A Travellerspoint blog

Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro de Bogota:

the world's biggest theater showcase

all seasons in one day

Don't think for even a second that I'm a theater expert, nope. But now that I'm spending a few days in Buenos Aires with my loved one ( Argentina's capital city is filled with theaters and a very active cultural life), I realize the importance of our Theater Festival in Bogota. Its funny, because Bogota's XII Iberoamerican Theater Festival, today's post topic, was actually an initiative started by an Argentinean actress who lived in Colombia.

No wonder that not many people around the world outside theater connoisseurs really know about the extent of this fantastic event, in which for about 2 weeks theater companies, circuses and performers from all continents take Bogota's street by storm, because, to be honest event most of us, the common non-theater-related people in Bogota are not aware that this is, in fact, the biggest theater showcase in the world.

So let me tell you what is hapening from 19th of March and during the following 17 days in Bogota.... gosh! is amazing how much our cultural scene has grown over the past 22 years and that I'm only realizing it while I think how to write the rest of this post.

The festival as we know it today was created in 1988 by Fanny Mickey, the Argentinean actress, and Ramiro Osorio, a local artist, to commemorate Bogota's 450th fundation aniversary. Its first edition was born under the slogan "un acto de fe por colombia", "an act of faith for Colombia". And it really was, during the nineties Colombia suffered one of the most violent decades in its history with important events like in December 1993 when Pablo Escobar finally got caught and killed... just to name the one I remember the most. During this time it was unthinkable to have such a huge event specially because not even ourselves believed the situation could ever change and the world was scared of Colombia.

It took the strengh of a redhead argentinian entrepreneur who left her home country at 16 (1958) because her family would not support her desire to be and artist, so she came to Colombia believing that here she could have more opportunities to reach her dream . It was then when she decided to start the Theater School in Cali with Enrique Buenaventura, a well known Colombian dramatist, 8 years later she left her beloved Cali to live in Bogota and to stablished what was going to be the renaissance of theater in Colombia and one of the most important cultural proyects for us, La Fundación del Teatro Nacional.

Eight years of cultural production and promotion by the Fundacion evolved into what is now, as I said before, one of the biggest scenic arts festivals of the world. It started with 49 theater companies from 21 countries with very special guests like Stary Teatr à Cracovie, with "Crime and punishement", y Carbone 14 from Canada, with "Hamlet Machine". For its 10th aniversary version, which transcended iberoamerica, the Fundacion Teatro Libre with Fanny Mickey as Director, managed to bring to Colombia some of the most important theater companies of the world like the Royal Shakespeare Company from England, Piccolo Theater of Milan, the Suzuki Company of Toga (SCOT) from Japan, the ZKM Theare Zagreb of Croatia, the Theater an der Ruhr from germany amongst others. We are talking about bringing hundreds of foreign artists to a place that was known as one of the most dangerous in the world.... that must have been hard work and stubbornness... and all thanks to Fanny! As you can see in the picture below Fanny was a VERY energetic woman , even when she was in her 70s she was considered to have "the best legs in Colombia" and , if you pay attention to this year's festival logo, you'll see how well represented she is :)

This year in its XII version the FITB and Colombia will honor Fanny Mikey's life (she sadly passed away in August 2008) and will have more than 2000 artists from all over the world in more than 15 categories like circus, clown, monologue, poetry and sooooo much more.

Having lived away for so long makes you much more sensible to whats going on in the cultural scene of a city. Two years ago, when I came back from my 11 years trip, I bought myself as many tickets as I could, but the funny thing is that I didn't find many people to go with to all the plays, thats what I was saying earlier that I'm not sure if Colombians realize how big and important this festival is. Anyway, I can't even start to describe how much the whole atmosphere changes in Bogota when the festival is on and one of the greatest things it has is that lots of the events are free to the public. So you just basically walk to the supermarket and will breathe theater. There are hundreds of plays in all parks and big stages are built all around the city.

