This week I had a week off from internship due to holidays. I wanted to make good use of this week and since you have very beautiful destinations nearby, I chose to leave Curaçao for a week. I exchange the relaxed island for adventurous Colombia.
Salento/Cocora valley/The lost City
The first day I flew from Curaçao via Bogota to Pereira. At Pereira my transfer to my hostel was ready. I was taken to the hostel and immediately went to bed. The next day I was picked up at 9 am for a tour through the Cocora valley. This is a valley with the tallest palm trees in the world. I was the only one who had booked this tour, so the guide let me decide what we were going to do. I chose to walk the full route. It was a 10 km walk with the most beautiful viewpoints. After the walk I was taken back to my hostel by jeep. I then viewed the town of Salento, walked to the viewpoint and strolled through the souvenir shops. Ate and drank something on the square and went back to the hostel.
I have a tight schedule in Colombia. The next day, after breakfast and a zip-line in Salento, it was already time to pack my things. Two more flights were scheduled. From Pereira I went via Bogota to Santa Marta. Also in Santa Marta I was picked up by my hostel. Go to sleep immediately because the next day I will be picked up at 6.50 am.
Everything is also going smoothly in Colombia. I was therefore only picked up at 7.10. I was picked up to collect for the tour I booked. I booked the 4 days lost city trek. This is a tour in which you will spend 4 days hiking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. You walk up to the lost city (also known as Ciudad Perdida) in 3 days.
When we arrived at the office, we had to wait until the whole group was complete. This group consisted of 20 people incl. myself and 3 guides. The group consisted mainly of Colombians. Colombians generally speak very little English so this became a challenge. Fortunately, I soon got talking to a group of Colombians who spoke very good English.
Before we started the hike we had to drive another 3 hours to the starting point. Here we first had an extensive lunch and an informational talk. By noon it was finally time to start the trek. It was a tough climb today, which often goes up steeply. After 2.5 hours of walking, we arrived at the first camp. Here we took a dip in the river and got to know each other better. Delicious dinner and then at 20.00 it was already time to go to bed. Tomorrow we will be awakened at 5:00 am to have breakfast. During the trek you sleep in bunk beds that are all in a row. You not only sleep here with your own group, but also with all the other groups that are making the walk. If you are unlucky there is no bed left and you have to sleep in a hammock. Fortunately, we had a place in a bunk bed every night.
The third day we woke up with the song of the Lion King. Wake up peacefully and have breakfast. At 6.00 it was finally time to start the hike again. A long walk was planned today. The first part of the hike was very easy. We soon arrived at the camp for lunch. Once again we took a dip in the river here. After lunch we packed our bags again to walk to the next camp, where we will sleep. To reach this camp we had to climb an even steeper mountain top than the day before. So it was quite a bit of biting. Another dip in the river after arriving at the camp. You noticed that we had risen quite a bit, because the water was extremely cold. The shower was just as cold, so warmed up after the shower with a hot chocolate and a bowl of popcorn.
The fourth day it was finally time, we would go to the lost city. The thing everyone had booked the tour for. We left a little before 6:00 this day to beat the crowd in the lost city. It was still a short walk until we arrived at the steps to the lost city. These were 200 very small and slippery stone steps. So it was careful. When we arrived at the top there were only a handful of people in the lost city. So we were able to enjoy the view and the tranquility.
On the way back to the camp where we slept and where we will have lunch today, we encountered the Mamo. This is the spiritual leader of the group of indigenous people. We have all bought a bracelet from him that has a meaning. My bracelet means heaven and earth. After meeting we went back to camp. Again took a dip and had lunch. The second part of today we walk back to the camp where we had lunch yesterday. Here we will sleep to walk the last part to the starting point tomorrow.
The fourth and last day, I was pretty much done with all that walking. I had seen the lost city, so I wanted to be downstairs as soon as possible. I therefore led the whole day in order to be back down as quickly as possible. When we arrived downstairs we had lunch in the same place as the first day. We got back in the car for a 3 hour drive back to the office. Here we got our luggage back and it was time to go back to the hostel. Had a lovely evening in Santa Marta.
The next morning the alarm went off again early. This time not to go for a walk, but to leave for the airport. Today I returned to Curaçao via Bogota where I was met by a roommate.
Made a fantastic trip and many memories and experiences richer!
I definitely recommend everyone to go to Colombia, if you have the time.
You will have no regrets!