Category Archives: Destinations

Santa Fe de Antioquia – A Picturesque Colonial Town

Santa Fe de Antioquia – A Picturesque Colonial Town

Santa Fe de Antioquia is a small colonial town about 80 km from Medellin. The cobblestone streets, and the colorful colonial buildings make this little town perfect for a short day trip. From Medellin you can easily reach this beautiful place. It takes only about two hours by bus from Medellin to reach this lovely and rather hot city, Santa fe.

Santa Fe was founded in 1541 by Jorge Robledo and has a population of around 23,000 inhabitants.

How to get there from Medellin?

By bus from Terminal del Norte. The terminal is right next to the Metro station Caribe.

Price for the bus: A one way bus bus ticket will cost you around 9,000 pesos. Buses run regularly

Duration: approximately 2 hours

Kathedrale Santa Fe de AntioquiaHauptplatz Santa Fe de Antioquia

The trip start with a picturesque bus ride over the beautiful Antioquian mountains. During the bus ride you will have time to suck in the beautiful landscape that lies between Medellin and Santa fe. In Santa Fe you will notice that the climate is a little bit hotter than in Medellin. That due to the fact that Santa Fe lies a little lower than the capital of Antioquia. Colombian families enjoy Santa Fe as a weekend destination. But also during Christmas or “Semana Santa” (Easter) they often rent Fincas here for a few days to spent some time with the family.

Umland von Santa fe de Antiquia

In Santa Fe there are not too many different sights. The city is a sight itself. The best way to enjoy the city is to stroll through the small cobblestone streets. Enjoy the beauty of the big main square, the Plaza Mayor and admire the beautiful. Around the Plaza Mayor there are plenty of cafes and restaurants offering typical dishes like meat and fish with rice and patacones at moderate prices. Santa Fe, together with Guatape, is one of the most popular destinations for a short trip to both tourists and the Colombians. Anyone who stops in Medellin should not miss out on Santa Fe de Antioquia

Cobblestone streets Santa Fe de Antioquia Santa Fe de Antioquia Playa Mayor

Where to stay in Santa fe de Antioquia?

If you want to spend the night in Santa Fe I will have here some recommendations for you:

Lower price range

Green Nomads Hostel

Calle 9 # 7 – 63, Santa Fe de Antioquia, Colombia

Price: Dormitory €11,55 Double bedroom from €39,60

Check the latest prices on Hostelworld.com | Booking.com

 

Upper prize range

Hotel Colonial Nueva Granada

Calle 9 # 7-47, 057050 Santa Fe de Antioquia, Kolumbien

Price: Double bedroom from €109,00

Check the latest prices on Booking.com

13 Places You Have to See in Chile

13 Places You Have to See in Chile

Chile is another amazing South American country that surprised me in many ways. Before I visited Chile I did not have any expectations, but then as soon as I saw these incredible landscapes and experienced the exciting city life, I was blown away and fell in love with this country.

The amazing Atacama Desert, the stunning glaciers of Torres del Paine or the fantastic street art of Valparaiso are just a few things that you should definitely see when visiting Chile.

Similar posts:





Here is my personal list of places that you have to see in Chile:

1. Torres del Paine

Where to start?

Puerto Natales is the gateway town to see the Torres del Paine national park. From here the busses leave, to take you around the park for a day trip. You can also do the W-Trek or O-Trek by yourself and camp in the park. Just make sure that you have enough clothes with you in case you intend to do the trek in winter.

Where to stay in Puerto Natales?

These are some of the best Hostels in Puerto Natales the gateway town to Torres del Paine:

The Singing Lamb Backpackers

Price: Dormitory 20.80 Twin Private €75.64

Very friendly and helpful staff and just a few minutes from the city centre. Very cosy place with a laidback atmosphere.

Check out the latest prices on Booking.com | Hostelworld

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

El Patagonico

Price: Dormitory 17.88

Very clean place and close to some supermarkets. The place has a well equipped kitchen and is in easy walking distance of the town centre. The owner and staff are very friendly and helpful and you can even rent equipment here.

Check out the latest prices on Booking.com | Hostelworld

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

2. Valparaiso

Grafitti Valparaiso Chile

View Valparaiso

Things to do in Valparaiso

  • Take a free walking Tour
  • Explore the city by yourself and admire the great street art
  • Watch the sea lions
  • Make a daytrip to Vina del Mar
  • Make a tour with a boat
  • Visit the market on Avenida Argentina
  • Hang out at the beach
  • Connect with the locals and enjoy some art on the weekend evenings in the streets
  • Do some bar hopping

Where to stay in Valparaiso?

These are some of the best Hostels in Valparaiso:

Hostal Po

Price: Dormitory €14.30 Private Double Bedroom €32.89

Great place in a great location with very friendly staff, very nice terrace and good breakfast. Rather a place for people who like socialising.

Check out the latest prices on Booking.com | Hostelworld

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

Escarabajo Hostel

Price: Dormitory 11.90 Private Double Bedroom 39.10

The staff here is incredibly friendly and helpful in general the atmosphere at this hostel is great.

Check out the latest prices on Booking.com | Hostelworld

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

Do you want to know why I fell in love with this city? Check out this post

 

3. Santiago

 

Things to do in Santiago de Chile

  • Stroll the Barrio Bellavista
  • Enjoy the view from Cerro San Cristobal
  • Visit La Chascona (Pablo Neruda’s House)
  • Walk through the city centre around Plaza de Armas
  • Enjoy the view from Cerro Santa Lucia
  • Eat the cheapest Sushi you will ever get in front of the university in Barrio Brasil
  • Watch some street artists in Barrio Brasil on the weekend and have some drinks
  • Visit a museum
  • Visit the Mercado central
  • Go to the Parque de las Sculpturas
  • Dance the night away

Where to stay in Santiago?

These are some of the best Hostels in Santiago de Chile:

H Rado Hostel

Price: Dormitory 19.85 Private Double Bedroom 52.95

Great atmosphere and super friendly staff. Close to the metro station, bars and restaurants. This hostel is located in the party area so rather something for the party crowd.

Check out the latest prices on Booking.com | Hostelworld

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

Ventana Sur Hostal

Price: Dormitory €15.16 Single Private Bedroom 27.17

This place is amazing very laidback but still a great mix between quiet and sociable. Great location in Barrio Italia close to bars and restaurants.

Check out the latest prices on Booking.com | Hostelworld

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

Do you want to know how I experienced Santiago? Check this post

4. San Pedro de Atacama (Atacama Desert)

Atacama DesertSandboarding San Pedro de atacama

Things to do in San Pedro de Atacama

  • Visit El Tatio Geysers
  • Make a trip to Salar de Atacama
  • Make a bike trip to Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna) and the Death Valley (Valle de la Muerte)
  • Go Sandboarding
  • Visit the altiplano lagoons like the Laguna Miscanti, Miñiques and Chaxa
  • Visit the the salty Laguna Cejar and take a swim
  • Visit Pukara de Quito
  • Watch the stars
  • Eat in one of the many nice restaurants

Where to stay in San Pedro de Atacama?

These are some of the best Hostels in San Pedro de Atacama:

Mamatierra Hostel

Price: Dormitory 24.58 Twin Private Bedroom 56.73

Very nice and clean hostel close to the city centre with breakfast included. The facilities are very clean and the staff is very friendly and helpful.

Check out the latest prices on Booking.com | Hostelworld

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

La Casa de Matilde

Price: Dormitory 17.16

Very nice and clean hostel close to the boarder with hot showers.

Check out the latest prices on Booking.com | Hostelworld

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

Want to read more about San Pedro? Read this article

5. Chiloe

Wooden Houses Chiloe Castro

Things to do in Chiloe

  • Visit the National Park (It is amazing)
  • Visit the Palafittes (Wooden houses that sit on a kind of pier with thick stilts.
  • Visit the museum
  • Do the Church Route
  • Go and see the penguins (depending on the season)
  • Become fascinated by the mythology of the island
  • Eat cake at Cafe Blanco

Where to stay on Chiloe?

These are some of the best Hostels on Chiloe:

13 Lunas Hostel

Price: Dormitory 16.45 Double Private Bedroom 40.04

Very clean Hostel near the bus station with a laidback atmosphere and a ping pong table. Well equipped kitchen and helpful staff.

Check out the latest prices on  Hostelworld

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

Chiloe Austral Hostel & Tours

Price: Dormitory 15.96

Very clean hostel in a great area. The owner is helpful and friendly.

Check out the latest prices on Booking.com | Hostelworld

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

Do you want to know why Chiloe gave me the creeps? Check this post here

6. The Lake District

Villarica lake District

Things to Do in the Lake District

  • Go hiking
  • Climb up one of the many volcanos
  • Visit a national park
  • Chill at a lake
  • Visit one of the many thermal springs
  • In winter go skiing or snowboarding
  • Eat cake (kuchen)
  • Eat seafood

Places to Visit in the Lake District

  • Parque nacional Conguilli
  • Villarrica
  • Pucon
  • Valdivia
  • Lago Llanquihue
  • Ojo de Caburgua
  • Laguna Azul

Where to stay in the Lake District?

These are some of the best Hostels in the Lake District:

Pucon

Hostal Emalafquen

Price: Standard Twin Private 33.09

Very clean and comfy hostel close to the bus station. The owner is incredibly nice.