This year is the fifth edition of "Ciudad Teatro" - Theater City which is a basically a huge city within the city. In 2008 the Theater City was visited by over 600.000 people in 16 days. This year is held in Compensar which is an enourmous venue that I could easily say is twice as big as a 70.000 people stadium. We will have so much going on that I'm just going to list it because I want you to know EVERYTHING about it. So, in 16 days we could see

128 Childrens theater acts
321 street theater acts (local and international)
45 circus acts
66 story tellers
32 children' story readings
36 comedy acts
7 match improvisations
42 musical acts
35 bands (Including Bomba Estereo
Muppets for grown-ups
Stand up comedy
and more, and more and moooore!

Not to mention all other plays that will be held in the stadium, the coliseo cubierto, la plaza de toros and all three branches of the Fundacion Teatro Nacional with a very modern version of the classics like Eurípides, Shakespeare or Dostoyevski and a fantastic variety of circus from France, Spain, Italy and Canada. There is also a very special space for scenic art students during the festival. They, toguether with actors, dancers, directors and tecnitians have the chance to meet and interact with some of the most important professionals through FREE talks, simposiums and so much more that if I told you all about it this entry would be huge!

Here are some tips in case you're lucky enough to be around Bogota during the festival

Prices can vary from US$8 ($15.000) to US$50 ($100.000)

Buy your tickets from tuboleta.com but they only take local credit cards

Also in any of Juan Valdes' branches

You can fill in a form, take it to the La Casa del Festival Carrera 19 No 37-53 and get special prices

You can also buy tickets at each venue:
Leonardus: Cra. 21 No. 127-05
Auditorio León de Greiff: Cra. 30 No. 45-03
Palacio de los Deportes: Calle 63 No. 42-00
Coliseo El Campín: Diagonal 57 con carrera 30
Plaza de Toros: Cra. 6 No. 26-50
Teatro R101: Calle 70A No.11-29
PRD: Cra. 60 No.63-65
Casa Ensamble: Av. 24 No. 41-69
Here is the link to the programe in closed venues

Here the one for the free stuff

And this is the link for the Theater City programe

I hope you get the chance to enjoy the this spectacular event. Unfortunatelly none of the information available is in english so as always if you have any questions just e-mail me!

Abrazos

Marcela Colombia Travel Blog

Posted by MarColombi 12:51 Comments (0)

What does Shakira and the Biggest Carnival in Colombia...

... have in common? Barranquilla, land of music

sunny

Colombia is a land of music and musicians.... hurmm....wait a second... while I was writing that phrase I was at the same time wondering why do we Colombians consider ourselves to be so categorically more "musical" than other countries. Do I really have the right to say that? I don’t think I'm exaggerating but still, I can’t put my finger on what is exactly what make us such a music loving country... maybe is the mixture of cultures that helped building Colombia, the Afro influence in both coasts, the fact that we even divide the country in four musical zones or maybe is just the caribbean weather that makes us like this, but the fact is that we live and breathe music and I'm not only talking about the famous Salsa or the Vallenato, music and dancing seems to be part of our everyday life here. Anyway, ramblings aside, this time I want to tell you about aspecific area of our country that vibrates with music all year long and specially during February: Barranquilla and its Carnival.

Just to put things in context, Barranquilla is a port at the North Coast of Colombia, a city with a little more than a million people and fourth in size after Bogota, Medellin, and Cali. For many years, especially during the 18th Century, Barranquilla was a very important trading port and therefore, as most big harbors around the world, lots of those traders - many of them Arabs - decided to settle down there.

