My Travel Notes of Colombia

I’ve visited many places in Colombia during 90 days and there are many more to see. I loved every place I went. I thought a lot about whether I should extend my stay or keep going. In the end, I decided to keep going, thinking that I would come again 😄

I have visited so beautiful towns. There were many places that I stayed a few days longer than I thought. All places are my favorites, so it is worth to mention them all.

So, my route in Colombia took place as below, but it could have been better tough 😄

Bogota view from Monserrate Hill

I came to Bogota from Cancun and after a few days, I set out on February 17. My notes are at Beautiful Towns of Colombia, from Medellin.

Click the following links to reach direckly the photos: Guatapé, Santa Fe de Antioquia, Jerico, Jardin, Salento. and Cocora Valley.

 

Catedral del Sal

I returned to Bogota on March 7 and spent a few days in the city. On one of these days I went to Zipaquira, a nearby city, to visit to the Catedral del Sal. 200 meters below the ground this monument catedral was made in honor of the mine workers.

 

After having few more days in Bogota, I headed to the North, and visited Villa de Leyva, San Gil, Baranchira, Guane, El cañón del Chicamocha for paragliding and lastly Guadalupe on the way back to Bogota. Details are at The Most Beautiful Towns of Colombia, from Bogota.

I returned back to Bogota to take a flight to Puerto Inírida for a 4-day Guainía / Mavecure tour of Outlanders Colombia.

 

PUERTO INIRIDA

Guainía is in the east of Colombia, bordering Venezuela on the east and Brazil on the south and very close to Amazon region.

Puerto Inírida… A very busy port.. First night we slept in the city and the next morning we took our canoe to Mavecure …

All food and tents and all necessary equipment came with us in canoes. Out second night was here in the camping field.

As I climbed to the top of Mavecure and looked into this vast forest, I understood what the Amazon meant. Isn’t that amazing?

The two hills behind me are the hills that called Mono and Pajarito.

 

The other day we went swimming in Caño de San Joaquín… and I found the most miraculous sight. It is an amazing sight, from the white sands to the waters that start from yellow and gets darker and darker as it gets deeper.

The minerals from the leaves of the trees makes the coloration… I did not know some rivers in Amazon region have that colors. After taking photos, and we jumped into the water. At first I felt little bit strange but later I got used to it. 9 of us had a great time… And minutes after while we were stil in the water it started rain very heavy. It was great fun.

Before the rain 😁

 

We also had a short visit to a nearby indigenious village. Some friends brought notebooks and pencils for the village children. They delivered them and played footboll with the children in the village square.

 

On our last day we were at the North, a place called the fluvial star of the east. The name is given because of the enormous waters of Atabapo and Guaviare rivers. These 2 come together to discharge their waters into the Orinoco. Orinoco is another huge river in Amazon Venezuela.

And Playa Blanca was the spot we visited that day to swim.

Again, pictures were taken first and then we got in the water. There were 2 boats and we had not yet met the people on the other boat. They were chatting between them, so did we. Soon I heard someone say “Are you Turkish?” I was so surprised. I said yes and asked “You?” “No, he is”. She pointed her boyfriend. It was unbelievable. His girlfriend’s parents and a couple of her friends were also there. We continued the conversation altogether. His parents were also surprised, “what an incredible coincidence, 2 Turkish meet here on the beach” they said 😄

 

This was my first adventure with Outlanders Colombia Tour (the second was Amazon Colombia Vaupes)

I have new friends now and 3 of them invited me to their homes and I visited them all after this trip.

My first home visit was to Vitoa. My Turkish friend and his family invited me to their summer house. I had a great weekend … I realized how much I missed speaking Turkish.

My second home visit was to Pereira after Vitoa. I visited my friend who said ‘You must be tired after 6 months journey, come and rest’. I spent 2 weeks with them until my trip to Vaupes. Actually, I was going to stay in a hostel for 1-2 days. I was going to relax and take Spanish lessons. They helped me with a teacher for the lesson and said I could stay with them. I didn’t plan it that way, but I stayed with them until April 12 … By the way, I went to Cali for two days.

My third home visit was in Bogota. I spent a night at my friends home when I returned back to Bogota for my Vaupes tour. I put all necessary items in my backpack and left everything else at home. I had to wake up 4 am. She woke up too, called a taxi and said bye and went to meeting point.  That expedition at Amazon Colombia Vaupés on April 13-20, 2019 was the biggest adventure of my life, for now 😄

 

I was so tired of the journey. I went to my friend’s home again. This time I stayed for 2 nights. I rested and washed my clothes. This time I left my backpack there, and set off with a small carry-on. I flew north to Santa Marta to go to some of the tourist towns of Colombia. After a day in Santa Marta and a day Minca, I took a tour to La Guajira, the northernmost tip of Colombia, as well as the northernmost tip of South American continent.

