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Where do you travel to?

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ponymalta
3/14/2019 03:33 EST

Just curious - how often do you travel to your home country now that you are in Colombia ? Do take your vacation in Colombia or outside the country usually ?

I know some people travel to Miami for shopping or connect to flights to see family, some who never return to the states or elsewhere.

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cafetero
3/14/2019 08:35 EST

My vacations are here in Colombia, visiting places I want to see.

Two weeks in Bogota to see the sights and check out Bogota Brewing Company, my favorite pub.

My biggest trip by car we started in Bucaramanga and drove to Medellin, Pereira, lots of pueblos around Pereira, Armenia, Ibague, Melgar, Bogota, lots of pueblos north of Bogota to see attractions, Chicamocha National Park, San Gil and return to Bucaramanga. Took two weeks.

Two weeks by bus visiting pueblos in Valle del Cauca and Lago Calima and near Popayan.

Upcoming trip to Ecuador. Next year planning to spend 1 or 2 months in USA.

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saiid20
3/14/2019 08:42 EST

2 weeks every year in NE USA...family.
one other..large vacation each year ( Baja this year...last yr Rome and Florence)
Have pretty much exausted Santander...from Tona to Zapatoca to Barranca.
Been to most other cities in Colombia....Favorite is Cartegena... Isla Baru is special (Decameron).

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cafetero
3/14/2019 10:02 EST

Good question Pony Malta, it caused me to think about why I travel. All too often over the years I've traveled to places ¨just to say I've been there¨ and now I see what a stupid reason that is for traveling.

Do I really want to see Ecuador? Well, honestly, probably not. I just had it on the list because its easy to get to and I can check the box. That's not really a good reason to go there, is it? So I've scratched the idea of that trip.

Instead a friends has got me thinking about a month in the Philippines. It is something I've always wanted to do ever since I spent a weekend in Manilla several years ago. But this time, not the city. I want to see some of the islands with those miles long sugar sand beaches without footprints. Yeah, that would be a nice vacation.

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EpaEpaEpa
3/14/2019 10:17 EST

I travel to the US in April to get my taxes done and buy stuff I can't buy in Colombia/ I'm only there a week. But I travel around Colombia year round. My most recent trip was to San Jose Del Guaviare, Before that Yopal.

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nonames
3/14/2019 12:50 EST

We travel to SanAndres /Providencia every year for about 5-7 days to get our warm salt water fix. We visit friends in Leticia every 2 years.
(That's a topic and a half!)
We head back "Home" every 12- 18 months for about 3 months visiting friends & family. Yeah, we shop ,enjoy our favorite foods and love to ...drive! We have no real interest in owning a car here. I've read all the car ownership posts here. Very nice (tempting even) but every year we have this discussion and decide against it. Good question for this group, It'll be interesting to see how it pans out.

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LaPiranha
3/14/2019 13:17 EST

I have no wish to ever go back to the UK, either to visit, or to live. Unfortunately, I have to go for a month this year, to take my son back, for university, and stay whilst he gets his feet on the ground, as its the first time he will be living away from home. I will be very eager to get back here.

My vacations are usually in Colombia, as there is so much to see, Some of the places I have been to, and spent time in ...........

San Andres. Beautiful, and the breeze from the ocean takes the extreme edge off the heat, which you can find oppressive in other coastal or low lying areas. Been there so many times, I have lost count. Love the Decameron Aquarium, which is built in towers in the water. Although, after 20 years of staying there, you can see its showing signs of aging now, like me.
(unfortunately the locals don't like Decameron, as it is all inclusive, there is no need for guests to spend money in restaurants or bars). Boat trips take you to the coral reefs, and in glass bottomed boats you can see giant rays and numerous other fish, go sailing, or you can take a trip in a mock " pirate ship" around the lagoon. Always a lot to do in San Andres.

Cartagena. Lovely city, Interesting history, but much too hot for me. A bit touristy, but still worth a visit. If it was a little cooler, I would go back, but mind the mosquitos. Beaches are good a little north of the centre, along past the airport, by the hotel Las Americas. (a good hotel to stay at).

