• Santa Marta waterfront
    Colombia,  Travels

    Santa Marta | Gateway to adventures in Northeast Colombia

    I took the bus from Cartagena to Santa Marta, planning to use it as a base to discover what the North East corner of Colombia had in store. The town of Santa Marta itself is tiny, with a few hostels and restaurants catering to passing tourists.  Hot & sunbaked, I wandered around with my camera, capturing a few sleepy moments of the golden hour.                                     From Santa Marta, there are a number of interesting places on the backpacking trail including: Tayrona National Park, Minka, Palomino, Ciudad Perdita, and Aracataca (only of interest to…

  • Ajiaco
    Colombia,  Food,  Travels

    Las comidas de Colombia | Food of Colombia

    For me, one of the best parts of travel is to taste the different foods of another culture.  Colombia has not disappointed so far, and though I am not a fan of ALL the food here, I love observing and trying. Colombia is not the land of healthy green juices and salads (at least not yet, but it’s coming fast I’m sure).  Tis the land of fried empanadas, platanos, french fries, fried chicken, fried dough balls, and more.  If you like greasy fried food, you’ll be in heaven. Some classic Colombian food… Empanadas – corn flour “dumplings” filled with beans, cheese, and meat.  Relatively easy to make!  We made these…

  • Sunset views by Santa Marta airport
    Colombia,  Travels

    Aeropuerto El Dorado | El Dorado Airport

    Bogota’s El Dorado airport has been a pleasant surprise.  Big, modern, with decent amenities, I am impressed.  I even had a chance to chill at the El Dorado lounge, thanks to my Priority Pass access and was blown away.  Nicer than many Airline VIP lounges, I got a chance to snack, eat, drink, and use the WIFI at this expansive and opulently decorated lounge.  Inside the lounge, there are plenty of seating areas, reclining chairs perfect for sleeping, showers, a beauty salon (no joke!), and a full on bar. Within the international wing of the airport, there is an Avianca Lounge, an Avianca and Star Alliance Diamond lounge, and a…

  • Cartagena
    Colombia,  Travels

    Cartagena de Indias: amor a primera vista | love at first sight

    I fell in love as soon as my taxi conducir drove through the narrow, balcony-shaded laneways of Cartagena’s old walled town.  Charming, beautiful, cute, photogenic, insta-worthy?  Si Si Si!  Like a slightly bigger and busier version of Galle, a cleaner and shinier version of Zanzibar, this old Caribbean city is a photographer’s dream and oozing with beauty and charm. Back in the 1500s, Cartagena was an important port for the Spanish Empire for exporting riches from South America back to Europe.  Like Zanzibar, it was also a trading post for slaves from Africa.  Today, Cartagena is a popular vacation destination for Colombians and international visitors alike.  The streets in the…

  • Colombia Immersion school
    Colombia,  Travels,  Uncategorized

    Colombia Immersion Language School

      According to my Spanish profesora, 5 years ago, there were no Spanish language schools in Medellin. Perhaps 5 years is a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is that in very recent times, there’s been an explosion of casual Spanish schools being offered in Medellin, which speaks to the growth of tourism in the city/country, and the popularity of learning Spanish. I chose Colombia Immersion for my language classes in Medellin after a recommendation from a fellow traveller I met in Jaco. With two locations (the original in Envigado and the newer one in Laureles), small classes, and the option to choose between full immersion or several different…

  • Medellin cactus house street photo
    Colombia,  Travels

    Las Paisas | The Paisas

      The people of the province of Antioquia (where Medellin is) are known as Paisas.  Two weeks into my stay here and I have come to experience first hand their warmth and friendliness, time and time again. It started from the day I arrived, super early in the morning.  Ill prepared and thinking my two weeks of Spanish courses in Costa Rica would get me through, I landed at the airport and left the building without bothering to look for a SIM provider.  I had the address to my Airbnb and figured the cab driver would be able to find it.  Not the case. Instead, I got dropped close to…

  • Guatape
    Colombia,  Travels

    Un dia en Guatape | One day in Guatape

      Guatape, an adorable pueblo 2 hours east of Medellin, is the perfect day trip from the city of eternal spring. I managed to recruit some fellow students at the Spanish school to go with me.  We arranged to meet at La Floresta metro station at 8am on Saturday.  Here’s a quick guide if you want to go without a tour: Take the metro to Caribe station.  There is a massive bus station right next to Caribe metro station.  You can get bus tickets to many different places from there.  Ticket counter 9 and 14 sell the bus tickets for Guatape.  ***Tip: if you are in a group, you can…

  • Hola
    Colombia,  Travels

    Aprendiendo Español | Learning Spanish

    “Why do you want to learn Spanish?”, I’ve been asked.  Me gusta, is the short answer.  I like it.  And because Spanish is a widely spoken language, it’ll make my travels through any Spanish speaking country much easier.  It’s supposedly an “easy” language to learn, and I want the challenge of actively learning a new language.  Though I speak fluent English and conversational Chinese, I acquired both these through osmosis, rather than through an form of active studying.  French, Italian, Japanese have all been attempted in the past, but nothing stuck. My goal is to be able to have basic conversations with others.  During the process of learning Spanish, I’ve…

  • Comuna 13
    Colombia,  Travels

    Observaciones de Medellin

    In Medellin for a week now and loving the vibe of this energetic city.  My observations so far are that it’s young, fun, and changing really quickly. I first heard about Medellin maybe 6-7 years ago when some friends of friends had come back from extended stays there.  “Colombia?  Is it safe?”, I had asked.  Fast forward to 2018 and Colombia is a poster child for transformation.  The drugs and violence of the past have diminished drastically and the locals are positive and proud of where they are today. Getting Around The Metro system of Medellin is the hallmark of this attitude.  Constructed ~30 years ago, this is the only…

  • Medellin street art
    Colombia,  Travels,  Uncategorized

    Let me guess, you’re a digital nomad?

    No?  Then you must be an English teacher. So it seems these are the careers du jour of the extranejeros (foreigners) I’ve met so far in Medellin. In my clase de Espanol, amongst our small group of 5, there are three English teachers.  B & J are an English couple, teaching English to Chinese kids, via the web.  They have classes usually from 5am – 8am, to coincide with timezones in China.  Then, there is B, an older senora from North Carolina, who’s also teaching English online, but to adults all over the world. English teaching via the web is a phenomenon that’s exploded.  I first heard about it in…