If you liked our Excellent Adventures: Nicaragua with Michael Libis, good news. He's back! And not just back for Bather, but back from Colombia. Colombia is a country at the northern tip of South America, known for its rainforests, mountainous regions, and (of course) coffee! We caught up with Michael to learn all about his trip, so if you've been considering an Excellent Adventure, keep reading and learn if Colombia is right for you!
Bather: Why Colombia?
Michael: After spending 5 weeks in Colombia during 2011, I still felt I needed more time to explore. Colombia offers a little bit of everything: Caribbean coastline, lush green mountains, vibrant culture, friendly locals and countless adventure opportunities.
B: How did you get there and how long did it take?
M: I sailed from Panama to Cartagena over five days with the charter company, Blue Sailing. The journey across the Caribbean sea stopped in the idyllic San Blas Islands for a few days and provided an incredibly unique way to travel between Central and South America. We snorkeled around lush coral reefs, fished for dorado and snapper, and had plenty of time to relax in paradise.
B: Where did you stay?
M: During my journey to Colombia, I slept on the catamaran in shared quarters. In Cartegena, I stayed at a lovely boutique hotel by the name of Casa Lola. It's situated close to the old town, has a luxurious rooftop area and offers amazing interior design. Best of all, it is priced fairly for what you're getting. In Minca, I stayed in an eco-lodge by the name of Casas Viejas. It's a rustic, yet comfortable, place designed for travelers and nature lovers looking for an immersive and revitalizing experience in the mountains of the Colombian Caribbean. There is no wifi at Casas Viejas, which I enjoyed because it forces guests to interact with each other. Be prepared for a tumultous journey, but I promise you'll be rewarded upon arrival.
B: What was your day-to-day like? Any attractions, restaurants, or areas that really stood out for you?
M: In Cartagena, the best thing you can do is walk the streets of the old town, explore the colorful colonial buildings, visit the local markets, and catch the sunset and a cocktail from Cafe del Mar. In the evening, I recommend checking out El Baron or Alquimico for impressive drink menus and ambiance. In Minca, nature is the name of the game. Situated next to a coffee plantation, Casa Viejas offers countless hikes in the lush mountains and opportunities to learn about coffee production in the region. The on-site restaurant offers communal dinners, local craft beer, homemade cakes and an excellent chance to get to know your fellow guests.
B: What were the top three attractions/activities?
M: 1) Sailing from Panama to Colombia has to be number one, the journey itself was the most impressive part of the trip.
2) Drinks on the rooftop of Alquimico on New Year's Eve
3) Hiking to the summit of the local mountain outside of Casas Viejas to watch the sunset
B: Any tips for anyone thinking of traveling to Columbia?
M: Make sure your vaccinations are up to date and be wary of the new regulations surrounding yellow fever. Colombia is relatively safe but is still a developing country so be smart and use your head. Don't walk around flaunting expensive accessories, jewelry, etc. If you're walking around at night make sure you have a buddy system in place, especially if you've been drinking.
B: Describe Colombia in 5 words.
M: Friendly, Passionate, Colourful, Adventurous, Stunning
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