You’re doing your overland South America route planning. Hitting the PanAmerican north/south corridor route between Colombia and Tierra del Fuego is the way to do it, right? A PanAm road-trip down the western side of South America is a terrific, jaw-droppingly gorgeous drive. With adventures galore… stunning scenery, awesome mountains, simmering volcanos, breath-taking hikes, challenging routes, relaxing hot-springs, interesting towns, tasty food and fascinating historic sites. All these are served with a generous sprinkling of llamas and the occasional chunky chap in a brightly coloured poncho. Sounds just the ticket for ‘doing’ South America doesn’t it? Continue reading
Unlike the rest of the country, Caribbean Colombia is hot and humid. The northern coast and plains are a marked contrast to the temperate green highlands of central Colombia that we enjoyed for the last weeks of 2017. Now to kick-off 2018, we help another overlander after his unscheduled rendezvous with a local moped near Mompos; cross the desert of La Guajira; go to jail in colonial Cartagena and finally… we wave farewell to Cuthbert as he sets sail on a cruise to Panama. Oh… and in between all that, Marcus learns to kite-surf! Continue reading
Few places in South America have poverty like the far-northern desert wastelands of Colombia. La Guajira is Colombia’s most northerly region and a marked contrast to the prosperous green lands of the central coffee region where we spent Christmas. It’s wild, remote, windy and inhospitable up there. But at the top sits our Holy Grail destination, the most northerly point of the whole South American continent: Punta Gallinas. On our South American journey so far, we’ve visited the most southerly, easterly, westerly and the geodesic centre points of the continent. It would be churlish to leave without popping up to see Mr Northerly. En-route we have the challenge of driving the mud-pan pie-crust and the dilemma of the poverty-stricken Wayuu children (click here for Map and notes for self-drive to Punta Gallinas). Continue reading
A belated Happy New Year for 2018! Over the Christmas chill-out, Marcus ‘Spielberg‘ Tuck has put together some more video stuff from our 2017 moochings around South America in Cuthbert. Four short videos including the mega-adventure double-feature-set of mud-roads through the Amazon jungle, hiking through Colombia’s towering wax-palms and a super-moon setting at dawn.
First ‘proper’ blog of 2018 coming soon, but in the meantime… get your popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show 🙂 Continue reading
It’s a curious thing this overlanding. Who’s to tell you when to move on, where to go next? Time in a country is obviously dictated by visas and permits palaver, but other than that we kind of ‘go with the wind’ or sometimes not. Colombia is a particularly ‘stick-around’ place for us. We’re staying here longer than any other country in South America and the cool central highlands/coffee region is our favourite. Here we’re hanging around doing… ummm… not a lot. Just avoiding ‘the heat’ really.
Look, look, looook……. a new map of all our favourite bits of South America! Zoom in, scroll around, click on the links! If you’re itching to find out how we came to have such a fab new South America highlights map on our website, and how Cuthbert came to have such beautiful new brakes… read on below 🙂 Continue reading
Central Colombia is as good a place as any to take a bit of time out and rustle up a few much-overdue videos of our South America travels. We love it here and are more than happy to stay-put near Medellin for a while, but if we’re honest… our sojourn is actually less our choice and more enforced by Iveco. Remember way back, weeks ago, we placed an order for spare parts with Iveco (Navitrans, in Colombia) which were going to arrive second week of November? Well… surprise, surprise, they didn’t arrive on time and we had a week of sitting around waiting. Anyway… here for your delectation and delight, are the results of our South America Overlanding Videos Fest week: the Lencois Maranhenses, the Salar de Uyuni, and the Sacred Valley Skylodge. Continue reading
Bogotá is big. A city of over ten million people. Ten million!!! It’s a gritty working city, full of graffiti and certainly not known for its colonial charm. A trip up the Monserrate cable car for an overview of the metropolis provides a small clue as to the scale of the place, but never let it be said that we judge a book by its cover. We’re here to give Bogotá a fair crack-of-the-whip and we find it a nice city to mooch about! Also, we’re here to do some gadget shopping. Hmmm… sounds expensive! Bogotá Blog Continue reading
