My South American trip started In Colombia flying into the capital city, Bogota. Bogota is 2640m above sea level. So it was a good start to getting used to higher altitudes as there are more to come on my adventures.
We booked El Pit Hostel for 3 nights on Hostel World. The Hostel World app has been my saviour throughout my travels. We had a mixed 4 bed dorm with a shared bathroom. The beds were surprisingly really comfortable, which was great after nearly 24 hours of travelling. The bathroom was clean so all good. In the hostel itself there was a bar/restaurant and a living room area with Netflix. It was easy to walk from the hostel to areas like La Candelaria where we spent most of our time.
We took the Cable Car up to Montserrate the mountain that overlooks Bogota. There is also a fenicular that goes up there but I think that only works in the morning. It is 3152m above sea level so you are up pretty high. The views over Bogota are amazing and just shows the scale of the place.
After the cable car we joined the Original Graffti Tour which I cannot recommend enough. It is a free tour on twice a day every day. The tour is run by the graffti and street artists and gives you a history of this type of visual expression and why it is important in Colombia and the meaning behind many of the murals. I found the tour really fascinating and a great way to see a bit of the city.
Santuario Nuestra del Carmen a Church in La Candelaria is another must. A beautiful Catholic Church decorated with stripes inside, I haven’t seen a church like it before. There are plenty of stunning churches in Colombia so this may not be the only one you go into.
Dos Gatos Y Simone – Mexican restaurant has the large cat mural with garfield, top cat all the famous cats. We had breakfast here but the lunch/dinner menu looked great.
Wok – Overpriced Asian infusion, I wouldn’t recommend.
Sant Just Traiteur – French Cuisine gorgeous on the graffti tour and round the corner from Dos Gatos Y Simone.
Distrito Chocolate – little hippie cafe with a chocolate bar in the front and cafe at the back.
Taco Taco – taco bar may be slightly overpriced and small portions but they do a damn strong margarita.
There are tonnes of restaurant and cafes to choose from, Bogota is rather large with over 8million people. I have found Culture Trip really useful on my travels to help me wihh restaurants.
We flew from Bogota to Santa Marta. Then it is about an hour taxi from the airport to El Rio Hostel where we were staying for 3 nights in the midst of the jungle. We stayed in a six bed mixed dorm with an ensuite. The rooms are basic but did the job.
The hostel offers a tubing experience which was more lazy river than action packed. There’s the chance to book horse riding either through the jungle or beach. There was meant to be yoga but the teacher was of so I offered my expertise to a couple of people which was really nice.
I personally found the hostel a bit lad lad lad. I think this is due to the hostel being slightly remote and people staying there all day especially as in the afternoons it was pouring it down so most people drank. Due to its remoteness you end up eating your meals there for convenience. We were told it was unlikely to find dinner nearby but some places by the beach were open for lunch (more about that later).
They had three options for lunch and two options for dinner. The dinner was more of a canteen style where the food was served at once so everyone sat down together.
We went to Buritaca Beach which was the most disastrous experience and would not recommend it. We order a fish dish which came completed deep fried but raw in the middle. The waitress finally took it back shoved it straight back into the deep fryer and handed it back to us. We paid and left with a hugely disappointing experience.
However there are meant to be beautiful beaches and Tayrona National Park is just round the corner but I hear it is expensive. The rain/large thunderstorms didn’t really help. Colombia however is full of gems and spending a week there I knew I would be hugely limited. There are places like Cartagena, Medellin just to mention a couple, loads of national parks, coffee plantations, beaches, jungle the lot I will definitely be coming back here as I feel like I haven’t given Colombia enough of a chance.