As a matter of fact I think you may have heard about a certain Colombian musician of Arab origin from Barranquilla, her name is Isabel Mebarak Ripoll but some also call her Shakira. Yep, Barranquilla is Shakira's hometown and I would guess that growing in such a culture filled place was a great influence on her music, I remember when Shakira was beginning her career in the early nineties.. the first time I listened to her I thought there was something very special to that somehow weird voice tone. Actually, I think I'm one of the few people that still owns her original first LP "Magia" (and now is hand signed by her too!) when she was still a brunette 14 year old teenager. With her talent and business sense she's not only a worldwide recognized singer but a multimillionaire who has placed Colombia back in to the map as a multicultural and joyful place where hips don't lie and also told everyone that "in Barranquilla se baila asi"! (By the way, yesterday was Shakira's Birthday : Happy Birthday Shaki if you're reading this!)

But above all, as I was saying at the beginning, Barranquilla is where the biggest Carnival in Colombia is held. Due to its amazing cultural display, El Carnaval de Barranquilla was proclaimed by UNESCO, in November 2003, as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity and some say that it is second in size to Rio's, so let’s see what the hype is all about.

El Carnaval de Barranquilla is the best example of our triple cultural fusion (European, African, and Indian) in which the Catholic festivities brought by the Spaniards from the Europe blended with aboriginal ceremonies and the musical heritage of African slaves to become a spectacular folk festivity. Although there are four main Carnival days (from February 13th to 16th in 2010), you can feel the ambiance changing weeks prior to it, when the caribbean rhythm of carnival music fills the air in advance of the anticipated celebration.

The Carnival of Barranquilla begins four days before Ash Wednesday and reaches its climax the following week during the Batalla de las Flores (battle of the flowers), where the gaiety and color of the Colombians come face to face in a unique battle of color, flowers, beauty, and peace.

But, the "pre- carnival" officially starts with an opening ceremony in which the mayor gives the key of the city to the queen of the carnival on behalf of the people of Barranquilla and from there every weekend from mid January to the beginning of carnival they have the right to celebrate on the streets as they please. I would never end if I start describing the dozens of pre-carnival parties, so I'll just mention one of the main preliminary parades that starts two days before, early in the evening and is called La Guacherna. "Guacherna" is slang for “Rumba", "Fiesta" or "Big mess" in English. As all the other pre-parties aside from the "official" carnival, La Guacherna is free to the public and consists on one big dancing, drinking street party with a high concentration of people of all ages...

The enjoyment of the Barranquilla Carnival is not just from the parade but the action in the stands and the merriment around town. The mood is festive and friendly. Parade spectators will share their drinks and food. Canned white foam is the toy of choice for the playful spraying of your neighbors. It would not be unusual for late arrivals to walk up into the stands and be covered in white foam by the time they find a seat.

As I said before, the main festivities begin with La Batalla de las Flores (The Battle of the Flowers) which is the central and most important event. The battle is an impressive parade of carrozas (floats), led by the recently elected queen of the carnival and followed by traditional dance groups, cumbiambas and comparsas. Since 1991 the Carnival has taken place on Vía 40 (or 40th Street), unifying the previously disjointed celebrations in an effort to celebrate it in one public place. In parallel, other live acts like the Rey Momo (Carnival King) parade run on calles 17 and 44.

On sunday, the parade continues on Vía 40, but this time the traditional Grand Parade (El Desfile de la Gran Parada) takes over the main street, there you'll have the chance to see and hear exclusively to traditional folk bands and dancers, an amazing mixture of afro and local vibes represented by the sound of cumbias, guachernas, mapales, and others.The two most characteristic dances of this parade are:
Cumbia, a rythm that's afusion of indian, black and white elements simulating a couple courting were the woman dances subtly moving her hips to the rythm of the tambora (drum) and flauta de millo (a typical kind of flute)
Garabato, which symbolizes man's victory over death
On Monday, we have the Fantasy Parade and the Festival de Orquestas , both start at 4 pm, but is in the Festival were you'll be able to dance all night long until 7am on Tuesday. During this enormous party, you'll see the best bands in many different categories such as traditional folk music, salsa and vallenato. The winners in each category are awarded the Congo de Oro, which is one of the most sought after music awards in Colombia.

