Our Colombian journey continues from Tayrona. A little slice of paradise on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
Guatape January 30-Feb 2
At 4.30 am the alarm went off Turns out there was no rush as our flight ended up delayed due to “weather” in Medellin. Nobody really understood that as it seemed to be nice there too.
Txell at the Galleria hostel in Guatape had arranged a driver for us as getting there by bus is a big pain. We’d been in touch with Mario via WhatsApp so he was aware of the delay and didn’t have to sit at the airport. While there I swear I hear someone holler “Collectivo for Guatape”. So if you’re going there it’s worth looking into.
Just 7 km before our destination, we hit a pothole and one back tire blew. The rim split in half! Mario had a hard time getting the replacement tire on but eventually we were on our way again.
Anita was really not well by this time. Too much sweating over the last few days, not enough water and then a plane trip seemed to have left her really dehydrated. At the Mirador, close to our hostel, they served a nice fish soup which was just what she needed. That, some rehydration salts and rest were in order.
I headed out for a walk and ended up at the base of “the rock”.It was closed for a few days due to unpaid taxes or something but I could at least see it and enjoy the views.
A good night’s sleep was just what she needed which was a huge relief as being sick while travelling is NOT fun. Our hostess made us a delicious breakfast and then we caught the bus to Guatape. It’s such pretty town! As is typical in Colombia, the fronts of the buildings are painted and decorated nicely but what can’t be seen from the street is left untreated.
People we’d met at the hostel suggested a “nice hike” just outside of town so we did that. It was good but parts of it were pretty brutal. Climbing over all the rocks made for a slow walk. Oh well. We were in no hurry. The views were spectacular. We never did find the waterfalls though
Back in Guatape we went to a vegan restaurant fellow travellers had recommended called Namaste. We both had a smoothie bowl with granola and cacao beans and it was wonderful.
We tried to take the bus back but didn’t feel like waiting so took a tuk tuk. Besides. Anita’s never been in one. She HAD to experience it 😀 I
Friday night must be party night here. It was much nosier than the night before.
Here’s a lot of pictures of the town of Guatape as I really thought it was pretty! 😀
Saturday we finally climbed the steps of the giant monolith. First we had to climb the hill up TO the steps which adds at least a few hundred more. The actual climb isn’t too bad first thing in the morning. The steps are well built and mostly shaded. The views from the stop ARE spectacular! After enjoying a mango nicely sliced we headed back down. You go down a different way and those steps are more narrow and steep. My knees weren’t happy by the time we got down.
We climbed in the back of a jeep gong to Guatape and wandered the town some more. After a nice lunch at a Mexican place we hired a tuk tuk to take us back where we enjoyed some down time.
After talking to other travellers, we decided to skip Medellin completely and visit Jardin instead.
It rained in the night and the morning was drizzly. After breakfast we walked down the road where Txell said we’d be able to catch the bus to Medellin. I asked a man in a cafe and he said yes “Medellin aqui” Just a few moments later a bus came, flashing his lights to let us know he was going to stop and then pulled over. We shoved our bags up front by the driver and sat behind him as there were no seats left on the bus. I struck up a conversation with couple in the front row. They too had to switch stations in Medellin and they’d been there before so knew how to take the subway. They kindly offered to allow us to follow them. Perfect! That certainly saved us some time!
We followed the Dutch couple to the subway station, purchased tickets and boarded the train, getting off at the Poblado stop. There they pointed the direction we should go and we parted ways. Rather than walk the 25 minutes through heavy traffic, we took a taxi to the Terminal Sur. At 7,000 pesos it was worth the time savings as well. By the time we purchased tickets to Jardin it was 11:15 so we just had a 45 minute wait for the bus. It even left on time!
Once we got out of Medellin, the ride was gorgeous! Bumpy and windy but the views along the way were spectacular.
By the time we reached Jardin it was almost 4 pm. So we checked into the Hostal Jardin and immediately set out to find the place were you’re supposed to be able to see the “cock of the rock” birds. It’s just outside of town. A lady met us at the gate. We paid her 10,000 pesos each and she led us to her garden. There were SEVERAL beautiful, odd, squawky bright red birds! I asked a man about it. Apparently the family built the house there, noticed the birds liked to come there and play and they started getting visitors. It developed into what it is today with pretty gardens that attract many different birds in addition to the cock of the rock. The birds are protected, not afraid of people and come and go as they please.
We wandered around town before deciding on a cafe near the church called Macanas. A family was eating pizza that looked delicious. The man noticed us looking at them and brought a piece over to show us, encouraging us to order it. So we did. YUMMY!!
The morning started oddly. I got up early to use the bathroom and heard someone knocking. A man was stuck in one of the bathrooms! I tried several things, including getting a knife from the kitchen. I couldn’t get it open! Eventually our host heard the struggle and took over. He ended up having to drill out the door knob. Anita and I were afraid to use the doors with push locks after that. Poor guy.
Breakfast at Hostal Jardin isn’t served until 8:30 so we had a lazy morning. Being well fed we set off exploring. The first bridge we tried was under construction. The cable car was closed. After leaving that we ran into an American couple trying to find a cable car as well. After some discussion we all set off to find the “La Garrucha” That was interesting! It’s a home made metal box a family created to cross the valley as an easier way to get to town. Others were leaving, saying it looked too sketchy for them. I’d read that the ride was “hair raising”. We got on anyway. It was fine and the views very nice.
We walked down the hill at the other side and back into town.
Macanas is supposed to have the best coffee in town so we sat at a table outside the church enjoying a moccichino for me and a cappachino for Anita plus some interesting lentil biscuits and humus.
Next we found the bridge to “Cristo Rey”. There we just explored the river a bit and walked back to town.
Further up town we found a bridge to the trout farm where you’re supposed to be able to catch your own dinner. It looked deserted other than two dogs, a cat and a couple of trout ponds full of fish. So we sat for a bit. Eventually a man came out and offered us a drink but the restaurant was closed.
Oh well. Back to town we went. By then we were tired, hot and kind of hungry so we found a bakery to try one of their famous sweets. Again we were reminded that we rarely like baked goods. Oh well. We had to try.
Having heard conflicting stories on the buses, we headed to the bus station to ask. There we purchased a ticket for Rio Sucio and were told we could get a ticket to Salento there.
That left us an hour or so to chill and shower before finding dinner. Destino Sylvestre is a vegetarian restaurant and was delicious.