Check out the latest prices on Booking.com | Hostelworld

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

Villarrica

Bed and Breakfast Omi Kika

Price: Standard Double Room 40.04

This place is in a very nice location right at the water.

Check out the latest prices on Booking.com | Hostelworld

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

You want to read more about the Lake District? Check out my post

7. Valle de Elqui

Elqui Valley

vineyards Valle de Elqui

Things to do in Valle de Elqui

  • Go hiking
  • Visit a vineyard and taste some wine
  • Enjoy the view
  • Go camping

Where to stay?

You can stay in La Serena as Valle de Elqui is not far from there and you can reach the valley easily by bus from the city

 

8. La Serena

Beach La Serena

Botanical garden La Serena

Things to do in La Serena

  • Go to the Faro Monumental
  • Go to the beach
  • Visit the El Parque Jardin del Corazon (Japanese botanical garden)
  • Visit the artisanal market La Recova
  • Make a daytrip to the National Humboldt Penguin Reserve
  • Go to a Pisco tasting
  • Make a daytrip to Valle de Elqui
  • Visit the Observatorio Turístico Collowara

Where to stay in La Serena?

These are some of the best Hostels in La Serena:

Hostal El Arbol

Price: Dormitory 12.16 Standard Twin Private Bedroom 42.90

The hostel is in a great location. it is in walking distance to the main square, the beach and a mall. Very clean and spacious rooms and the staff is very friendly and helpful.

Check out the latest prices on Booking.com | Hostelworld

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

Hostel Cosmo Elqui Stage

Price: Dormitory 12.87 Double Private Bedroom 54.34

Very nice hostel with a great atmosphere, clean facilities and hot water showers.

Check out the latest prices on Booking.com | Hostelworld

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

Do you want to read more about La Serena and Valle de Elqui? Have a look at this post

 

9. Futalefu

Futalefu

Futalefu Patagonia Chile

Things to do in Futalefu

  • Go hiking
  • Go swimming in a lake
  • Go camping
  • Go rafting
  • Enjoy the view

Where to stay in Futalefu?

Hostal Las Natalias

Price: Dormitory 19.00

Very quiet place with very friendly and helpful owners. This place is great if you are looking something peaceful where you can connect with nature.

Check out the latest prices on Booking.com

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

 

10. El Chaiten

Things to do in Chaiten

  • Visit the Parque Pumalín
  • Go hiking
  • Hang at the beach
  • Visit the hot springs Termas de Amarillo

Where to stay in Chaiten?

Posada de Expediciones Kahuel

Price: Triple Room 90.00

Plenty of space and nice facilities. Owners are friendly and helpful

Check out the latest prices on Booking.com

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

 

11. The Easter Islands

Things to do on the Easter Island

  • See The Moais at Rano Raraku National Park
  • Relax at Anakena Beach
  • See The Ancient Petroglyphs at Papa Vaka
  • Bike around the island
  • Hike up the Terevaka
  • Watch a dance show at Vaitemiki
  • See the Turtles in Hanga Roa Harbour

Where to stay on the Easter island?

Vaianny Guest House

Price: Dormitory 33.09 Standard Single Private 42.55

This hostel is very well located, clean and comfortable. The owner is very friendly and helpful.

Check out the latest prices on Hostelworld

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

 

12. Valdivia

Valdivia Patagonia Chile

 

Actually Valdivia belongs to the Lake District that I have already mentioned before but as there are a lot of things to do and see I wanted to mention it again separatly.

Things to in Valdivia

  • Stroll the river and watch the sea lions
  • Visit the botanical garden of the Universidad Austral
  • Buy fresh Salmon from the riverside market Feria Fluvial and watch the sea lions get their share from the fishermen
  • Eat Eel
  • Visit the Parque Nacional Alerce Costero near Corral
  • Go for a boat ride
  • Visit the Museo Histórico y Antropológico
  • Visit the brewery Kunstmann and have a beer
  • Try Crudo (Raw meat on bread with onions sour cream and lemon)
  • Visit Niebla a small town 15 from Valdivia
  • Stroll through the Parque Saval

Where to stay in Valdivia?

This is the best Hostel in Valdivia:

Airesbuenos Hostel & Permaculture

Price: Dormitory 18.59

Very nice and cosy hostel with clean facilities. It is not far from the city centre and offers a great breakfast.

Check out the latest prices on Hostelworld

Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor.com

13. National Park Laguna San Rafael

16 Places You Have to See in Ecuador

16 Places You Have to See in Ecuador

From my section “Places you Have to See” I would like to present to you Places You Have to See in Ecuador. Ecuador is a very versatile place, no matter if you like hiking, hanging out on the beach, colonial architecure, jungle trekking, observing wildlife or traditional markets, Ecuador has it all.

This time the post will be a little different. Instead of just listing you the Places You Have to See in Ecuador I also collected the best blog posts for each place to make it easier for you to get the best and most detailed information about each place and to have all the important blog posts about Ecuador at hand in one article. In case you have already planned everything for your trip to Ecuador but you still need accommodation I also added some of the best hostels in Ecuador to the List.

Similar Posts:

1.Quito

La Basílica de Quito

Things to do in Quito

You need some information about what to do in Quito? Check out this great Blog post on justtravelous

Are you still looking for accommodation?

These are two of the best Hostels in Quito:

Hostel Revolution

Price: Dormitory 9,45 Euro Private room 23,62

Check the current prices on Booking.com | Hostelworld.com

Read the reviews on Tripadvisor 

Huasi Lodge

Price: Dormitory 9,45 Euro Private  room 24,57 Euro

Check the current prices on Booking.com |  Hostelworld.com

Read the reviews on Tripadvisor

2.Cotopaxi Volcano

Cotopaxi

For more information on how it is to climb the Cotopaxi Volcano, I recommend you to read this great post Cotopaxi on a budget

3.Yasuni National Park

Photo by Matt Hewitt on Flickr.com

Photo by Global Panorama on Flickr.com

4.The Cloud Forest of Mindo

Photo by Dallas Krentzel on Flickr.com

From Quito you can easily make a day trip to the cloud forest. You can either do it on your own or you can go for a private or shared Tour. Check this one on Tripadvisor

And here on southamericaliving.com is a little guide to Mindo one of the best birdwatching spots in Ecuador

5.The Galapagos Islands

Photo by Derek Keats on Flickr.com

Photo by Paul Krawczuk on Flickr.com

Exploring the Galapagos islands can be quite pricey. Therfore I recommend you to read this great post on thriftynomads.com that compares prizes and shows you how to find the cheapest option-> Galapagos Islands on the Cheap

Where to stay?

Galapagos Best Home Stay

Price: Private room 52,91  Euro

Check the current prices on  Hostelworld.com

Read the reviews on Tripadvisor

6.Montañita

Photo by mariaflorine on Flickr.com

How to get to Montanita and what to do there?

For detailed information on how to get there and what to do there, check out this travel guide on gobackpacking.com

Where to stay?

ChiChi Babylone Backpacker

Price: Dormitory 7,56 Euro

Check the current prices on  Hostelworld.com

Read the reviews on Tripadvisor

Esperanto Hostel

Price: Dormitory 16,06 Euro Private room42,52 Euro

Check the current prices on  Hostelworld.com

Read the reviews on Tripadvisor

7.Baños

Photo by mark goble on Flickr.com

Things to do in Banos

Check out 9 Best Things to Do in Banos

Where to stay?

Great Hostels Backpackers Los Pinos Banos

Price: Dormitory 8,49 Euro Private room31,18 Euro

Check the current prices on Hostelworld.com

Read the reviews on Tripadvisor

8.Otavalo Market

Otavalo

Where to stay?

Hostal Curinan

Price: Private room from 22,00  Euro

Check the current prices on Booking.com |  Hostelworld.com

Read the reviews on Tripadvisor

9.Las Peñas in Guayaquil

Photo by Dave Lonsdale on Flickr.com

How to get to Guayaquil and what else to do?

Find some detailed information on what to see and do in Guayaquil check here on gobackpacking.com

Where to stay?

Tangara Guest House

Price: Private room 34,01 Euro

Check the current prices on Booking.com |  Hostelworld.com

Read the reviews on Tripadvisor

10.Laguna de Quilotoa

Laguna de Quilotoa

Most hostels offer a tour from Quito to Laguna de Quilotoa but there are 10 Things You Should Know Before Hiking the Quilotoa Loop

11.Mitad del Mundo/Middle of the World

 

Need some tips?

Check out 5 Tips on Visting Mitad del Mundo

12.Cuenca

Photo by Prohibido Centro Cultural on Flickr.com Photo by wogo24220 on Flickr.com

What to See and Do in Cuenca

Check out 10 Things to See and Do in Cuenca

Where to stay?

Alternative Hostels

Price: Dormitory from 8,50 Euro Private room 12,28 Euro

Check the current prices on Hostelworld.com

Read the reviews on Tripadvisor

Mi Casa Hostel

Price: Dormitory from 9,45 Euro Private room 17,01 Euro

Check the current prices on Booking.com |  Hostelworld.com

Read the reviews on Tripadvisor

13.Cuicocha lake

Photo by Carine06 on Flickr.com

You need more information about the Lake of Cuicocha and how to get there?

