SANTA MARTA: THE DOOR OF THE SIERRA NEVADA

Santa Marta is located in Magdalena department, on the Caribbean coast in the north of Colombia, between Barranquilla and Riohacha.

The city is a good place to stop off if you are doing a tour of the country and you want to go in the Sierra Nevada or to the Guajira Department.

It is one of the most tourist-focused cities on the coast. Its location between the Sierra Nevada and the Caribbean coast makes this city very attractive, especially considering the variety of fauna and flora to be found there.

 It is important also for the historical and cultural heritage, Santa Marta, was a colonial city, where you can admire the colonial architecture and monuments such as the Basilica of Santa Marta, which is a one of the biggest tourist destinations on the Caribbean coast.

As a Caribbean city, Santa Marta has suffered from repetitive British, French and Dutch attacks. The city is steeped in history and legends. One of them, says that Santa Marta´s Cathedral contains the heart of the famous Simón Bolívar, hidden somewhere. In fact Bolivar spent his last part of the life here.

A walking tour is the perfect way to orient yourself within the city and learn about its history and culture with your guide: follow your guide along the beach, check out top landmarks such as the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, and end your tour with a prime spot for watching the sunset.

I was in Santa Marta as starting point for the “Ciudad perdida” I was by trekking! The Lost City, or Ciudad Perdida, is the archaeological site of an ancient indigenous city in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. It has been a commercial center around 700 A.D., and its population probably ranged between 1,400 and 3,000 inhabitants. Hidden in the jungle for over a thousand years, the Lost City was found in 1972 when treasure hunters followed a series of stone steps leading up to an abandoned city.

From Santa Marta tour operators offer three- to five-day guided treks to the Lost City which include transportation, lodging, food.

Read more about the city!

 

ARENAL: THE COSTA RICA VOLCANO!

The Arenal Volcano is one of the main touristic destination in Costa Rica. It is in the North of the Country and around this area, you can do, lots of things! From the relaxing massage to the trekking to the top of the volcano…. there are several tours that take place in the area surrounding the volcano, and for good reason! You can have access to the rainforest, waterfalls, the country’s largest lake...

First, explore Arenal Volcano National Park

Arenal, is without a doubt, the most popular and well-recognized of Costa Rica’s volcanoes. When you arrive there…. You will be impressed by the huge symmetrical cone that dominates the fertile landscape at his foot. From San Jose you can simply take a bus that will bring you to Arenal. For the accommodation, no worries! I arrived there and I searched for a place to stay. I found a nice woman that also had an activity to sell Tour, but she was very nice, as I was a girl alone, so she gave me some good discount. At first I didn’t know if I chose well, but the days after spoken with several other backpackers I understood I was right… good compromise between me and her to have both the best we could from the bargain! I slept for 7 euros, and I bought a tour for the afternoon to the Park and waterfalls plus the tour of the day after to the top of the volcano and last, the passage with the jeep to Monteverde to do the most amazing zip line all for 150 Euros….

Coming back to the national Park…until recently, Arenal was the country’s most active volcano with an average of 41 eruptions per day. The Arenal Volcano is currently in a resting phase, you cannot hike up the volcano itself, but I recommend hiking through Arenal Volcano National Park with a bilingual naturalist guide in search of old lava flow and wildlife.

Slight changes in altitude create unique micro-climates and ecosystems through this region, making it home to a variety of exotic species.

Rest yourself in Arenal Volcano All-Natural Hot Springs

Another amazing thing to do here is to soak your muscles in thermal pools of water! Arenal is also home to several hot springs. Formed when water is heated underground and bubbles to the surface, Costa Rica’s mineral waters have been used as therapeutic baths for more than two hundred years to treat rheumatism and other ailments. These natural wonders tempt even the most experienced traveler – for a good reason! What could be better than a relaxing warm bath, surrounded by jungle and shadowed by the beauty of the volcano after a day of adventure?

Neighborhood:

Hike to La Fortuna Waterfall

Close to Arenal, there is a little farming town of La Fortuna that is named for its beautiful neighbor, the La Fortuna Waterfall. As one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country and luckily enough, it can only be arrived at by foot (a 15-minute hike) or horseback, if you don’t like to walk. From the lush rainforest greenery, La Fortuna plummets 200 feet to fall into a pool of crystal clear water. Remember: the pool is delightfully cool on hot summer days!

