Colombia - the colorful, diverse country in South America 2023/2024

google picture
google picture


Jungle, beach, mountains, coffee, cities, salsa and lots of nature, that's Colombia - an extremely diverse, interesting country that hopefully has a lot to discover and that has a lot of adventures in store.

I will be traveling with Heike again, because we enjoyed our trip to Indonesia so much that we now want to go exploring together again and experience new adventures.

It will be exciting because we will dive into the history and depths of the Amazon jungle, explore the former most dangerous city in the world - Medellìn or Cali - the city of salsa, but also the tropical beauty of the Pacific coast and the exclusive island of "Providencia", which is closer to Nicaragua than to Colombia. The underwater world will not be neglected either and so we will be taking a closer look, or rather lens, at both the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Stay tuned as two German travel buddies-women go on another adventure trip.


It had rained a lot during the night, but luckily it was all over by the time I set off.

But it wasn't as quiet and empty as I usually find it on my journey to the airport, because I was traveling there in rush hour traffic. I noticed it right away at the station: lots of people and the S-Bahn was pretty full. Okay, that's also due to the chaos of the German railroads, because they still hadn't managed to get all the S-Bahn trains running again, so every second train to the airport was once again canceled. 

After three stops, however, I had my seat and was able to drink my coffee in peace until I reached the airport. There I looked for the Iberia check-in counter. I didn't find it straight away. When I asked, I found out that they only open two hours before. So I waited another hour until I was finally ready to go.

But then I was able to queue again in the Business/Iberia plus queue. It all has its advantages if you have a card/member of a Miles card, because I was also allowed to walk past everyone at the security check and didn't have to queue. It didn't work out with the lounge this time, but with a few phone calls to friends and family, the waiting time passed relatively quickly.

We finally took off 30 minutes late. Of course, I was very worried about whether the relatively short transfer time in Madrid would be enough for me, but they reassured me and said that I would make it easily.

When I landed in Madrid, I looked for the shuttle train to Terminal 4S. I met Heike on the way and we drove and walked there together. At the gate, everything was already prepared for boarding, which started on time.

Heike sat behind me, we had both reserved window seats in advance. There were empty seats next to and in front of me, so I had two seats to myself.

When we were served our food, we asked for a gin and tonic, but the stewardess said no because the bar hadn't opened yet. So we toasted to our vacation with a beer.

Every now and then there was a bit of turbulence and so we flew off into the sunset.

Heike and I now know why Iberia is not one of the good airlines: we heard and saw almost nothing from the staff, even when they rang the bell. At some point I went to the back and asked for a gin and tonic, coffee and snacks. The young man then said that the gin and tonic costs money, the coffee is only warm and pressed a few cookies into my hand. What's more, all the staff looked very bored.

We landed safely in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, at around 9pm. Together we passed through passport control quite quickly, collected our suitcases and when we arrived outside, our guide Luis was already waiting for us with a name badge. He spoke German and explained a few things to us on the way to the old town, where our hotel was located.

We received a very friendly welcome there. Heike shone with her mini language course and understood a little more than I did. In our room we discovered a small welcome gift from Chaskatours, which we were very happy about.

Together with Michael from the travel agency, who comes from Bavaria but now lives in Colombia, I had planned and organized the entire trip individually for us, down to the smallest detail.

I charged a few batteries for my camera, we set up our things for tomorrow and then fell into bed exhausted.

Day 1 Bogota, the capital of Colombia

We set our alarm clocks for 6 a.m. so that we had enough time to shower before breakfast and I could write my travel blog. However, when Heike tried to switch on the light, nothing happened. We looked at our cell phones and I also looked at my charging station - nothing, everything was dead. That meant we had to shower in the dark, but at least there was lukewarm water.

Downstairs at breakfast, we met a German couple and chatted for a while until we got our breakfast. We didn't have coffee until later as the power had gone out in the whole neighborhood.

So of course we finished earlier than expected and waited for Luis, who picked us up on time at 8:30 for our sightseeing tour. We walked along the street and came to the "Parque de los Periodistas". Here Heike bought a Simcard on the street. I decided against one, because otherwise I would probably just be stuck with my cell phone, which I didn't want. So far, I've always managed well with wifi on my travels.

