April 28- May 1: Salento
No matter the rain, it was time to leave Medellin. I took a bus - 6hrs, COP 37k- to Salento in Zona Cafetera, which is famous for coffee plantations and beautiful mountain landscape, and strategically 40 min away from Armenia where my plane will leave from on May 1st.
Two kind locals gave me and another girl a ride to Hostel La Serrana. Dorm bed and breakfast: COP 20k. The hostel is located in a Finca 20 min walk from town, great views, nice furnishing, delicious food and interesting people from all over the world. I could also have my laundry done for COP 5k. They offer fresh milk from their cows and homemade brownies and peanut butter, gnammy! Recommended.
The first day I went with two roommates to the Cocora Valley for a gorgeous 5 hrs hike up and down the mountains and across rivers. A lot of mud but still great. We saw the famous Palmas de la Cera, 50m tall palm trees with cows and pine trees next to them... Very bizarre! The town of Salento is cute, with colorful colonial houses. The next day I led a yoga class for other guests and then I went to visit Finca Don Elias, an organic coffee farm 1hr walk from the hostel. Recommended: very informative and delicious coffee.
The last day of this adventure eventually arrived: bus to Armenia COP 34k, and then another to the airport COP 19k. I have never been searched and checked so many times ever in my life. They even completely emptied my backpack!
I want to thank all the people that inspired me, helped me, and challenged me during this trip. In particular, thank you to Robbert, the best travel companion ever.
PS I absolutely loved the feeling of entering the US with my new Green Card!! : D
April 26-27: Medellin
How nice to fly from Capurgana back to Medellin: only 1.5hrs and COP207k! Especially compared with the previous exhausting 15hrs trip to go there, which was COP95k. The plane was small and I was sitting right behind the pilots, i almost learned how to fly. One of them also gave me a ride to the Hostel Casa Blanca in El Poblado, where my Green Card was waiting for me in a lovely FedEx pack!
Lunch at Basilu' by the hostel was good and cheap, they also were very helpful in helping me find yoga classes.
In the pm I joined an Atman Yoga class at Parque Presidencia in El Poblado, the teacher Gina was very nice and inspiring but I'm not a big fun of her Sivananda Yoga.
The day after I went for a complementary yoga class in a fancy yoga studio called 108Yoga. The teacher Angelika was really good leading her Vinyasa Flow Class, relaxing and vigorous. Pm dedicated to Internet and rain to seal the day.
_I absolutely loved this remote part of Colombia: there are no cars but horses, the cliffs on the ocean are full of trees with basically no constructions, a lot of nice excursions in the jungle and along the coast, nice snorkeling, good prices and fruit trees everywhere where you can pick up your free delicious healthy snacks!
The boat ride from Turbo to Capurgana, COP$55k, was pretty rough though: 3.5hrs in a lancha going against the waves... bang bang on your seat no stop. In Capurgana we stayed at Hostel Marlin, on the ocean, private room with bath COP30k. Hostel Gecko run by Italians is nice too but more expensive. We hiked to La Coqueria, with natural pools in front of the ocean, 30 min from town, and to Aguacate, a nice bay with good snorkeling, 1hr gorgeous walk along the jungle by the coast. Hector from Cabanas Darius was our guide, recommended.
From Capurgana you can reach Sapzurro either crossing the mountain for a good 1hr hike in the jungle, or taking a lancha for 10min, COP7k. I like this town even more: it's smaller, and on a gorgeous enclosed bay with a coral reef. It's more expensive. We stayed at Mystic Roots, COP25k per person, low season price for a nice room w bath in front of the ocean. Andy, the owner, is an interesting English man that told us a lot about the area and took us for a 30 min hike to La Miel in Panama to visit Marco's property, a dreamy piece of sandy beach with jungle behind, where there are monkeys, toucans, dolphins, and huge turtles leaving their eggs at night. Unbelievable. Andy practices Acro-Yoga and he made me fly for a little bit on top of his legs. Marco is developing this piece of land into an eco-community and hostel from where his boat trips to San Blas will start. Only problems with this paradise: mosquitos and unreliable electricity/wifi.
Robbert flew back home and I'll be on my own for the last week. Goodbye my friend and see you soon for more adventures!
We left Guatape' with the goal of escaping from the rain reaching the Carabbean coast asap, but guess what? After 30min of bus the sky clears and it's sunny again! Damn! I could have walked up the Penol, a 200m monolite, and seen the amazing view over all the islands around Guatape'! Too bad ...but we were still in time to jump off the bus and catch another one direction Rio Claro, a natural reserve around a clear river. After 2.5hrs we were at its entrance and in 15min walk we had a great room in the El Refugio lodge. COP$30k each. The room is basically a corner terrace over the river and the jungle, no windows, no screens, just open to Nature. We went for hike along the river: gorgeous rocks, stalactites, islands, waterfalls, adventurous trails... Just what I like! Swimming in the river was fresh but fun because of the current. Dinner and bed: absolutely amazing falling asleep with the sound of the river and the crickets.
The morning after I went for a great adventure: hiking up through the forest to the entrance of a cave and walking, swimming, diving through it... So much fun! After 45 min of cave we came back to the sun repelling a waterfall and crossing the strong river attached to a line. I think I was born for this kind of stuff! In the pm we were on a bus to Medellin again: taking the overnight bus to Turbo, COP$60, 9hrs, and then 2.5hrs lancha to Capurgana', tropical remote Carabbean town right next to Panama.