As a closing ceremony and as a symbol of the end of the festivities, Joselito Carnaval is burried on tuesday night. Joselito Carnaval symbolizes joyfulness and festiveness, and dies after four days of intense partying. His body is cried upon and he is symbolically buried by the merry widows who shared his days of festiveness, his funeral is a symbolic farewell “to the flesh”.

There is no single Joselito, anyone can tour the streets with a figure of Joselito, or even a friend or relative dressed as him. This is a frequent custom practiced by people of all ages, creeds, races, and sexes as a final indulgement before the start of Lent. Thus, Joselito’s funeral marks the end of the feasts of the Dios Momo.
Next morning, the whole city rests and get ready for Ash wednesday which is the first day of Lent, a time of repentance before eastern. Very good timing to, uh?

And that's it, I hope I was able to express the beauty of what has been described as “a thousand theater pieces in just one stage” the most genuine expression of the Colombian people and a blend of colors, races, legends, parties, and musical rhythms…, but as I always say don't just take my word for it , go and check that fact for yourself!

Some Tips:
You can book a full tour through a local travel agency; make sure it includes a 3 day ticket for the galleries. If you want to enjoy the full carnival you must save at least 5 days of your itinerary. Flying from Bogotá you'll pay around US$800 including entrances. A good hotel would be around US$50 per person/pr night. You can also Rent a 3 bed flat for about US$150 pn.
You can't buy tickets directly from the Carnival, you must get them through www.tuboleta.com but they only take local credit cards....bare with us, we are changing!

Abrazos

Marcela - Travel Blog

Posted by MarColombi 09:56 Comments (0)

Colombia's Tatacoa Desert

A weekend trekking, cycling and sleeping under the stars. (Or: get ready for a looong post)

sunny

I have to admit I'm a (very) heavy sleeper, so honestly I didn't feel the "bumpiness" of the overnight bus ride from Bogota to Neiva, a small city (pop. 350, 000) well known here in Colombia for its yearly San Pedro festival and even more popular due to its closeness to a certain Colombia destination I was dying to travel to for a long time: el Desierto de la Tatacoa (The Tatacoa Desert). There I was at Neiva's main square at 7 AM breathing pure unpolluted morning air, enjoying the morning silence while all local stores were closed on that sunny Saturday (its always sunny over there) and even at that early time, the temperature was quiet high.

After a nice local breakfast with scrumbled eggs, fresh bread and a hot chocolate at the same place were all truck drivers stop for an arepa and a hot cofee, we got on the bus and started a short drive towards Tello, the first stop on my journey to Tatacoa. Now, before I start with my story for real, you have to know Tatacoa isn't really a desert (althought it really feels like one if you ask me) because it does rain from time to time - so its considered a semi arid zone (and for more details, is also located in the municipality of Villavieja just north of Huila, about 38 km from Neiva and between the eastern andean mountain range and the Magdalena river).

At Tello, which is basically a crossroad, we got off the bus , got our bikes ready and started a 35k bike ride through a beautifully wavy road towards Villavieja .... 4 hours later we were there, ad portas of starting the "immersion" to the legendary Tatacoa Desert.....

OK...time to stop ... yes, I know, I'm getting ahead again ... I missed to tell you how exactly did I ended up on the verge of entering this paleontologist's dream land in Colombia. Its all my friend Claudia's fault, Claudia is one of those people that like me got bitten by the travelling bug a few years ago and has never stoped travelling. She sent an email inviting me and some other friends to join her on a trip to Tatacoa, I dont have to tell you that I clicked on the "reply" button as fast as I could after typing "Count me in!".