On the way, Luis repeatedly explained a few important facts about the city. Bogota is the largest and highest city in Colombia with around eight million inhabitants.

We continued on to the "Funicular de monserrate" cable car. But it wasn't running yet, so we took the funicular. It went 500 meters steeply upwards.

There we walked the Way of the Cross until we reached the shrine of Monserrate.Situated at 3,152 meters above sea level, the shrine is not only a very famous place of pilgrimage, but also offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city.

However, we only had limited luck.It wasn't very busy yet, but it was also foggy, so we didn't have a clear view of the city.But that didn't bother me so much, because the clouds and fog made it possible to take some really nice photos.

There were souvenir stalls and a few restaurants behind the church.

But we drove back down and Luis showed us the historic center in the La Candelaria district.This included some beautiful colorful streets and alleys full of graffiti.A famous artist, "Mr. Garek", had conjured up many extraordinary portraits on the walls.

Next, we visited the Concordia market, an important market in the city, which is popular with Bogotana families and many well-known restaurants due to the quality and variety of its products. There we first got two traditional Colombian liquors, chicha and aguardiente. We were then able to try some tropical fruits. There was everything from bitter to sweet.

With the big vitamin bomb in our stomachs, we continued our tour and wandered through the colorful streets of Bogota. Luis invited us to a café for some original Colombian coffee and cake.

We then came to the street of the rich and strolled along it to the "Plaza de Bolívar".

It was teeming with small food stalls and even more pigeons.

But we didn't stay long and Luis showed us a craft market.Heike was brave and tried another drink.

In the afternoon, we took part in a typical Tejo game.The aim of the game is to hit a specific target on a clay slab with an iron target, with lots of points awarded if the black powder pockets stuck in the clay explode.That was great fun.

Before we said goodbye to Luis, we invited him to join us for dinner

After walking around 18,000 steps, we arrived back at the hotel. There we packed our things, put our feet up and went to bed early, as we were leaving Bogota again tomorrow morning.

Day 2 Medellín - once the most dangerous city in the world

We were driven to the airport before sunrise, as the next city was on the agenda: Medellín.

The travel agency had already checked us in beforehand, so everything went smoothly and we didn't have to wait long. Then the plane took off and we flew over the Andes in just under 40 minutes. It was a dream.

Luis, our driver, was already waiting for us at the exit. We drove just under half an hour to our hotel, passing through one of the longest tunnels in South America.

We received a friendly welcome at the hotel and were taken to our room. It is really cozy, large and beautiful. Here we were able to relax a little before our guide, Pablo, took us on a discovery tour of Colombia's second largest city. Until 20 years ago, Medellín was the most dangerous city in the world. So I was a little scared for us and my photo equipment. But Paolo calmed me down and we drove into the city center. There we strolled through the crowded streets. He explained to us that all Colombians were buying presents for Christmas today and that was why it was so crowded. On the Plaza Botero square, he also told us a bit more about the history of Medellín.

Drug cartels ruled under the leadership of Pablo Escobar until 1993. The Farc then took over Ruias and caused extreme violence. With Operation Orion in 2002, the Colombian military and paramilitaries took over Comuna 13. The change and improvement in living conditions only came about through the population itself, such as the connection to the road network, the culture in the center, the community projects (street art), music and dance.

In contrast to Bogota, Medellín has a rail network with 6 cable cars, 2 suburban train lines and 2 bus lines. We took the suburban train for a few stops and then took one of the cable cars up to the Comuna "Juan XXIII".

This cable car transports around 4,000 people per hour in each direction and is the highest cable car in the city. Pablo calls this station the "balcony over Medellín". And it was true: we had a great view over the city. He told us a lot about the social transformation of Comuna 13.

The temperature had risen to 34 degrees by the time we arrived in what used to be the most dangerous district, "Comuna 13". But there was hardly any sign of the past. The district is colorful, full of vibrant life and there is music, food and souvenir stalls everywhere. And there were great views of the city and the Andes here too. We took the open-air escalator, which was built especially for the district in the middle of the mountain in recent years, and let ourselves be carried away by the street life.