Santa Marta/Rodadero. Yeah, its ok, and its a coastal resort, It also has a nice Colombian flavour, with typical architecture, traditional Caribbean type stuff, but again, a bit too hot for me. The beaches are a dull grey type sand, not what we traditionally think of as good beaches, many places a bit stoney, but its a good kicking off point for trips along the coast a little to Tayrona National Park, where the beaches are of beautiful golden sand, and also handy for trips to the Lost City in the Sierra Nevada.

Tolu. Out of the way, with not so many tourists compared with other coastal towns, so its quiet, and the reason I wanted to see it. Its quite a poor town, traditional type buildings, and people have said that crime is a problem (because of the poverty), although I have to say I never encountered any fear or intimidation, nor threat in the time I was there, and with a group of friends, we had many beach parties at night, many beers, with no problems whatsoever. Beaches are quite good, with the shallow water going quite a way out, so is good for those who don't like it too deep, too suddenly, as it shelves more gently, and probably safer for kids. Heat wasn't too oppressive, and the mosquitos were evident, but not too bad. Lots of boat trips available, including to Santa Cruz del Islote, which has the honour of being the most densely populated island in the world. it smells a bit of fish and the sea, but can only be described as "Interesting" , for want of something nice to say, but it was worth going ..... once.

Covenas. Not far along the coast from Tolu, Covenas is more modern, cleaner and more spacious than Tolu. Beaches are excellent, and don't get too crowded. The town is developing, and many apartment blocks/hotels etc, are going up along the sea front, which stretches for miles, A safe place, and safe beaches too. Again, many boat trips, and if you want quiet beaches, you can find one there. There's also a Caiman reserve, with small boat trips along the river inland,, through mangrove forests, where you can encounter caiman, but the "caiman park" is a small enclosure where the caiman are in cages, which is sad, as they can't move around in their natural habitat.

Medellin. No need to describe Medellin, as you all live there anyway. And not my favourite, as there are too many Gringos there, haha.

Bucaramanga. Not much I can say about Bucaramanga. Its a city, its quite nice, with most things you could want. Its very warm (for me), but not too hot, although with less pollution than Medellin or Bogota, the suns rays are much stronger, so make sure you take sun cream. But nearby is Chicamocha, and I recommend a visit there. It is the second largest canyon in the world, second only to the Grand Canyon, and the cable car ride to the bottom, and up the other side is absolutely awesome. Extreme sports are to be found here, including rafting, parascending, hang gliding, to name just a few.

San Gil. Set in the mountains, its a very pretty place, clean, green, and you can also use it as a base to explore the surrounding area. Places like Barrichara, where the small town has been preserved, and you can get a flavour of what life was like a hundred years ago. It hasn't changed much.

Girardot. This is a small town about 3 hours drive from Bogota, (on a good day, the traffic can easily make it 6 hours on a bad day). Its a resort town, where half of Bogota goes at weekends, but there's not really anything to do there. But that's why they go there, just to chill out, relax and enjoy some hot weather and lay in the pools all day and barbecue at night. Its ok, but don't expect to be fully occupied. Its only for chilling out. Not much more to say, really.

Melgar. If Girardot is where half of Bogota goes at weekends, Melgar is where the other half go. Again, its for chilling out, but there is more life there ..... nightlife in particular. In the day, it is nice to explore the town, shops, restaurants, its a lovely ambience. But at night, the town comes alive. Bars, clubs, dance halls, and whatever kind of nightlife you look for, you'll probably find it in Melgar. If you have a young girlfriend, they'll love you even more if you take them there, and go salsa with them. Beer, bailar and bed, haha. That's the life they love, and if you look around you, half the executives have their secretaries with them, bonking them all weekend between bouts of salsa. Of course, some don't go for that, and if you just want to chill, a good bet is the Cafam resort. There are many levels of accomodation, from cabanas, to the hotel Almirante, and the best hotel, the Kualamana, Each have their own pools, dining area, etc, and the Kualamana has some great pools, great restaurants, and the service is excellent. (ok, a little more money, but worth it), There are many activities (if you're not sleeping after bonking all night), like tennis, mini golf, etc, or you can explore the grounds with its lakes, and many other things to do. Melgar is another place where I have lost count of the times I have been, and I still keep going back.

Villavicencio. Another city, and like all cities, just another city. But if you want it hot, you got it. Its hot. Not much more to say really.

