Colombia

Popayán to San Agustín: Driving into Colombia’s Soul

backpacking
Drive from Popayan to San Agustin, Colombia

When we walk into the Popayan bus station, I predict that I have another memorable overland trip ahead of me. The bus station only has half of its concrete floor. The other half is dirt. Although we see no one repairing the floor, we quickly learn that someone has recently been working on it. My […]

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Three Vignettes from a Room with a View in Popayán

Colombia
Overlooking the main square in Popayan, Colombia

By day, Popayan’s main square looks like many colonial towns in Latin America. There is a cafe, a bank or two, and a church on the perimeter of it. Inside the square, you’ll find people watching the day go by from a park bench, city maintenance workers keeping everything tidy, and vendors everywhere. You can […]

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Photo Essay: Scenes from Popayán, Colombia

Colombia

It’s only been a few hours since I left Cali, but the big city feels far away as I arrive in Popayan on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I’ve reserved a quaint little hostel room that’s decorated in shades of blue and overlooks the main square of Popayan. It exemplifies simple perfection. I settle in and […]

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Songs for the Road No. 22: A Soundtrack for a Road Trip on the West Side of Colombia

Colombia

In Colombia, there are distinct Afro-Colombian cultures on both the Caribbean and Pacific Coasts. The Pacifico Afro-Colombian culture is even more obscure to outsiders and harder to access than that of the Caribbean Coast. Perhaps because of that, the Afro-Colombian culture there is quite strong. African rhythms and call and response singing are combined to […]

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Punk, Skate, Salsa: A Weekend in Cali, Colombia

Colombia
Mural in Cali, Colombia with stencil graffiti

As my bus meanders through the Valle de Cauca, I can tell that I have entered a different Colombia. Throughout my trip, the landscape and atmosphere have varied wildly from place to place, but something about this region feels entirely different. The tenacious hands of tourism haven’t yet reached this corner of Colombia. We drive […]

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Photo Essay: The Gritty, Endearing Streets of Cali, Colombia

captured on memory card

Cali is the kind of city dresses for itself and not for anyone else. It’s aloof, yet playful with its style; it lets you think it’s all urban grit, then it throws in a little bit of quaintness and challenges your perception of it. It’s generally ugly with a splash of color, art, or poetry […]

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5 Things You’ll Want to Know Before Hiking in Colombia’s Valle de Cocora

Colombia
Tips for Exploring the Valle de Cocora, Colombia

While the mysteriousness of the Valle de Cocora is part of its charm, it’s a good idea to get some background knowledge before visiting, especially if you plan on hiking independently as I did. As popular as the valley is among travelers, it’s still a rugged experience with little information available once you arrive and […]

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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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