Guatapé is the first town I visited. This colorful town is in the most famous town of department of Antioquia. One of the other 2 reasons is Piedra del Peñol. It was a very cloudy day, so I preferred to walk up and down of all the roads to take photographs of Guatape . It was Sunday, so there were many local tourists as well as foreigners. I realized that being in Guatapé at weekend was so good, there were many stands, selling fruits, icecream, juices, empanadas, hamburgers, coffees, corn… I tasted them all. All were delicious. It was a good idea that I went to Peñol next day, because on Sunday it would be very crowded. Also I woke up to a sunny day, so when I was climbing up to Piedra del Peñol it was 8.30. I climbed up all 740 step to see that 😀 This was my first big performance in Colombia.
As I went to Guatapé from Bogotá my journey was a bit longer. First I searched about the terminals and buses. on a night bus. So, I should go to Salitre terminal in Bogotá. As I was going on a night bus, I had to go to terminal at night. It is necessary to be very careful about taxis in Bogotá. I read and heared that never get on a taxi passing on the street. So it is important to call a secure taxi to the address. There is also UBER, but it is not legal. I asked every Colombian if Uber is safe and all said yes. So that night I went to terminal by Uber. As it is not legal in Colombia, the driver asked me to sit in the front seat and pay in the car. It was so comfortable trip to terminal.
There are few bus companies in Colombia and I prefered Boliviano for a night bus to Medellin. It was incredibly cold. I always have some warm clothes with me, so it was fine. And most of roads in Colombia are full of curves, because of Andes. I didnt think about it before so had this first bad experience. Since than I had emedur pills with me.
I was at Medellin north terminal about 7 am and found a mini bus for Guatapé in the same terminal. Except for big buses such as Bolivariano, Brasilia all run like colectivos. So it took 2 hours.
I stayed at Hotel Lagos de Guatape, in the center. There are lots of options, in the centre, around Piedra del Penol and also aroun lake.
After 2 nights stay, I returned to Medellin. In Medellin I didn’t do much. I stayed at El Poblado, at a brand new hostel ADN, Algo de Nosotros. Just went to Plaza Botero and walked around.
I went to Medellin because I went Guatapé from there. Actually I stayed Medellin to see Silvia and Daniel. The first and sweetest people I met in Colombia. I met Daniel at my Hostal in Bogotá. We both were checking out ve started to have a chat. He lives in Medellin for about for 4 years, but he is a Rolo. It means borned and grew up in Bogotá. He was there for business when we met. He likes helping people, tell where to visit, where to see, what to do. He replied all my questions by giving his time. When I was in Medellin I was in touch with him, asking more. Twice, he and his mother Silvia took me a night walk, and then to dinner.
Medellin is the second largest city, it needs 4-5 more days to see better.
Santa Fe de Antioquia
After 3 nights, 2 days stay in Medellin, I went to Santa Fe de Antioquia I knew that it is hot there but I didnt imagined that hot. It is only 60 km away from Medellin and the climate is that much different. From Medellin North terminal it took about 2 hours.
So I just get of the bus terminal and went to Hotel San Judas, just opposite of the road. Put the luggage and went to the center. I just couldn’t stand even 1 hour and jumped in a first place I have seen.
It was a bright day, blue sky, beautiful clouds.. I thought it would be good to visit Puente de Occidente around 4 pm but at 3.30 pm it started raining and got very cloudy.
So I had to visit the bridge next morning. It was dry but still cloudy.
But as soon as I returned from the bridge, I took a bus to Jerico.
Jerico is a beautiful town, at the skirt of a hill. So there are many ups and downs, loads of stairs.
In the afternoon, locals gather in plazas in these little towns. Jerico has a beautiful plaza, surrounded by cafes, restaurants and a cathedral. Cathedrals are not usuaI in little towns like this.
Inmacula Corazón de María y Santa Laura
Going Jerico took a while. Going directly from Santa Fe de Antioquía to Jerico means, the bus will not take the main road.. Also it means that it is needed to change the vehicle somewhere. I experienced that many times. So, first I went to a place called Bolombolo in about 3 hours. It was a minibus but a chiva would be great actually. I needed to wait about 1 hour for to Jerico bus. The road between Bolombolo and Jerico is good but has many curves. So I arrived at dark. With the help of the passengers I got of at the corner of my Hotel Atenas Jerico.