Leticia. One of my favourites, as of course, its on the Amazon, the big river. But its not only the destination, half the attraction is the journey to get there. In the aeroplane, when you look out the windows, you can usually see towns, villages, roads, etc, way down below. But on the flight when you start to pass over the jungle, there is nothing. Absolutely nothing, just endless green. This side of the river, its like that for maybe 500 miles, but it really hits you when you realise that the other side of the river, there is another 2,000 miles of nothing, just endless green. And to the east, there is also nothing, just endless green for another 2,000 miles eastwards too. That's an amazing realization of how vast it really is. When you get there, you will almost certainly find all the boat trips along the river, to the indigenas villages, etc. Yeah, they are great, although they don't wear their grass skirts all the time, for when the last boatload of tourists departs, you can see them changing back into tee shirts and jeans, haha, so its a bit laid on for the tourists. But there are many other good things, like trips to Monkey Island, (Isla del Micos), where they come sit on your shoulders, or head, whilst you feed them bananas. Or maybe visit Benjamin Constant, a town on the other side of the river where the guy of that name discovered rubber, Learn about the rubber wars, although to learn too much can be traumatic for some, the way the natives were fed alcohol, enslaved, tortured, killed, all in pursuit of money by the big multinationals. There are also ecological activities, and if you get a good guide, he will teach you much about the river itself, maybe even take you to a backwater where the piranhas live and breed, strip off and go swimming with piranhas and caiman, like I did. Ok, I did it for charity, not something I would do for kicks, but I did get more of a buzz from that, (afterwards) than any extreme sport like hang gliding or parachuting,, that's for sure.

Ok, so that's some of my trips I have taken in Colombia. and there will be many more to come, for this country, my home, is full of wonders and so many different experiences are available, for those who want to explore their new country.

Go for it. And then, of course, we have Peru, Brasil, and many others within reach. The possibilities are endless.

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ponymalta
3/15/2019 07:05 EST

LaPiranha

thanks for the informative post.

as i get older simply i wish to return to places i know i like, rather than just visit new places. i am partial to some parts of italy, definitely croatia, and i do visit Northumberland in UK annually- beautiful part of england in the summer.surprisingly i find here and here some excellent restaurants of the calibre i dont think i coudl ever find in colombia. i also lived initially (and switzerland) many years ago- after which the food of the New World is well underwhelming to say the least. For an expensive but superb vacation I dont know of anything that beats Sardinia..

i did visit Bolivia a while back on business, was quite interesting- but i wouldnt go out of my way to spend money to just say i have been somewhere.

thanks for the comments on places in colombia gave me some ideas. seems lots of places of natural beauty in colombia. for the life of me i have never understood except for night life and related pleasures why any tourist would visit Medellin, but living in Medellin and nearby is extremely pleasant.

i have been several times to Narino, again for work, but I found it quiet fascinating.

i have thought Amazonia might be interesting to visit.

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jooks
3/15/2019 09:14 EST

LaPiranha, awesome post and basic travel guide for the country, particularly for the uninitiated. Thanks.

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mattinnorfolk
3/15/2019 10:26 EST

These are all such amazing post, thank you very much to all of you!

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Jimbeam7
3/15/2019 12:14 EST

Travel to USA to see family twice a year and travel the world to explore. In the last 12 months: The Netherlands, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Egypt, Spain, and Portugal. I find that some places I've no wish to return and there's others that I would love to spend more time in. Someone mentioned Bolivia which is one of my favorite countries, I've been there several times and still would like to return because I know there is more to see. Unfortunately the wife puts a damper on many places I would like to see as she wants more "civilized" vacations.

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Elexpatriado
3/15/2019 13:04 EST

Travelling..? Inside and outside of Colombia? Me?

This is going to be an extremely LONG post..

I better wait until I have more time..and do it on word with an English spell check and then copy it over.. Cuz sometimes my posts dont get published

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CAtoMDE
3/15/2019 22:51 EST

Me and my Kia Picanto have 4 long road trips under our (seat) belt since October 2018, note my home is Medellin:

Returned last night from a week in Covenas/Tolu 1,030 KM

January 2019 - Medellin to Quito Ecuador with many stops along the way, 3,000 km

November 2018 - Medellin to Bogota

October 2018 - Medellin to Mompox/Cartagena/Bar/Santa Marta

Next week will probably be Bucamarranga/Cucuta/Bogota

Next month I am considering a month in Ecuador

Living the life!