 

La Guajira

It was a complete shock, geographicallly. From the lush Amazons to the yellow Caribbean deserts. From river roads to sand blowing desert roads.

The trip started in a 4×4 jeep, 5 of us and our driver – guide Juaquin, at Riohacha.

Our first stop was Manaure, where we visited the salt lakes in desert.

We continue our way via Uribia… wind is so strong here.

At lunch time we arrived our camping place, near to Cabo de la Vela. It was our base for day 1.

We visited the viewpoint and watched sunset by the beach and return to the camp for the dinner.

 

We slept in this area, in hammocks. I loved it. After breakfast, we drove in such a beautiful nature which I wished I would be driving and stopping wherever I want. It was amazing.

Here is very close to Faro Punta Gallinas, so after desert drive we arrived this place for lunch. After we went to Playa Taroa to see Dunas de Taroa.

 

 

Next morning we headed to Faro Punto Gallinas to step on the northernmost tip of the country, and the continent.

I will always remember that trip… I was very excited.

 

Sunset at Palomino Beach

 

My first stop on my way to Cartagena was Palomino where I arrived just at sunset time. After observing the best sunset there and a nice breakfast in the morning I went to Tayrona Park.

Tayrona Park at Caribbean Sea is belong to indigenous peoples and they make agreement with goverment to open the park to tourism. The entrance fee partly goes to them. Each year the park is closed for a month, generally February, so they have their privacy. When I was there I learned that one of the village did not want to open it to the tourist. So only one part was available.

There is very good camping fields at the beaches. There are tents and hammocks to rent. There are horse riding falicities. I enjoyed here a lot… walked all day, visited beaches, swam and horse rode. But at night I falled over stairs. I was about to faint when I saw my leg. I was so scared. When I was on the floor some one came and help to stand up. The camp nurse cleaned the wounds and gave me a pain killer to make my night comfortable. I had no pain. I was ok in the morning. The wounds were big, needed some time to get well.

 

Well, luckily, just a night ago, I met a very sweet couple during breakfast at the hostel in Palomino the day before. I was eating the cactus fruit I bought on the desert trip and offered them too. We had a great chat. She is an internal medicine specialist, her husband is a helicopter pilot. They love to travel. They love Turkey very much. For honeymoon they came to Turkey. And that morning they were going from Palomino to Baranquilla and they left me at the door of Tayrona Park as it was on their way. I invited them to Turkey and said good-bye. And next morning I was sending a photo and a message asking her advice.

 

 

Cartagena

 

So I went to Cartagena, my last stop, with these wounds. This city is so hot all year around! It is so hot it was so bad for my wounds and I had to stay there for 3 nights because of the flight ticket. My hostel was in the old town. The extremely touristic part of the city. The first day I joined the free walking tour but I had to leave very soon and returned to hostel. The next day I took a tour to Rosario Islands, but I did not find it good as recommended. I wasnt feeling good because of the wounds anyway. I loved the old town most but do I come here again? No 😄

 

I returned back to Bogota. I again stayed at my friend’s home and I said goodbye to her early in the morning as I was heading to Pasto.

From Caribbean heat to Andes’ cold.

 

Pasto and Laguna De La Cocha

Laguna de la Cocha, Pasto

I visited this lake and the town around it on May 5th. Although it was a rainy and cold day, I enjoyed visiting here. Very nice place with very cute houses and bridges, typical Colombian restaurants and shops. It is possible to visit the lake and the island of Corota by renting a boat. I’m sure it’s great in good weather. I did not like to visit the lake because of the weather conditions, but the river ride to the mouth of the lake was wonderful.

 

Ipiales

My last stop is Ipiales, because this is the closest  to Ecuador border.

I chose a hotel in Ipialese very close to the terminal as I was going to cross the land border from Colombia to Ecuador very early in the morning. I arrived around noon and only had time to visit the Basilica church of Las Lajas.

Las Lajas Sanctuary, built inside the canyon of Guáitara.

 

The next morning I was going to pass the land border from Colombia to Ecuador, so I was tensed a bit at the night. I woke up so early even before the alarm. I wanted to pass the border as quickly as possible. At 6 am I was at the terminal of Ipiales, I walked from the hotel in 5 minutes, at 6.30 I was at the customs. I was third person on the lines at each customs. Then I took a taxi to Tulcan bus terminal. At 7.30 I was in the bus from Tulcan to Quito. I was so happy and relaxed.

May 8, 2019 ✌️😎

 

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