South America Trips

See below for all blog posts about trips taken in South America

La Boquilla: ecotours of life at the edge

One of our days in Cartagena was spent in La Boquilla, a fisherman’s town, though really now a marginal neighborhood in the outskirts of Cartagena. Before heading to Colombia Laura did some research and found an eco-tour of La Boquilla’s mangroves offered by a local...

Cartagena Colombia Travels: Romantic Get Away

So now that we’ve taken you to the capital of Colombia, along the Rio Magdalena, into the mountains, and through coffee country… let’s go to the coast! Cartagena is Colombia’s most popular tourist destination for good reason. This coastal city on the Caribbean boasts...

Cartagena: New Memories in the Old City

To happiness the same applies as to truth: one does not have it, but is in it. Indeed, happiness is nothing other than being encompassed, an after-image of the original shelter within the mother. But for this reason no-one who is happy can know that he is so. To see...

Colombia Coffee Region: Adventure Worth Taking

When I hear the word "Colombia" my mouth instinctively waters. After a childhood filled with Juan Valdez commercials, it is no wonder I immediately made a coffee joke to Juan Pablo when we first discussed the country of his forefathers. (Don't worry, I'm not the only...

Quindío: Heart of Colombian Coffee Country

All the coffee we bought in Quindío has long run out—which is another reason to return to Colombia soon.  Yet months after our visit we greeted many mornings by taking a deep whiff of that glorious ground substance. Like a chain reaction that earthy, piquant scent set...

Anaime: Adventures in Crossing the Line

To get from Ibagué to coffee country in Quindio you have to cross what is known as “la linea,” or “the line”: a narrow, two way, winding road that leads up one side of the Central Andean Range from the Valle de Magdalena and down into the Valle del Cauca. With no...

Staying on a farm in Anaime, Colombia

What does the word "farm" evoke for you? For me, like any good midwesterner, it brings up memories of cornfields, apple orchards, tractors, haybails, cows, pigs, chickens. So when Juan Pablo told me we were taking a trip out to a farm owned by his uncle Oscar's...

Rio Magdalena: Colombian Cities Lost in Time

The morning after our Ibagué adventures, Juan Pablo’s uncle Oscar picked us up for an excursion out into the countryside. Uncle Oscar is a gregarious man with a booming voice and a joke in each hand. We were joined by his wife, Catalina, a bundle of positive energy...

Crossing the River of Time in Ambalema, Tolima

“José Arcadio Buendia, who was the most entrepreneurial man ever to be seen in the village, had disposed the placement of the houses in such a way that from all of them the river could be reached and water collected with equal effort, and he traced the streets with...

City of Eternal Spring: Visiting Ibagué, Colombia

Over time I have lost any inclination to feel definitely rooted, to be able to say “I come from such and such a place.” This isn’t just the factor of some postmodern nomadic state, as if I had come unmoored of any sense of direction, of where I come from or where I am...

Off the beaten path: Ibagué, Colombia

I love visiting people when I travel. Firstly, I am a thoroughly social creature: I am never happier than I am when eating good food with good people. Secondly, it is natural that people are proud of their city of residence, and that they can show you the best of...

Travel Fail: Bogotá Haircut Edition

No hablo Español. I want to, but I don't (yet). As much as I had hoped that the small amount of self studying and careful listening to Juan Pablo and his friends and family would allow me to suddenly speak perfect Spanish when we visited Colombia... no such miracle...

Bogotá Day-Tripping: Guatavita

After a week in Bogotá, Laura and I were ready to escape the noisy, crowded, polluted metropolis and get a whiff of fresh mountain air. Our host, my cousin Julio Alejandro and his wife Jimena, suggested that we take a day trip out to Lagoon of the Cacique of...

Guatavita: A quick escape from Bogotá

Laguna Guatavita—a place as beautiful as its name—is a turquoise mountaintop lake in the Colombian Andes about an hour and a half drive from the capital city, Bogotá. Now a protected site, the lake has a history both rich and sad, which is conveyed to travelers by...

5 Tips for Getting Around Bogotá

  First thing to keep in mind is the physical layout of the city. Bogotá sits at high altitude on a large plain in the Eastern Cordillera of the Colombian Andes. The city was founded by the Spanish in 1538 at the foot of the mountains that form a natural barrier...

A week in Bogotá I

Known in the past as the Athens of South America, this city high up in a large plain (the Altiplano Cundiboyacense) of the Andes was home in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to a small cadre of bookish elites. Antonio José Caro, who served as...