Our first taste of Colombia, landing in Bogota, the country's capital. After spending so much time in cities recently, we were not overly excited at staying in yet another large city and the madness it brings, but Bogota is different. We first noticed that we're a rare breed in Colombia...being ranked in the Top 10 of the UK's most 'dangerous' countries, the tourist population is relatively low, as we witnessed when walking the streets, so many stares and smiles! The people are incredibly friendly here, so hospitable and keen to show you the sights and talk endlessly about their country...a real sense of pride.
The first few days were spent milling around the city, visiting museums and sampling the nightlife, which was quite full on and knocked us both out for a few days after! After a couple of days spent chatting to the locals and planning our route, we headed south of Bogota to the coffee region.
First stop was Salento, nestled in the hills of the Cordillera in La Zona Cafetera, this quiet little town was perfect for a few days of walking, chilling out and drinking amazing coffee...really strong stuff that is quite addictive! The countryside here is stunning, lush green valleys as far as the eye can see with little farms dotted here and there, we loved it! From here we headed to Popayan, the 'White City'. Plagued by recent earthquakes, the town has had to rebuild itself numerous times, but still retains its colonial feel and the pride of Colombia we witnessed in Bogota was alive here...exceptional people, all with a story to tell and a phone number or email address to give...we've made so many friends along the way thus far!
Last stop before returning to Bogota, San Agustin. Again, a quiet place in the countryside, relatively undiscovered by tourists until recently, so a great, peaceful place to spend a few days, again relaxing! We stayed in a beautiful cabin on a farm in the hills, passing our time hiking the valleys and galloping around on horses (much to James' discomfort!).After a week in the south we returned to Bogota for our flight to The Amazon jungle.
We've already fallen in love with Colombia, the people are some of the warmest we've met so far...always ready with a smile and a few friendly words. It's a shame this country is notorious for it's drug trade and the associated violence. The people and authorities are working hard to rid Colombia of this reputation as there's far more to the country than what is perceived and we're really excited to experience much, much more.