Check out this great post on awearoundtheearth.com The Mysterious Crater Lake of Cuicocha

14.Ingapirca

Photo by Natalia Cartolini on Flickr.com

How to get there?

The ruins can be visited from Cuenca. Check out Visiting Ingapirca Ruins from Cuenca, Ecuador

15.Laguna Mojanda

Photo by Jean-François Renaud on Flickr.com

 

16.Nariz del Diablo/Devils nose train ride

You want to know more about this amazing train ride?

Check out Riding the Devil’s Nose Train in Ecuador

11 Places You Have to See in Panama

11 Places You Have to See in Panama

From my section “Places you Have to See” I would like to present to you Places You have to See in Panama. Panama is for me one of the most underestimated countries in Latin America and maybe even the world. To be honest, before I arrived in Panama for the first time, I knew nothing about this amazing country. I only knew Panama due to the children’s book “Oh wie schön ist Panama/ A trip to Panama” from the author Janosh. But then from the first moment I set foot on Panamanian ground I fell in love with this incredibly beautiful place. From stunning beaches, paradise islands, buzzing cities, mayestic Jungles and mountains, this country has despite its rather small size a lot to offer. And due to all these amazing things to see in Panama, it became one of my favourite countries in Latin America.

Here the list of 11 Places You have to See in Panama

1. San Blas Islands

17585_4814172713344_1456993854_n1 555889_4814163513114_1950980405_n1

 

The San Blas islands are maybe even the best place to visit in Panama and maybe even one of the best places to visit in entire Latin America. If you like stunning beaches with white sand and crystal clear water this is a must-see spot. I personally didn’t know about the San Blas islands before I arrived in Panama I just saw a picture in a hostel in Panama City and asked the owner where the picture was taken. He advised me that these were the San Blas islands an archipelago consisting of several islands that stretches as far as to the coast of Colombia. You can book at tour and stay on some of the islands in beautiful cabanas. You will get a real Robinson Crusoe feeling. The Kuna Yala an indigenous trip administrates the islands and inhabits a few of them. If you can`t afford to go to the Maldives in an expensive resort, visit the San Blas islands. You can either stay in one of the cabanas or you can even camp on some of the islands. Some of the cabanas are more luxurious and some less and on most of them electricity will only be available shortly after dawn.

Things to do on the San Blas islands

  • Snorkeling
  • Volleyball
  • Relax

Check out the Cabañas of San Blas on Tripadvisor or book on booking.com

Cabañas Coco Blanco

Check the latest prices on booking.com

Cabañas Aroma

Check the latest prices on booking.com

You can also enjoy a stay on a Catamaran



2. Bocas del Toro

 

bocas_del_toro_archipelago bocas_del_toro_isla_de_bastimentos

Another beautiful archichpelago is Bocas del Toro. The main island with its capital city is called Isla Colona. This place with its beautiful beaches attracts a lot of backpackes as well as surfers as there can be found some great surf spots. Some of the beaches are the Red Frog beach on Isla Bastimentos, Boca Del Drago about 30 kilometres from Bocas town and Playa Bluff which is about half an hour away from Bocas town. In Bocas del Toro you also have a great nightlife with Reggae Music and typical Carribean vibes. This is another place you definitely have to visit when in Panama. In case you want to proceed to Costa Rica book yourself a transport and head over to the border to Costa Rica.

Things to do in Bocas del Toro

  • Go surfing
  • Island hopping
  • Relax at the beach
  • Party

Where to stay in Bocas del Toro? These are some of the best hostels/hotels in Boca del Toro

Isla Solarte

Bambuda Lodge Check the latest prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com

Isla Bastimentos

Palmar Beach Lodge Check the latest prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com

Isla Colon

Panama’s Paradise Saigoncito’s Check the latest prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com

 

3. Panama City

panama_citymercado_de_mariscos_panama

 

When I see people posting in Forums or groups on Facebook I notice that Panama City does not have the best reputation as people say it is dirty and dangerous. I cannot not share this opinion at all as for me this is one of the most exciting big cities in Latin America. There is plenty to do and some parts of the city are extremely beautiful. Also it is great for shopping. You should definitely visit the Seafood market buy some fish or seafood and let one of the small restaurants there prepare it for you. Also when you heading along the promenade in the direction of the Panama Channel there are amazing Reggae Dancehall parties on the parking spots where people play loud music in their SUVs and people sell grilled meat skewers (Chuzoz/Pinchos)

Things to do in Panama City

  • Visit Panama Viejo
  • Visit Casco Viejo
  • Walk or bike the Cinta Costera
  • Visit the Panama Canal
  • Go shopping in Albrook Mall
  • Eat Ceviche or buy fish at the Mercado de mariscos

Where to stay in Panama City? These are the best hostels and hotels in Panama City

Magnolia Inn

Prices: Dormitories from 14,96 Euro

Check the latest prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com

The Magnolia Inn is located in the heart of Casco Viejo Panamas historical city centre. The location is great and rooms are clean and comfortable. You will also have access to a great spacious kitchen.

Hostel Villa Vento Surf

Prices: Dormitories from 14,68 Euro

Check the latest prices on Hostelworld.com

In this Hostel you can arrange your sailing trips to San Blas or Cartagena (Colombia). It has a swimming pool, Foosball table and a nice lounge. The staff is super friendly and helpful.

 

4. Panama Canal

 

panama_canal

Foto by Lyn Gateley on flickr.com

This is something you shouldn’t miss out on when in Panama. Maybe for some it doesn’t sound very interesting but in fact the area around the Panama channel is very beautiful to and it is a part of history.

5. Gulf of Chiriquí

In this gulf are dozens of islands islands on which you can find beautiful beaches and unspoiled nature. Here you can see whales throughout the year. The humpback whales give birth in the protected waters of protected waters of the Coiba National Park. The region is also famous area for fishing. Bocas del Toro is basically also a part of it but there are more islands that are not included in the Bocas archipelago like the Islas Secas.

 

6. La Miel

 

la_miel_panama La Miel

La Miel is a small village (pueblo) that borders with Colombia. The beach there is incredibly beautiful and surrounded by Jungle. You can either access La Miel coming from Sapzurro in Colombia by foot or you can take a boat from Puerto Obaldia.

Unfortunately, there is no accommodation available at least not that Im aware of but you can stay in Spazurro or Capurgana in Colombia

Best place to stay

Sapzurro Hilltop Sapzurro

Prices: Dorms from 9,00 Euro

Check the latest prices on Hostelworld.com

Located in front of the Sapzurro bay and a cute little sandy beach. From there you can easily cross the border by foot to La Miel

 

7. Boquete

 

boquete

Foto by Michael McCullough flickr.com

river_boquete

This mountain town in the western part of Panama offers some beautiful nature and wildlife. Many tourists and backpackers come here to plan their hike to the Baru Volcano or go for a tour to a coffee farm. Here you can go hiking and enjoy some great food in the land of coffee and flowers.

Things to do in Boquete

  • Visit a coffee farm
  • Eat some great food
  • Visit Paradise Gardens
  • Visit Mi Jardine es su Jardin
  • Hike the nearby Volcano Baru
  • Visit the Caldera Hot Springs
  • Learn Spanish

Where to stay in Boquete? These are some of the best Hostels/Hotels in Boquete

Hostal Gaia

Prices: Dorms from 15,07 Euro

Check the latest prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com

Very nice atmosphere with plenty of tourist information available. The Hostel is quiet and just two blocks from the central Plaza. Apart from that it is clean and has a very well equipped kitchen.

Spanish by the River

Prices: Dorms from 11,30 Euro Private Double Room 32,96 Euro

Check the latest prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com

Very cute and clean hostel just a few meters from a bakery, restaurants and ATM. Staff is very friendly. And as the name says you can take Spanish classes here.

 

8. Santa Catalina

 

santa_catalina

Foto by dronepicr flickr.com

Santa Catalina is a small fishing village that is just a perfect place to chill. This place is unspoiled and authentic and has some amazing beaches. The primary beaches are Playa Santa Catalina and Playa Estero, both beaches are covered with black sand. Also this place is known to be a great surf spot. If you don’t like surfing you can also go fishing or Scuba Diving

Things to do in Santa Catalina

  • Surfing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Fishing
  • Chilling

Where to stay in Santa Catalina? These are the best Hostels/Hotels in Santa Catalina

Hostel Villa Vento Surf

Prices: Dorms from 14,13 Euro

Check the latest prices on Hostelworld.com

This place has a pool and a great lounge and they also sell beer for 1 Dollar. It`s a clean place with a great atmosphere and very friendly staff. You can also book sailing trip to Cartagena and San Blas.

 

9. Volcan Baru

 

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Foto by Dennis Binzen flickr.com

volcan_baru

Foto by Nancy flickr.com

The Volcan Baru or Volcan de Chiriqui how it is also called due to its location in the Chriqui province is an active volcano and with 3,475 metres the highest mountain in Panama. On a very clear day you might be able to see the Caribbean Sea as well as the Pacific Ocean from the top. You can hike up the Volcano but be aware that it is no easy hike.

