In search of MUD SLIDES in Colombia!

A few people questioned why myself and 3 others would dare go backpacking in COLOMBIA (in the mid 90's). I didn't think much about it. Isn't that what your 20's are about... doing things that might be a little crazy... Okay, really crazy?!

My roommate Heather wanted to go to ECUADOR and I wanted to see where Romancing the Stone was filmed... Colombia (I later found out that the movie was filmed in Mexico because Colombia was too dangerous).

So it was settled we'd fly into Bogota, backpack to Ecuador and fly out of Quito. Two other friends Tommy and Chris also joined us. We figured we might need some body guards and they both spoke Spanish. (Charlotte, I know it might be very tempting to want to explore Colombia's lush jungles. But Colombia is rated "D" for DANGER... kidnappings, killings, robberies, drug traffickers and guerrillas oh my! "D" means Don't Go!!)

On our flight into Bogota we read about two European backpackers who had just gone missing in Colombia...

As we approached the airport our plane was hit by lightning!

I was starting to wonder if I would ever make it back alive!?


1. We took an overnight bus that was infested with Cockroaches. It was disgusting! The locals laughed as we sang "LA CUCARACHA,

2. On another bus locals told my travel compadres in Spanish that we needed to start hiding our money. We were in an area where buses would be held at gun point. Being the only blond on the bus I started to get a little nervous!

3. Our bus did get held up by men with guns {Federalies} but they didn't take our $ or the blond girl. They made us get off the bus and searched our belongings. I think they were looking for drugs? I think...

Bogota, the capitol of Colombia is a large metropolitan city! Bogota is noisy, aggressive, chaotic, exciting and dangerous!

We saw spectacular views of Bogota from Montserrat. You can take a cable car, fanicular or walk up but walking isn't recommended since Banditos rob tourist and some at gunpoint. Oh my... what was I doing in Colombia?

A favorite souvenir in Bogota are Emeralds! Locals will come up to you on the street and offer you a "good deal".

The whole gang plus a couple we met from Australia. Those Aussies are hard core... They'll travel anywhere! We didn't run into any Americans down there.

While in San Agustin we took a crazy, bumpy, muddy, scary jeep ride.

Alto de Las Piedras
San Agustin is one of the most important archaeological sites on the continent. They have several hundred free-standing statues carved in stone as well as a number of large underground tombs.

                                The crazy winding Colombian roads!

Salto de Bordones Waterfall
This was as close as I got to my Colombian mud slide. While it was raining we had to make our way through overgrown vegetation to get to the waterfall! It was an adventure just to get there.

My travel compadres: Heather, Tommy and Chris in Popayan, a beautiful colonial city.

Crossing the Colombia-Ecuador Border
                                                       ECUADOR... to be continued!


Anonymous said...

I love your sense of adventure! I'm a US Citizen and I've been to Colombia too.

While it still isn't really *safe* to backpack there, I feel confident that it IS safe to travel to Medellin -- and I highly recommend it! President Uribe worked hard to secure Colombia from FARC (a powerful group of narco-terrorists who claim to be fighting for communism) during his time in office. Since he is from Medellin, he focused a lot of his efforts there first. I was comfortable speaking English in Medellin and never feared for my safety. I must admit, though, I was traveling with my Colombian fiance.

I traveled from Medellin to some small towns (where, for safety reasons, I did not speak English, and for the most part just didn't speak!) While traveling I realized that my fiance was right when he told me (a blonde) that I would fit right in as if I were Colombian. Colombia, being South America, is almost as much of a "melting pot" as its North American counterpart here the USA.

I encourage North Americans to visit Medellin. I thin everyone should grab breakfast at a fruiteria, take a long walk up and down the steep hills of Medellin, see the Botero statues downtown (during the daytime), and ride the metrocable for some great views of the city.

Most Colombians are friendly, happy, sweet people who are proud of their country.

Oh - and IF you go to Medellin, there's a CRAZY nightclub called "Mango" that you *must* visit. It's as if a circus married a strip club (though the dancers dont actually strip.) Dress sexy but classy, get your photo taken at the club, and then check the website to see if your photo was posted. It's a good time!