Hey everyone! I know, I know, I have been in South America for about a month and haven’t put a single thing on this blog like I told you all I would… I find that when I have a free minute I am more excited to put up pictures so you guys can actually see what I am up to. Anyways tonight I am kind of tired so I decided to just sit in my hostel and finally write something.
I flew into Bogota on November 5th at 11 at night which feels like a million years ago now. Bogota is an absolutely gigantic place. My taxi drove me through the dark city to the lovely hostel Fatima. I was exhausted and cold (Bogota’s elevation is crazy) when I arrived so I fell right to sleep. The next day was really the start of my Bogota adventure. I explored the city with some great people from my hostel. The Candeleria neighborhood in Bogota is really fantastic. Some of the streets are only big enough for walking. We took a trolley up the side of a mountain for a view of the city which I have a really cool picture of if you look on facebook.
One of the days I was in Bogota I went to a town called Zipaquira about an hour outside the city to see a salt Cathedral. The salt Cathedral is an enormous Cathedral built into an old salt mine in the side of a mountain. The Cathedral was cool but I also really enjoyed seeing a town in Colombia outside the city. Zipaquira was a nice little place.
After Bogota I took a bus to Medellin which is one of my favorite cities so far. Medellin has perfect weather and a lot of parties.. In Medellin a friend of mine put me in touch with a friend of hers, he ended up taking me to a salsa club with his friends and around the city on his moto, it was great. He also took me up the side of a mountain on the moto to go paragliding. Paragliding is something I had never done before. It only cost about 40 dollars for 30 minutes which is pretty great. It was less scary and more relaxing than I thought it would be. Because I don’t weigh too much we got pretty high up. Amazing.
After Medellin I headed to Cartagena. Cartagena is just as beautiful as everyone says it is. It is also unbearably hot. I spent a lot of time showering in Cartagena. Cartagena had an amazing castle fortress thing with a ton of tunnels that I spent an afternoon exploring with people from my hostel. I met a great group of people at my hostel in Cartagena and we took a two day excursion to the beach playa blanca together. This beach is reachable really only by boat. It was about 40 minutes away on a speed boat. Playa blanca is paradise. The beach is beautiful and the water is perfect. You can get body massages on the beach, drink piña coladas out of coconuts, and eat fried fish every meal. The hammocks we stayed in overnight cost about 5 dollars. Lets just say you could stay there for a while…
With the same group of people I headed to Santa Marta which is another disgustingly hot city. Although Santa Marta doesn’t offer a lot to do I loved it there mostly because of our amazing hostel called La Brisa Loca. This was a mega hostel with tons of good people, a nice pool, a sweet rooftop, and a good bar. The restaurant below the hostel was the best meal I have had yet. I did explore the city and see the harbor, the Cathedral, and the main park, there were a few nice places there.
After only a day we headed to the National park Tayrona. The trek into the park was fantastic. We stayed in hammocks on the beach again. This beach was no playa blanca, but it was gorgeous none the less and the trek in made me super happy to get to a beach. We played a lot of card games and did a lot of walking. The next afternoon we trekked out. We were so high energy that we actually jogged a lot of the trail. Crazy I know.
I stayed back at the Brisa Loca so I could go with a friend to Taganga for a day. Taganga is a lovely place with a nice beach but it is very touristy to the point of kind of sad. I got talked into a coconut oil massage on the beach which included putting coconut oil in my hair which took days to wash out. Oh well, the massage was good.
I left Santa Marta and headed south back to Medellin. I only stayed in Medellin briefly but it was a lot of fun. Medellin is a crazy city and my hostel there, the pit stop, is super nice.
After Medellin I headed to the city Cali in southern Colombia. In Cali I met up with a friend, Juan Pablo, who I met in my hostel in Bogota. He lives in Cali and said he would show me around when I got down there. I absolutely loved Cali and I think it is mostly thanks to him. Being shown a city through the eyes of someone who lives there and clearly loves their city is great. Juan drove me all over the place. We went to a beautiful park one evening overlooking the city. Cali is huge! We scoped out a vegetarian restaurant, yum. Juan is also a graffiti artist and he gave me a lesson. This was so much fun and now there is a wall in Cali that says Sienna 🙂 I am now obsessed with tagging, Maine watch out! I took a great little salsa lesson in my hostel in Cali but it is so hard and I am really bad at it. I don’t have the confidence to try it out in the salsatequas. It was sad to say goodbye to Juan and Cali but I needed to head down to Ecuador.
I left Cali with a guy I met in my hostel named Max. I think the border people thought it was funny when we handed them our passports and it said Maxine and Maxwell haha. Anyways we headed to a city called Pasto which is about an hour from the Colombian border. It was an allday bus journey and when we got there we were happy to find a bar with futbol to watch.
The next day we headed to the border in a town called Ipiales. It is surprising easy to cross into Ecuador. They don’t ask any questions or search anything! You just walk across a bridge and you’re in Tulcan, Ecuador. The welcome sign is a billboard.. In Tulcan we hopped on a bus and headed for Quito.
We arrived in the lovely and enormous city of Quito in the early evening. The sunset was beautiful over the city. I spent the next three nights in the city. Quito has a gorgeous old town and a bazillion cool churches and cathedrals. It is also the week of Fiestas de Quito which is when the city was founded and the whole city is a big loco party. Sounds good to me.
Just this morning I was in Quito and I connected with a friend from Portland who is studying abroad here in Quito. Emma and I had lunch at a vegetarian restaurant. (I found both of the vegetarian places in Quito. I love scoping out the veg places in every city :p ) It was really nice to see her and when I return to Quito for the end of Quito fest hopefully I will see her again!
Right now I am in a very cute city called Baños just three hours from Quito. I just arrived this afternoon but it seems lovely…I’ll keep you posted! I hope I didn’t bore you too much. Love you all and miss you all! Hopefully it wont take me another month to update this again. To see my pictures just go to my facebook. I put up a new album for every city I go to. I’m no photographer but I think there are some good ones in there. Besos, Sienna Maxine Whatever