Want to book a Tour? Book a Tour with Aviator

 

10. Pearl Islands

Pearl islands (Archipiélago de las Perlas) is another archipelago consisting of about 200 islands located a few miles off the Pacific Coast of Panama. The most know island is the Contadora island where many wealthy Panamanians own homes. Another important island is the Isla del Rey the second biggest island in Panama after Coiba. You can explore the island by boat and enjoy some beautiful beaches.

What to do on the Pearl Islands?

  • Whale watching
  • Scuba Diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Kayaking
  • Sunbathing

Where to stay on the Pearl Islands?

Contadora Island Inn

Check the latest prices on booking.com

Villa Condes del Mar

Check the latest prices on booking.com

 

11. El Valle de Anton

 

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Foto by Brian Gratwicke flickr.com

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Foto by eric molina flickr.com

El Valle de Anton is a pueblo (village) in the Cocle’ province in Panama. Geologists say that El Valle is located in a crater of an extinct Volcano. The place is very beautiful and laidback with lots of things to do in the nearby areas. Here you can visit some beautiful waterfalls like the Chorro El Macho or the Chorro Las Mosas or go bird watching.

Things to do in El Valle de Anton

  • Bird Watching
  • Visit the artisan and vegetable market
  • Visit Butterfly Haven
  • Canopying
  • Visit a waterfall
  • Go hiking, biking or horseback riding
  • Visit La Piedra Pintada
  • Visit the hot springs

Best Hostel in El Valle de Anton

Bodhi Hostel & Lounge

Prices: Dormitory 14,14 Euro Private Room 33,94 Euro

Check the latest prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com

Most of the furniture in this beautiful Hostel is handmade with recycled products. the facilities are clean and the staff is helpful and friendly.

Also check:

18 Places You Have to See in Colombia

13 Places You Have to See in Bolivia

 

 

18 Places You Have to See in Colombia

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18 Must See Places in Colombia

Which places should you visit when coming to Colombia?

For two years I have been living in this incredibly amazing country now, to be exact in the city of Medellin and I did not regret any minute of it. Colombia is just so versatile and offers something for every taste. Pulsating big cities, the beautiful landscapes of the coffee zone, amazing Caribbean beaches or the incredible nature and wildlife of the Amazon make this country so unique and exciting to travel. Every month I discover new places that fascinate me. And yet I haven’t seen everything what is to be seen here by far. With this post I just want to give you a small impression what Colombia has to offer. I created a small list of some of my favorite spots. The list is numbered but that does not mean that I like number 1 better than number 18. These places are just so different that one can’t really tell which one is more beautiful. Most likely some people who have already been to Colombia have a completely different list of favorites. Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite places in Colombia. Whoever speaks German can also check my blog about Colombia, Kolumbienblog.com. I hope that in the near future I will have enough time to translate it also into English.

Similar Posts:

1.Capurganá

CapurganaCapurgana - Bahia Lodge

Capurganá is a very small and relaxed fishing village in the department of Chocó on the Caribbean coast. Capurganá is located not far from the Panamanian border, which you can cross easily from the neighbor village Sapzurro by foot. Capurganá is yet by far not as much discovered by tourists as for instance the cities of Santa Marta and Cartagena further north of the coast. The reason may be that the guerillas were still active in this region a few years ago. Also it is not that as accessible and a little more inconvenient to go to there. Still this place is great, very relaxed and surrounded by beautiful nature. Take a trip to La Miel, which is a beautiful beach and buy some great cheap Panamanian rum. If you need a place to stay and you are not traveling on a budget I recommend you to stay at the Bahia Lodge that is simply a beautiful place with great service. More about this beautiful place you can read here

Things to do

  • Visit Sapzurro
  • Cross the border to Panama to spend a day at La Miel
  • Relax at the beach
  • Go to San Blas by boat

Where to stay?

Budget Travel: La Bohemia

Middle Price Range: Bahia Lodge in Aguacate or Acuali Ecohostal

Upper Price Range: Hotel Bahía Pinorroa

 


2.Palomino

Palomino near to Tayronasunset palomino

Palomino in La Guajira is a very small village just about one hour after the Tayrona Park. The advantage of Palomino compared to Tayrona is that you don’t have to pay an entrance fee, you have more hostels and hotels in different prize ranges for accommodation available and for the people who like it quiet you will find less tourists. For a relaxing time at the beach between palm trees one of my favorite places in Colombia. In order to get there just take the bus to Tayrona and ask the driver to let you go off in Palomino. As accommodation I recommend you the Tiki Hut Hostel or the Hotel Playa Mandala. Read more about Palomino

Things to do

  • Relax on the beach
  • Go surfing
  • Enjoy the sunset
  • Visit la Quebrada de Valencia

Where to stay?

Tiki Hut Hostel or the Hotel Playa Mandala;

For Budget traveller I recommend the Finca Escondida Hostel right at the beach

Tips: Don’t forget to bring Mosquito repellent; Eat a pizza at the beach bar it is delicious

3.Nuquí

nuqui_beachNuqui Whale

Nuquí is also located in the department of Chocó but on the side of the pacific coast. You shouldn’t go there if you are afraid of water because Nuqui lies in one of the rainiest areas on this planet. But that is part of the charm of Nuqui. Here you can find very few tourists and everything is very urban and simple so don’t expect a lot of luxury. Things are very basic and that’s what I like about it so much. The best time to go Nuqui is for the whale-watching season between June and October to see the humpback whales. I recommend booking a whale watching tour with Ignacio, just ask someone in the village where to find him, everyone knows him. He also offers a tour to a waterfall and the thermal springs that I can also recommend. Visit the Playa Guachalito which is just a half an hour boatride from Nuqui away or enjoy a nice bath at the Cascada del or the thermal springs. Read more about Nuqui

Things to do

  • Visit Utria
  • Watch whales
  • Visit the Cascada del amor, Playa Guachalito and the hot springs
  • Eat fish

Where to stay?

Middle Price Range: La Joviseña

Budget Travel: Hotel Nuquimar

Tip: Don`t forget to bring rain gear as this is one of the rainiest areas in the world

 

4.Parque Tayrona

Parque TayronaTayrona - El Cabo

The Tayrona Park is probably one of the most famous tourist destinations in Colombia. I believe that almost every traveller that comes to Colombia is going to stop at Tayrona. And there is a reason for this. The Tayrona Park is an incredibly beautiful nature park located just around one hour with the bus from Santa Marta. In Tayrona you can see some of the most beautiful beaches in Colombia and maybe even in entire Latin America. But not only the beaches are an attraction but the wildlife with all the monkeys, snakes, parrots and other animals. The scenery is truly beautiful. You are surrounded by nature with a view on the Sierra Nevada. Definitely a place not to be missed Colombia.

Tips: Bring a pocket light and ear plugs. If possible try to get as many drinks and food as possible but don’t bring glass bottles. Try not to rely on your credit card and bring enogh cash. Don`t feed the animals

bolivia

5.Salento/Valle de Cocora

Wax Palm Tree cocora ValleyValle de Cocora near Salento in Quindio

Salento is a little village close to Armenia in the heart of the Colombian coffee zone in the region of Quindío. Known is Saltento especially for the nearby Valley, the Valle de Cocora which impresses with its wax palm trees that can grow up to 50 meters high. But also Salento in itself is an attraction as are the coffee fincas around. Hiking in this area is an absolute highlight and it even feels a little surreal passing these amazingly huge palm trees. Read more here

Things to do

  • Hike the valley
  • Eat “Trucha” (trout)
  • Visit a coffe farm
  • Stroll the town

Where to stay?

Budget traveller: Hostal Estrella de Agua

Low/Middle price range: Posada Casa Salento

Upper Prize range: Hotel Salento Real Eje Cafetero

Tips: Bring rain gear and trekking shoes, hike the valley as early as possible in order to avoid tourist crowds

 

6.Santa Marta

Santa Marta

Rodadero

Santa Marta is worth more than just a stopover on the way to the Tayrona Park. With its bars and restaurants around the historical city center at the Parque de los Novios it spreads a really nice charm. I personally prefer Santa Marta to Cartagena anytime. It is simply much more relaxed. Of course from here you can plan many trip to places in the nearby area like Minca, Barranquilla or Palomino.

What to do?

  • Go to the beach
  • Make party at “La Puerta”
  • Have a beer at the “Parque de Los Novios”
  • Make a daytrip to Targanga

Accommodation: If you are not on a budget don’t miss out on Casa de Leda this place ist incredible. For Budget travellers I recommend Zleeping Hostel or for people that like to party the Dreamer Hostel

 

7.Rio Claro

Rio ClaroRio Claro

At the in Antioquia located Rio Claro lays a small natural reserve the Reserva Natural Cañon de Rio Claro – El Refugio. The Refugio you can reach by bus either coming from Bogota or Medellin. You can spend a night in the beautiful open plan cabañas that offer you a great view over the river. For the more adventurous people zip lining, caving and other activities are being offered. Very fascinating is the nightly soundscape in this beautiful functioning ecosystem. More about Rio Claro here

Tips: Bring a pocket lamp, book one of the cabanas overlooking the river

 

8.Medellin

Medellin Medellin

Obviously Medellin had to be on this list eventually it is the city where I live and spend most of my time. Apart from the perfect climax with its pleasant summer temperatures whole year round I just love the friendliness of the people the stunning nature that surrounds Medellin and the great nightlife. Medellin might not be the most beautiful city in South America but it has a lot to offer. Apart from that Medellin is by far not as dangerous anymore as a few years ago. I can honestly say that I feel very comfortable here and that compared to other cities I have visited in Latin America Medellin appears to be very safe. A few things to do and see in Medellin would be the Jardin Botanico at the university, Parque Arvi at the last stop of the metrocable or a night out at la 33, La 70 or Parque Lleras in El Poblado. 30+ Things You Should Do In Medellin

Where to stay in Medellin?