Tenorio Volcano National Park

Tenorio has everything you could want in a tropical forest natural area.  Hiking to the sky blue Celeste waterfall is a highlight, but the hanging bridges in the rainforest and trail to Lago Danta through the cloud forest from the Heliconias entrance are equally amazing.

Celeste Waterfall: At a glance these are what puts the region around Bijagua on the list of the best places in Costa Rica.  From ranger station at the west entrance of Tenorio National Park (El Pilón) to the azure tinted cataract a couple of kilometers to the south.

Many hypotheses, conjectures and beliefs have been brought up about the rier color in a sunny day, intense blue, including that the color was due to the presence of a metal such as copper, the river’s proximity to the Tenorio Volcano or because of minerals such as calcium carbonate and sulfur. But all of those explanations are now known to be false,read more about this....

"To understand the enigma of this matter, one should know that two completely transparent rivers, Sour Creek (Quebrada Agria) and the Good View River (Río Buena Vista), converge to form the Río Celeste. It is precisely from the point of union of the two where the waters cease to be transparent and become light blue for the following 14 kilometers of river. For that reason, this point is known as The Dyer (El Teñidero)."

Hanging Bridges Hike

If you like to hike, another possibility is to hike through a private nature preserve along well-maintained trails and across a series of fixed and hanging bridges with views of Arenal Volcano. It is relaxing and it doesn’t take a long time if you don’t like long trails. A naturalist guide will point out the flora and fauna of the area like monkeys, sloths, tree frogs, and more. Don’t miss the waterfall extension trail at the end of the hike!

The Lake Arenal: the passage to Monteverde

The Arenal Volcano is also the base of Costa Rica’s largest lake, Lake Arenal. With the mighty volcano as its backdrop and the surrounding rolling hills and forests, Lake Arenal is truly a vision of peacefulness. Several activities are here possible: fishing, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding are some of the most popular activities enjoyed from the lake. I pass from here with a cruise to reach my next stop… Monteverde. You can most certainly enjoy its added beauty to the scenery.

KARMOY ISLAND: BEAUTIFUL BEACHES IN NORWAY

Someone said about Karmoy:

“Great and rich your verdant pastures,
Stout against the sea you face,
Karmoy praise your hardy coastline!” (cit: Nils AAroy)

Norway is not only fjords but also beautiful beaches and I was in some of them. With rocks and skerries protecting Norway from the raging sea in the West, Karmoy was historically important for Vikings but also during the Second World War.
What I found there were long, silky-smooth, sandy beaches in bays and inlets and with eternal swells pounding the coast.
Karmoy is also maritime culture, ocean, silvery fresh fish and a vibrant heritage. You can walk in the footsteps of Harald Fairhair who first united Norway in a single kingdom.

An important note to leave you is the origin of Norway: why this Country has this name? Norway was the Way to the North starting from the Vikings considered fundamental for the fishing, commerce and other activities of this places: an historic landscape with views across the narrow strait that brought you to the north…

The Karmoy countryside is both inviting and diverse offering a range of pursuits in the great outdoors, communion with nature and relax. You can just prepare your pic nic stuff and go to discover the island!

AVALDSNES – the first Royal Throne of Norway
Harals Fairhair chose this as the site of his Royal manors. Here you can feel the revival of the ancient facts about the legendary first Norway king that appears often in sagas and songs. The chieftains and kings who controlled the vital “Northern Way” left till today a church that is a history centre and in the East, a reconstruction of a Viking Farm.
Just as info, the Viking era ranged from AD 750 to AD 1100 when people from Norway, Sweden and Denmark made their mark to Europe. The Vikings are mostly known as pirates and warriors, but they were also traders, craftsmen, farmers, fishermen, poets and discoverers. The nation of Scandinavia were established in those times.

VISNES – momentous industrial heritage
This location was a mining community in the 1800s and here lived the most modern and known copper workers of Northern Europe. The Statue of Liberty in New York is made from a copper produced here!