We booked the trip with a small company called Travesias Tierra Luna , which is almost single handed by a Colombian guy that decided to leave everything behind and dedicate his life to show his fellow country-people - and some foreigners that slowly start to pop in - the beauty of the Colombian sceneries in an extreme sports kind of way. A couple of days later after I replied that email, we met with the whole group in place a called Cafe y Crepes in Bogota (Highly recommended eatery by the way!), where our guide Carlos briefed us on what to expect, what to take, payments and all relevant details. Three days later my friend Claudia and I where loading our bikes on a huge bus and leaving Bogota towards Neiva.... and that's how I ended up sleeping in that bus, having breakfast in Neiva, riding another bus to Tello, and riding my bike through Villavieja towards el Desierto de la Tatacoa.

Phew! enough catching up with my story, so lets continue: Villavieja is a tiny town in the middle of no where with colonial houses and a beautiful scuare with a church and police station and the alcaldia (the mayors office). We stoped there for about 40 min to catch our breath and to visit the arqueological museum, buy some local wine and sweets. It was a great feeling to know that the town is so safe and tranquilo that you can just leave your bikes outside the front door.

After the break, we decided it was time to start heading towards the desert so we took the only road that leaves Villavieja and croses the desert. With 330 square km, the Tatacoa desert has two very special types of scenery, the first is a dry and very red soil with cool erosion formations full of cactus that has been named El Cuzco. The second, is known as Los Hoyos, consisting on dry greyish soil canions that have been tilth by strong currents formed during the rainy season.

After about an hour we entered the Cuzco area and headed to the observatory. From there and after a light lunch and loads of water we did a small walk through the arid red soil formations. I have no words to describe the scenery, you can get the most amazing contrast between the blue sky and the redish rock formations. There are enourmous arches and small paths is something like being a bug..... ah! is exactly like being a character of Disney's movie Bug's Life. Anyhow, after taking the most Amazing photos it was time to head to our next destination and campsite, Los Hoyos. We had two options, we could get on our bikes and ride an extra 6k or we could get on our aircon confortable bus and take photos of our hardcore fellow travellers... guess which one I took.... yeap, after all the effort a bus ride was just what we needed.

So we got to Los Hoyos set camp had a shower and eat the most wonderfull sancocho (local chiken soup) with rice and a cold beer. After a nice chat with everybody and a brief about next day's activities we retired to our tents and turn our lanterns off. I have never seen so many stars in my life, since there is no electricity in 300 kms around us you can really see the stars. Its just a beautiful feeling being able to see the inmensity of the world and to listen to the night and fall asleep in such a magic an unpoluted place.

Next day, our second day of the trip, we got up at 7 am had breakfast and got together with the group. Our guide diveded the group in two, those that wanted to ride 17k to the river Cabrera or those who wanted a nice 9k trek to the same river and back. My friend and I decided we wanted to walk. So after filling our bottles with as much water as we can carry we started to walk. We crossed the desert throug an area called los Hoyos. It has such a diferent atmosphere, as opossed to Cuzco where the soil is red, this area is made of greyish and black stones. It was just like walking on the moon and then, after a 6 hour walk we kind of bumped into paradise, the whole scenery changed dramatically into a beautiful green garden. That can only mean that there was water around and that meant that we were close to the river... yeeeeepeeee. We walked a further half an hour and finally reached our destination, the River Cabrera. We sat by the river bank had a couple of sandwiches and then jumped into the water where we cool down and we even had a spa mud treatment for free!

When we got back to camp our guide had a well deserved treat for us. He invited us to see the sunset in the pool - we thought... "a pool?? in the middle of the desert?" Well, the answer is yes. We couldn't belive that there actually was a pool in the middle of no where and the best part is that it was complitely natural, fresh water with no chemicals. So, we watched the sunset, had a beer and relaxed in the pool for a couple of hours.

