top of page

Colombia

Panama City | Bogatá | San Gil | Mesa de los Santos | Santa Marta |Tayrona | Cartagena

IMG_0735
IMG_0688
IMG_0676
IMG_0668
IMG_0653
IMG_0794
IMG_0787_2
IMG_0615
IMG_0625
IMG_0658
IMG_0659
IMG_0678
IMG_0657
IMG_0801
IMG_0797
IMG_0819
IMG_0828
IMG_0823
IMG_0760
IMG_0764
IMG_0853
IMG_0855
IMG_0898
IMG_0903
IMG_1014
IMG_0959
IMG_0964
IMG_0887
IMG_0869
IMG_0980
IMG_1032
IMG_1130
IMG_1084
IMG_1094
IMG_1102
IMG_1101
IMG_0988
IMG_1049
IMG_1092
IMG_1087
IMG_1061
IMG_0644
IMG_1045
IMG_1076
IMG_1122
IMG_1088
IMG_1089
IMG_1133
IMG_0859
IMG_1113
IMG_1110
IMG_1043

 

Colombia Itinerary:

 

This route takes you through San Gil and the mountains of Mesa de los Santos. Although Medellin and Cali appear close on the map, due to the mountain range they are difficult to travel between so it makes the most sense to choose between the mountains or the cities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bogota:

Bogota Bike Tours:

Bogota Bike Tours does a well-rounded tour of the city. I did the four-hour city bike tour for about $ 20 U.S. dollars. If you are looking to save some money, they have a graffiti tour for around  $4 U.S. dollars.

 

We biked the city as Mike, our tour guide, explained Colombia’s historical sights.  This included the history of drug lord Pablo Escobar, his decline, and how in his   absence, the Colombians began to idolize Francesco Botera.  Botero is a famous modern day artist who makes everything “fat”, his statues and work are proudly displayed around the city.

 

The historical sites are contrasted with graffiti and street art, which gives great insight into the expressions of the younger culture. Since I was last there, due to a Justin Beiber controversy, the graffiti artists have gained more rights in the city making the art even more elaborate and absorbing.

 

Our tour ended  at the coffee roasting factory where we learned the process, tasted the beans, and finished with a quality cup of Joe.

 

San Gil:

San Gil is an outdoor mountain town for the adventure enthusiast. The town has everything from white water rafting, biking, hiking and cool natural swimming pools. 

 

Pozo Azul:

A natural swimming pool with waterfalls and cliff diving that is a 20-minute walk from town.

 

Hiking down the Chicamocha Canyon:

This was the best hike I did in San Gil. It is an colorful and mildly challenging hike in the Andes Mountains that winds through a small farming community into a dramatic canyon. When we hiked, the trail was sparce with people and it’s a dry climate so be sure to bring plenty of water and a map. We got lost but a truck of coal miners ended up offering us a ride further down the canyon. They dropped us off at a goat farm while they finished their work before taking us back. We drank lemonade, talked with the locals and played with the animals.

 

Go White Water Rafting:

I had a great experience with Colombia Rafting Expeditions. The rapids can get insane there so be honest about your experience level!

 

Hike Part of The Camino Real:

The Camino de Real is an ancient pilgrimage hike that extends from California through South America.  It is also known as the “Kings Highway”. We hiked from Barichara to Guane (3 hour hike). It was well-marked.  The relaxed terrain made it more of a glorified walk than an adventurous hike.

 

Mesa de los Santos:

Stay at Refugio de la Rocas (www.refugiolarocacolombia.com)

 

A young couple in their thirties built the hostel from the ground up. The hostel is practically part of the mountains, giving the instant feeling of inspiration and connectedness to the universe. The hostel has a meditation room, healthy flavorsome local meals, and a tranquil home environment. All this lends to the feeling of a perfect mix between camping and retreat getaway. The mountains offer rock climbing, biking, hiking, paragliding and relaxation.

 

From the hostel, the main town is an hour walk away (and has the only ATM).  The town is set up like a farmers market, serving homemade arepas and other local specialties.

 

 

Santa Marta:

It's a charming colonial beach town filled with parks, large plazas, and tiny cafes. It was a stopping point for me before heading to Tayrona National Park. However, the town of Santa Marta is worth a visit for it’s strong traditional, local personality. If you are looking for beaches, it is better to go to Cartagena or Tayrona, as they were super crowded and not as clean as the other beaches in Colombia.  The nightlife had a fun, local vibe with lots of little pubs and bars that close around 3 am. We were warned that it could get a little seedy, but had no problem and ended up going to a Jamaican Reggae Bar that was super fun. The people were nice and the music was bumping!   (https://www.facebook.com/jamaicabar/).

 

Tayrona National Park:

It is a 1 hour/$3 U.S. bus ride from Santa Marta to the entrance of the park ($20 U.S. entrance fee). The hike takes two-three hours through changing terrain including, jungle, beaches, up stairs, over boulders, and cutting forage to clear your path. There is diverse wildlife including exotic tropical birds and monkeys but you have to be patient to see them. Eventually, the trails open up into a series of seven different beaches. La Piscina and Cabo San Juan de Gui are the only two beaches that are swimmable year round. Sleep on a hammock in the open outdoors with only a rooftop to protect from weather, in Finca al Paraiso for $7 U.S. There is a great restaurant, serving the best seafood I have ever had.  Their entrees run $10-$25 U.S. dollars and they accept credit cards.

bottom of page