Have I ever told you about Lucerito? Lucerito was my best friend for a little more than a year; she was my travel partner and my gateway to freedom. With her I cruised all of Colombia, crossed rivers, raced thru the jungle and witnesses the most amazing sunrises and sunsets in a variety of unbelievable natural settings, and is thanks to her that I can write this Colombia Travel Blog post.
Lucerito (“Morning Star” in Spanish) was a 1998 4x4 Pajero truck I bought with the specific goal of starting a year round trip throughout my country. I was raised among two brothers, one of them a car racer, and a car fanatic dad, I started driving at 14 – which is very rare in Colombia – so I HAD to grow up as a car lover, I love motors, carburetors and speed! So our first mission was a one month journey to what, for me, are the highlights of Colombia. It was one of those things that my parents would do when they were young but my generation wouldn't have the chance because of the political situation and the fact that the guerrilla used to own most of the country, but now things were different.
With Lucerito, a map, a short budget and a long list of friends and family I was planning to stay with, I had a long talk with my dad - whom has been all over the place- and we came up with this Colombia budget Tour itinerary considering that I was going to drive on my own:
Day 1 – 4 Bogotá - Cali - Valle del Cauca - Calima Lake.
Day 5 – 8 Montenegro - Coffee Triangle - Parque Nacional del Cafe - Salento and natural hot springs.
Day 9 - 11 Medellín - Santa fe de Antioquia
Day 12 - 13 Medellín - Caribbean Coast - Tolú - San Bernardo Islands - Caimanera mangrove swamp.
Day 14 – 15 Tolú - Cartagena - mud volcano
Day 16 - 18 Cartagena – Tayrona National Park - Pueblito.
Day 19 Tayrona - Riohacha - Flamingos Natural reserve - stay in a Wayu trybe Rancheria.
Day 20 – 22 Riohacha - Cabo de la Vela - Manaure See Salt factory.
Day 23 Cabo de la Vela - Bucaramanga.
Day 24-26 Bucaramanga - San Gil - Chicamocha Canion - Chicamocha National Park - adventure sports: rafting, 80mt rappel, and Juan Cury waterfalls.
Day 27 - 28 San Gil - Villa de Leyva.
Day 29 Villa de Leyva - Zipaquira's Salt Cathedral - Bogota. We leave VDL and drive south to the town of Zipaquira.
As you can imagine my somehow apprehensive Colombian mom wasn’t so sure to let me go on my own, but on a Tuesday morning, at 5:30 AM, I kissed my parents good bye and head south towards Cali. The Pan-American highway was almost empty and looking at the horizon while driving and listening to Carlos Vives, I could see Bogota’s early morning deep blue sky encouraging me to enjoy the excitement of a new adventure.
One of the things I realized while leaving Bogota is that not only Colombians but lots of foreigners are back on the road. I’ll write about this and many many other topics and destinations in the next parts of this entry.
So for now, Abrazos
Marcela – Colombia Travel Blog