We were taken back to the hotel in the early afternoon. There we enjoyed the peace and quiet in the inner courtyard and set off again in the evening to explore the district and sample Medellín's culinary delights.

Day 3 Off to the Pacific coast

We woke up before our alarm clock to the sound of the rain.

Luis, our driver, picked us up on time at 8 a.m. and took us to the small airport in the middle of Medellín. There we went straight to the check-in counter. With the airline Satena, we had 15 kg of luggage included, but our suitcases were much heavier. We did the math and checked the computer to see how much luggage we had already checked in and apparently it was enough so that we didn't even have to pay extra. When boarding began, we walked onto the tarmac with the other passengers like a big family of ducks. There it was, the small plane with propellers. It only had 26 seats.

We boarded the plane and took off on time shortly afterwards. Medellín lay below us, but just a short time later we were flying over the Andes towards the Pacific coast. It was wonderful to see so much nature, no houses, just lots of forest and the coast.

Barely half an hour later, we landed on Nuqui's small runway. We walked over to the airport building, which is more of a makeshift check-in hall. The luggage was even pulled and distributed by hand. We then had to pay a tourist tax of 30,000 pesos at the tourist information office, which is the equivalent of just under 7 euros.

Meanwhile, Lucia, our host mother, spoke to us in Spanish. We didn't understand too much, but we followed her to the "harbor". There were a few simple boats, a few tourists and lots of locals.

Our Chaska Tours informed us in advance that we would be taking a tourist boat for 30-40 minutes to our accommodation and that our luggage would be strapped to the roof. But that was not the case. All the tourists got on a boat, except for the two of us, who rode alone in the hotel's own boat with our host mother, an employee and two friends.

We cruised along the coast across the sea and arrived at the "station", as the locals call the bay, after just under half an hour. There is no real harbor, the boats are parked on the beach and we got out. There are no cars, scooters, bicycles or anything similar here.

We followed Lucia just under 200 meters to our accommodation "La Jovisena" . Our luggage was taken there directly, so we didn't have to carry anything. As a welcome gift, we were given a freshly picked coconut with a view of the sea.

We were then shown our little bungalow. The fact that we even had wifi left us speechless. I thought we would be cut off from the outside world for the next four days, but surprisingly there was electricity and internet here. There is nothing here apart from a few accommodations. No stores, no roads.

Afterwards, Oskar, Lucia's husband, told us a few things about the accommodation, meals and the surrounding area in English. We had lunch at around 1.30 pm. We went for a digestive walk on the beach.

This brought back some memories of my trip to Costa Rica. Beautiful, black beaches, no people, the sea, lots of peace and nature. We also remembered the trip to Togian Island on Sulawesi. The accommodation here was similar.

In the late afternoon, together with Oskar, who was our translator, we visited the diving school, which I had already contacted from Germany, and arranged the next diving excursions.

At sunset, we both jumped into the relatively warm Pacific. We chilled out in the hammock on our terrace until dinner.

Day 4 Diving day

Today we were finally able to dive again.

We were a little late for our standards when we arrived at the diving centre at 8.45am. A father and his daughters from France were still waiting there. Everything was already prepared, we just had to choose our fins and a diving suit. Unfortunately, none of them fitted me, so Lili gave me her own. I had left mine at home as an exception to save weight and space in my luggage.

We then briefly checked the equipment. We then took our diving equipment and went to the boat together, loaded up and travelled along the coast for 20 minutes until we dropped anchor at the first diving spot "Piedra Bonita". Lilli, the dive centre manager, rolled backwards into the water first. Then the rest of us followed and Coco, the second dive guide, was last. We all met at the bow and dived down to 20 metres using the anchor rope. Unfortunately, the visibility left a lot to be desired, but it was nice to be able to dive again. During the dive we saw two moray eels, lots of puffer fish, a few tuna and lots of lava rock. There was hardly any soft coral. When Coco showed me something, we lost the group, but that didn't matter because there were two of us. After 50 minutes we surfaced again and, as always, made our safety stop at 5 metres.

