Archive for the ‘Colombia’ Category

3 Tropically Exotic South American Fruits

Tropical destinations remind me that everything grown isn’t exported.  There are more fruits than us four seasons dwellers know of.

Although those of us that don’t live in tropical zones can get imported coconut, mango, papaya and pineapple, there are other delectable fruits that we don’t come across.

Many say that fruit is the single best type of food you can eat.  Our bodies crave and love it.  I try to eat multiple servings per day.

While it’s easier when I’m situated in one place for a bit, I still manage  on the road, especially in the tropics.  There, I can’t help but notice fruit all over the place.

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Gone are the Hotel Nights That Include Breakfast

25,000 right.”

Actually it’s 35,000.  But that’s with breakfast included.”

I thought: Breakfast is nice.  I read somewhere online that it was 25,000 but . . .  Prices go up.  Bills need to be paid.  It’s not super easy to make a solid living off of running a little place of accommodation.

25,000 Colombian Pesos = $14.  35,000 is $19.50.  I shouldn’t have been spending that much each night in Manizales.  At the time I justified it being a good value because I had my own room and a home cooked breakfast was included.

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Food Savvy Acquired After More Than a Year of Drifting

Back in December of 2010, I wrote my first post: 10 things I Want to do on My Next Trip.   I published this list before beginning my drifting experiment.

I recently got the first comment on that first post, 164 entries later. It comes from the stream of consciousness travel writer and photo blogger Pinky Binks:

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Graffiti: Captured for the Camera in Cali

While travelling in the Colombian Andes earlier this year, I was sometimes blown away by the street art that I came across.  I’d think: Colombian cities provide amazing street gazing opportunities.

Graffiti acts as a visual stimulant.  Painted street decoration can induce thought and introspection.  Sometimes the messages are clear.  But more often, they leave you wondering while you’re wandering along.

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Ipiales to Tulcán: A Fast and Easy Border Crossing

The hotel worker told me to walk to the park in order to get a better price on a taxi.  He told me not to pay more than 2,000 COP or $1.22.

While spontaneously getting my shoes shined for $1,000 COP or $.55 in the plaza, it started to pour.

In the cold mountain rain the lowest the taxi man would go is 5,000 pesos or $2.70.  As my bags would have been drenched had I stood out there much longer, it was a no-brainer to suck up the $1.48 extra.  I thought: If I were this man, I probably would have noticed that there were no other taxis, and that I had no rain covering on my packs.  I might have upped the price to 7,000.

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A Tentative Travel Plan

I’m sitting in the center seat on the back of a bus from San Agustín to Popayán.  The good thing is that I have a little bit of legroom behind the teenage girl who’s sitting on the aisle floor in front of me.

The transport setup lacks assigned seating.  I’m perched too high to get more than a narrow glimpse of the visually therapeutic nature outside.  I think:  At least I have leg room so this isn’t one of the most uncomfortable bus rides I’ve had to endure.

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Popayán to San Agustín and 5 Pit Stops

The woman told me that the journey would take between four and six hours depending on the weather.  She also said that we’d be stopping for lunch.  I expected one stop.

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Hiking in Manizales: A Photo Essay

A few posts ago, I mentioned that while in the hilliest city in Colombia, I got to go on a rather scenic hike that wouldn’t have been  possible to figure out on my own.

At the time, I felt that I’d paid my local guide a bit too much.  However, as I was just browsing through photos from that hike, I came across some that made me realize that the 30,000 COP or $16.85 for the five and a half hour guided hike was far from the worst deal on earth.

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Valle de Cocora

While sleeping in a hostel dorm room for my first five nights in Salento, I noticed a trend of backpackers coming for one or two nights.  They make it to Cocora for a hike, and then they’re on their way out to see another site at another Colombian destination.  It took me over a week in these idyllic surroundings before I finally got a jeep out to this natural wax-palmed wonderland.

Just a short time after I entered the premises of the national park I was reminded of something.  Not far from where the trail started, memory of footage from the film The Lord of the Rings popped into my mind.

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Hiking in an Andean Paradise

While on one of the three microbuses I took to get to the cute little town of Salento from Manizales, I thought about engaging in some hiking.  I’d heard that it was a major attraction there.  I pondered: I’m in the Andes, there has to be endless trails that are incredibly worthy of hiking.  I’d really like to get in touch with more nature, with my diverse earth.

What I didn’t know is that I’d end up going on four unique hikes in just over a week’s time.

After arriving in Salento and being brought to my hostel, I decided to take a stroll into the tranquil and idyllic Salento night.

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