AKRASANDEN BEACH
It was voted as the Norway’s finest sandy beach! I have to say this place surprised me a lot. You can find them discovering the coast between Akrehamn and Ferkingstad. During the year it is possible also to do surf here.. .and if you look for historic things…. You can find some small holes and bunker of the Second War War, just ask them to local people and they will teach you!

SKUDENESHAVN – A charming town
It is located on the outermost southerly tip of Karmoy. It is a place where you can wander about in peace and quiet surrounded by beautiful architecture, taste freshly-made waffles in cozy cafès, shop for antiques and other treasures, or discover great hiking areas and sandy beaches.

VOSS: AT THE CROSS OF THE 2 MOST LONGEST NORVEGIAN FJIORDS

As one of my closest friend lived in Voss for 6 months and I promised her to reach her there this summer I decided to go in Norway. After several stops I arrived in Voss, a little town that is a strategic place due to the fact it is in the cross of 2 fjords: the sognefjiord and the Hardangerfjiord, the 2 biggest ones.

I just described some of the attraction you can find there the easiest if you are on foot!

ATTRACTION

Voss Folk Museum

At Voss Folk Museum you can visit Molstertunet, a farmstead composed by 16 houses. This was in use still 1927 and think that the oldest building comes from 16th century!

The nice aspect is this is an outstanding example of the traditional buildings customs of the area. You can also just go up to the Museum and have a nice view on the city from the top drinking a coffee there chilling on a bench.

To arrie from the station is 30 minutes walking, if you go by car just 10 minutes. Remember that it is daily open just in summer (from June to August) while in the rest of the year it opens just for groups for a new exhibition that they are realizing for 2019.

Voss Church

The church was built in 1271 but it is not in woods as the remained oldest and most famous 29 churches of Norway (the ones with the Vikings Mythology symbols and originally in woods).  The interesting thing is that this is made in stones due to a nobility aspect…. As Voss was a rich town in the past the woods church was replaced by the existing one because the woods was for poor people and stones for rich ones! The church also hosts some concerts during the summer.

Hiking

Voss has a wide range of walks and hiking trails with different levels of difficulty. The hiking season starts in June and ends in October, as said it depends from the weather conditions and altitude. You need to be prepared anyway, so just take your raincoat with you and wear good footwear. If you like to do picnic bring also food and drink with you!

For more info there is a touristic center in the main road of Voss where you can ask info on the suggested hikes and let’s go on your path!

More than this you can also rent a bike and go on quiet and rural roads to attractions such as Tvindefossen and Skjervsfossen waterfalls or for shorter excursion.

Bordalsgjelet gorge

Bordalsgjelet gorge is a natural attraction within very short distance from Voss, 30 minutes to arrive there and other 30 to reach the gorges. It is an easy path as the deep and imposing gorge has been adapted for the visiting public, there are also viewpoint and benches for resting the legs! If there is no snow you can arrive to the gorge. Here you can experience an impressive view of the potholes that have been shaped by the ice and river over the time (thousand of years!).

OSLO NEIGHBORHOOD: THE FJORD ARCHIPELAGO

If you are looking for a relaxed way of experiencing Oslo and the the fjord, you can take the ferry and go island hopping. You just need to go to Rådhusbrygge 4 and from there you can catch the ferry to idyllic Høvedoya and Lindøya, with approximately 300 charming Norwegian summer cottages. This is not the only small island you can visit; the others are Rambergøya, Gressholmen and Heggholmen. All of them are fantastic places for lazy days in the sun, and Heggholmen houses one of the oldest lighthouses in the fjord.

Rambergøya and parts of Gressholmen are nature reserves, and that sea birds are nesting between the two islands. Updated ferry routes are always available at Ruter, where you will also find information about tickets.

If you were ever in doubt, the Norwegian capital, like the rest of the country, boasts beautiful nature experiences, and the Oslo Fjord is definitely worth paddling!

When I decided to visit the islands in front of Oslo I was to the port to see which options I had… the best one for me is buying the daily ticket for 10 Euros (105 NOK) and you can pass all the day from an island to another, walking one it and discover the nature you will find there.

If you would like to stop on Høvedoya, where there are some nice beaches where you can have a pic nic…. Or just go for a walk on the island boarders! It was the first one for me; the ferry took just 15 minutes to go there from the port.