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LaPiranha
3/16/2019 02:17 EST

CAtoMDE. Great to hear of all your journeys. That's the spirit. Keep posting on them.

If you get as far as Riohacha, which is only a little further than SantaMarta, I would be very interested to hear your view on it. I'm also considering going up that way again. But I've only had two reports on Riohacha, one says its a lovely little town, the other says the opposite, and its dangerous, so I would be very keen to hear of your opinion, as you always tell it as you see it, and I like that.

I hope you also find my reports (above) on some other destinations useful in return.

Happy motoring. :)

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LaPiranha
3/16/2019 02:19 EST

oooops, sorry. Didn't realise you did Santa Marta in October.

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Elexpatriado
3/16/2019 21:35 EST

I prepared this in WORD and changed the spell check to English. I think it is fairly complete, and a good reference for me.
Where I have travelled outside of Colombia since I came here 6 and a half years ago:
-Every year I go back to Canada, one month in summer for rock climbing and mountaineering, and to visit my family and one month in winter for resort skiing, cat skiing and mostly back country (touring) skiing. I will be probably reducing the winter trips to once every 2 years in future due to costs and to be able visit more countries and places in South America and the Caribbean
-Mexico, twice to Cancun , once to Cabo San Lucas and once to Mazatlán
-UK once for a village to village walking holiday in the English Lake District. I also visited my aunt in Holland on the same trip
-Aruba
-Panama (briefly)
-Nepal for 2 weeks on a trekking trip. I came back with the worst case of Bronchitis in my life
-Argentina, to Buenas Aires for a few days and then to Bariloche for skiing
-Peru to visit Machu Picchu and Cuzco (for the second time in my life- way more crowded than it was in the year 2000).
-This following summer (June)- I have purchased tickets to take my girlfriend to Spain- I will be staying over longer to do some mountaineering in the Alps near San Moritz. Might visit relatives in Holland again. I had planned to go to the Lofoten islands for rock climbing, but it is too far away , too expensive, and I don’t know if I can bring my climbing skills up to the level to do the routes I want to do,
In the future, I would like to go to Ecuador to climb some of the Big Volcanos and go to the Galapagos (amazingly I have not been there yet), Curacao, Chie, Peru again hopefully to do a Trek in the cordillera huayhuash, Argentina again, maybe deeper into Patagonia,

The places I have been to in Colombia since I started coming here in 2004 are as follows (I need to look at a Colombian map and am trying to start from South to North:

-Popayan (twice)
- Cali (several times and have spent months at a time there).

And Following in Valle de Cauca

-Pance (and área), Dapa, KM 18
-Palmira (several times)
-Tulua
-Buga
-Lago Colima (several times)
- Cartago

In Tolima

-Girardot (Actually in Cudinamarca)
-Espiñal
-Melgar
-Chicoral
-Honda

In Quindio the following-

-Armenia (frequently)
-Calarca (frequently)
-Quimbayo
-Finlandia
-Parque del Café (several times)
-Panaca
-Salento (many many times)
- Valle de Cocora (several times)
- PNN los Nevados- several times- went up to the Finca Primavera 1500 m above Valle de Cocora 4 times total. Attempted ascent of Nevado del Tolima once, actually climbed it twice by 2 different routes, and climbed Nevado del Quindio

Bogota and Cudinamarca área:

-Bogota several times, pretty well all the museums and climbed / ran the 550 m staircase to Monseratte several times. Not to mention the airport and are around the embassies (LOL)
-Zipaquira and the salt mine cathedral
-That stupid theme park with the Taj Mahal imitation on the way out of Bogota on the way to Suesca-its named after some guy James someone- a famous Colombia pilot
-Suesca- several times – I go at least a couple times a year for rock climbing. Plus I have done some hiking in the hills around there
- Laguna Sagreda de Guatavita (twice)
-Sesquille

Cities and areas in Meta:

-Villavicencio
-Puerto Lopez (With the obelisk monument indicting the geographic center of Colombia)
-La Macarena and Caño Cristales- the multi-colored river

Risaralda and Caldas:

-Pereira and Dos Quebradas (frequently)
-Cerritos (and finca near here)
- Santa Rosa de Cabal and the Thermales (been to all the thermals in the area- the principle ones several times)
-Manizales (Lived there for 4 years)
-Villa Maria
- Manazares
-Chinchina
-Rio Sucio area
-Balacazar ( where there is a big statue of Christ you can crawl inside)
-PNN de los Nevados- including climbing to the summit of Nevado Del Ruiz (many years ago when it was not active) and Santa Isabel 2 different peaks -3 or 4 different times.

