It's been awhile since I did one of these Follow Me and I’ll Show You _______ posts and when is it a better time to revisit the concept than now. For over 6 months in 2016, I embarked on a journey through the entire length of South America starting from Colombia all the way down to Argentina. I spent one month in Colombia traveling from the northern city of Santa Marta all the way down to Pasto. It was an incredible journey and today I am here to show you the beautiful varieties of the landscape in Colombia with my "Follow Me" style photography. Hang on tight and...
Follow me and I’ll show you Colombia
If you are looking for a recommended itinerary for Colombia, I've got your back. Here is my Ultimate Backpacking Itinerary for Colombia.
I arrived in Bogota late at night and I went straight to my friends place and since it was Friday night, we went straight out to party. Needless to say, I spent the next few days recovering from that ordeal and had a chance to go up the gondola to Monserrate and absorb the hilly landscape of Colombian capital city. Monserrate is by far, my favorite spot in Bogota.
After a week in Bogota, me and my friends decided to go camping by a lake near Bogota. The night was cold but calm with people around camp fires listening to music, chilling out. It sure was a nice break from the buzzing city of Bogota.
For more info about Bogota: Top 10 Things To Do In Bogota.
After a lazy week in Bogota, I flew up north to Santa Marta and went straight to hiking the Tayrona National Park. Me and my friend went through rush green and thick rain forest and stumbled upon a village of indigenous people. Not very talkative and very defensive towards tourists but the kids love us. :)
Two days in the forest sleeping in extreme humidity by a beach in Tayrona National Park, it was time to move on. I spent a few days relaxing and doing day trips around the region. One of those place is Minca, which I much prefer than Santa Marta. Greener, cooler, and much more quiet and chill.
Casa de Elemento is a hostel/guesthouse on top of a mountain in the forest of Minca and it has a giant hammock built on the side of a hill. After a tough hike, there is no other place I want to be than here.
A trip to the north of Colombia won't be complete without a stop at the touristic port city of Cartagena.
Cartagena is a colonial city by the northern coast of Colombia. It is possibly one of the most photogenic colonial town in Colombia hands down. I mean look!
Ahh Medellin, expat favorite city, the infamous hometown of Pablo Escobar, and the renown coffee region of the world, Medellin is truly a city worth exploring for an extend period of time.
Aside from the usual tourist attractions, Medellin serves as a good hub for day hikes around the surrounding mountain. This particular hike is called Tres Cruzes and can be done in 30 minutes.
I spent an entire week hiking with my friend as he showed me around the hidden hikes that normally tourists like me wouldn't know. To be honest, I don't even know which hike this was!
Since Medellin is surrounded by mountains, the weather can change quite fast so when you go and hike somewhere, be prepared for muds and rains!
This hike I took with my friend started off like a regular trail but I think we might have been lost and somehow ended up going through several private properties. We had to jump and crawl through barb wire fence to get to this spot but it was worth it.
After 2 hours hiking up through thick grass and jumping over fences, we finally reached the top and the view.. is simply breathtaking.
If you watched Narcos, the view from the photo above may remind you of a certain scene of the show's addictive intro.
For more info about Medellin: Top 10 Things To Do In Medellin.
Popayan (3 nights)
Salento is where the adventure is at. I spent one full day hiking around the Cocora valley, where all the tall palm trees are. I have never seen anything like it before.
I really love Salento. It has to be my favorite place in the entire country. The hike in the Cocora Valley was amazing while the town, located in a remote area of the mountain served as a great spot to be among Colombian nature.
It was nothing short of astonishing to be able to stood among these giants up close.
For more info about Salento: The Ultimate Hiking Guide To Valle Del Cocora (Cocora Valley).
Popayan (3 nights)
Popayan or "white city" as it is sometime called, is a colonial city in the south of Colombia. The city square is surrounded with beautiful white colonial architecture unlike the colorful buildings of Cartagena. The city itself is great but I was there for one thing, to summit "the Vulcan".
Purace Volcano is one of the most active volcano in Colombia and with all my strength, I hiked the damn thing starting as early as 6AM from the city and came back, almost collapsing at 7PM. It was a tough hike, not because of the trail but of the wind and snow we got up there. The altitude of 4,646 m didn't help either.
Even though we didn't see anything at the top, my friend was able to capture this photo showing the landscape around Purace while the clouds cleared for a bit.
San Agustin is a small town in the Andes known for its archaeological park, home to numerous pre-Columbian remains. Instead of going all out adventure like we did in Popayan, me and my friend decided to hire a driver to drive us around the archaeological park and we visited a bunch of waterfalls along the way.
Since San Agustin is so remote and the road connecting Popayan to San Agustin is so horrible that it took us more than 6 hours to traverse the distance of 136km on a bus. To make things worse, I had to traverse back to Popayan to proceed to my next and last destination.
Ipiales is a perfect stop for people who wants to cross the border to Ecuador after. Near the border is Las Lajas Sanctuary, a basilica church built on a side of a cliff. If you are coming this way, this place is a must visit. It is also a perfect place to say good bye to Colombia is you proceed forward to Ecuador.
Do you enjoy this type of photography? Check out other entries to our “Follow Me and I’ll Show You ________” series. If you have any suggestion on what I could improve, do not hesitate to let me know in the comments below or tweet me here: @peachananr
Further Reading for Colombia
I hope you found this Colombia travel guide useful. If you are looking for something to read to help your Colombia trip planning even further, be sure to check out these articles below:
- Looking for a complete travel guide for Colombia? Here’s a one month backpacking itinerary for Colombia.
- Bogota is an awesome capital city to start your Colombia journey if you know where to go. Here’s an insider’s guide on top 10 things to do in Bogota.
- Medellin is also another fun city to visit, full of great food, salsa dancing workshop and more. Here’s a complete travel guide on things to do in Medellin.
- Salento is home to one of the most unique places in the world, Valle del Cocora. It is an amazing place to go hiking around these tall wax palm trees. Here’s a complete hiking guide to Cocora Valley and Salento.
- You can also watch my Colombia travel video here: Colombia is Dangerous? travel video.
- To see all articles about Colombia, visit Colombia Travel Guide page.
- Not sure where to go next? How about visit Ecuador and experience all its wildlife in the Amazon or the Galapagos? Check out my Ecuador Travel Guide page for more information about traveling in Ecuador.
- Looking for more travel guides for the South America? You can find more on my South America Travel Guide page.
- For more of my travel guides, visit my Destinations page.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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