you through the song.  At the end of the night around 3am they had two professional dancers close out the night, it was so fun to watch.

London boys
Tin Tin Deo

Monday, April 7, 2014



Botero Museum
first meal in Bogota

We did a bit more walking around on Tuesday then hopped on an easy 45 minute flight from Medellin to Bogota, sure beats a 10 hour bus ride.  We arrived and quickly noticed the temperature change from high 90s to low 60s. We bundled up, and headed out to dinner in the cute area of Candelaria where we were staying.  I had a delicious beef loin with yucca fries and a salad, and the chef sent out  complimentary yucca mashed potatoes, which were amazing.
Bogota Beer Co.

            Wednesday we headed out early to explore the city.  We were surprised at how cute, clean, and walkable this city was, almost the opposite of what we had heard from others.  We first went to the center plaza, then we went to the Fernando Botero museum and enjoyed his many paintings, sculptures and drawings.  The museum also had other paintings and art pieces from Salvatore Dali, Pablo Picasso and others.  I really enjoyed this museum, which was free of charge.

coffee break

Guinea pig race

police street performing

            After, we grabbed lunch at Parilla & Pan and got patacones with beef and mazorcas with ham.  They were both absolutely delicious, like nothing I've ever tasted.  The patacones, which is like a sweet plantain with cheese and meat was one of the best things I've ever eaten.  After, we grabbed some coffee at this well known hole in the wall coffee shop, Cafe San Moritz.
top of the city

  Being charged up with Colombian coffee, we headed to the Museo del Oro (the gold
museum) with a reasonable $1.50USD entrance fee.  It was cool to see some of the pieces and read some of the history, but Adrienne and I weren't too interested in this museum and we zipped through the 4 floors in about an hour.  Being a bit “museum'd” out we cruised the streets of Bogota stopping to watch some of the street performers, chalk artists, saw a guinea pig race (so random), Bogota police officers street performing (very strange), and then walked to the area of La Macarena, which is  compared to the SOHO of NYC.  It was really cute with nice apartments, condos, restaurants and bars.  We stopped at the popular restaurant, Bogota Beer Company, and each got the local Candelaria Clasica draft beer.  On our way back, climbing the hills and cobbled stoned streets, we made a quick stop at Cefiro Tejido, which is a little boutique for young Colombian designers.

patacones and mazorcas

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Medellin and Guatape

cable car
            Sunday we took the metro to the cable cars that take you to the top of the city about 30-40 min to the top, when you get off its cute little farmers markets and stands selling fruits, flowers, plants, vegetables, snacks etc.  The rest of the day we walked around, did some site seeing then headed back to our place, grabbed dinner and some drinks with others staying at our hostel. 


            Monday we woke up bright and early to take a shuttle about 2 hours to the small town of Guatape.  We first walked to the top of La Piedra Del Penol (The Rock of Guatape) which was originally 675 steps to the top but then they added on a tower making it a total of 740 steps.  It was a long and slow climb up but well worth it when you got to the top and had spectacular 360 degree views of the beautiful town and country side. The walk down was almost harder than the walk up, with our shaky legs feeling like jello. 


740 steps up
            When we got to the bottom we took a car to the actual center of Guatape.  Super cute small town on the water, with vibrant colors, murals, and little cafes and restaurants.  For lunch we had steak, rice, eggs, beans, plantains and a small salad for $3 USD.  Delicious and cheap!!