After Høvedoya I was on Gressholmen, where you can find also a café  or restaurant closed to the point the ferry will let you on the island. This island has also a small church at the end of it, from where you can take some nice pictures and enjoy the view!

After 2 hours exploring this island, I landed for Lindøya, where I passed a nice afternoon taking the sun in a pier!

GOTHENBURG: A GREEN HEART OF SWEDEN

In many aspects Gothenburg has changed from an industrial sea side town towards an innovative modern city. The heritage remains though and for example fishing is still a huge part of the city today. The variety of fresh fish and seafood is unique and in the early mornings you can see the fishing boats unload at the quays.

The Dutch built Gothenburg during the 1600s, as they were considered the best at building on marshland. This has given Gothenburg's city centre its famous channels that are distinctly dutch-inspired. The original city was built inside a large zigzag-shaped city wall that came to characterize Gothenburg for centuries to come.

Are you looking for budget-friendly things to do in Gothenburg? I will listed some great ways to see the city for next to nothing.

First you can go around the city and explore the old part of it. There is the old town and after, one of the best part of the city, the charming neighbourhood of Haga, that has a wonderful selection of cafés and small artisan shops. Haga is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Gothenburg. The main pedestrian street is Haga Nygata lined with well-preserved houses, many in the characteristic Gothenburg style called "landshövdingehus" with one floor in brick and the rest in wood. Normally here people come to have a coffee break that is called “fika” in Sweden.

Today, Haga is located in the middle of the city. But not when Gothenburg's first suburb was planned in the middle of the 17th century, after orders from queen Kristina. The name Haga actually refers to the Swedish word “hage”, which means “an enclosed field”. If you look towards the sky you will see a hill, climb it and you will arrive to the fortification Skansen Kronan that is on top.it was made to control the territory below. From there, you get a nice view of the district and a large part of the city.

Another nice point is the fishmarket. here you can eat something and let you taste at a good price the amazing fish of this city. The Fish Market is a "Fish Church", an hall completed in 1874 to a design by the city architect Viktor von Gegerfeldt. And yes, it does actually look like a church.

Second the city’s parks and the Botanic Garden.

The main path is quite long; it will take at least 2 hours to visit it quietly. Take the big road yu will see at the entrance on your left until the Japanese Dell. After that is all your choice. There are several path you can go through, depending what you want to see. There is a rock garden, a nice viewpoint on the city and much more.  The entrance is free and it is a peaceful place where you can pass hours without crossing other people. The “Botaniska” was first opened to public in 1923 and it becomes a natural reserve in 1975.

Another idea is to go for a great budget-friendly day trip to the southern part of the Gothenburg archipelago. It is within easy reach by tram and ferry, and you only need one ticket for 28 SEK to go the whole way from the city centre (if you want to take more than one ferry just take a day tickets and you can go around all the day). Once there, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery, picturesque villages and rugged nature. The islands in this part of the archipelago are car-free and suitable for long walks or bike tours. Take your pick from islands like Brännö, Styrsö or Vrångö, and don't forget to bring with you food because the groceries will close early. I will describe it in another article!

If you arrive in Goteborg in summer you can also be lucky and find one of the annual events that in Gothenburg offers free activities, workshops, concerts and entertainment. I found the Gothenburg   Culture Festival (Göteborgs Kulturkalas) in August, and so I enjoyed also the evening there.

HAMBURG: PERFECT CITY TO VISIT BY BIKE!

Hamburg is an ideal cycling city with thousands of metres of waterside cycle routes. You can enjoy several two-wheeled tour of Germany's premier port.

Similar to Copenhagen, for hundreds of years, much of today’s Hamburg was Danish territory. More than 150 passed but it’s easy enough to see the sign of the past. Like Copenhagen, Hamburg is flat as a pancake. Hamburg has only recently accept the idea that the odd rain shower shouldn’t put people off their bikes. Now, it is easy-access to rent-a-bike and choose a cycle tour of Hamburg a no-brainer.

