Colombia Archives

Medellin Colombia – Mi Amor

medellin city

 

Medellin, Colombia had me from hello. On the way from the airport to the city, I could sense something was special about this place…and my intuition was right. Medellin is a beautiful city that offers whatever you want. I have to be honest, coming to Colombia from the states is a bit scary because all the negative you hear about this place. Medellin may have had a rough past, but the present sure was bright.

The weather was amazing, not hot or cold. The people were strangely nice and helpful. They were always very caring about me to make sure I was having fun or making sure I had directions to where I was going. The last night we went out, I met a man named Ivan that spoke some English. His main question was “Are you having a good time here?” I said I loved it here. He was so happy…”I’m so glad to hear that. In America you hear a lot of negative about this place, but it’s not true. We really care about people here.” I couldn’t agree more.

I will never forget the words of my paragliding guide, while we were hovering in the air, above his city…”This is a beautiful place…but the most important thing here is the people are free.” I thought that was very interesting and wandered if back home we would describe our state the same way.

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vegetarian restaurant medellin colombia

If you are traveling to Medellin, Colombia and are looking for a healthy option for lunch or dinner, you must check out Verdeo. Verdeo is located in the El Poblado area just north of Lleras Park. It became my favorite restaurant in Medellin.

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guatape rock

If you are traveling to Medellin, Colombia…then you MUST visit the Guatape Rock and Guatape City (Click here for my post on Guatape City).

Guatape Rock is the most fascinating site I’ve ever seen. To get to the top of the rock, you must climb 740 steps. Sounds like a lot…but we took our time and it took us 15 minutes to get to the top. Once you get to the top, go in the red building and climb the stairs there to the very top. There you will find step 740 and the best view you’ve ever seen in your life.

Not only was the rock beautiful, but it was also the most relaxing place I’ve ever been…even more relaxing than Honeymoon Beach in St. John B.V.I. I can’t explain why but, time simply stood still up there. There was barely any noise. The weather was perfect. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted a hammock and a book. I will never forget this experience and only regret I didn’t schedule more time for the rock.

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relaxing

Relaxing on the Water in Guatape

After visiting Guatape Rock, we paid $5 to get a ride to Guatape City, Colombia. The city is really small but worth the trip. My only regret was we only planned a day trip to Guatape. If I hadn’t already booked flights and a hotel for the next leg of my trip, I would have stayed in Guatape for at least a weekend.

There’s not a ton to do there, but the place is very nice, the people are very nice and the town is very quiet. It’s the most relaxing place I’ve been to in Colombia. If you run out of things to do in Guatape, you can take a 15 minute cab ride to the next town. It had a small water park and a handful of things to do there as well.

As far as Guatape (gua-tal-pay) goes, the most famous attraction is the rock. You can view my post on that here: Guatape Rock. The rock is a must. One of the most incredible things I’ve ever done.

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Paragliding in Medellin Colombia

bye bye

(Video Below)

I’ve always heard the word paragliding but up until last Sunday, I really didn’t know what it was. I heard you “run off a mountain” so I thought it was like hang gliding or something.

The day started at 8:30am when the phone rang. Now, we knew ParaWorld was going to call then to let us know if the weather was okay for the day. When the phone rang, I was praying for a rainy day for more sleep. You see, we made the mistake of booking an apartment next to construction, therefore Sunday is the only day to sleep with no screeching, loud noises waking you up at 6am. But as luck would have it, it was a perfect day for paragliding. They were there to pick us up at 9.

The taxi drove us up the mountain, which when you’re in South America, taxi rides up and down narrow, winding, mountainous roads can also be considered a tourist experience! After the taxi ride there’s a beautiful climb to the top of the mountain using a make-shift staircase.

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El Estadio Olympic Swimming Pool For Free

estadio pool

El Estadio in Medellin, Colombia is a beautiful site to visit. This short post is about the swimming facilities. To see more details about Estadio, see my earlier post here.

If you like to swim for enjoyment or a workout then Estadio is going to make you happy. As you can see from my video, there are plenty of pool options to choose from. They even have a high dive board…unfortunately they wouldn’t let me jump off the high dive because I was an inexperienced diver. It’s interesting that in a country where it seems you can pretty much do anything you want…they draw the line at the high dive…whatever…they busted my bubble. They may have saved my life too…we’ll never know.

I opted for a nice workout in the Olympic pool. This is where they have international and qualifying competitions. Michael Phelps even swam here once. Did he win you ask? I didn’t know the guy ever lost…

To get in the facility, simply present your passport. They will jot your info down and give you a small ticket stub type thing. Keep the stub as you will have to give it to a guy in there to swim. The stub gets you an hour and a half of swim time. Me, I only needed 10 minutes of workout 🙂

Soocer in Colombia

(Warning…cool video below with a Hot Colombian Model…)

When we checked into our apartment, our property manager said we MUST go check out El Estadio. This “stadium” is actually more than a stadium. He described it as a complex that was built for some type of junior Olympic games that Medellin was trying to score for their city. Unfortunately because the “gangs were killing each other like crazy at the time,” Medellin was beat out by Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The guy kept going on and on about how cool this place was…”especially on Sunday.” I’ve learned when you go somewhere new, the nice people tell you everywhere to go and everything to do all at once…like I have a 100% perfect recall memory or something. So all I heard was blah, blah, blah…and that’s where the National Team play soccer at. Now that got my attention.

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View From Medellin Apartment

View from Medellin Apartment

This will be the view from the master bedroom every morning when I awake…for the next two weeks. I’m already getting used to pulling the window open, letting the breeze in and cracking a good book open for an hour or so of reading.

Obama in Centro!

obama1

During our last night in Cartagena, we decided to head over to Centro for one last dinner.

We were headed to a place called Oh! La La. We sat down, looked at the menu and decided to jet…

It turned out to be a great decision because as we were walking a guy got our attention. This was normal because everyone wants you to eat at their restaurant. But when they speak English to me, they get my attention.

The guy: “Where are you from?”

Me: Oklahoma (if they know where OK is at, then I’ll talk to them, say you’re American and it’s like vultures attacking the wallet)

The guy: Ohhhhh, USA…well tonight you meet Obama and then he stuck out his hand. When I looked at him, I almost fell over laughing!

Check out the pictures….he said a few months ago some of our troops were in Centro and in Uniform and they all took pictures with him. Needless to say, he sold us on his restaurant which was great because we got 1 entree, 4 empanadas and 3 drinks for under $21…not bad…and the picture was priceless.

obama2

Centro Cartagena, Colombia – The Main Attraction

 centro 9

Centro, in my opinion, is the main reason to visit Cartagena. If you want beaches, there are several better options east over in the Islands. But of course, you only learn by doing. So even though our apartment in Boca Grande was steps from the beach, we fell in love with “Centro.”

Centro is only a $2-$3 cab ride from Boca Grande and well worth it. The city is called the walled city because it is surrounded by a wall. I’m not much of a sight-seer when I go places so I should probably know more about the wall. But what I do know is there are cannons lined along the wall so the wall was obviously for protection years ago.

Today, it makes for great pictures and a great walking space. It is very unique. I can’t say I’ve ever seen another walled city in my life.

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