Boyaca:
-Villa de Leiva
- Cocuy and Guican and Parque Naicional del Cocuy- twice- I climbed 4 of the highest peaks between 5100 m and 5400m (Rita Cuba Blanca, Pan De Azucar, Concavo, San Pablo Sur ) on two separate mountaineering tripstrips before they stupidly closed the parque to mountaineering above snow line.

Santander and Norte De Santander:

-Bucaramanga (where I know live), including Floridablanca, Piedecuesta, Giron, and a holiday parque near Rio Negro, several hikes to waterfalls in the area (there are many waterfalls, posos , rios and lagunas in the area worth visiting)
-Cañon de Chicamocha including the national parquet and teleferico (6m long one of longest in the world)
-Barichara, Guane, San Gil (twicw)
-Socorro
-Zapatoca (Nice pueblo here as well)
-Guadalupe Santander- which has “Las Gachas” an underground river in a Karst formation which bubbles to the surface through pot holes in the river bed. Each pot hole is like a miniature Jacuzzi you can go in or bathe in. As a matter of fact, you can slide on your butt down the river bed at least 15 meters into one of these potholes. I have a video of me doing this. They also have a cave you can go in through one end and come out the other, with water rushing. Also at least one waterfall.
- Berlin (the one on the way to Cucuta and the Paramos de Santurban
-Vetas- at altitude 3350 M on the edge of the Paramos de Santurban. A real picturesque little alpine pueblo perched on the side of a mountain. It has the highest soccer field in Colombia. I don’t know why the Selecion de Colombia don’t practice here before they go to La Paz to play Bolivia.
-Paramos de Santurban-a massive paramo- one of the biggest in Colombia, straddling the frontier between Santander and Norte de Santander. Varies in Altitude between 3200m and 4400 m peaks. Over 100 alpine lakes, some quite colorful. Reminiscent of the Scottish highlands, except with significant frailejones in some areas. I have been there 4 times, doing extensive day hikes.

Antioquia:

-Medellin (lived for 1 year), Envigado (lived for 2 years), Itagui, Bello ,Sabaneta
-Guatape, Peñol (several times)
- Santa Fe de Antioquia (several times)
- Rio Negro, Llano Grande
-Copacabana and finca nearby
-Venecia
-Reserva del Rio Claro – twice (You Gotta go on the cave excursión ¡!)
-Parque hacienda Napoles (Pablo Escobar`s old Finca)

Cordoba;

-Monteria. Montelibano , Cerro Matoso nickel smelter (for work assignment several years ago).


Choco- Caribbean Region;

-Capurgana and Sapzuro- Real nice 4 day excursion to all inclusive with small plane flight from Medellin

Cartagena and area¨

-Cartagena, Playa Blanca, Islas Rosarios, Baru

Santa Marta and área

-Santa Marta (several times)
-Rodadero (twice)
-Tatanga
-PNN Tayrona- Playa Cristal, Trek and walk to Cabo San Juan (twice).
-PNN Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta- several times- I have been trying for the last couple years to make an ascent of the 2 highest peaks in Colombia- Cristobol Colon and Simon Bolivar (Both around 5800 m). However, there has been many false starts, several trips to the coffee village of Palmor (18 km off of the main highway 45 going south from Cienaga ) and two trips by foot on trails to or near the Kogi Village of Maramongo, approximately 20 Km from Palmor. Because of bureaucracy, inexperience, corruption of the locals (and other Colombians) and the Kogis (and in addition the general timid, distrusting nature of the Kogis), most of these expeditions failed miserably one way or another. However, in one instance was able to make it with a team to the summit of the third highest peak in Colombia , Pico Simmonds, around 5700 m. This involved 5 days walking inland with guides, cook, mules and mule keepers, sleeping in the Kogi village of Maramongo, sleeping in Kogi huts (or “hooch” as they would say in Nam) and in tents above tree line at up to 4800m, and a final push to the summit with 2 AM alpine start on the 6th day, then followed 3 days return trekking downhill (mostly LOL) to Palmor. Involved about 120 km of back country hiking with over 6000 m in ups and downs round trip. A real “NatGeo” type expedition.

