Having planned to stay in Colombia for 2 weeks, here we are 4 weeks later saying goodbye and hello to Quito.
The plan is to spend a night in Quito, 2 in Baños then head out to Peru. But present form would suggest otherwise... We will see how it goes.
13 June 2016
11 pm bus from Medéllin to Bogota.
We spent 5 nights switching between the Ivy and Happy Buddha hostels. The latter was in Poblado, the most swanky/foody place I've been to outside of London.
We fell for one restaurant in particular called 'Burdo' which we ate at 4 or 5 times. There were also little boutique bakeries and delis which we snacked at. The whole area was dotted with little parks and rivers encased by bamboo.
The bus. We have somehow lucked out on this. It is super comfy with loads of leg room and was only 55k COP (£12ish)
- for a 10 hour bus at that price we were expecting to be sat next to cows, chickens and TVs.
Our 2nd full day in Medellin saw us do a Guatape and Pablo Escobar tour.
Polishing off an empanada con carne for breakfast as we got on the bus, we went an hour and a half drive to Guatape. Hopping out of the bus en route we got a complete view of Medellin.
We then climbed the 700 steps up El Peñón, which despite almost killing me being 2100m above sea level, has us a pretty cool view from the top. This was caused by the flooding of the area as a dam was built down river to provide 60% of Colombia's energy.
After a short boat trip we got to Pablo's gaff. We had a pretty make shift lunch and then were given guns and sent out to shoot each other.
In one of the games I was made Pablo Escobar which was all fun and games until I realised that the objective was to pepper me with paint. All in all it was a pretty Rambo day out and we even beat the Israelis with their military service.
10 June 2016
Quick flight from Cartagena to Medellin having spent the day in a 'mall'.
Arch and I managed to book tickets on the plane (1 hour) but George and Tom were told that all of the spaces had sold out so took a 14 hour bus. This obviously made us super smug, then we found out the bus was the same price... Then on the plane there were a good 20 spare places. Overall I think absolute smugness was achieved.
9 June 2016
Arch, George and I (Toms ear piercing didn't agree with salt water) went on a 2 hour snorkelling adventure that took us around some of the islands (houses built on the coral) and into mangrove lagoons that were teaming with life.
After having hyper fresh octopus for supper we took a boat into another lagoon and went swimming with photo-plankton. They are tiny little living particles in the sea that photosynthesise during the day and then release that energy as light when they come into contact with something. I can't begin to describe quite how cool this was, I really can't. Just picture the Life of Pi scene minus the whale and times it by 100, full blown unbelievable.
8 June 2016
I honestly feel guilty about telling you about this... The fact that you didn't get to experience it sucks, really really sucks.
Casa En El Agua is a 2 hour boat ride out of Cartagena, you get to the point that you can't see any land in any direction. Then you see something gradually coming out of the water, a small collection of islands, amongst them the astoundingly perfect Casa En El Agua.
Our hammocks look out to sea and fall exactly in line with the sun set. We woke up at 3am because lightening was striking all around us... It lit up everything and the following thunder was the loudest any of us have ever heard.
7 June 2016
Easy and cooling
3 June 2016
A change of scene came in moving a couple of blocks into the walled old city of Cartagena and to the El Viajero hostel.
It is much more chilled but for the first 2 nights we had a full blown wall shaking snorer in the room, which lead to the only logical conclusion of us picking straws to punch him first.
We watched the America cup football between USA and Colombia in a local square, as every bar/restaurant/rooftop that was showing the game was chocka. If there was any doubt as to who was the home side, it was settled as with every successful Colombian pass or tackle the whole city roared... Let alone the goals.
1 June 2016
After flagging down a local bus next to the beach and asking for Cartagena, being told that it was no more than 3 hours down the road, we arrived... 8 hours, 2 buses and a taxi later.