Next and final day of our travel in the Tatacoa desert, we packed and load everything onto the bus and headed to Pacande on our way back to Bogota. Pacande is a 3450 masl mountain which became very famous after Jorge Villamil - a local singer - wrote a song about it. We did a 5 hour walk to the top of the mountain and back. An optical ilusion made us think that we weren't far from the top but with every step the top seamed to move with us. We stoped to cath our breath and to enjoy the beautiful scenery, to the left we could see the magnificent and shiny Magdalena river and the always green rice plantations at the foot of two small mountain ranges. To the south we could see the Huila department, and further away we just managed to see Neiva where a couple of days ago and God nows how many KMs away we started this extreme, beautiful and enriching weekend.

So that's how I left Tatacoa ...for the first time , as I'm planning to go back soon, as the experience is truly amazing and at this point of my life I want experience it again with my special one... Tatacoa is an amazing place full of 12 million year old bird, fish and reptile fossils, some are as big as elephants. The experts say that originally Tatacoa must have been a very green area with lush vegetation and a huge diversity of species, today is refuge of owls, bats, foxes, snails and spiders. It gets its name from the Tatacoa, a local snake. During the day it gets so hot and dry that you can almost fry and egg on a rock but when the night falls you can feel the cool breeze that comes down from the mountains whilst looking at the infinty of the milky way, drinking a local beer and counting shooting stars.

The Tatacoa desert is a magic place, you could probably just stay in a hotel en Neiva and visit the desert during the day or - my favorite as you can imagine after this entry - camp under millions of stars and enjoy a cold natural pool after having trekked or cicled all day. You can only camp in Tatacoa,there are no hotels or hostels anywhere. What most people do is to camp near some of the little local houses. If you don't have any food to cook or just get bored of soggy sandwiches, most locals would be very happy to prepare some traditional food for you at a very reasonable price.

And that's it! I hope you enjoyed seeing Tatacoa through my eyes, and as always, if you have any question on how to get there, etc...just e-mail me!

Abrazos!

Marcela - Travel Blog

Posted by MarColombi 17:59 Archived in Colombia Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Party in Colombia:

My top 5 rumbeaderos in Bogota

Colombia is the only place in the world in which " rumba" means much more than the musical rythm known as, well..." rumba". Lets see how can we define " rumba" ... a simple translation could be "to party" , but " rumbear" can also mean:

1) Going out for a drink.
2) Going dancing.
3) Going to a gig.
4) Singing away in a Karaoke.
5) Going to someone's house for a party.
6) 1 + 2
7) 5 + 4
6) 3 +1 + 2
7) 5 + 1 + 6 + waking up next day in a farm with a killer hangover.
8) 7 + ... well, I guess you get the idea.

So, in the very tough mission of recommending the best 5 places to party or " rumbear" in Bogota, my home town, the humble writer of this Colombia Travel blog has taken the freedom to divide the city in 5 highly recommended night life and party areas for educational reasons, all of them in northerm Bogota where you'll find a lot of options for you to enjoy a nigh out, from salsa or electronic music through a quite glass of black beer.... bars, pubs, restaurants, and coffee shops.... the whole lot.


La Zona T.

Located in Calle 83 and Cra 13 is called T because is made of two pedestrian roads which have a T shape. La zona T is a great place to have a few drinks before going to the nearby discos, or just to seat on one of the many terraces to see people walk passed. In la zona T you'll not only find loads of bars and restaurantes one right next door to the other, but also, 3 of the best shopping malls of Bogota: Centro Andino, Atlantis Plaza (with Hard RocK Coffee Bogota) and El Retiro which holds various upscale boutiques such as Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Bulgari, Cartier, Loewe and many more. Most of the bars and restaurants will be open every day of the week, even on mondays and sundays.

La zona G.

This zone has some of the finest eateries in Bogota. Within a few small blocks you will find plenty of options. The restaurants are more oriented toward fine dining more so than night club type activity. If you want elegant or romantic, this is a good choice. These are five star restaurants such as the internationally reknowned Astrid y Gaston. This area goes from the Calle 69 and Carrera 7 to Calle 72 and Carrera 4.