THE OUTER and INNER ALSTER

Hamburg grew around the Alster river, which was dammed in the early Middle Ages, creating two lakes. One, the small “Inner Alster” is at the centre of town and is the classic postcard snapshot. The other, much larger “Outer Alster” is one of the best place for the locals that say that this is where central Hamburg is at its most beautiful. Starting at the legendary Hotel Atlantic, home to spies and rock stars alike, head north past the cafés and sailboat moorings to your left. It’s a bit loud at first but you’ll get your first pay-off with a great view across the water after a while. After that, the streets get quieter, the houses get bigger, and the views back into town just keep getting better. Just stick close to the water and cross at Krugkoppelbrücke to start heading back into town, stopping off for a drink if you’re thirsty.

 

THE other RIVER ELBE

 

Hamburg has another important river, economically far more important, the River Elbe, a mighty European waterway and home to the city’s port. Head to Landüngsbrücken for a first view of the impressive docks and then use the Alter Elbtunnel to cross. Don’t forget to look back across the water for the view that most miss, and then follow Hermann-Blohm-Straße and the railway sidings along Veddeler Damm for a unique look into the workings of a modern port. Turn left back towards town at Moldauhafen, crossing the river over the iconic Elbe bridges, and then head for HafenCity for a look at the city’s biggest brownfield regeneration project.

Another route you can enjoy, starts from Landungsbrücken and follows the river downstream. You’ll pass the renovated redbrick warehouses where cod, coffee and carpets were once traded. Next, it’s the unmistakeable rhomboid form of the Dockland cruise terminal: yes, you can climb up the stairs on the rear of it - and doing so will reward you with a sweeping panorama of the harbour. Keep heading out of town for the village-y charm of Övelgönne and its old fisherman’s cottages and, if you’ve got a whole afternoon, ride out as far as the Teufelsbrück ferry and then turn inland for the beautiful Jenischpark and the Botanic Gardens.

Read more articles about Europe!

 

CHENNAI: THE CAPITAL OF TAMIL NADU

Anciently known as Madras, Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu. Lots of Tourists don’t stop here when they arrived in the Indian State but decide to go further and leave early the big city. Yes, it is not so peaceful but it worth to pass 2 days in town.

A journey in South India and in particular to admire the majestic temples of Tamil Nadu can start from Chennai. In reality the metropolis hides a temple very charming and many districts in which you can do a jump in the daily life of a great Indian city.

First things arm yourselves with patience, it is caos! Think not moving on foot from one place to another but learn to leverage its public transport or the tuk-tuk, but remember to bargain before the ride will start…. It is a basic rule in India! A ride is normally between 2 to 4 km and it takes 70 rupees.

The public transport is economical (5 rupees a trip). In fact, the fastest way to get around the city is the Chennai suburban railway (here the map of stops and lines), a sort of underground but that travels on the surface of the city.

You can also choose for a “uber” style App: Ola Cabs if you preferred, you will book your taxi or a tuk tuk at good price!

The continuous recall of the hawkers, the smells of food into the air… let you discover India and go without fear, without the frenzy to pass from a museum to a temple in a hurry… Only in this way can you get in tune with this metropolis of over 6 million inhabitants where each district is a world unto itself.

WHAT TO VISIT

Marina Beach

Together with T-Nagar this is one of the favorite places by the inhabitants of Chennai to spend an afternoon among friends or with your family. At Marina Beach, you will not see people in bikini… it is not for sunbathing but you can have a bath in the Indian Ocean with the clothes.

At your arrival you will find hundreds of Indian stops to admire the sea and many, hand in hand, to get wet by the waves… around you it will be full of hawkers, horse owners (for rides on a romantic walks nearby the sea) and families that eat something. Marina Beach is probably the best place in Chennai to go to understand the uses and customs of the locals during their free time.

You will find a very interesting area of open Market: a series of stalls that from the road crosses the entire beach and ends almost in water. Continuing walk north you will find two memorials, including one dedicated to M.G.R., a very important political actor disappeared in 1987.

Enjoy a natural juice or a fresh coconut, one of the best things of this part of India is the  fruit they have! Incredible colors, tastes,variety at a really cheap price!

ELLIOT'S BEACH

Less famous Elliot's Beach is quieter and less crowded. The atmosphere is similar: dozens of friends and families who are chatting, make a subspecies of bathroom and eat every type of snacks. Here, search for the Ashtalakshmi temple that is located on the beach, adjacent to a slum where fishermen live: If Chennai is your first stop in Tamil Nadu, it will make you effect to see a temple that directly overlooks the sea! The Hindu temple is dedicated to Lakshmim, the wife of Vishnu, goddess of health.

