We are enjoying ourselves here in Colombia. After the long shipping process we were anxious to get on the road. The morning we were due to just pop in to pick up Ginger at the Port actually took all day!
It wasn’t just a simple thing but a whole procedure of inspections and more paperwork followed by the search for mandatory car insurance. We did have our fellow shippers to help get this all done and then we were off!
We didn’t make it that far though. Couple of hours and we stopped at an odd but kind of cool mud volcano that you can get into. El Totumo volcano is a 15m high mud pile that slowly oozes fresh mud from the top.
It’s reportedly 3000-6000 ft deep but you don’t sink and it’s really difficult to move around in it. Christine wasn’t a fan of the sensation, or the mess of it but Dave faffed around in it no problem.
The weirdest was the ‘mud remover’ guy who’s job was to rub down everyone exiting the bath. But it was a cool, cheap experience and we got to camp right on site. Pretty quiet once everyone goes home!
The next day we actually made some distance and arrived at our destination: Tayrona National Park. We paid the unreasonably high foreigner entrance and car fees and then set up at a Castilletes restaurant camping resort area. We couldn’t make it in on the rough road to the national park camping area.
We set out the next morning for El Pueblito, which is an archeological site of an old village located high in the middle of the Colombian jungle. Similar but on a much smaller scale than Ciudad Perdida which requires 6 days of trekking to visit. We sweated and climbed up into the jungle and did manage to see some small ruins but it was more about getting out in the jungle and doing the hike.
We were rewarded by a nice swim at the bottom in the Carribean Sea.
Colombia is our first big country in a while and we are noticing the distances. Also doesn’t help that the roads are only single lane, if that, with the most crazy and aggressive drivers to date.
And the tolls are never ending with at least a few dollars paid at each one, and for some crap roads too.
The gas here is also not cheap but similar to home prices. Colombia’s neighbours, Venezuela and Equador, have much cheaper gas so the border areas have contraband gas that they sell on the streets. Not legal but a booming business!
We had two big long 8+ hour driving days in a row to get to our next destination: Villa de Leyva. It’s a cool old colonial town up in the mountains, complete with cobblestone streets. It’s supposed to have the largest square in Colombia but we were a bit disappointed by how barren and empty it was. Maybe it gets filled on the weekends??
We’ve been hanging out here in the cooler weather at the Renacer Hostal where they have great facilities and a nice camping area. We explored the town, sampled some food plus hiked up to the Sagrado Corazon which is overlooking the town.
But mostly we’ve been gearing up for our big hike next week, which is a 6 day hike in El Cocuy National Park, all around 4,000m altitude! We’re leaving the van here and taking a bus east to the National Park. Should be good !