Parque de la 93

The 93 is a beautifull park with loads of good mid priced restaurants and bars and some 5 star restaurants too. The 93 is popular for a drink after work, so, during the week you'll see loads of locals wearing ties and meeting their friends for a coffee or a swift half in the pub... gosh that sounds so british. During the weekend is a great place to go for dinner and then dancing. You will find the park on Calle 93 and Carreras 12 and 13.

Usaquen

One of my very favorites. About 60 years ago, it was only a small town close to Bogota, today is a colonial little pueblo within the big city. Usaquen is located on Calle 119 and Carrera 6 a couple of blocks north of Hacienda Santa Barbara shoping mall. It has the best atmosphere in town with its beautiful colonial houses, some small shops and boutiques. It offers one of the best views of the city with the eastern mountain range as a natural border to the east. It has a variety of restaurants and bars surrounding the traditional town square. A perfect place to enjoy the sunday flea market and then a nice lunch and a well deserved ice cream for dessert.

Chia.

Chia which also means moon in Muisca, a Chibchan language; is about 20k north of Bogota and is home to the legendary Andres Carne de Res one of our top 5 places to go out in Bogota. Chia is specially popular on weekends where families leave the city looking for fresh air. There are many restaurants and discos.

All right , now that you -hopefully - have a geographic reference , let's go to Marcela's personal Top 5 Rumbeaderos in Bogota in descending order:

5.Gaira (La Casa de la Cumbia)

Guillermo Vives, a famous actor and brother of Carlos Vives (a world wide known vallenato singer) brought to Bogota about 6 years ago a place usually known as la Casa de la Cumbia, here you have a wide selection of traditional home made gourmet Comida Costena (food from the north coast of Colombia). The actual name is " Gaira" , as a tribute to one of the Vives Family's favorite beaches from their beloved Santa Marta area. The combination of traditional food, tropical music and a bright decoration sets the atmosphire to remind you of la costa colombiana. It may be a good idea to go for a late lunch and stay for the live music and party all night. I would recomend to have a patacon or a carimanola (flat plantain or yuca friter).

This is a great place to enjoy some real cumbia and vallenato from the north and if you are very lucky you might listen to Carlos Vives live! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zqJGWtEB9Q if you haven't heard from him he was the one that revived Vallenato and made it famous again. Great cumbia and vallenato rumba!

4. Full 80's
http://www.full80s.com/

Although it has been a while since the 80s left us, we have a very cool place in la Avenida 19 with Calle 118 that reminds us of those cool times. This is the perfect place to hear the house clasics form the 80s and to watch in the background things like "Automan", "Chips", "American Super Hero". The deco includes a cool colection of Transformes and Star Wars memorabilia. Full 80s is open from Wednesday to Saturday and Sunday if Monday is a bank holiday. On thursday there is a live band ( the cover is about US$13) My favorite cocktail there is Full 80's consisting of vodka, brandy, vermouth and strawberry juice ( about US$10) ,a beer is about US$4.

3. Bogota Beer Company
http://www.bogotabeercompany.com/home.html

BBC (no relation to the British Bradcasting Corporation) has 10 branches all over the city, you wont miss it even if you wanted to, they're really all over Bogota. I love BBC because is a truly Colombian "pub" (if that is possible). They produce 5 different types of beer, but i'm only going to tell you about my 3 favorite ones: 1. Chapinero Porter, which is a black london inspired beer; 2. Monserrate Roja (red and a must) and 3. Candelaria Clasica a more traditional lager beer. You can buy your beers in pints, half, jar or the local atraction Jirafas (giraffes) which are a 1 yard long glass full of any beer you want. As for food goes, they have named some of their starters after some of Bogota's most famous neighborhoods such as Campin Calamari or Cedritos Chips.