La Guajira

-Rio Hache
-Cabo de Vela
-Punto Gallinas
-Manuare (This place NOT recomendad)

San Andreas –once for a couple of days. That is all the time you need to see it.


That’s about all the places I have been to. Here is my preliminary “Bucket List” here I would Like to Go in the Future in Colombia:

- Isla Providencia
- -Rock Climbing in La Mojarra in the Chicamocha cañon
- Nariño, Pasto
- Choco Pacific side- Bahia Solano, Nuqui
- -Coveñas, Santiago de Tolu , Islas San Bernardo in Caribbean
- Beaches near Buenaventura (My friend knows some safe beautiful beaches there, and knows how to get there)
- Nevado del Huila (To climb- extremely complicated)
- High Peaks of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta again ( I need experienced Partner(s) with deep pockets and patience willing to share risks and expenses)
- PNN Cocuy- especially if they fix up stupid rules about restriction of access to high peaks above snow line.

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nonames
3/16/2019 22:32 EST

Wow LX, that's some list!! I enjoyed it. I've been to few of those places (only a few!)
and a few you haven't. Providencia
has a nice little mountain that folks like to hike up to but you may only need one day there, as it's much smaller than San An but also "cleaner." I didn't notice Las Amazonas on your list. Lot's to see; not much to climb, granted, but it's a must in terms of rounding out that cool Colombian list Mano!
Thanks for posting.

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Wildstubby
3/16/2019 22:57 EST

I got a question for you Elex: Have you ever heard of anyone getting a bug/parasite to the point they can't return again to that area of the world? The reason I say is a fellow I used to work with did the same sort of thing as you. He wound up getting sick in either Argentina or Peru. Was laid up about 6 weeks there before he was strong enough to return to the states. He told me told me he doesn't have any resistance to this disease or whatever and can't return to SA. He was pretty pale when he got home so I know it wasn't a BS tale.

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Elexpatriado
3/17/2019 00:09 EST

Wildstubby..nope..I have lived all over the world. I think I trained my immune system.to be.resilient to everything after my first sprint in Kazakhastan..they still had the plague there a few years back, not to mention abandoned ex Soviet biological test sites.

The only time I was really sick was the Nepal lung rot. And once with moderate food poisoning for 4 days from bad fish in a Santa Marta restaurant.

My Colombian friend on the other hand, ate ceviche from a beach vender in Santa Marta and had to be hospitalized, stomach pumped, intervenious almost died ( I ate ceviche there too.. wouldnt recommend it.. will never do that again.)

Nonames..no interest in the Amazonas.. I dont like bugs..the creepy crawly type.. not the microscopic ones

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Elexpatriado
3/17/2019 00:11 EST

WS he could have had Dengue..it kills people

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EpaEpaEpa
3/17/2019 08:59 EST

Exp if you like traveling Colombia you should check out Guaviare. It is definitely an a very interesting part of the country.

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Wildstubby
3/17/2019 09:00 EST

Sorry, I don't mean to hijack the thread. He and his wife, (who also worked with me), packed their bags, sold everything and went around the world on a tour. I think he only made it half way and they decided it was not a good idea. He is a ChemE and found work with a pharma in Colorado. I don't think it was dengue with it being global. This was something associated geographically with South America.

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Elexpatriado
3/17/2019 11:19 EST

Dont know..people are always sick here firm firm a common cold to cáncer.. but I never am..knock on wood...

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pocopelo
3/17/2019 15:45 EST

@ElEx I was considering a trip to the Manuare area for windsurfing (one of the few windy coastal areas in Colombia in season). What was it that put you off about the place?

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Elexpatriado
3/17/2019 16:00 EST

The salt hill.or whatever..nothing to see there and it was quite ugly.

Dont know how windy ir is there but there was quite a lot of wind and big gong in the boat to.punta gallinas

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CAtoMDE
3/17/2019 16:01 EST

pocopelo - I spent the past week in Covenas and on 2 days saw 5 or 6 windsurfers having a lot of fun on this windy coast, these young 20 somethings looked like they were really talented managing the wind and outcropping of rocks, was a lot of fun to watch.

