In the coffee zone.

Trip Start Oct 06, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Saturday, June 16, 2007

We have traveled a few hours further south in bus along the beautiful road between Medellin and Pereira. Pereira is Johana's hometown and a lot of her family still lives here, so we will lodge at her sister's place and use the city as a base for excursions.

I have never really set my foot in Pereira before, although I passed through quickly back in 2005 on a bus between Cali and Medellin. Pereira is located in the middle of the coffee zone about 4.5 degrees north of Equator, and although the city is just another decent sized city, you immediately notice how green the surrounding area is.

We spend the first few days with Johana's sister and husband and their two young, wonderful and lively daughters. We also visit a zillion aunts, uncles and old friends living in different parts of the city. We cruise around the city, go shopping, bar hopping and visit restaurants all using big sis's 125cc scooter. Not having driven a two wheeler for many years, I guess I could have chosen a less chaotic place than Pereira to practice.

After a few days in Pereira we decide to go on an overnight trip to Termales de San Vicente, about a 50 minutes gravel road ride from Santa Rosa de Cabal, a small city close to Pereira. We go with Johana's sister and husband, and have a wonderful time at 2600 meter above sea level, swimming in natural thermal pools while surrounded by lush vegetation and mountain scenery.

Back in Pereira, we just stay for a short while, before the two of us head to Salento, just 45 minutes from Pereira, for more mountain scenery. We only plan to stay for a couple of days, but enjoy the place so much that we end up staying a short week. Salento is very quiet mid-week, but full of Colombian tourists (and more and more backpackers) on the weekends and during holidays. It is a lovely little town full of souvenir shops and restaurants selling excellent fresh rainbow trout dinners. The main reason for coming here, was however to visit nearby Valle de Cocora, part of Parque Nacional de Los Nevados. We travel from the main square in Salento to Valle de Cocora in a Willy Jeep, typically used for people and coffee transport in the zone. When I was in Colombia in 2005 I really wanted to visit Valle de Cocora, but never got around to it. When we arrive in the valley, I can clearly see that it was a mistake not coming here last time. The place is so green and absolutely stunning. What the valley is most famous for is however its wax palms, the national tree of Colombia and also the tallest palm trees in the world, that grow as high as 60 meters. Johana and I get so excited, so we forget to buy something to drink before we head off on a 6 hours round trip hike snapping photos and looking for colorful hummingbirds and pumas...

Three weeks in Colombia goes way too fast of course. There is so many other places I would like to visit here, like Nuqui, Capurgana and Cabo de la Vela just to mention a tiny few. Next year maybe...
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kateandchris on

No more blog??
What's going on? I have been really enjoying your blogs- is there just nothing to write about in Colombia?... too busy, tired of the blog, in love?
I'm sure your having a great time, look forward to when you next quit your job and hit the travelling road full time :)

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