The Black Sheep Hostel in El Poblado or the Garden of Blues Hostel in La Estrella

 

9. Guatapé

GuatapeGuatape

Guatape is a little village just about two hours from Medellin. One of the most famous tourist sights is La Piedra del Peñol. A 200-meter high rock from which you have an incredible view. If you believe the sign at the bottom of the rock it is even the best view in the world. A lot of Colombian families spent their holidays in one of the Fincas in this area. Pablo Escobar also enjoyed spending time in Guatape and had his little place there, which can be visited by boat.

You have no Hostel yet? Check out the Galeria Guatape Hostel a truly amazing place.

 

10.Jardín

la cueva del esplendadorBasilica de Jardin

Jardín is a little village in the Colombian coffee zone. It is located in the eastern part of Antioquia. From Medellin it takes roughly 4 hours to get there by bus. Apart from the „pueblo“ itself that counts as one of the most beautiful ones in Antioquia you should consider an outing to one of the coffee fincas or to La cueva del esplendor a waterfall that flows into a cave. Even more impressive than La cueva itself was the panoramic view on the way. Read my post about Jardin

Things to do

  • Visit La Cueva del Esplendor
  • Visit a coffee farm
  • See how Panela is made
  • Eat sweets at Dulces de Jardin

Tips: Get around with a “moto raton” (mototaxi), it is fun and cheap. Eat trout at Estadero El Arka.




11.San Andrés und Providencia

san_andres

cayo_cangrejo

If you like to relax and spend your time at the beach San Andres and Providencia certainly is the right destination for you. The islands are located 770 KM away from the Colombian mainland and are actually closer to Nicaragua than to Colombia. Here you can find beautiful beaches that look like the ones you see on postcards and wallpapers. If you don`t like slacking around all day long you can also go for one of the many water activities like diving or you can cruise around these amazing islands with a scooter. San Andres is the bigger and busier island of the two, whereby Providencia is a little more native and quieter. If you are looking for dream beaches you will find them here for sure. If you like to know more about San Andres and Providencia read this post.

Looking for accomodation? Check out the Hotel Old Providence or the Yellow Home CasaBaja

 

12.Cartagena de Indias

cartagena_centro_historicocity_centre_cartagena

Another pearl of the Caribbean is Cartagena. The beautiful colonial town impresses especially through his historic city Centre and the fortress that surrounds it. A stroll through the small alleys in the evening hours of the historic Centre is very romantic. But Cartagena offers more than just a beautiful Center, long sandy beaches; culinary delicacies and a buzzing nightlife attract people from all over the world. If you would like to read more about Cartagena read my post here.

Where to stay?

Some of the best Hostels are:

El Genoves Hostal

Check the current prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com | Agoda.com

El Viajero Cartagena Hostel

Check the current prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com | Agoda.com

 

13.Caño Cristales

cano-cristales-fluss-in-Kolumbien

Quelle: colombiaparaelmundo.com

cano-cristales-la-macarena-meta

Quelle: cano-cristales.com

The river that is also called the river of the five colors is a very unique natural spectacle. During the time of June and December the different colors are most visible and that makes it the best time to plan your visit to the Sierra de Macarena. Book yourself a tour on site and enjoy 3 days long the beautiful nature around Caño Cristales. This is certainly a place of the beaten path but that doesn’t make it less beautiful.

 

14.Tatacoa-Desert

tatacoa_kaktustatacoa_cusco_2

The desert that is named after a rattle snake is located between the cities Bogota and San Augustin. There are not only coffee fields and dream beaches in Colombia. There are also incredibly fascinating deserts like the Tatatcoa desert. The desert that originates through the draining of a lake is a perfect place to watch the stars. Book a tour and enjoy a few days around the area.

 

15.Mompox/Mompos

DSC_0643church_mompos

Santa Cruz de Mompox short Mompox is probably one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Colombia. The UNESCO World Heritage is located on the Rio Magdalena and impresses through its stunning colonials buildings. This place is another place that is found rather a little off the beaten path. Not many tourists visit this beautiful treasure in Colombia. Still you shouldn’t miss this magic place. More here

Where to stay in Mompox?

Bioma Boutique Hotel

Check the latest prices on agoda.com | booking.com

Portal de la Marquesa

Check the latest prices on agoda.com | booking.com

 

16.Villa de Leyva

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kolumbien-kaskaden-periquera-kochen-aus-liebe09

Another beautiful colonial city is Villa de Leyva in the department Boyacá. This little town is not far from Bogota and impresses through largest cobblestone square in South America. If you like colonial buildings and architecture you should not miss out on Villa de Leyva. Even the surroundings of Villa de Leyva are breathtaking.

 

 

17.Leticia/Amazonas

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If you are coming to Colombia an absolute must is a visit in the Amazon. From Bogota you can catch flights frequently to Leticia from where you can start your trip into the jungle. Here where Colombia borders with Peru and Brazil you can not only the flora and fauna are incredible but here you can also make a quick trip to Peru and Brazil.

 

18.Minca

minca_kirche-e1419919620690aussicht_casaloma-e1419919392737

Minca is a little mountain village about 45 minutes from the coastal city Santa Marta. The village is just a few kilometers from the Caribbean Sea away but still it is located already in Colombian coffee zone. Here you can enjoy a tour to a coffee farm or simply relax yourself. Particularly beautiful is the view over Santa Marta in the evening.

Things to Do in Minca

  • Visit a coffee farm, take a shower under a waterfall
  • Go bird watching
  • Enjoy the view over Santa Marta
  • Eat a lot
  • Go hiking

Tips: Bring a pocket lamp + water proofed and warm clothes for the nights

Where to stay in Minca?

The best Hostels in Mica are:

Casa loma

Check the current prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com | Agoda.com

Marymonte

Check the current prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com | Agoda.com

 

 

 

16 Most Beautiful Beaches in Colombia

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The most beautiful beaches and seaside locations in Colombia

Colombia is famous for a lot of this things for example for coffee fields, the friendly people, the big cities Bogota and Medellin, for wonderful colonial cities like Cartagena and Mompox, for the floral and faunal biodiversity, for Vallenato, exotic fruits, Aguardiente and also for its stunning beaches. No matter if you are a tourist, backpacker or expat most likely you are going to visit one of Colombia’s beaches at some point. Most people will at least visit the seaside town Cartagena or the well-known Tayrona Park, only few travellers visit the southern part of the Caribbean coast and only very few adventurers get to know the pacific coast. This depends probably more on the infrastructure than one being more attractive or more beautiful than the other. Because no matter which part of the coast you are going to visit, you will certainly find a beautiful beach everywhere.  If you travel with family, you are a backpacker or adventurer, here in Colombia everyone will find the beach that is perfect for him/her.

Here now a list of the most beautiful beaches and seaside locations

1.Palomino

Quite often I have mentioned this beautiful place on my blog in the past. But what can I say; it is simply the perfect place to chill. The little village in La Guajira has a gorgeous long sandy beach that is covered with palm trees. There is a very relaxed beach bar where you can get great pizza and enjoy a nice sip of rum in the evening hours. For swimming there are certainly more suitable beaches but therefore this beach offers some waves and is suitable for surfing. Enjoy your time here in one of the laid back hostels close or even directly on the beach. Among the Colombians this place is not that well know but it became a famous destination for backpackers in the last few years. Due to the large size it never gets crowded and you will always find always an undisturbed quiet place. Here you can read more about Palomino

Strand Palomino

2.Tayrona Park (La Piscina, Arrescifes, Cabo San Juan de Guia, Playa Cristal, Playa Chengue)

Who doesn`t know this amazing, fantastic national park. Without a doubt you can find here some of the most beautiful beaches in Colombia. Cabo San Juan de Guia, Arrecifes, La Piscina or Chengue beach, here is one sandbox more beautiful than the other. I even dare to say that these beaches belong to the most beautiful ones in Latin America. The only disadvantage is that they are not always easy and quickly to reach.

la_picina

3.San Andres

San Andres is basically closer to Nicaragua than to Colombia but it still counts as a Colombian island. The island is equally popular with Colombians and foreigners. Some of the most beautiful beaches on San Andres are  Rocky Cay, El Acuario, Johny Cay, Cocoplum Bay, Sound Bay oder Spratt Bight. More about San Andres

San_Andressanandres2

4.Buritaca

Buritaca lies between the Tayrona Park and Palomino and it is definitely and equally laid back place and very similar to the village in La Guajira. Another similarity is that here as well as in Palomino a River coming from the Sierra Nevada flows into the Caribbean Sea.