Before we set off on the second dive, we drove back to the diving centre because the tanks had to be refilled. They do that themselves here. We used the hour we spent there to relax and recharge our batteries.

Shortly before we got back on the boat, Lili gave us a briefing for the next dive spot, "Piedra de Fidel".

The crew had to drop the anchor a few times because it just wouldn't hold. When it finally worked, we all dived down again together. At the bottom, we split into two groups. Heike was allowed to dive alone with Lili, as she only has an Open Water licence. The rest of us dived down to 31 metres with Coco. But we didn't see too much here and so we dived higher again after a short time. There was a strong current here and after about 30 minutes the dive was over.

In the afternoon, we planned an excursion for the next day with Oskar and the French family and relaxed in our hammocks.

At sunset, we strolled along the beach again and treated ourselves to a beer.

Day 5 Adventure day

There was a heavy thunderstorm during the night, which also stirred up the ocean. Before we wanted to go diving again, we drove with the French family to a beach where there were supposed to be baby turtles.

As there was no harbour there, we drove onto the beach at full speed. That was quite an experience.

We got out and saw the baby turtles, which had only hatched during the night, in a tub. "Groupo de Rescate Y Conservation de Tortugas Marinas del Golfo" is an organisation that rescues and guards the eggs of the green sea turtles and releases the little turtles directly into the sea the next day under observation. We were also told that out of almost 40 turtles, perhaps five will manage to survive.

When the time finally came, I tried to capture the little animals with my camera, but it wasn't that easy as they were very fast and small, so focussing was sometimes a matter of luck. Every now and then we tried to help them when they were suddenly lying on their backs, but they all fought their way free and made it into the sea. A unique experience that we will never forget.

Then the adventure began and it was really to Heike's taste. When Heike and I were in the boat, the other people tried to push it out to sea, but because the waves were so strong and high, we almost capsized and the boat filled up. We were both soaking wet, luckily my camera equipment stayed dry as I held it up with my last ounce of strength and we jumped out of the boat before the next big wave came. Then we all tried to get the boat, which was very heavy due to the water, back to the beach with the last of our strength. It was great to see the team spirit here. Everyone helped.

Our captain then said we could go to the thermal baths, which were 20 minutes away. Rapahel from Switzerland, who we had already met on the flight to Nuqui, was also there. He showed us the way there. We first walked along the beach, then through a small village, past a school. Unfortunately, there were no classes so I didn't take any photos. We said goodbye to Raphael at the thermal baths as he wanted to go surfing. We paid 15,000 pesos per person and enjoyed a pleasant, warm bath.

Somewhat recovered, we walked back and met up with the French family and our captain again. Together we tried again to get the boat out to sea and this time it worked. But the journey wasn't exactly smooth, we were sailing into the waves. I was glad when we reached our "station" again. Lilli was already coming towards us and shouted: "No diving today, it's too dangerous. It's cancelled"!

After lunch, I noticed that my mobile phone wouldn't charge as water had apparently got in. I switched it off, put it in rice and we hiked to a small waterfall. We took a little dip there. On the way back, Heike jumped into the sea and I photographed a few birds.

Back home, I noticed that my mobile phone wasn't working at all, not even the touchscreen, so I couldn't use it for a while. As a result, I won't be able to upload any photos for the next few days and we'll try to find a shop in Medellín on Friday that can fix the problem.

Day 6 Adventure walk

After breakfast, we set off on a beach jungle walk with Camillo, our guide, and two other guests, Alfredo and Jean-Marc.

We had to hurry because the tide was coming in and we had to walk a few kilometres along the beach before we entered the jungle. We walked over hill and dale. The heat and the sea really got to us.

When we stopped after about an hour, Camillo told us that we were waiting for the boat to take us across to the other side of the river. When I saw the boat coming, I panicked about my camera equipment because it was very wobbly, narrow and we had to sit on our knees. But it didn't help, we had to take this boat to get to the other side.

Luckily, the wobbly journey only took a few minutes. Once we reached the other shore, we walked to the village of "Jovi", which is also very remote in the jungle.