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pocopelo
3/17/2019 19:27 EST

@CAtoMDE Interesting, I wouldn't have expected to see the NE trade winds that far down the coast. What time of the year were you there? I've travelled many parts of the coast, Sapzurro/Capurgana, Cartagena, Santa Marta/Taganga and haven't seen much wind.

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CAtoMDE
3/17/2019 19:36 EST

@pocopelo - this was this past week, more specifically it was on Tuesday and Wednesday when the group of windsurfers were out.

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CarlosElChacal
3/18/2019 02:07 EST

LaPiranha—fantastic post with such helpful details and commentary/insight about each area. Thank you!

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yolatengo
8/11/2019 13:43 EST

LaPiranha or anyone - Can you help - I'm looking for a tour operator in Leticia... I'm looking to go there for a week in the next week or so. The 2 operators I contacted didn't respond. Thanks.

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LaPiranha
8/11/2019 16:08 EST

Yolatengo. You don't need to find one in Leticia. Just pop into your local Exito. They have a viaje section. If not, look up
www.viajesexito.com
But any travel agent wherever you are will be able to offer trips to Leticia.

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nonames
8/11/2019 16:42 EST

Yola, I've been to Leticia often enough and will return there in Oct to visit friends up river. Tour operators are plentiful and I would just show up and hang out in town for a few days and look around to negotiate what you want. You'll be fine as long as you got the lingo. Booking.com com has some decent offerings for lodging if you're not familiar with Leticia. Granted, it's not for everyone (peace of mind and all that) but it's definitely doable.

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yolatengo
8/11/2019 17:31 EST

Thanks nonames.

Do you recommend staying in Leticia? Puerto Narino? Would you care to recommend a hotel? I'm not on a strict budget but I'm also not rich. Or, should I take a chance on an airbnb? [I know next to nothing about amazonas. I'm just looking for a semi-adventurous place to go.]

If I went without using a tour operator, would it be simple enough to book things on my own, i.e., Amazon cruise, pirhana fishing (just saying), hikes?

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LaPiranha
8/11/2019 18:06 EST

If you stay in Puerto Narino, your choice of stuff to do, where to go, will be very limited. If you stay in Leticia, you'll find trips to everywhere, and they're not expensive.

From Leticia you can get trips to Puerto Narino, Isla del micos (monkey Island), Benjamin Constant (where rubber was discovered, Brasil, Peru, to see the pink dolphins, caiman, swim with piranhas (I did that) , or whatever you look for.

I stayed at the Hotel Anaconda, probably the closest decent one you'll get to the river (just across the other side of the green), recommended as the best in town, and one of the very few that have a pool. On the menu every night was fresh fish from the Amazon, caught fresh every morning, and absolutely delicious and perfectly cooked. Yet not expensive, which was surprising. One thing to bear in mind, is that most hotels don't have hot water in the showers, but you don't really need it.

My son stayed there too, about a year ago, on a school trip, and assured me its still all good.

Although any travel agency will arrange it all for you, you can easily do it yourself, book a flight, and book the hotel, but I found a travel agent didn't work out any dearer, and they also arrange the transfers from airport to hotel and back, whereas if you rely on airport taxis, you generally pay a lot extra.

Just from my own experience.

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EpaEpaEpa
8/11/2019 19:57 EST

A friend and I stayed at this place several years ago. It is absolutely top drawer. It's located part way between Leticia and Puerto Nariño, closer to the latter. 

http://www.calanoaamazonas.com/hoteldeselva.html

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nonames
8/11/2019 20:03 EST

That depends on when you'd like to go.
research river levels and the affect it will have either way on what you want to do. It has a high season and a low season which can differ by about 30 meters!
Definitely get out of town for a trip but while in town check out the little museum in the back room of one the "main"gift shops (Just ask around) besides swordfish bills, a huge black caiman skin and various other oddities collected over the years, is a photo of a giant anaconda hanging by the tail with a big lump in it that they claim is a 12 year old boy. Crazy, wild, place! I happen to be bringing a fly fishing buddy from Colorado who,I'm hoping, can catch some piranha. You can also order them up at the restaurant next to the Yuripuri (?) hotel. I've stayed there and do recommend it. About 150 mil maybe. A/C is a must for us. I'm trying someplace different this time, the equivalent of a B&B. I like to get to know the locals wherever I go and I find that supporting their cottage industries helps with that. Especially places where the big companies suck the cash outta the place like San Andres Island.
The suggestion by LaFish, as usual per his posts, is also good and practical. I've gotten some good deals from Exito travel services. Hassel free.
Oh Yola, don't forget to look into what you need for parasite/amoeba aftercare. You'll need it.

