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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Photo Essay: Exploring Oakland in the Spring with Localite Tours

California

On a balmy Sunday morning in March, I crossed the San Francisco Bay to join Localite Tours’ Picnic Tour in Oakland. It was a relaxing day by Lake Merritt and our group got to experience some lovely sights and tastes of springtime Oakland. Here’s what we did: Our first stop was The Gardens at Lake […]

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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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Candid Discussions on Race and Travel in Salento

race/culture/identity

There must have been consciousness floating around in Salento’s misty air and truthfulness emanating from the mountains. I’m not sure what it was, but something about that little town seemed to fuel incredibly honest and thoughtful conversation among travelers. It started on the day I arrived in Salento. After my travel partner and I found […]

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