There we were told that we were going on a longer trip on a river with another boat. At first I didn't want to go, but then I decided to leave my camera at home with Camillo. It was a very strange feeling for me, without a camera and mobile phone. But after a short while, I had fun too and was able to enjoy nature. We didn't see many animals. Every now and then the boys, and twice us, had to get out of the boat and walk through the water as it was too shallow for the boat and we were all too heavy. When the boat stopped, we walked another five minutes to a waterfall. There we jumped into the long-awaited cool water.

On the way back, we had to get out of the boat shortly before the end and walk through the river, as the water had also become too shallow here.

In the meantime, Camillo's sister and two friends had cooked for us in the village.

Afterwards, we strolled through the village. There we met a 107-year-old lady and lots of curious children who were happy to have their photos taken.

Before we made our way back, we had a beer together.

This time we didn't have to take a wobbly boat because it was low tide and so we walked through the river to the other side. The walk was also easier as we didn't have to flee from the water.

When we reached our accommodation in the afternoon, we first enjoyed a drinking coconut that Camillo picked fresh from the palm tree. Then we jumped into the ocean. The waves were very high and huge, it was really fun to throw ourselves into them.

At sunset, I went back to the beach and took some photos.

My mobile phone worked again after drying out for a long time, so I had another stroke of luck.

In the evening we had a regional schnapps tasting and enjoyed our last evening in Nuqui on the beach

Day 6 Back to Medellín

We both actually wanted to go for a swim in the ocean before breakfast, but we were too tired. Unfortunately we had to say goodbye after breakfast. Lucia, Oskar, Camillo, Alfredo, Juan-Marc and the cooks all accompanied us to the "train station" (the port).

The boat that took us back to Nuqui also arrived a little late. That's where it happened: When I got out, I got stuck on the roof of the boat and fell on my knee. The boat crew immediately jumped over and helped me up. We reached the airport in a few minutes on foot and with our suitcases. We checked in there. But this time we weren't so lucky and had to pay for our excess baggage. A short time later we left Nuqui and the paradise of Colombia, flew over the Andes again and landed in Medellín just 30 minutes later. Our driver was already waiting for us and drove us to the hotel where we had stayed last Sunday.

After checking in, we headed to El Poblado, a lively neighborhood with a variety of local cuisine restaurants and bars, for lunch. We strolled along "Calle 10", a busy street, until we came to "Parque lleras". But there wasn't much to see and so we decided to slowly make our way back.

We spent the evening on our small balcony with a cold beer.

Day 8 A day through the Andes

After breakfast, we were picked up by Pablo, with whom we had already visited Medellín on Sunday, and Luis, our driver.

We left Medellín to the north-east and travelled 40 km along winding little roads until we reached the mountain village of Santa Elena in the Arví region, which belongs to the state of Antioquia. The village lies 2,540 metres above sea level. This is where the flower arrangements that have become a symbol of Medellín come from. These flowers are used for Medellín's biggest festival, the "Feria de las Flores". The festival always takes place around 11 August, Independence Day from Spain. Real works of art are created, or rather conjured up. We wanted to take a closer look at this with José, a well-known flower grower. When we arrived at his house with its large garden and colourful flower beds, we were warmly welcomed. He quickly infected us with his sense of humour. We were both given a traditional "ruana", a kind of poncho, to wear. This was accompanied by a Colombian hot drink called "Aguapanela", which is made from fresh lemon balm and sugar cane.

osé told us about the tradition and the origin of the flowers. At first, gold and salt, and later pregnant women, elderly people and children were carried on the steep slopes of the Andes with an old wooden chair (sillero) on their backs. Later, people used the wooden chairs to sell flowers at the market in Medellín so that they could buy food. José and his family are now the sixth generation to carry on this tradition.

He showed us his flower garden and some works of art, some of which required us to take a closer look at how they were created from flowers. We were allowed to carry a small work of art ourselves, which weighs almost 15 kilos, and we were allowed to watch a video about the flower festival in August. The works of art are judged in five different categories: Traditional (flowers from your own garden), Monumental (largest and heaviest), Pictorial (carpet with patterns), Artistic, Advertising. This contest has been running since 1957 and at the end he presented us with a 50-kilo flower arrengment that his son had won in the summer.