2. Salto del Angel
http://www.saltodelangel.com.co/360/02.html

El Salto del Ángel is an enourmous place with lots of terraces and levels and bars and stuff. When going to el salto you must be ready for partying and jumping all nigh long. During the day its a classy restaurant but when it gets dark its packed with very good looking people going to ‘party”. I've always had a fantastic time there but it is better if you go within a group. They have live bands almost every weekend and a fantastic DJ that will keep you dancing on your table.

1.Andres Carne de Res
http://www.andrescarnederes.com/

Well we have reached my top 1! I shouldn’t really write anything about Andres and just say YOU HAVE TO GO AND SEE IT for yourself.
There are no words to describe a night out in Andres. It has such a special atmosphere. Andres is rumba and food Colombia style and really lives to its name ( Andres Beef is an approximate translation) , I have eaten good meat in Buenos Aires and Montevideo but if you want to try some tasty, yammy pice of beef you must go to Andres. And it doesn’t stop there, their fruit juices and friteries are to die for. Pleases try a Punta de Anca and a portion of Criollitas (tiny yellow fryed potatoes) and a glas of Maracuya juice ( passion fruite) and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The deco… well… where do I start? . Once you get there, you are greeted by hundreds of staff members dressed in all sorts of costumes and the first couple of things you’ll see are windmills and winged cows … then you know you’ve reached Andres. In side is like a zoo, loco place there are all sorts of antiques and crafts hanged from the ceiling. There are around 23 areas called comedores where you can seat and enjoy your meal. Remember to look for your comedor’s name before going to the toilet, they are usually heart shape and glow in the dark. It is for sure the best rumbeadero (party place) and a must when you travel to Colombia.

OK, people ..enough is enough ...now that you've read this you have no excuse, if you happen to come to Bogota please try at least 3 of my Top 5 rumbeaderos...and if you happen to do so drop me line..... and if you've already been in Bogota , dont hesitate to comment about YOUR personal top 5!

Abrazos

Marcela

Posted by MarColombi 06:16 Archived in Colombia Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (0)

Top 5 Hidden Destinations in Colombia

All in Colombia!

Following is a summarised version of my Colombia Travel Blog entry. If you want to see some of my photos of colombia visit Marcela's Colombia Travel Blog.

From the caribbean to the Andes, Colombia is an unseen treasure. Cartagena, San Andres, Bogota, Medellin are all more or less well known Colombia destinations, they are unique and you should definitely put them in your Colombia "places to visit" list, but this time I want to use my Colombia Travel Blog to share a few words about what I consider to be the top 5 hidden destinations in Colombia, fantastic and almost unseen places perfect for those that have a little more time and are willing to explore beyond regular travel agencies' Colombia Tours.

1. Cano Cristales.

Cano Cristales

To the south west of the country, in the National Natural Park of Serrania de la Macarena you will find the "7 Colour River". One of the most spectacular and untouched rivers in South America. Its coulors, endemic species together with the joyfulness and kindness of the locals, makes this place an unreal experience.

2. The Lost City of the Tayronas.

Walking to the Lost City is like going back in time. This remote and exotic archaeological site is located on the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta which, by the way, is the world's highest coastal range. The Lost city of the Tayronas is actually bigger than the Amazing Machu Picchu (and far far less crowded ;) )

3. Guajira.

This area has a rich mixture of coulors, sand, salt, sea and a vibrant comunity, the Wayuus. This enormous department is located to the north east of Colombia, boarder with Venezuela.

4. San Agustin y Tierradentro.

Another fantastic archaeological site with more than 300 statues that was declared a World Heritage site by Unesco in 1995.

5. Tayrona National Park.

Voted second amongst the top 10 beaches of the world by the Guardian news paper in 2007. This romantic and hidden spot is located on the Caribbean, only a couple of hours drive from Cartagena.

There you are! Those are my Top 5 Colombia hidden spots, I'll write detailed posts about each of them in my future entries. If you want to know more about any of them, as always you know you just have to leave a comment.

Abrazos!

Marcela - Travel Blog

Posted by MarColombi 08:19 Archived in Colombia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (2)

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