Buritaca_Strand

buritaca

5.Cabo de La Vela

Not the typical beach location, instead of lots of green and palm trees this place is surrounded by desert butt still this place is incredibly beautiful and perfect for relaxing and/or kite surfing. The sea is mostly quite calm and perfect for swimming. Another thing is that accommodation is incredibly cheap and so is the food. Here you will probably eat the cheapest lobster in your life. Apart from that watching the stars here is simply stunning as there is basically no light pollution. If you are looking for a peaceful place here will be the right place for you. Especially outside of the Colombian holiday season you will most likely be one of only a few people that stay here. More about Cabo de la Vela

Cabo de La Vela, La Guajira

Sonenuntergang Cabo de La Vela

6.Playa Blanca, Santa Marta

Not far from Santa Marta is this beach located. Many Colombian families come here to enjoy their weekends and public holidays. Don’t be surprised if it gets a little noisy and crowdie here. The advantage is that it is very close to the city of Santa Marta and you don’t have to fight yourself through the jungle in order to get there. If you prefer it a little bit quieter I suggest you come here during the week.

playa-blanca-5

via www.expedicionteyuna.co

playa-blanca-2

via www.expedicionteyuna.co

7.Rodadero

Many holiday apartments can be found here which are often occupied by Colombians themselves during holiday season. The beach is long and perfectly suitable for swimming. A things that I personally don’t like are the many beach vendors that sometimes decrease the relaxed beach atmosphere. It is also very easy to reach from Santa Marta and the airport. If you don’t care about the view of plenty of huge apartment buildings in the background you will certainly have a great time here. Rodadero seems a little like the smaller brother of Bocagrande in Cartagena.

rodadero




8.Bocagrande

The city beach of Cartagena is very large and easy to access. As it consist of several small bays it is suitable for swimming. But apart from swimming you can also practice several different water sports that are offered everywhere along the beach. Here the beach vendors are even more obtrusive than in Rodadero which is not always very pleasant. I would also like to advise you to take good care of your belongings and put all valuable items in a safe place or even better leave them at home. It is probably not the biggest highlight in Colombia but together with all the other things that Cartagena has to offer a great addition. Also it is far easier and quicker to get there than to Playa Blanca. So how about a nice swimm before you head to the old city for a stroll through Cartagenas beautiful alleys. Get some Aguila or Club Colombia and enjoy the beach life in Cartagena.

Bocagrande

Bocagrande

9.Capurgana, Sapzurro

Both in Capurgana and Sapzurro the beaches are not very large but therefore they a particularly beautiful and relaxed. Just order a Coco Loca at one of the small beach huts and enjoy the Caribbean side of Choco. And if you get tired of these places (for sure you won’t) you can also visit La Miel in Panama a beautiful beach just a few minutes by walk from Sapzurro. Highly recommended for people that are looking for a paradise like place but that are also not disaffected by a little adventure. More about Capurgana

Strand Capurgana

Strand Capurgana Choco

10.Trigana

Definitely an insider tip is this place that is also located on the Caribbean side of Choco not far from Capurgana. Only very few tourists come here during their visit in Colombia. But this is probably more because of the rather inconvenient way to get there than anything else. But if you are not scared off by the journey you will be rewarded with an amazing place. Small but beautiful beach surrounded by Jungle.

trigana_sonnenuntergang

Via http://www.panoramio.com

trigana

http://www.panoramio.com

11.Taganga

For me personally not one of my favorites but it attracts every year many backpacker that are especially fond of this former fishing village. The reason is probably that here you can find cheap accommodation and plenty of parties. But not only cheap hostels are available you can find Hotels in every price range. This place is easy to reach from Santa Marta. Just a short Cab or bus ride and you will be hanging out in Taganga.

Fischerdorf Taganga, Magdalena 601692_10200440953207517_558579950_n

12.Playa Blanca, Isla Baru

I recommend you to stay at the Playa Blanca on the Isla Baru overnight to avoid the masses of day tourist that arrive there every day in the afternoon. Like this you will get to know the quiet side of the beach. Only accessible by boat from Cartagena.

Playa Blanca (Isla Baru)

Playa Blanca, Isla Baru

13.Isla Mucura

Located about two hours from Cartagena is the little island Isla Mucura, a small island that is one of the of 10 Islands consisting San Bernando archipelago. Surrounded is this island by crystal clear water in which you can come across sea turtles, Manta rays and dolphins. On the island there are only two hotels the hotel Punta Faro and the Mucura Club Hotel. Due to the islands size there no more space for further hotels.

14.Playas de Providencia

The little island Providencia is located right next to its bigger partner island San Andres and offers typical Caribbean beaches with turquoise water and white sand. The difference to San Andres is that here everything is a little bit more untouched. If you don’t speak Spanish no problem at all most people here speak also creole English.

15.Cispatá Bay 

Between Coveñas and Santiago de Tolu you will find plenty of nice Cabanas at the beach. Most of them can be found in the Cispatá Bay. Here you can find beautiful places for rent in different price ranges.

16.Playa Guachalito, Nuqui

This dream beach is a little different to most of the others. About half an hour from Nuqui by boat you can find the playa Guachalito. The sand here is not white but rather blackish but still this place is amazing. It is a huge beach rather untouched and surrounded by jungle. You can find some nice accommodation and if you get tired of the beach you can hike to the Csacada del Amor or the some beautiful hit springs. If you are here between July and October you might get lucky and see humpback whales right from the beach. Not the usual dream beach as the sun rarely shine but therefore it rains a lot as you will be in one of the most rainy areas on the planet. This is definitely one of my favorites in Colombia and highly recommended. More about Nuqui

Playa Guachalito

Nuqui, Guachalito

Salento and Valle de Cocora – The Most Surreal Place in Colombia

Salento and the Cocora Valley in Quindío

Salento is located in the heart of the Colombian coffee zone in the northeast of the region Quindío. From Medellin it is very easy to get to Salento by bus. A one way bus ride costs about 37.000 COP and takes between 6 and 8 hours. Busses go daily from the Terminal del Sur between 4:30 AM and 11:30 PM. There are two bus companies that go to Armenia the Flota Occidental and Flora Arauca. Most people go first to Armenia and then take the bus to Salento which will take around 45 minutes.

Valle de Cocora

How to get there?

The busses of the Flota de Occidental leave leave hourly from Medellin. The busses are very comfortable and equipped with TV and WIFI. As I mentioned before most people go to Armenia and then continue to Salento but there is also the possibility to get of the bus one stop before Armenia and get a bus from there to Salento. When I did the trip we unfortunately over slept the stop so we also had to go from Armenia. The bus from Armenia will cost 3,600 COP per person.

Most people proceed instantly to Salento as Armenia does not have a lot to offer for tourist and travellers.

Mushroom in Valle cocora

Salento

Salento is a typical beautiful colourful pueblo like many others in Colombia. Life usually happens at the main square with its typical arrangement. You find a church and around the square plenty of bars and restaurants. The atmosphere is very relaxed and I always get into the mood to have a beer. Only on weekends it can get very noisy when the Vallenato is bumping through the massive speakers of the bars.

But instead of drinking beer and relax we first had to find a place to sleep.

Eventually we found a very nice place very close to the city centre that is called Hostal Estrella de Agua. We booked a lovely two bed room with a shared bathroom. The price for the hostel was 20.000 COP per night. The hostel also offers dormitories, rooms with a private bathroom and Camping space.

Willys Salento

Valle de Cocora

From Salento jeeps (Willys) leave to the valley everyday at 6.10, 7.30, 9.30 and 11.30 in the morning and it takes around 20-30 minutes to get there. I recommend going early in the morning as in this area it gets quite often quite cloudy in the afternoon and you also avoid masses of tourists. The jeeps leave at the main square and cost 3,400 COP per person. Also get to the collection point a little earlier in order to get a comfortable place on the jeep. Coming back from the valley you can take a jeep every hour from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

When you arrive at the Valle you will have different options you can either just head straight for the wax palm trees. In order to get there just walk straight along the marked path until you see a vast amount of incredibly high and surreal looking palm trees alternatively you can rent a horse and ride the Cocora loop or you can simply walk the long loop of the Valle de Cocora by foot. But if you decide to hike the loop be aware that it will take around 4 – 5 Hours. Furthermore you will have to decide if you go the circle starting from right or left. When you start left you will reach the valley first thing and later have the option to visit the Casa de los Colibris and then head back a long the river. Starting from the right obviously things will be the other way round. I still believe it is better to start from the left as in the afternoon the valley often gets cloudy and rainy. Also the steepest part of the hike you will hike down and not up.

Visiting the „Casa de los Colibris“ where you can watch different kinds of Colibris will cost you 5.000 Cop there you will be provided with hot choclate, agua panela and white cheese and it is a very nice place for a break. If you are lucky you can even spot mountain tapirs, spectacled bears, sloths, or mountain lions. But do not expect to see them as this will rather be an exception

The valley (Valle de Cocora) itself is just a marvellous, stunning and surreal place. Something comparable I had never seen before. The huge palm trees that can get 70 metres tall are simply breathtaking as is the nature and that makes this place a perfect place for a hike. The Valle de Cocora is certainly one of the Must-See destinations in Colombia.

Wak Palm Tree cocora Valley

Wax palm tree versus human

What else to do?

Apart from hiking and strolling the beautiful streets of Salento there are obviously more things to do. Here are some suggestions

Play Tejo with the Locals

Tejo is a traditional sport where you have to throw a metal puck. The aim of the game is to cause an explosion on a clay hill 15 meters away. The locals certainly will be eager to explain to you how the game works over a few Cervecitas.