Help! We need an adequate superlative for Colombia. Bit unimaginative to say that it’s just the loveliest country… but trust me… it really is. After the friendliest welcome, countless scenic small towns, the finest coffee, the ancient history and the fascinating former drug-lands… we’re heading east and south a bit, on a very roundabout route through central Colombia to Bogotá. Continue reading
Milo is just 25 years old and extremely personable. At the age of 7 years old on his way to school, he saw his first dead body, lying riddled with bullets in the street of his neighbourhood. Eeishh… bit of a grim start to a travel blog, eh? Milo has much to tell us about growing up in the ‘90s in a drug-war-torn Medellin, but first let’s lighten things up and back-track a bit… Continue reading
Got time for a coffee? These days we’re not short on time to sit around and swap stories with other overlanders over a coffee, so it’s rather cool to finally be here in the centre of the Colombian coffee universe. You know that Colombia’s big on coffee, right? Well, here in the Zona Cafetera they grow shed-loads of it. And many of the coffee haciendas don’t just do the coffee-crop, they do coffee-tourism too. Large-scale and small-scale producers take pride in both educating visitors and producing top-notch beans. We trotted along to a hacienda at each end of the spectrum to see them do their thing.
Here’s ten little factoids Colombia’s Zona Cafetera has taught us about coffee: Continue reading
Hope we’re not tempting fate…. but after three weeks, cool Colombia ’s already looking hot-favourite for Cuthbert’s ‘Top Spot – South America’ Award. In the last blog we joked about Colombia’s notoriety for drugs barons and banditos. In truth, the threat to tourists from such characters is now very much history. Beautiful, clean, lots to see and do, outstanding value for money, exceptionally friendly and with a kind of chilled-out vibe that’s difficult to quite put your finger on. We’re continuing north now for some ancient tombs, a photo-dilemma and (yet another) visit to Iveco. The bar has been set high for Colombia so far… let’s see if we can find any points to knock it back along the way!
Drugs barons and banditos are what Colombia is famous for, but we don’t spot any obviously suspicious candidates in the immediate vicinity of the border. Maybe they’re all further up-country? We’ll keep our eyes open for them as we head north. On our way, our Colombia travel blog takes-in the odd mysterious monument, cactus desert, crater lake, death-road and a jaw-droppingly beautiful religious sanctuary.
Quito’s not a bad place as far as capital cities go. We wouldn’t ordinarily choose to spend ten days there, but we’re on an admin-mission here. Missions accomplished, we head north towards Colombia, with a few detours hovering around the Ecuador Equator: a misplaced monument, some little and large birdies, a great-fiesta-escape, some hats, and (another) volcano.
Ecuador has its fair share of volcanos and an even greater share of active ones. In our last blog, we saw Chimborazo and Tungurahua. Now we’re moving on to the hyperactive Volcán Reventador. On the way, we see some jungle critters, spot a rare bird, walk to some pretty cool waterfalls (yes… more waterfalls) and end up with Uncle Sam’s ‘Man in Quito’.
Physically speaking, we’re doing some ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ in Ecuador. We enter from Peru across miles and miles of banana low-land. Then we climb up-high. We get lots of cheese and chocolate, and spend a night closest to the moon. After that, we do a quick swing off a cliff (as you do) then it’s back down-low on the other side of the Andes, to the Amazon (again!).
North coast Peru travel doesn’t showcase the best of north Peru for the tourist; much more excitement on the Andean route. Loads to see there. But we got that tick last year and boy, is it a sloooow way to go! So this time, after arriving in south Peru from Brazil, crossing all the way over the central highlands from the Amazon to Lima, we’re winding-up Peru with a long run up the coast to Ecuador. We’ve done this leg before, but this time we see some history, watch some whales, hit the far-west and have a ‘ponder on Peru’ as we leave it for the last time. Continue reading