5 May 2010

Traveling Through Colombia in a month – Part 1

Have I ever told you about Lucerito? Lucerito was my best friend for a little more than a year; she was my travel partner and my gateway to freedom. With her I cruised all of Colombia, crossed rivers, raced through the jungle and witnesses the most amazing sunrises and sunsets in a variety of unbelievable natural settings, and is thanks to her that I can write this Colombia Travel Blog post.

Lucerito  (“Morning Star” in Spanish) was a 1998 4x4 Pajero truck  I bought with the specific goal of starting a year round trip throughout my country. I was raised among two brothers, one of them a car racer,  and a car fanatic dad, I started driving at 14 – which is very rare in Colombia – so I HAD to grow up as a car lover, I love motors, carburetors and speed! So our first mission was a one month journey to what, for me, are the highlights of Colombia. It was one of those things that my parents would do when they were young but my generation wouldn't have the chance because of the political situation and the fact that the guerrilla used to own most of the country, but now things were different.


With Lucerito, a map, a short budget and a long list of friends and family I was planning to stay with, I had a long talk with my dad  - whom has been all over the place-  and  we came up with this  Colombia budget Tour itinerary considering that I was going to drive on my own:

Day 1 – 4  Bogota - Cali - Valle del Cauca - Calima Lake. 
Day 5 – 8 Montenegro - Coffee Triangle -  Parque Nacional del Cafe - Salento and natural hot springs.
Day 9 - 11 Medellin - Santa fe de Antioquia 
Day 12 - 13 Medellin - Caribbean Coast - Tolú -  San Bernardo Islands - Caimanera mangrove swamp.
Day 14 – 15 Tolú - Cartagena - mud volcano
Day 16 - 18 Cartagena – Tayrona National Park -  Pueblito.
Day 19 Tayrona - Riohacha - Flamingos Natural reserve - stay in a  Wayu trybe Rancheria.
Day 20 – 22  Riohacha - Cabo de la Vela - Manaure See Salt factory. 
Day 23 Cabo de la Vela - Bucaramanga.  
Day 24-26 Bucaramanga - San Gil - Chicamocha Canion -  Chicamocha National Park - adventure sports: rafting, 80mt rappel, and Juan Cury waterfalls.
Day 27 - 28 San Gil - Villa de Leyva.   
Day 29 Villa de Leyva - Zipaquira's Salt Cathedral - Bogota. We leave VDL and drive south to the town of Zipaquira.

As you can imagine my somehow apprehensive Colombian mom wasn’t so sure to let me go on my own, but on a Tuesday morning, at 5:30 AM, I kissed my parents good bye and head south towards Cali. The Pan-American highway was almost empty and looking at the horizon while driving and listening to Carlos Vives, I could see Bogota’s early morning deep blue sky encouraging me to enjoy the excitement of a new adventure. 

One of the things I realized while leaving Bogota is that not only Colombians but lots of foreigners are back on the road. I’ll write about this and many many other topics and destinations in the next parts of this entry.

So for now, Abrazos

Marcela – Colombia Travel Blog

Travelling Through Colombia part 2 and part 3


  1. A very inspiring post, Mercela! Lucerito seemed so much like a family member on your travels, huh?

    You sign up for Tripping, a website that caters towards helping those get a better feel of a country they plan to travel to in the near future. And it's best for those who frequently travel to show the online community about a country's culture/lifestyle. Here's the website: https://www.tripping.com/

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  2. really i'm very happy to read your Article story and you done very amazing work.

  3. Hola:
    Te felicito por enprender una aventura por un pais tan fascinante como Colombia y dar otro punto de vista de nuestro pais, espero leer proximamente la segunda parte sobretodo por que te diriges a una ciudad que me llena de orgullo, mi bella Cali!!!!

  4. Excellent post, the itinerary oozes with adventure!

    My readers would love to find you, if you want, you're welcome to add your travel blog to my directory.

    Either way, I'll be trying my best to keep up with your adventures. Thanks for sharing them.

  5. Hi, Thanks for your message... I took a look at your directory and it looks great, I will add my blog ASAP.


  6. Marcela,
    So glad I stumbled across your great blog. We arrive in Bogota tomorrow, where we will spend four days before flying to Cartagena. A couple of weeks later we fly from Santa Marta to Medellin and then we have a week before we need to be back in Bogota. If you have any recommendations on places roughly along that path to visit and places to stay (we will be at Hotel Chorro de Quevedo in Bogota but have not booked anything else), they would be gratefully received. I will also trawl your blog for information. Thanks again, Francine

  7. Hola Francine

    I'm glad you found me and found the time to write!

    Here are some suggestions:

    Visit Monserrate hill and monastery
    Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira (about 45 min away from Bogot) A must
    Gold museum
    Usaquen, amazing neighbourhood with a beautiful plaza, shops and restaurant.

    From Santa Marta you MUST visit the Tayrona National Park.

    Visit the Metro Cable and the impresive Espana Library
    Spend a full day in Santa Fe de Antioquia, only 1.5 hrs away from Medellin, amazing colonoal town. There make sure you go for a swim... it gets really hot!

    Send me your email and I'll give you some more info.

    Enjoy Colombia. Abrazos