Visit a Coffee Farm

As Salento lies in Colombia’s coffee zone visiting a coffee plantation is something that offers itself. In the surround there several coffee plantations and visiting a coffee finca or hacienda is definitely worth it. Here you can see how coffee is grown, harvested and processed. Some of the coffee farms even offer accomodation. A Tour of 30 minutes will cost around 6.000 COP. Depending on the farm there are also different and longer tours being offered. You like coffee and its history then stop by at Don Elias or the Plantation House it presents itseIn der Umgebung finden sich etliche Kaffeplantagen und ein Besuch bei einer der Kaffeefincas oder Haciendas lohnt sich auf jeden Fall. Hier könnt Ihr sehen wie der Kaffee angebaut und verarbeitet wird. Einige der Kafeefarmen bitten auch gleichzeitig eine Unterkunftsmöglichkeit an. Eine 30 minütige Tour kann man ab 6000 COP machen. Es werden auch längere und ausführlichere touren je nach Farm angeboten. Schaut doch einfach mal bei Don Elias oder beim Plantation House vorbei.

Eat Trout

In the entire Eje Cafetero you will find plenty of trucheras (Trout farms). This also applies for Salento as well and you will certainly find some trucheras in the nearby area. Also trout is on the menu of almost every restaurant. In the Trucheras you can catch a trout yourself, buy one or order one in the restaurant of the farm. If you don’t want to go as far to eat fish just order a backed trout with cheese in one of the restaurants around.

Accommodation

When you travel to Salento I recommend you to stay at least one night or even two. The first day you can visit the Valle de Cocora and the second the village of Salento and one of the coffee farms.

Here are some recommendations on where to stay. I listed places for different budgets.

Budget traveller

Hostal Estrella de Agua

Carrera 5 # 6-24, 631020 Salento, Colombia

hostel_etrella_de_aguaI accidentally ended up in the Hostal Estrella de Agua during my first visit in Salento. And as it turned out this place is very cosy and beautiful. Apart from that the staff is very friendly and the rooms in the Hostel are cheap. Furthermore it is very close to the main square, Apart from privates rooms with shared or private rooms, there are also dormitories and camping space available. For more information click here

Low/Middle price range

Posada Casa Salento

Calle 7 # 4-43, 631020 Salento, Colombia

posada_casa_salentoThis very cosy Posada is also located close to the centre not far from the main plaza where the jeeps leave. The value for money is unbeatable. For more information or booking click here

 

 

Upper Prize range

Hotel Salento Real Eje Cafetero

Calle 3 No 4-31 , 631020 Salento, Colombia

Salento_real_eje_cafeteroIn case you are not travelling on a budget then this might be the place for you. From the hotel you get easily to the centre by foot. The value for money is very good and so is the service. For more information click here.

10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Barranquilla Anyway

10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Barranquilla Anyway

Barranquilla doesn’t have the best reputation amongst travellers. The Lonely Planet describes the Colombian city of Barranquilla as a frantic and noisy city where there is nothing really to see. And even among the Colombians the industrial city is not very popular and by far not as popular as the capital of Colombia or the capital of Antioquia, Medellin. Here I would like to give you a few reasons why it is still worth to pay a visit to the capital of the Caribbean.

IMG_4620

 

  1. Museo del Caribe

The Museo del Caribe (Caribbean museum) in Barranquilla is absolutely unique. At this museum indeed everything is about the Caribbean. The exhibition starts with a very interesting multimedia presentation about Marquez. Afterwards one descends in the distinctive geographic zones of the Caribbean and get to know a lot about the Flora and Fauna in this incredible part of the world. The most interesting are certainly the short videos about the indigenous people living in this area. Before you get a sense of what making music and dancing means in the Caribbean a few Locals give their statements in front of the camera Conclusion: Definitely worth a visit.

Museo

 

  1. Watch an Arroyo

The Arroyos (water flows usually after heavy rain) are extremely dangerous and frequently cost the inhabitants their all their belongings or even their lives. Still the Arroyos are something unique. It is very impressive when the streets turn into rivers and the taxis and busses move through half a meter deeps waters. Unfortunately it often doesn’t stay at half a meter. If you look on  YouTube for „Arroyos Barranquilla“ , you will find Videos in which masses of water drag away caps and fully occupied busses that remain in the middle of the floodwaters. The entire thing is certainly no fun and because of that the government of the city decided to do something about it. The streets where the strongest currents arise are going to be tunnelled so that the water can drain off into the Rio Magdalena without being a hazard.

Arroyo

 

  1. Visit a Jazz concert in La Cueva

La Cueva ist probably the most cultural place in Barranquilla. The restaurant where Gabriel Garcia Marquez met with other writers and artists still shines out in Barranquilla. Almost every Wednesday you can listen to Jazz concerts. The „Fundación La Cueva“also organizes book launches, readings and other events. A great place, where not only good food is available.

  1. Visit an arthouse cinema

Although you always have to look for cultural activities pro actively, they still do exist. For the second time the FICBAQ“took place in March. Initiated by the Fundación Cámara Oscura the international movie festival is supposed to bring movie from all over the world closer to the Baranquilleros which do not end up in the big movie cinemas in Colombia. In March one week production from South America and all over the world were shown. Additionally there were events where pupils and students could be filmmakers and directors themselves.



  1. Go to the theatre

Shakespeare meets Caribbean. Barranquilla not only has a yearly movie festival but also theatre that is very important for some weeks of the year. The theatres are full and parks and streets become stages. In April this year groups from all over South America were gathering in the capital of the Caribbean. Among them for instance the group „Auch!“ from Chile, which impressed open air with their percussion show. The highlight of the festival was certainly the performance of „Ricardo III.“ Modern, entertaining and still not too far from the Shakespeare original performed the group „El Paso“ from Pereira in Teatro José Consuegra Higgins.

  1. Dance Salsa in „La Troja“

„La Troja“ is the most iconic bar in Barranquilla. Every weekend and even during the week Salsa fans from the entire city gather here for a good fiesta. Young meets old and poor meets rich but this doesn’t matter in this place. Over an Aguila (beer) dancing along fast Salsa rhythms all people are equal. Most of the time the space in the bar is not enough so people start dancing on the sidewalk or the streets. Anyway „La Troja“  is more of an open air event then a party in between closed walls.

Pueblos

  1. Go shopping

Like most of the larger cities in Colombia Barranquilla has some North American lookalike malls too. Here the upper class Costeño buys everything he needs for living, meets his friend for a coffee at Juan Valdez, goes to the cinema or to the hairdresser, unfortunately you quickly get the impression that the air conditioned Malls replace the beautiful pedestrians streets like in my home country Germany. Only one pedestrian street exists in Barranquilla in the city centre and only for a short time. The street is also kept very shortly.

Historische Zentrum

 

  1. Take a stroll through the historical city centre

Whoever visits Barranquilla should not miss out on the historical centre. But If you expect to see colonial houses and small alleys you will be disappointed. Here you find streets full of retailers, street vendor selling goods from their booth and food stalls. If you look a little whiter than the rest you will most likely called „Gringo“ – and at least one time people will bag for money. But still an outing to centre is totally worth as nowhere else in Barranquilla it will be as authentic. But maybe it is not too bad of an idea to only visit this part of the city during the day.

IMG_4688

 

  1. Bocas de Ceniza

In case you visit Barranquilla you should definitely go to Bocas de Ceniza. Most cab drivers know the place in the neighbourhood Las Flores where the train leaves and drives the 12 KM long way along the finger. Here only some few meters high rocks, trash and sand divide the Rio Magdalena from the Caribbean Sea. Apart from that a small community consisting of 105 people lives on 8 Meter mainland. German speakers can read more about it on Friendly Giant.

IMG_4680

 

  1. Carnaval

Even the lonely planet admits that Barranquilla is worth a visit during carnival. The carnival of the capital of the Caribbean is after the one in Rio de Janeiro the second biggest in the world and has a lot to offer. Already two weeks before the parades the city wakes up from their hebetudes daily routines and starts to celebrate. People dance on the streets and official open Air events are organised. And of course everybody’s welcome. If you want to see Braranquilla from its best side you should definitely join for next years celebrations and admire the beautiful parades. And additionally you will certainly drink a lot of Aguardiente (firewater) a typical Colombian Schnapps.

 

Resume

Barranquilla is certainly not perfect. And even the locals know and accept that they won’t get to see too many tourists. Backpacker and Traveller wont do anything wrong if they take the bus from Cartagena directly to Santa Marta and leave Barranquilla aside. But in case you have a little more time on your journey through Colombia or people that maybe would like to work or study in Colombia are certainly in a good place. Plenty of universities and international companies settled in this metropolis. If you live here you will certainly enjoy your stay for a simple reason: The people. The Costeños have certainly their peculiarities but they are still very open and if you dare to go to an event or into a bar you will most likely leave with 1 or 2 more friends. If you want to get a foot into Colombia or just meet some interesting locals you are certainly right here.

 

Original Post in German by Tobias of the Friendly Giant.

15 Pictures That Will Make You Want to Travel

Below are 15 pictures that will definitely infect you with the travel bug. These great shots of some spectacular sights will make you want to buy a flight ticket immediately and start a new travel adventure.

