Back in action

This weeks travels

This weeks travels

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!

The vehicles unloaded and ready for inspection

The vehicles unloaded and ready for inspection

More paperwork - of course!

More paperwork – of course!

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!

Ginger freed from jail and ready to go!

Ginger freed from jail and ready to go!

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.

The mud volcano

The mud volcano

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 mud pool in the cone of the volcano

The mud pool in the cone of the volcano

Dave wallowing

Dave wallowing

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!

Luckily there was a lake to wash off in nearby

Luckily there was a lake to wash off in nearby

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.

Our camp in Tayrona National Park

Our camp in Tayrona National Park

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.

The hike starts with a couple of hours along the coast

The hike starts with a couple of hours along the coast

Tayronas beaches

Tayronas beaches

Walk-in camp sites along the coast

Walk-in camp sites along the coast

Climbing the jungle trail

Climbing the jungle trail

Dave happy to be at the top (Note Daves shiny new hiking shoes - all of $25 there!)

Dave happy to be at the top (Note Daves shiny new hiking shoes – all of $25 there!)

We were rewarded by a nice swim at the bottom in the Carribean Sea.

Swimming at the beach after our jungle hike

Swimming at the beach after our jungle hike. Spot Dave?

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.

There are also a lot of heavy vehicles on the highways which make for slow going

There are also a lot of heavy vehicles on the highways which make for slow going

Climbing the roads into the Colombian highlands

Climbing the roads into the Colombian highlands

And the tolls are never ending with at least a few dollars paid at each one, and for some crap roads too.

One days toll receipts

One days toll receipts

Collpased roads seem to be a common occurence here

Collpased roads seem to be a common occurence here

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!

Illegaly imported gasoline for sale

Illegaly imported gasoline for sale

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??

The beautiful colonial steets in Villa de Leyva

The beautiful colonial steets in Villa de Leyva

The plaza here is huge - but empty...

The plaza here is huge – but empty…

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.

The view over town

The view over town

Dave doing.....? Who knows?

Dave doing…..? Who knows?

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 !

 

This weeks banner - army ants in the jungle

This weeks banner – army ants in the jungle

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3 Comments

Filed under General News

3 responses to “Back in action

  1. Madeleine

    hey Christine and Dave, the mud bath was amazing. I can see how some of us would cringe at the sensation. Sure hope you stay warm and have enough food on your trek over the Andes ! Stay safe.
    Mom and Dad B.

  2. Marg

    What a muddy mess! This is much worse than a ‘fat quarter’,I’d say. Do you want us to make a mud block? Don’t chill out on the Andes! Love Marg.

  3. Peter Moore

    Never thought of you two as “stuck in the muds”! The pictures continue to be fantastic. Great scenery. Dave, will you still be able to grab a beer on your trek? Have fun. Dad M

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