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Photo Essay: Scenes from Salento and Its Emerald Surroundings

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Town square in Salento, Colombia

Salento is more than just a base for the Valle de Cocora. It’s a town of colorful buildings that line imperfectly charming little streets that lead to the mountains. It’s a town where dogs laze about on the sidewalks and car drivers share the roads with horseback riders. It’s a town where Colombian city folk […]

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Photo Essay: The Formidable Beauty of the Valle de Cocora

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It’s 6am when I go to Salento’s main square to catch a jeep to the Valle de Cocora. I’m surprised to see that they’re already full… or so I think. Once all the seats inside the jeeps are taken, there is still space. You can stand on the back ledge and hang on. I’d rather […]

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Photo Essay: Architecture and Public Art in Medellin

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On my last evening in Medellin, I take the cable car to the Santo Domingo neighborhood at sunset. Colombian hip hop drifts out of a nearby house, the volume turned up so that everyone can enjoy the wonderful sounds that are created when hip hop beats conjoin with the inherent musicality of the Spanish language. […]

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Reflections on Unexpectedly Seeing the Same Cuban Farmer Twice

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In the summer of 2010, my group had just begun a hike through the gorgeous mogotes and tropical farms of Cuba’s Viñales Valley when we saw a farmer in the distance, tending to his tobacco crop. A little while later, we met him as he walked along the path with two bulls. His mouth was […]

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Photo Essay: An Afternoon at Medellin’s Botanical Garden

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As I walk into the Jardin Botanico de Medellin, it feels less like a botanical garden and more like a lively public park. Some people are checking out the plants, but mostly it feels like a place where people come to have a picnic and enjoy the company of good friends or a good book […]

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Photo Essay: Juxtapositions of Past and Present in Cartagena, Colombia

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The more pictures you see of a place you’re about to visit, the more you begin to place yourself in the middle of the images. After seeing numerous photographs of Cartagena, I started to imagine myself in a vibrant colonial town or alternatively, on a cosmopolitan Caribbean coast lined with highrise buildings whose windows shimmered […]

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Photo Essay: Finding Paradise in Tayrona National Park, Colombia

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I can’t believe this is the path I’m on. Walking through the jungle, I’d heard waves pounding against the shore in the distance, thundering and echoing like a promise of magnificence to come. Now I’ve reached a clearing where I see the jagged edges of the mountainous jungle reaching into the ocean. The transition between […]

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Photo Essay: The Beauty and Quirks of San Gil, Colombia

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“This town is much more charming than I thought it would be!” my Austrian travel buddy proclaimed as we reunited in the San Gil town square. She’d arrived in San Gil after a couple nights in Barichara and we were meeting up for dinner before she caught a night bus to Santa Marta. I nodded […]

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