15. Venice, Italy

Venice is not only a favorite destination for couples in love or fans of the carnival but the Italian city is also very popular amongst photographers as it has some great motives. This evening shot of Venice ended up being the cover of the novel “Venice” by Jan Morris.

14. Train ride, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is not only well known for export of tea, cinnamon and rubber but also for it`s great nature. The landscapes are just perfect to take great pictures.

13. El Chaltén, Argentina

El Chaltén is a small village within the famous Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina. Plenty of tourists visit the National Park in Patagonia because of the great landscapes and several possibilities of trekking and hiking.

12. Rome, Italy

Photo by Gabriele Forzano, Reuters

Everyone knows the Colosseum of Rome in Italy but this is a very special shot, at night and whilst snowing it puts the Colosseum in a completely different light and creates a specific atmosphere.

11. Bagan, Myanmar

Between the 9th and 13th century was Bangan (former Pangan) the capital of the kingdom of Pangan. During the 11th and 13th century a lot of Buddhist temples were create. These beautiful temples are perfect for a great shot.

10. Mount Cook, New Zealand

Mount Cook or Aoraki is the highest mountain in New Zealand. The mountain is a favorite spot for climbers and impresses with stunning landscapes.

9. Luang Prabang, Laos

Luan Prabang has some great natural sight as well as historic sights. The above picture shows one of the natural sights, the Kuang Si waterfalls. But also the Buddhist temples in Luan Prabang are worth a photo.

8. Trincomalee, Sri Lanca

In Trincomalee you can find some beautiful temples but also some incredibly beautiful beaches. The picture above does not show ordinary fishermen but the unique stilt fishermen of Sri Lanka.

7. La Piedra Del Peñol , Colombia

La Piedra in Colombia is a huge monolith not far away from Medellin. A sign at the foot of the rock brags with “the best view in the world” and even though it may not be the best view in the world it is still incredibly beautiful.

6. Cherry blossoms, Japan

Photograph by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel, National Geographic

There are plenty of picture of the cherry blossoms in Japan but not many were taken by night.

5. Kimberley, Australia

www.toptraveltips.info

www.toptraveltips.info

Camels are walking along the beach during sunset in Kimberley, Australia in the north of Western Australia.

4. Acadia National Park, USA

The beautiful Acadia National Park is located in the U.S state of Maine. The Parks wildlife is incredibly versatile. The Acadia National Park is not a very big park but nevertheless a very beautiful one.

3.Rocky Mountains, USA

Dream Lake, Colorado via: www.lonelyplanet.com

Dream Lake, Colorado via: www.lonelyplanet.com

The Rockies are a huge mountain range in North America. Each year they draw millions of tourists and that is no surprise with such spectacular views.

2. Plovdiv, Bulgaria

via: lonelyplanet.com

via: lonelyplanet.com

This is a shot of Plovdiv by night, the second biggest city in Bulgaria after the capital Sofia.

1. Pomeranian, Poland

Pomerania is divided between Germany and Poland. The picture above was taken in the Polish part.

 

Looking for freedom

1st step: Quit job, done

So eventually the time has come and I quit my job. The reason behind this is, that after working 6 years in an office I want to experience life as it should be, and for me this means travelling with no limits. It was always nice to travel to new places on holidays but with a limited amount of leave days this will never be the same as going on a journey without any limitation. I hate the feeling that I have on my last day of vacations when I know I will have to go back to work the next day. Another reason is that I don’t want to be that kind of person who has any regrets in old age. You know what they say, “You’ll seldom experience regret for anything that you’ve done. It is what you haven’t done that will torment you.” I don’t want to be a person who says: „Why didn’t I?“ „I should have done that when I had the chance“, „this would have been awesome“. No, I’m definitely not that person at least not anymore. Living abroad in different countries the last 6 years changed my mindset completely.

When you get the feeling you need to change something in your life you should do it. There is a very high chance that you wont regret it. I have the feeling that now the time has come to take the next step. I had a great time living in Colombia and in Malta but work didn’t fulfill me fully anymore and I just need to get out of the office, see new places and experience total freedom. I am already looking forward to my last day at work in February where I will finally feel free. A lot of people ask me if I am not concerned about finding another job or what will happen after the journey. The answer is NO! I don’t even waste a single thought on what’s going to happen afterwards because this would only be a burden on my journey. A lot of people stay in their comfortable environment just because they think too much about their future and they are too concerned about jobs and money so they remain in their comfortable homes working everyday 8 hours just to look forward to their days off, some booze and party nights on the weekend. This is not the life I choose. I want to be an adventurer, see new places and open my mind to different cultures. Even if I have to go back working in an office again, this is going to be an experience that nobody will be able to take from me, not even the cruelty of a 9 to 5 job.

So that trip is going to start in April and last as long as the money does. Finally I will be able to find enough time to follow up on this blog and share some new experiences. The only thought that makes me a little sad is that I am leaving Colombia, a country so incredibly beautiful where I spent some great years and made a lot of nice memories. But I will take all the memories with me and I promised myself that I will be back.

Lagos my 2nd home

Lagos on the cost of the Algarve in Portugal is still one of my favorite cities in Europe. The first time I went there was with my mother and sister at the age of 8 and I didn’t like it at all. I was used to the long sandy beaches of Corsica in France and I didn’t want to get used to walking to the beach. But after going there on a regular basis (almost every year) I developed a lot of love for this city.

City Wall

City Wall

It’s the combination of beautiful beaches; great food, Nightlife and beautiful small alleys that made it become one of my favorite cities. Now when I go there it feels like a second home to me. Even though the city changed a lot over the years and they started building huge buildings and hotel complexes I still look through them and see the old Lagos, as I know it. Its because I know every corner in this small city that makes it so relaxed. When I go there I do not intend to discover new places or new bars and restaurants. I simply go there to relax completely and just enjoy the things that I always liked and that gave me a lot of satisfaction.

Food/Restaurants

For example the tourists tend to eat in the restaurants in the city center where the majority is just focused on making some fast money due is the quality of food. My favorite dining spots apart from Rais, are a little bit more uphill.

One of my favorite places to eat is the Churrasqueira Mãna. The place does not offer a lot of dishes and they don’t need to. The locals come here mainly for the chicken „Frango com piripiri“ which is in my opinion the best chicken on this planet. Frango com Piripiri is a flat hammered chicken grilled on charcol with some chili(piripiri). When I’m in Lagos I eat there almost every second day. Even though it got a little pricier over the years you still get some great value from Sr. João and his wife and kids.

frango com piri piri

frango com piri piri

Ok now some might think why eat chicken when you are at the sea? Once you tried the chicken you will know.

But obviously Lagos also has some great seafood restaurants as well. For sole and only fort the grilled sole I go to „Rais“ one of the few good restaurants in the city center.
But my favorite restaurant for seafood is the restaurant “Prato Cheio” in Rua Francisco Sa Carneio 23 A. They make the best seafood stew (cataplana) and fish skewers in the city. It is very reasonable prized and has a great atmosphere. I just love this place!

Rais

Rais

At the harbor close to maia praia beach you will find the “Restaurante a Barrigada” a small place that looks like a garage. I believe it was on Wednesday that you could get all you can eat sardines for 10 Euros. The only matter is the sardines are not gilled so it can get a little messy.

If you like fast food go for the Portuguese alternative to McDonalds “Burger Ranch”. All Burgers taste the same but they still taste great especially after a few drinks.

Snacks

When you are in Portugal don’t miss out on trying “pasteis de nata” the Portuguese custard tarts which I unfortunately cannot eat anymore because I stuffed myself full of them for years. Also very good for a snack are the Portuguese empanadas.

pasteis de nata

pasteis de nata

 

Market

If you enjoy cooking yourself and you are a friend of fresh seafood you should go to the market “Mercado Municipal” on Lagos promenade. Fish lovers will be in paradise. Here you have a wide selection of fresh fish and seafood. The market is open from 7am-2pm but I recommend you to come early for the best selection.

Merca Municipal

Merca Municipal

Beaches

In Lagos and on the Algarve in general there are several nice beaches for every liking. Either you go for one of the smaller beaches directly in the city like Praia da Dona Ana, Praia da Batata o Praia do Camilo which are usually pretty busy since most of the locals hang out here and the foreigners who didn’t manage to get any further after a long night out. You can go for Praia Do Pinhão a very little beautiful beach further up. Or you can head to Maia Praia which is an incredibly long sandy beach that can get a little windy once in a while. To go there just cross the bridge and walk or more conveniently take the little boat in front of the bridge which will get you for 50 Cents right to the beach.

Praia don Camilo

Praia don Camilo

Praia Batata

Praia Batata

Nightlife

The Lagos Nightlife is huge there are so many bars and nightclubs that I’m not going into detail. Just to name a few regulars I go to usually. These are Kuinns, Zanzibar, Joes Garage, Phoenix club, Bom Vivant, Then Grand Cafe or Whytes. I could go on for a while like this since Lagos is quite a famous party spot. Already in the afternoon people are handing out flyers for happy hours. The drinks are cheap and the parties crazy. Especially the Australians and English tend to start drinking early. But also just hanging out at the streets at night can be a great party. During the summer months you can also find great beach parties at Maia Praia or my favorite at the praia de batata with some great electronic Music.