Colombia’s Caribbean Coast – Beaches on a Budget

12 03 2012

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 30

Colombia’s Caribbean Coast (on a budget)

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Normally when you mention sun, beaches and ruby sunsets an explosion of “oohs” resonates around the room. Yet when you disclose the high price tag, the “ooohs” turn to low murmured “arghs”.

But it needn’t be so. Colombia’s Caribbean coast indulges those on a shoestring budget with hammock swinging cheapness, jungle-draped bays and the occasional flamingo.

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Guatape – Painting the Town Red (and Blue and Green)

8 12 2011

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 29
COLOMBIA

Guatape, near Medellin, central Colombia

Guatape’s animated streets are adorable: a labyrinth of dynamic scenes that adorn house facades and flow into the town’s plaza. Café-goers spill out onto the table-strewn roadsides clutching their café tintos y pan (black coffee and bread) while a few blocks away lies an islet-woven lake, Guatape’s main draw with national tourists.

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But the mystery of Guatape is this: despite its undeniable charm and phenomenal views, only a handful of foreign visitors wind up here. Which makes it a perfect getaway destination to spend a few days, but be warned, you may linger longer than expected.

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Cocora Valley: Tall Trees and Fluttering Wings

30 11 2011

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 28
COLOMBIA

Cocora Valley, the coffee zone, central Colombia

Only 11 kilometres from the cappuccino-sipping town of Salento lies another world completely. In Cocora Valley the menu is simple: a dose of tranquility, eye-boggling scenery, a side helping of cowboys and a sprinkling of the world’s tallest palm trees.

Available to devour in one or two days.

Wax plam trees in Cocora Valley, the tallest palms in the world. I’m in the bottom left-hand corner, for scale.

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Salento farmer wakes up and smells the coffee

24 07 2011

It’s one of the world’s most consumed drugs. It has a lethal dosage intake of 50 percent and withdrawal symptoms can include schizophrenia, anxiety attacks and depression.

Not surprisingly, Colombia is one of the top producers.

The name of the drug?

Caffeine. As found in coffee.

Beans from one of Tim Edward's coffee plants

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Grassy hills of Tatacoa Desert

20 07 2011

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 27
COLOMBIA

Tatacoa Desert (El Desierto de la Tatacoa), southwest Colombia

Tucked away between verdant hills lies Colombia’s second largest desert. Tree-lined roads lead to the parched dust bowl of Tatacoa where rust and white sand dunes reach out across the bizarre landscape.

A cactus at twilight in Tatacoa Desert

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A Photo Tour of Quito, Ecuador

16 07 2011

SOUTH AMERICA
ECUADOR

Quito, the capital of Ecuador

Ecuador’s capital city boasts rich colonial architecture, thronging streets and a transport system that outweighs most other South American metropolises.

Churches abound in the Old Town, with their grand doors and spires spiralling above the city. Columns and balconies adorn many buildings while parks and gardens give the city a ‘green’ streak.

Yes, it’s a place that I loved, a city that outranks all other capitals in South America. It’s Quito.

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PHOTOGRAPHS COPYRIGHT OF WWW.SOUTHAMERICAJOURNEYS.WORDPRESS.COM





Latitude Zero – Straddling the Equator in Ecuador

13 07 2011

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 26
ECUADOR

Quito – standing on the equator at Inti-Ñan 

I gasped in amazement at the best news I’d heard since eating my greasy breakfast; I’d magically lost over two pounds in weight by simply shifting my location.

A group of six of us were standing in the southern hemisphere in Quito, Ecuador. Several metres away and we’d be in the northern hemisphere.

“Move onto the yellow line,” Nataly, a guide at Inti-Ñan museum told us. We did so dutifully.
“You’re all 2.2 pounds lighter than a few seconds ago.”
Puzzled faces stared back at her waiting for some logical explanation.
“If you look down you’ll see that now you’re all standing on the equator line. Due to less gravitational pull here you weigh less.”

I beamed triumphantly. Weight reduction in South America is about as common as a subtle Latino man – it simply doesn’t exist. In a continent that consumes fried food on a daily basis, any amount of weight shiftage, whether momentary or not, deserves a grin.

Nataly smiled back, proud to show us that we were actually standing on latitude zero. “Follow me,” she said.

Just north of Quito in Ecuador runs the equator line

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