Nice city in the Eje Cafetero

Trip Start Apr 22, 2010
Trip End Aug 27, 2010

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Friday, July 23, 2010

Well nothing goes as planned here. We got 4 hours delay again with our flight and then 1:30 hour delay with the bus so we arrived during the night in Manizales. We went to the only hostel (Mountain house) mentioned in the Lonely planet that turned out not to be what we expected. Lots of english people here with a crappy bed and you get 2 eggs and 2 slices of toasts as breakfast...and the eggs you need to cook them yourself :).

The place is not that bad but we decided to go and see another one we saw recommended. The other place was new with a cool terrace with view over the town. Cool place to stay but not the cheapest.

We stayed here 2 days and the first one I just visited the city and relaxed after so many hours being in buses the last 3 days.
The second day we did a tour to the national parque Los Nevados. It is a realy expensive park and thus the tour getting there as well. Because of the cost I'm a bit mitigated to recommend it as it isn't the most beautiful excursion I've ever did. It was a nice journey though.

You are the most part of the day in a bus and in the national park the roads are very but very bumpy! So that wasn't really nice.
You stop in the park at different places to take quickly a picture and the only walk you do is to go up a hill from 4800 till 5000 meter of altitude. The hike is nice but not jaw dropping, it was very cold out there and very windy. My lips were frozen and I had difficulties to warm up my fingers as well. You don't get to go till the top of the mountain and that was dissapointing as well. What was nice in this tour were the thermal baths at the end. It's always nice to end a day in some thermal baths :)

At night I went with 2 Swiss guys, I met during the tour, to party and it was a nice experience again to go out in Colombia. The local population drinks lots of alcohol but really a lot! You just can't follow and they keep offering you some. Friendly but deadly people :)

As well the girls are impossible to follow but they know how to party here :)


Manizales es una ciudad de la que guardo un buen recuerdo, me parecio asi ordenada y moderna. Hay un teleferico que cruza la ciudad, ya que esta situada entre varias colinas, tiene una orografia dificil. La primera noche estuvimos en el Mountain House hostel, que no nos convencio mucho, las camas no eran muy buenas,asi que no cambiamos al Base Camp, que es nuevo y estaba genial, aunque un poco mas caro, y estaba mas en el centro. Aqui en Manizales lo que hay para hacer son sobretodo excursiones de un dia, y visitar el centro historico de la ciudad, que no es tampoco impresionante que digamos. Nosotros decidimos ir al Nevado del Ruiz, en una excursion de un dia, y subimos hasta 5000 metros. Otra de las actividades que nos quedamos con muchas ganas de ir es a los termales de Santa Rosa, que aparentemente es de los mejores banos termales que hay por la zona, pero como era muy complicado el transsporte, y en la excursion del nevado acabamos yendo a otros banos termales, pues decidimos no ir.

La excursion al Nevado del Ruiz me dejo malos y buenos recuerdos. Malos por el frio que pase  (no llevaba guantes y tuve que bajar antes de llegar al glaciar, unos 20 metros antes) y buenos porque encontramos un par de chicos suizos muy simpaticos que se alojaban en el mismo hostel que nosotros, y tambien porque el resto de gente que iba en la excursion eran super simpaticos con nosotros, eran todos colombianos, y al final nos despedimos de todos ellos, gente muy amable la verdad, lo nunca visto en America del Sur. Despues del nevado la excursion se acabo visitando unas termas que no eran como las de Santa Rosa pero que no estaban nada mal.

Algunos a lo mejor recordareis el Nevado del Ruiz, ya que hace unos quince anos, hubo una gran erupcion de este volcan, que al derretir parte del glaciar que aloja en su cima, provoco grandes avalanchas de lodo y agua y rocas, que hicieron desaparecer por completo una region. Tuvo mucha repercusion mediatica en la epoca, sobretodo por una nina que quedo atrapada en el lodo y que fallecio a los pocos dias ahogada y por la subida del agua. Lo controversial del caso es que las camaras que cubrieron la noticia lograron llegar al lugar y sin embargo una bomba de agua o un equipo medico que hubieran podido salvar la vida de la nina no lo lograron por falta de medios... Food for thought...
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Jay Martin on

I recommend the incoming "CARNAVAL DEL DIABLO" on January´s 2011 first days. Is an incredible festival full of colors and magic, it will happen in a village called Riosucio, two hour form Manizales by bus, in the eje cafetero.

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