My next stop was Jardín. Another beautiful town. I came here by a chiva.
The road is about 35 km but in the mountains it took about 2 hours, and this trip was my favorite. I loved Jardin a lot. I stayed 4 nights at Hotel Casa Grande.
On these days it was raining very often. I had to stayed at the hotel quite some time. I was no good by the way, coughing a lot. So I got rest at the same time. When the weather was fine, I was able to take a ride in La Garrucha (the man made teleferic) to view the town surraunded by beautiful nature, to have a 2 hours of horse riding, walk up to botanic garden and visit Jardín natural reserve to see Jardín de Rocas and took beautiful photographs.
Cocora Valley, Salento
Arrived late afternoon, under rain. As those days were rainy days, I was wandering when the weather was going to be good, otherwise I might not be able to do Cocora Valley hike. On my second day I woke up into beautiful sunny morning. I got ready quickly and walked up to the center to get one of the jeeps. It took about 20 minutes to get to the entrance of the valley. It is also possible to walk up to entrance, or bike, or ride a horse.
It is not known exactly but it is said that the long loop is between 12-15 km. There is a blue fence at the entrance of it and a guide. She explained the route and ask if I was aware about the hike that I was going to take. I could also do the hike the other way around, and also choose the short loop. But she suggested to start from blue fence considering the weather conditions. She also asked if I have water and something to eat. At that moment I realized that I only have water 🙃 and didn’t think about food.
I bought some bananas and guayaba pulp from the little shop. Then started walking.
The first part of walking in Cocora Valley was flat and I ealked about 1,5 hours in that great nature.
Then the hard part started, where I stopped and had a thought that whether I should return back. Then Colombian family reached to my point and we had a chat, and I told I should go back. They invited me to join them and to walk together. I liked that offer very much, it would be easier and much better with them. Then walking, talking, sharing was great and I managed to climb up Acaime where we have seen many humming birds. We paid 5.000 pesos at the entrance which inclued a coffee or cocoa together with guayaba & cheese. I liked guayaba with cheese very much, and bought few more to eat along with coffee.
We continued through the loop with great views and reached Finca La Montana, where I was thinking to take a break, and exactly at that moment it poured. While having our coffees, it slowed down, so we could have continued our walk 😀
Famous wax palms were finally in our field of view… Then lots of photoraphs… I met Igne and Albert, took their photos, and I realized that I have seen them at Hostel El Zorzal.. later we had a great time together.. talking about our journeys, having dinner together. Since then we are in touch..
The Colombian family left me hostel by their car, which was a great offer for me as I was so tired.
This was my biggest physical effort since the beginning of my travels, 7 hours, between 12-15 km of walk.
Next day I got rest and had a walk in the town. Salonto is as colorful as other towns of Colombia. I have seen man using that bags before, it is hand made and called ‘Carriele’, but this was the first time I have seen from hat to shoes, fully dressep up. It is beautiful 👌
Next day I stayed at the hostel and enjoyed the garden with beautiful flowers, and many birds, including tucan. I ❤ Salento.
My next destination was Tatacao. I was thinking to stay there 2 days but it was incredibly hot and full of mosquitos, I stayed there less than 24 hours.
I had a night bus trip, from Salento, via Armenia. I arrived to Neiva around 6.30 am and took a colectivo to Villavieja where took a tuk tuk to the hostel. While looking for tuk tuk I made new friends 2 from Germany and 1 from Austria and 1 from Mexico. We had breakfast together and celebrated my birthday. Together went to Noche de Saturno by tuk tuks. I didn’t enjoy the desert but meeting friends was super. Everybody has a story, so chatting was great. After having dinner together and prost beers and we went to see the stars at Observatorio Astronómico, but couldnt because of the cloulds. So played ‘uno’ together and great fun. Maybe it was not a good time to go there at all. Next morning about 7 am, with 2 of the friends I left for Bogotá.
March 7, 2019 ✌️😎