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yolatengo
8/12/2019 07:59 EST

Thanks for all the helpful info to all.
It was kind of a last minute decision to get out of town... I plan to go next Monday and stay a week. Based on the comments, I assume I can check into a hotel in Leticia and ask around about tours?

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LaPiranha
8/12/2019 14:19 EST

Yeah, most hotels have the tours listed and often someone from the tour company calls each day to answer any questions and take bookings.

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yolatengo
8/13/2019 18:36 EST

Some final questions/comments, at least I hope this is the end. And I apologize for not starting a separate thread - I didn’t realize that this subject would become so lengthy.

I decided to go without a tour operator as suggested here. I’m leaving next week. I booked a room at Waira Suites in Leticia, though I am not too late to cancel. LaPiranha mentioned Hotel Anaconda as a good choice. I wasn’t thrilled with some comments in tripadvisor, hence I chose Waira. Does anyone have info on Waira. They seem to be a bit of a hassle to deal with mostly because of booking.com.

Epa, your recommendation for accommodations looks super but I am going solo and a cabin looks like overkill. I also don’t see prices listed on their site.

Other than the usual travel stuff, what is recommended to bring? So far I have on my list a hat, bug spray - one place recommended cream because a spray could be a problem with the airlines and a waterproof bag. I suppose I should count on ruining a pair of shoes and pants.

I don’t think I mentioned it, but I cannot do arduous hikes because of my knees.

I haven’t traveled solo for quite a while. And I never traveled to a place so far removed from my comfort zone. Any final recommendations would be appreciated.

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saiid20
8/13/2019 20:43 EST

Long sleeved shirt and long pants if you go into the jungle. Dont worry, you'll be supplid with the boots by the tour guide...end up looking like a FARC poster....
Spray we found to be tops was called, amazingly enough..Amazonas...bit pricey but ir works .

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:10 EST

Sending you a PM (If I can figure out how)

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Leelet
8/13/2019 21:13 EST

My apologies

Nothing like posting a dozen times. My enter keys is stuck. I don't know if it's going through or not.

SORRY

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yolatengo
8/13/2019 21:18 EST

Well, you mastered sending a message on the forum, haha. The software seems lost in space. You can send messages to my whatsapp account... 304-641-8595. Thanks.

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yolatengo
8/13/2019 21:22 EST

nonames, thanks for your very helpful PM. As for Waira, I might have to pass them up for Anaconda. I needed to change my reservation by one day. I couldn't do so. The site does say that all bookings are final and there are no refunds. But jeez, it was only several hours after I made the reservation that I realized that Latam was less than half the price if I departed a day later. However, they don't have my credit card info so I have nothing to lose. I tried numerous ways to contact them to no avail. So, I guess it's Anaconda.

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yolatengo
8/13/2019 21:23 EST

Oh, nonames, for whatever reason, I was unable to respond to your PM.

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LaPiranha
8/14/2019 02:37 EST

Yola ... In addition to the mosquito spray, also take along some repellent soap. I use Nopikex solid repellent, which comes in a little black box, (buy it in pharmacies, or even Exito), and I have had great success with it. You simply wet it, and rub it all over your arms, neck and ankles. The mosquitos hate it, and stay well clear. Its cheaper than spray, which doesn't last long.

If you are British, you'll also know what Marmite is. You eat it spread on toast for breakfast. Although it has no smell to us, a mosquito can smell it on your skin, and again, won't come anywhere near you.

When I was there, my guide on the trips used to pick some vines off the trees every morning, Strip off a little bark, and rub the vine all over your vulnerable parts.

With a combination of these measures, I never once got bitten in the whole time I was there.

Of course, you can get too paranoid about it, but the dangers of Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya, yellow fever, malaria etc are actually real, so take all the measures you can.

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LaPiranha
8/14/2019 02:40 EST

Leelet .... Errr, I didn't quite catch that, can you repeat? LOL.

Just teasing you, of course, haha.

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