In early April, Anne and I met our son Tarek in Medellin. He was headed north concluding a
Wild Pacific Choco Coast
Our first goal of the trip was to see the remote jungles and beaches of the wild Pacific Coast of Colombia. Still disconnected from the rest of the country by roads, we flew by
What other city is known by so many names and we found Medellin lives up to them all: The Flower City, Capital of the Mountains, Forever Spring, City of Innovation, City of Change, and The Educated City. Our local guide, Nico, introduced us to his home town mostly walking and using public transportation for two days. There's an eclectic mix of architectural styles represented in buildings constructed and renovated in recent decades out of the abundant passion and payload of narcotraffickers, so locals also affectionally refer to their home as the "City of Narcotectura." Medellin is one of the most modern and livable cities in the world. It's fascinating to visit, but it's also attracting many ex-pats to live and retire there. It's so easy to get around walking on busy pedestrian promenades all connected on a public transit system linking buses and
Here in Medellin is the story of drug cartels, their demise, and the rise of local communities seeking a better life, a safe home to raise their families, and new opportunities for kids to grow, learn and find meaningful work. Nico took us on a beautiful walk through Comunal 13, one of the poorer hillside neighborhoods were bullet holes from gang fights and drug wars are covered over by colorful artistry, street dancing, libraries, local schools and social service organizations, including community-based tourism initiatives proudly welcoming visitors see and hear their story. We stayed in the lovely and popular El Poblado neighborhood full of restaurants, bars
A fun and fascinating day outside of Medellin is a drive through the beautiful countryside to the colorful town of Guatape. It's the picture you most often see in tourism promotions representing the colorful towns of Colombia. This is another great story of a Colombian town that recently recreated itself by sharing its story in bright colors highlighted with zocalos (reliefs) recounting its history and daily life on the facades of its buildings.
Escobar's Summer Retreat
Nearby on a peninsula of land on
Cartagena is a colorful old town restored and persevered as a UNESCO Heritage Site, inside fortress walls where gold was collected before transport to Europe. Today, it's a treasure trove of cobblestone streets with bougainvillea covered balconies and gayfully painted colonial architecture where the Afro-Caribbean culture thrives in music, dance
Tayrona National Park
Kogis Village Visit
There are four indigenous tribes in this area, and the Kogis refer to their homeland as "the heart of the Earth." We rode horseback and hiked one day through the jungle and along the beach of Tayrona National Park passing through "El Pueblito," a beautiful archaeological park and sacred site of the Kogis tribe where they gather to hold sacred payment to the Earth ceremonies to honor our Pachamama and counter the damage to the living systems of the planet by modern civilization. It's possible to visit a Kogis village with permission accompanied by a local guide as we did one morning. You can learn more about what they have to teach us and the alarm they have sounded in
We concluded our adventure with two days in Bogota including an afternoon guided walk through the colonial and bohemian neighborhood of La Candelaria which is an easy walk to the main plaza and cathedral of Bogota including the fabulous gold museum and art gallery of Colombia's revered painter Botero. We also timed our visit to Bogota on a weekend which helps to avoid traffic, but especially so that we could ride bikes on the Sunday Ciclovia when major arterial streets are closed for families and athletes to run and cycle through the city. It draws musicians, street artists
Weekends in Bogota are lively at night as well. We stayed at the Sofitel in the La Rosa district, just around the corner from the popular nightlife center of the city, but especially the amazing Andres Carne de Res restaurant in the El Retiro shopping center, a fun steakhouse which a vast menu beyond the carne of arepas, ceviche and other Colombian specialties, two dance floors, and décor of hearts and positive messages creating good vibes in a good times family and friends atmosphere unlike any other.
This review is just some of the territory and a few of the experiences we covered in 12 days. Call us to speak with me or Kelsey Wenger, our Colombia Program Director, learn more about our explorations through Colombia and see all our Wildland Adventures in Colombia that we offer in addition to custom trip planning where and when you want to go.