Coffee Disttrict

Trip Start Jan 08, 2009
Trip End Feb 10, 2009

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I arrived on the nightbus into Manizales, one of the main towns in the coffee triangle. The buses here are very comfortable but for some weird reason they all turn on the AC full blast at night so itīs freezing inside the bus. Fortunately I had been warned and had my jacket, hat, towel etc. to sheild me from the cold. Met up with a local tour operator and we discussed various options for the main itinerary and for the various add-ons we intend to offer. They were quite excited by the itinerary and said it would be quite unique as no other overseas operators were doing very much in this part of the country, and the possibilities were excellent. Having been in Colombia for 6 weeks before made it a lot easier to make decisions, and discuss the options available.

The following day I set off on a tour to Los Nevados de la Ruiz, a national park with a unique biosphere and landscape. It contains a volcano that rises above 5,000m and the scenery all around looks like you have just landed on the moon. The day was quite foggy at first but when we got high enough we broke through the cloud and the views were truly spectacular. We climbed slowly up the volcano for about an hour, not to the top but up to the snow-line. At that altitude itīs important to climb slowly but consistently. But it was incredible, the snow against the bare rock, very sparse and hostile territory, but very beautiful. We stopped for lunch and then relaxed in the pool that is filled with water from the hot springs, the perfect way to relax after a hard day! I was the only foreigner on the bus and in typical Colombian style, I got to know everyone on the bus and got several invitations to visit people in various parts of the country. The people here truly are very special.

- Dave
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