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Colombia – dias flojas en el Caribe

(slack days on the Carribean)

It took quite some time to overcome the Patagonian blues during an almost-week-long bus strike which held us hostage at Bariloche. It gave us some space to prepare some ideas for things to do on the last 3 months of our gap year. Enters Colombia in the story line.

An early morning ramble on the jungle-clad beaches of the Tayrona National Park, Carribean Colombia.

An early morning ramble on the jungle-clad beaches of the Tayrona National Park, Carribean Colombia.

Impressive boulders ramble the wild Carribean coastline. Tayrona National Park. Colombia.

Impressive boulders ramble the wild Carribean coastline. Tayrona National Park. Colombia.

The mystique country at the northwestern tip of the continent, has had its share of good-news-shows to keep even the most determined tourist out of the country. Narcotic urban legend Pablo, revolutionary jungle terrorists and an enduring armed conflict, predominating the last decade’s headlines, didn’t help much on the image of the country. During the last decade, however, the government has done extreme investement to stabilize the country and improve security (the display of heavy, armed soldiers along the major roads is remarkable), hence widening the gates for tourism.

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2851/8908277644_b681f279d9_b.jpg

Boulder-strewn, overgrown jungle coast of Carribean Colombia. That Indiana Jones kinda feeling was never far away when sweating our way towards the pre-Colombian hidden ruines of el Pueblito. Tayrona National Park. Colombia.

A parade of hard working ants. Tayrona National Park. Carribean Colombia.

A parade of hard working ants. Tayrona National Park. Carribean Colombia.

Despite the bad news, Colombia has always been a secret pearl among backpackin’ gringos in South America. Extremely helpful and friendly locals. A country of superlatives. With any possible ecosystem imaginable, it could keep you occupied for well, quite some time. Colombia is one of those megadiverse countries in biodiversity. Does it have our attention? A yes it is.

Cooling off near the village of Minca. Sierra Nevada National Park. Carribean Colombia.

Cooling off near the village of Minca. Sierra Nevada National Park. Carribean Colombia.

Cloud forrest. Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park. Carribean Colombia.

Cloud forrest. Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park. Carribean Colombia.

After studying the different climate zones and our first 2 week timeframe in Colombia we left for the Carribean. Beach people as we are (ahum), we were suprised by the opportunities for alternatives to beach-chillin’ up here. Once we got a bit used to the year-round humid heat, we were off exploring some of the surprising national parks and hidden villages this northern part of Colombia is rich. So we’ve been overwhelmed by such wonderfull places like the San Bernardo archipelago, the jungle beaches of Tayrona and the world’s highest coastal range of Santa Marta.

Biking through the sleepy, fishing hamlet of La Boquila near Cartagena, Carribean Colombia.

Biking through the sleepy, fishing hamlet of La Boquila near Cartagena, Carribean Colombia.

Need some avocado? Santiago de Tolú. Sucre. Colombia.

Need some avocado? Santiago de Tolú. Sucre. Colombia.

The posh Boca Grande district contrasts with the fortified, medieval walls around the historic centre of Cartagena. A Unesco World Heritage site. Carribean Colombia.

The posh Boca Grande district contrasts with the fortified, medieval walls around the historic centre of Cartagena. A Unesco World Heritage site. Carribean Colombia.

Preparing for some paddling around the mangroves of Tintipán island. Archipiélago de San Bernardo National Park. Carribean Colombia.

Preparing for some paddling around the mangroves of Tintipán island. Archipiélago de San Bernardo National Park. Carribean Colombia.

Creolen kids on the Tintipan island. Archipiélago de San Bernardo. Carribean Colombia.

Creolen kids on the Tintipan island. Archipiélago de San Bernardo. Carribean Colombia.

Fishermen's canoes. Tintipán island. Archipiélago de San Bernardo National Park. Carribean Colombia.

Fishermen’s canoes. Tintipán island. Archipiélago de San Bernardo National Park. Carribean Colombia.

End of May. Goodbye Colombia, see you in July. Enters the Peruvian Cordillera Blanca in our schedule. We’re here for mountaineering and thru-hiking the upcoming 6-7 weeks. Huaraz. Peruvian Andean’s answer to Chamonix. Acclimatisation days before the high altitude weeks coming.

Sun sets over the southern summits of the Cordillera Blanca. Ancash, Peru.

Sun sets over the southern summits of the Cordillera Blanca. Ancash, Peru.

And then we meet Diana, who introduces us to her community development project high up in the Andes at the foot of the mezmerizing Cordillera Blanca. Before we even realize it, our planned schedule changes with the snap of a finger. We’re volunteering. It doesn’t have to be hauling a backpack up the moutains all the time. Exciting weeks coming up. There’s also hiking and mountaineering coming up. You know us…

Happy students leave the Yurac Yacu community center, where we will teach students and teachers some computing skills during the next coming weeks.

Happy students leave the Yurac Yacu community center, where we will teach students and teachers some computing skills during the next coming weeks.

Sunday afternoon gathering in the Yurac Yacu community center, where you can find us enhancing local people skills the upcoming weeks.

Sunday afternoon gathering in the Yurac Yacu community center, where you can find us enhancing local people skills the upcoming weeks.

Andean Alliance is focused on supporting “grass roots” community development planning capabilities and implementing programs that strengthen the educational and economic base of Andean communities while enhancing their social and environmental conditions.

Andean Alliance

For more pictures from our couple of weeks, please click:

Carribean Colombia
Huaraz. Cordillera Blanca. Peru.

With love from the Mud Volcano de Lodo. San Antero. Carribean Colombia.

With love from the Mud Volcano de Lodo. San Antero. Carribean Colombia.

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One response

  1. MANUEL

    Really nice, you arrive to Colombia!

    remember to hike the cocuy circuit and hike in los nevados national park, right now is the dry season in Los Nevados so is the best time.

    just remember to write me if you come to Salento, I will be really happy to talk with fast & light hikers!

    June 5, 2013 at 21:02

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