GEORGE TOWN BAZAR (AKA Black Town)

This giant outdoor market born at the end of 1600 to manage trade with the near Fort Saint George. Over the centuries the bazaar is enlarged, has evolved, it is now filled with churches and temples. This is one of the more interesting districts of Chennai, between tracks dedicated to selling flowers, other fruit and vegetables, small electronic districts, spices and much more.

KAPALEESHWARAR TEMPLE

It is a temple of Shiva in Mylapore neighborhood. One of the biggest of the city and important for the city. Kapaleeshwarar temple was built in 7th century CE by the Pallavas. The original Kapaleeshwarar Temple was built where Santhome Church is located currently in Chennai. This original temple was demolished by the Portuguese and the present temple was built in the 16th century by the Vijayanagar Kings. Buy some flowers and offer them to the God!

Nice to visit!

THE SUNSET AT THALANKUPPAM PORT

The most beautiful place where to see the sunset in Chennai is the Thalankuppam Pier (AKA Nettukuppam Pier): do not imagine, however the classic romantic port. The Thalankuppam Pier is fascinating because it has become a surreal postmodern and post-industrial place.

A bit of history: when in India was still dominated by British and Chennai, which at that time was called Madras, was not extensive as it is today, Thalankuppam was a small fishermen village almost twenty kilometers from Fort St. George. The legend says that from here the best seafood in the area could be caught. Now is simply a suburb to the north of the capital of Tamil Nadu where some villages overlook directly on the beach and many live on fishing.

On the banks of the river Thalankuppam, that here plunges into the sea, rose gigantic factories: you can see on the horizon high chimneys and boats of fishermen who try to earn the dinner, sitting on huge iron pipes… It is an experience fascinating

MORE IN THE CITY: THE ST. GEORGE FORT: THE COLONIAL TIME

The fort was built in 1653 by the British company of the West Indies that started to develop Chennai (which at that time was called Madras). Despite his undoubted historical value and in spite of many tours that include it among the fundamental stages, the Fort St. George today is nothing more than a collection of government buildings.

See other articles on India: click here!

SITGES: A QUITE TOWN OUTSIDE BARCELONA

I passed 5 days in Barcelona at th end of June and as I know the city and I was with a frind we decidd to stay in the city 2 days and pass the other ones outside of it, more in the nature and in a quite sea place. We decided to go to Sitges, a beautiful coastal town in Spain towards the south of Barcelona. The small town is full of exotic beaches and leisure promenades, and in summer it becomes a tourists’ paradise.

We stayed in a camping, “Camping Sitges” that is 2km from the center of the town. You can easily find it on the main road that leave the city towards “Vilanova I la Geltru”. The price were very good, it is cheap: e paid for 2 people and the camping tend for 2 nights 36€.

To start you day you can go in a bar in front of the beach or take your breakfast with you and sit down in the sand and enjoy it! The entire passage is flat and easy to walk on. As you stroll down it, you can take in the beautiful view of the beach as well as many other sights available in the city.

If you like to go by bike and not walk, “Bikes Sitges” is a bike rental available. You can rent the bike you want to and then go out on a ride- a good soothing ride through the streets of Sitges or hills near the city. This is recommended to all those who love ‘long’ drives or rides. I found a bike rent also in the camping we stayed, so you could rent also there your bike!

The town is really nice, one of the attractiveness is the Church of Sant Bartomeu & Santa Tecla, which is present near the place of a British invasion of Barcelona. It hosts an ossuary which is as old as the 1400s, making it an excellent spot for history lovers and from there you have a nice view on the beaches.

Among the beautiful beaches there are:

  • The Playa de Sant Sebastia: it has got some good cafes and bars near the sea front which make it ideal for an amazing beach day and end it up with a big mojito in your hands watching the sunset. It is not so crowded beach so you can dive into the water and have lunch quietly. It is quite near the main church too. it offers the best mixture of fun, leisure and affordability.
  • Playa del Hombre Muerto is a secluded beach at the end of the promenade in Sitges. It is a clothing optional beach. The beach is nice and clean and there are cafes to provide you with food and drinks. The only way you can reach the beach is by walking. Another amazing beach present in the city! It is an urban beach situated near the Sausalito beach, wider and less crowded.

