the natural world

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

March 3, 2014 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

February 12, 2014 captured on memory card
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

February 1, 2014 captured on memory card
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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: Finding Paradise in Tayrona National Park, Colombia

October 14, 2013 captured on memory card
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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: Hiking from One Little Colombian Village to Another on the Camino Real

September 12, 2013 captured on memory card
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About 40 minutes away from San Gil is the picturesque Barichara, the epitome of a sleepy village. With its whitewashed buildings, cobblestone roads, and orangey-red tiled roofs, it has similar features to those of Villa de Leyva. The two towns are continuously up against each other for the title of Colombia’s prettiest pueblo, but their […]

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Photo Essay: Bearded Trees and Filtered Sunlight at San Gil’s Parque El Gallineral

August 29, 2013 captured on memory card
Parque El Gallineral in San Gil, Colombia

The deeper you go into Parque El Gallineral, the more you feel like you are in some kind of tropical enchanted forest. Long wisps of sun-infused moss hang from the branches of Ceiba trees whose roots spread away from their bases like spindly fingers, firmly gripping the ground. Electric colors accent the green and sunlight, […]

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The Raw, Consuming Beauty of Namibia

January 10, 2013 d.i.y. travel
Desert scenery in Namibia

Namibia is not a place to take a vacation. It’s a place to delve into beauty, undoubtedly—an alien beauty arising from dust and sand. It’s a place to have the boundaries of your mind expanded by nature’s lack of boundaries; by the great absence of anything or by the presence of something in the most […]

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Photo Essay: A Late Afternoon Off Road Adventure in Namibia

December 27, 2012 captured on memory card
Namibia - Sundowner Drive

We signed up for a sundowner excursion through the Kunene region because it was our last chance to search for elephants on this trip. We never saw any, but as we drove through the veld, ruggedly beautiful views were plentiful: Our vehicle for the drive. Namibia’s fairy circles, mysterious bare patches spread throughout the desert […]

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