Step 1 in getting to Panama (the easy part): the last few jungle and beach towns in Colombia

Written by Tyler Cole | 13 April 2010

flower in the darien

Sadly leaving from Barranquilla, my next stop was going to be the last few places on the coast of Colombia before reaching Panama. Isolated towns only accessible by boat due to the impenetrable Darien Jungle and heavy guerilla activity, I was pretty excited to see what they were like. The other options in getting to Panama were several hundred dollar sailboat or plane rides, options that didn't really fit into my budget, and I wanted to see some places these means of transport left out (albeit while being far more comfortable). I left Barranquilla a bit late and decided last minute to skip over Cartagena (promising myself that I would return), and ended up having to pass the night in a muggy, mid-sized town called Monteria. Since the buses to the coastal town of Turbo where the motorboats depart from were leaving (supposedly) at 4 am, I just decided to stay in the bus terminal and read and maybe dose off for a little bit. Sleeping proved difficult with all the mosquitoes, but I found a TV in the terminal, which was surprisingly modern and well guarded. After watching Cris Angel's MindFreak, Gene Simmon's Family Jewels, and assorted TV shows describing American serial killers, I was happily reminded of why I never owned a television...


Couchsurfing in Barranquilla and an unexpected detour into rural Colombia

Written by Tyler Cole | 05 April 2010

beach tolu


After quickly passing through Medellín (and promising myself I´d spend more time there in the future) I started my way up towards the Carribean coast of Colombia. Initially I just wanted to spend a day or so in Barranquilla or Cartagena on the way up to the Guajira Peninsula on the far northeast side of the country, but instead I sent out a few Couchsurfing requests and was invited to stay in Barranquilla. More than a few people responded, but the first was David (aka Jose aka Josh), a university student in Barranquilla. If you were to ask me why I love Colombia so much, I would definitely have to cite David and his family and their incredible hospitality and warmth towards a tired traveler. David (who freely switched between Spanish, French


Wasn`t really expecting to like Bogota that much...

Written by Tyler Cole | 24 March 2010


church candelariaAfter taking off from the Tatacoa desert the next stop was Bogota, the largest city in Colombia and one of the largest in the Western hemisphere. I really hadn`t read much about the city, heard mixed comments about it from Colombians and foreigners, and had no guidebook to reference. It turned out to be so much better than I imagined. Unfortunately for a lady from California I met, she had her passport, about 500 dollars worth of pesos and dollars, credit and ATM cards, and license stolen in a parade from her fanny pack. I spent the best part of two days helping get everything sorted and lending her money, but all in all I´m glad I helped since at the very least I´ll know what to do if it happens to me. Besides that incident, Bogota was great, with amazing people, nightlife, and neighborhoods, and the city comes highly recommended from me, for what it´s worth. I still have a lot to see there.



First stop in Colombia: Checking out Popayan and the weirdest desert I´ve ever seen (Tatacoa)

Written by Tyler Cole | 19 March 2010

cactusMy first stop in Colombia was the so-called "White City" of Popayan in the south of the country for a bit of R&R before heading out towards the geographic anomaly known as the Tatacoa Desert. Due to a nearby mountain range casting a rain shadow over the area it stays dry year-round, but there is enough rain to cause some pretty crazy erosion patterns that were pretty eerie to hike around. If I had to imagine what Mars looked like, Tatacoa would basically be it. I pitched my tent near an observatory in the area for a few nights, put there because the desert made for some pretty good astronomical observations apparently. Unfortunately the local astronomer wasn´t there at the time, so it was closed. It was more or less deserted (no pun intended) the whole time I was there except for an army patrol...


A quick peek at the Zona Cafetera/Coffee-producing Zone

Written by Tyler Cole | 31 March 2009

IMG_1106Ironically I didn´t see any coffee production while there, but it was quite nice nonetheless. There are a cluster of small, beautiful villages throughout the region around the larger cities, and I settled on seeing Salento since there was supposedly a nice valley nearby (Valle de Cocorá). Salento was a little town squeezed between the mountains, and I found a quaint little hostel to camp at owned by a rolo (someone from Bogotá) for my stay. I spent a day lounging around after the overnight bus and a day to walk through the Valley of Cocorá known for its freakishly tall wax palm trees. I wasn´t too keen to see the coffee farms since I had already seen coffee production in the south on my last visit to Colombia, so I took a pass on that.


Recent Photos

Camping in Puerto Olbaldia along the Atlantic.JPG
Leaf cutter ants in the Darien.JPG
The crystal clear waters of Porvenir.JPG
The jungle of the Darien.JPG
The ornate mola of the Kuna Yala people.JPG
Wax plams in Salento.JPG
a central plaza in tikal.JPG
a compass while hitching back to the US from mexico.JPG
a fire juggler near lago atitlan.JPG
a semuc champey in guatemala.JPG
a the market in san cristobal.JPG
a zapatista graffiti while in san cristobal.JPG
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