We are in the Media Luna hostel in the heart of the Getsemani district which is really cool and after having the most genuinely abhorrent lunch (couldn't even force it down) we found sweet sweet respite at a really nice Polpo style restaurant called Demente for supper.
Feeling a bit hot and bothered we found an air conditioned cinema after lunch to watch Alice - through the looking glass. This turned out to be a private screening as it was in English, which doesn't go hand in hand with the pretty primitive education in Columbia.
31 May 2016
We are in Costenno and the mother of all hangovers has kicked in which has lead to a pretty serious chill day.
Yesterday we tried surfing and after half an hour of establishing that it's actually pretty tricky to master we had to give up because of chronic nipple chaff. Tom, being Tom wore a t shirt and knew nothing of the pain that the rest of us were going through.
28 May 2016
Back in mozzie free Santa Marta for 2 nights in la brisa loca hostel and have found another pretty mean sun set.
From here the plan is costello beach, Cartagena, Casa en el Agua, Medellin and then out of Colombia towards Guayaquil
27 May 2016
We are in Palimino on which is east of Santa Marta by about 2 hours on a bus.
It is again a very cool place with a Caribbean style beach and deffinately no signal... The wifi isn't great and decides to go off for a day or two every now and then.
Today we went tubing down a local river. You pick up a tractor tyre tube from the hostel and get taken half an hour on a moped into the hills (picking up some aguilas on the way) then hike barefoot along a track for a sweaty half hour until you reach a beach on the river... We then drifted down the river cracking beers as we went with massive jungle walls either side of us, the river was no deeper than 2 meters at any point but up to 50 meters wide. The whole journey took about 2 hours so luckily we had all lathered on the sun cream.
I would have some seriously cool photos but the phone/water combo wouldn't work. George lost his go pro and Tom lost some money so probably for the best.
23 May 2016
An awesome couple of nights in the jungle with zero wifi/phone signal/hot water and very little electricity.
Attached is the tree house that George and I slept in, it had one of the best sun sets I have ever seen but took photos on my proper camera.
We went on a 5 hour round trek deeper into the jungle to see a remote waterfall with 2 girls called Abbi Becca, but by the time we reached it out clothes were already soaked through. Whilst walking along we saw massive millipedes a snake and ants, lots and lots of ants.
All in all an awesome vibe in the jungle with massive 20 person hammocks that hung out into the sky to enjoy the view, chilled music and a couple of beers.
In the middle of the jungle at casa elementa hostel
We only spent one night in Santa Marta in the Calle 11 hostel. It was crazy sweaty and a cool 35 degrees.
To follow would be 2 hours in 3 different taxis then half an hour on a motorbike taxi up to the hostel... We climbed and climbed as the air got thinner but cooler, on a trip that took us from sea level to the height of the top of Saulire express in Meribel.
22 May 2016
Flight from Bogota to Santra Marta for £35
21 May 2016
In other news we all have a perfect aguardiente/altitude/sunstroke combo.
18 degrees and 4 hours in the sun has been bad to me.
Thankfully a nice restaurant gave me raw chicken so playing a game of salmonella roulette.
Went on a biking tour of Bogota today... This game is the tits.
- Teho, it's the national game of Columbia and involves lobbing a lead disk at a clay surface and the aim is to get in the middle circle. But... There are small parcels of dynamite in a circle to shoot for which sound like a gun shot every time they are hit. This is probably around twice per minute in a room filled with the clay targets. You pay for beer and it COMES BY THE CRATE.
20 May 2016
In la puerta falsa (Bogotas' oldest restaurant) having Ajiaco Santafereño
19 May 2016
24th hour and we have found the Bo•Go hostel and been greeted by a fitty
Leaving Miami on the way to Bogota in what already feels like a pretty long day... Nice to have a glimpse of the sun though
Customs 1 - 0 George
We have all made it and having a pint with our eggs benedict
18 May 2016
The beginning of the start... On the way to Toms house to get to Heathrow for the 10:40 flight tomorrow