So here we are, our final new city in South America, the capital, Bogota. Colombia’s largest city now with over 8 million people, that should make for some interesting challenges but I guess we are used to it now, the odd stare and gringo comment has just become the norm.
After leaving the hustle and bustle of Medellin I was looking forward to a nice few days. just relaxing in a smaller town, this being Salento. The guidebooks describe this place as, “A little town situated well in the foothills of the Cordillera and is the oldest settlement in Quindio, once a sleepy village not anymore as backpackers have found this little haven,so the streets are much busier yet the town is still a charming place.” Sounds perfect.
Driving along, up and over mountains, taking in the scenery that is now up there with some of the best we have driven through in South America, we ascended over the final mountain with the view of Medellin in the distance. It’s amazing how these cities are built in the valleys and over time develop up to the mountain side, giving a very 3D panoramic view of the city which definitely helps with your bearings.
Completing the hike in four days meant that we wouldn’t miss any time in Cartagena, so the next morning our natural body clocks woke us up early, we’d been up at 5am for the last four days. After breakfast it was time to explore the town that we knew very little about, our first real insight into Columbia.
So this is the final of the top 12 highlights of South America which we were trying to complete, Ciudad Perdida (Spanish for “Lost City”) I wanted to put a bit of the history mainly so we don’t forget, so here goes…
Mérida is situated in the foothills of the Andean mountain range, hosting the countries highest point, Pico Bolivar and the slightly lower Pico Espejo that can be accessed by a teleférico, the world’s highest and longest cable car system. It’s the highlight of Mérida but unfortunately it has been closed for a couple of years and was still no closer to being fixed, we had to find other ways to entertain ourselves for the next couple of days.
After a descent nights sleep we were refreshed and ready to venture into the best wildlife watching destination of Los Llanos, an immense plain savanna south of the Andes. Los Llanos is Venezuela’s great repository of wildlife, particularly birds, but it is also excellent ground to get a close experience with caimans, capybaras, piranhas but more excitedly, anacondas.
After our holiday in a holiday thanks to Angel Falls in Canaima National Park, it was time to start travelling through the land of stunning variety that Venezuela has to offer. Andean peaks, endless Caribbean coastline, idyllic offshore islands, wetlands, grasslands and table top mountains, although a country marred by its political and economical continuing downfalls, we were in for a treat.