… standing in the middle of nowhere -literally nowhere- in the dark night without knowing who was coming towards me (us) making signals with a torch.
Allow me to define nowhere: Nowhere was the middle of the Guajira desert in the northernmost tip of Colombia and South America, a huge finger shaped landmass pointing north bordering to the east with Venezuela and with the Caribbean Ocean everywhere else.
There is nothing out there, at least not much.
The Guajira is a huge expansive barren outback territory the size and looks of Mars with huge patched areas of scraggly desert forest amongst the salt flats where you really should have a damn good reason to be romping around, and my damn good reason to be romping around was the cute German girl I had hiding (she didn’t know this was her status) in the Toyota Land Cruiser 80 series in the brush some thirty meters away as I tried to distance myself as far and as quickly as I could in the impenetrable darkness and deser...
There is a truly unique way to tour Colombia and it is by road.
Sure there are the major cities and attractions close to them, but there are vast lands in between them with so much to experience, do and see. There is the vast Guajira desert up north with its inhospitable beauty and friendly Wayuu natives. There is all the coastal region of the Caribbean where driving from Cartagena to Santa Marta and Tayrona beach allows to see what can not be seen from an airplane. There is the Putumayo Amazon that is in the southernmost west region of Colombia and the just begging to be discovered Eastern Plains (Llanos Orientales) with all its wildlife and hidden rivers, home to jaguars, deer, anacondas, alligators, birds and fish. This is just the tip of the iceberg with all there is to explore in the lost lands in Colombia.
The roads themselves and the driving style in Colombia make for a thrilling experience, and being able to stop and visit local sights completely off the beaten path with locals a...
We recently opened up a new tour to an amazing village of fishermen in the northeastern part of Colombia close to the coastal city of Santa Marta.
What is amazing about this fisherman's village is they live over water on houses built on stilts, miles from land in a 4000 square kilometre body of inland marsh called La Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta.
To get there we drove 3.5 hours north from Cartagena on a coastal rode with beautiful views of the Caribbean ocean and kilometers of beach. We drove past Barranquilla, an industrial port city that is the capital of the state of Atlántico and home to the world famous Carnaval de Barranquilla, population 1.3 million.
We stopped outside of the town of Ciénaga to board a fast boat that would take us to the town of Nueva Venecia. We navigated through mangroves and over open water, never leaving our amazement with all the variety of birds during the way, whole flocks of them taking off from the water as we rode pass or flying over our heads. The motor...
White water rafting in Colombia with all its countless rivers and canyons of the Andes mountains is an activity that is really taking off.
New operators and guides are being trained and certified every day to offer these exciting tours in Colombia. The most popular regions at the moment are the state of Santander and the state of Antioquia, two hours from Medellín.
The chance to ride down white water rapids through the beautiful natural scenery of the Colombian Andes is an unforgettable experience so don't let this opportunity pass, come down and tour Colombia and don't forget to include white water rafting!
This is one question we get asked a lot during the ride towards our launch site on paragliding tours, a nervous "Is it safe?"
So here's the answer, look at it this way:
You are about to jump off a perfectly good mountain hanging under a big piece of cloth by some very thin lines, hooked up to a person you've never met before in your life who is wearing a mask, sun glasses, gloves and does not speak your language, in Medellin Colombia, organised by an outfit you got off the internet. What could go wrong?
It will often happen that travellers planning to come to Colombia or already in Colombia are disheartened by the forecast they see on their smartphone apps thinking it's going to be a washed out day or vacation, it says rain every day!
Pay no heed to the forecast, what's happening is that we are down in the tropics so chances are it might rain somewhere in the area at some time in the next 24 hours, even if it's a light drizzle or short shower, but it certainly does not mean that it's going to pour everywhere all day every day.
It's as if those responsible for the weather forecast are playing it safe, so don't let the forecasts get in your way of planning and booking your days of outdoor fun, chances are way high that rain will not get in your way; you'll probably not see any at all, so go outdoors and have some fun!
A “Paisa” (pronounced pa-ee-sa, not to be confused with the Italian “Paisan”) is a person native to Medellin, the state of Antioquia, and coffee region surroundings.
There is such a thing believed to exist as paisa culture and Raza Antioqueña, a belief that Paisas are a different lot than the rest of Colombians.
Naturally people from different regions of any country have differences in their personalities and cultures, and in the case of Paisas they have a reputation as: hard working, entrepreneurial, friendly, story tellers, exaggerated, snake oil salesmen, proud, brave, and up front.
Paisas are exceedingly proud of their city and paisaness, to the point that the rest of the country finds them to be arrogant and braggadocios, thinking they have the most beautiful, organized and efficient city with the best weather and most beautiful women and that they are the best at everything.
There is a constant rivalry between the different regions (or a...
Each and every one of our booked clients receives what we call a general info and logistics email. One of the points we stress the most is that when we pick you up for one of our tours you bring your ORIGINAL passport with you, not a photocopy, no photo id's either.
The explanation is that all of our tours are outside of the city, we drive on intercity and rural roads, and these are patrolled by the road police, la policía de carreteras, a different entity than the city police who are much cooler about photocopies and photo id's.
By law everybody in Colombia must carry identification at all times and must show it to the authorities when requested, and it happens quite often. While on the road it is pretty much a sure thing. Foreigners have to prove their migratory status, in other words that they are in the country legally, and the only way to do this is with their passport, and the road police will be very strict about this and give you a hard time, eas...
It happens that the tourist coming to Colombia is surprised to hear everyone referring to him or her as "gringo" or "gringa".
"But I'm not a 'gringo', I'm from (insert your country here).
Here gringo means just about anybody from another country that speaks another language, preferably white and blond for easier identification but not necessarily. It does not mean someone from the United States.
It also is not demeaning, not in the least, unless you get called "gringo hp" which means you pissed someone off, probably a cab driver (see blog on slamming car doors).
So that's what the word gringo means here in Colombia.
As lots of travellers quickly notice, in Colombia taxi drivers do not like the way foreigners close their car doors.
Either they get very upset after the fact or don't allow the tourist to close their doors, instead opting for a Don't-worry-don't-worry-I'll-do-it attitude, leaning and wriggling inside their taxi to close the doors themselves. It's not that they're cranky or being overly nice, there's a logical explanation for this odd behaviour, one which Guanabana Tours scientific research team has finally discovered.
For whatever technical and design reasons that may be, car doors are heavier in North America and Europe and other areas of the world. From the age of five you have probably memorised the amount of force to use closing such heavier doors, and when you apply that same amount of force on a flimsy tuna can taxi door here after you get out, you better believe it, it's one hell of a slam!