Sitges is an cute city full of amazing beaches, with a rich cultural background and an immersive nightlife.

ROUTE TO WALK OUTSIDE THE CITY

As my friend and I love hiking we decided to ask for a nice route to do. Among the ones we saw on a brochure the tourist info gave us, some were not accessible without a car (for what they said… I have to complain because the touristic guides were not so informed on the transportation and the attractiveness outside the city) so finally we had to choose an excursion of 10 km for 3 hours. The itinerary was the following: from San Pedro de Ribes we walk through the castle, nice to visit to the Montgrós, and from there we came back. The type of exit: circulate; Difficulty: easy. The only issue was we started at 1 pm so the sun was very high… but it was our mistake!

LA CIUDAD PERDIDA: TREKKING IN THE HEART OF SIERRA NEVADA

In the heart of the dense tropical jungle in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, is located "La Ciudad Perdida" (The Lost City). This is an ancient sanctuary, Teyuna that goes back to the VIII Century A.D. and it was rediscovered only in 1972 by a body of explorers.

La ciudad Perdida today is the most known archaeological site of Colombia, and considered a sacred place by the 3 ethnic groups that still live in the Sierra Nevada: the Kogi, the Wiwa and the Arhuaco.

The area is an indigenous jurisdiction, so the natives manage the visitors flow. The only way to visit La Ciudad Perdida is a trekking of 4/5 days that cost around 200 - 250 Euros depending on the selected packet.

 

The packages includes the breakfast, lunch and dinner for all the days, the guide and the transportation to and from there (you can ask to bring you in Santa Marta, Palomino or all the places between the 2 locations). The path starts from a height of about 800 meters to arrive at 1200 meters. The journey is not so simple especially if you find raining days. The best way to deal with it should be prepared and equipped.

The local agencies where you can book your trekking will pick you up early in the morning at the hostel where you are staying, and bring you up to the base camp of “El Mamey”, real starting point, where you will meet your guide (mandatory). The transfer takes place in jeep 4×4 and lasts about 3 hours.

It would be dishonest if I told you that the journey is simple, , you will meet some long ascents steep and the great warmth will affect your strength, so it is good to know this that in order to reach the Ciudad Perdida. Better to have a decent physical preparation. An advice is to not do the trekking during the era of the rains (March, April, May, September, October, November) precisely because it often rains and the ground becomes inevitably muddy and slippery.

Day 1: You can have lunch at “El Mamey”, and there the guide will do a briefing introduction on the trekking. The first day, you walk 7 km (3-4 hours depending on the step that brought) to reach the first camp, where you will spend the night in hammocks. You will pass some ascents, waterfalls and rushing brooks that characterize the landscape.

Furthermore, along the path, you will stop in small kiosks and the guide will offer you water and fruit.

Day 2: the second day starts at dawn, since you must walk for about 8 hours to reach the second camp, at the foot of the Ciudad Perdida, Teyuna or as they call the natives. During the walk you will meet even the indigenous community of Mutanzhi. At the end of a long day you can relax in the fresh water of the river that flows to the side of the camp.

Day 3: The great day. It starts at 5.30 a.m., and after breakfast, is the time of the Ciudad Perdida. Before you will start better for you because you will have more time alone on the top. To arrive at the top of the Sacred City, you will have to climb 1.200 stone steps, built by the ancients and the only way of access to the site. The climb is hard, and puts a strain on your psycho-physical skills, but once on the view is unbelievable and the effort is worth it.

After a thorough visit of the site on the late morning, you will start your way back. It will take at least 5-6 hours to reach the camp (Mumake). Remember to not charge you more than what is needed because you will do the trekking with all your equipment. You need clothes to change all the days especially if it rains…. Chocolate and few other things.

Day 4: the Fourth day will be in descent in the same path you did for arriving to the Ciudad Perdida. After you wet in the waters of fresh streams, you will reach the starting point, El Mamey. Here await you already transfers that late afternoon will lead you to your hostel.

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