We then drove for another hour and a half until we reached the famous "Piedra del Peñol", a huge rock on a reservoir. We had to climb 708 steps to get there. We arrived at the top exhausted and had a gigantic view of the surrounding area. It reminded me a little of "Halong Bay" in Vietnam.

After descending the steps again, we had lunch right by the lake.

Strengthened and somewhat refreshed, we then drove to the colourful town of Guatapé. The almost 200-year-old village is known for its colourful plinths on the houses. Every house must have such a "zocalo", otherwise you are not allowed to live in it. This tradition has existed since the 90s.

Afterwards, we drove back to Medellín, had dinner together, said thank you for the wonderful day in the Andes and packed our things, because tomorrow it's time for the Amazon!

Day 9 Christmas in Colombia, Peru and Brazil - Christmas Eve with a difference

Our alarm clock woke us up before sunrise. Our driver took us to the airport at around 4.30 am. As there are no train connections across the country here in Colombia, we had to fly again. First to Bogota, then on a second flight all the way to the south of the country.

Unfortunately, the view was not completely clear when we landed, but we were still pleased when we arrived in Leticia, the capital of the Departamento de Amazonas. Before we left the airport building, we paid a national entry fee of 35,000 pesos.

Our guide Sergio, who is originally from Bogota but has lived here in Leticia since 2007, was already waiting outside. We drove to a friend of his to store our luggage and pack our things for the day trip. It was a sweltering 30 degrees in Leticia. We walked through the town, Sergio told us a little about it and the border triangle of Colombia, Peru and Brazil.

From the harbour, we took a boat across the Amazon to "Santa Rosa", a small island in Peru. From there, we took a chug to a restaurant to try out the local cuisine. We then took a walk through the small village, which consists of just two streets.

At the harbour, we boarded another boat and travelled to "Tabatinga", which is in Brazil. Everything there was very dirty and noisy. But we also had a look round the place.

Peru, Kolumbien, Brasilien + Amazonas
Peru, Kolumbien, Brasilien + Amazonas
The tropical heat really got to us both. At the border with Colombia, the taxi picked us up again and drove us to a special ice cream parlour. Heike tried flavours with ants, worms and coca leaves. I tried a few tropical fruits.

After we had all recovered and cooled down a bit, we walked through the village past the houses on stilts until we arrived at Orellana Park. Sergio used the trees and houses to explain to us how high the water always gets in spring. All three cultures always meet in Orellana Park on 20 July to celebrate together for three days. One day is celebrated for each country.


Back at Sergio's friend's house, we loaded our suitcases into the car and drove to Santander Park. Here you could watch and listen to thousands of parrots. It was quite an experience, so many little birds in one place. Sergio also told us that only 6% of the entire Amazon belongs to Colombia. That is really very little.

We then drove just under 30 minutes into the jungle to the "Acapú Reserve" We were welcomed there by Jhon and Jimmy. We moved into our tree house, which is in the middle of the jungle. There is no electricity, no light and only cold water. First we took out our headlamps, I packed my photo equipment and then we looked for a way back to the main building. There we had a delicious dinner, which Jimmy had prepared for us. Jhon brought us rubber boots and tried to explain to us in Spanish which frog species there were here and showed us these right by the pond. We didn't have to search for long, we followed the sounds of the frogs and found a few ourselves. We continued to follow Jhon and passed our tree house again. When he showed us a family of tarantulas at the foot of the tree, I got a bit scared. But he said it was all safe here. We followed him further and further into the jungle, he cleared the path with his machete, we crossed muddy and knee-high water pools. We kept seeing tarantulas, frogs and other species of spider. And then: Jhon jumped back and stopped us. In the middle of the path was a beautiful rainbow anaconda. He told us that it was the first time he had ever seen one. After a few moments, however, it meandered off to the left of the path deep into the jungle and we were able to continue walking. We heard so many different sounds, including the snarling of a jaguar. Jhon also showed us tracks he had found in the mud. We took a short break at a small river. Heike was quite ill with a cold and I was just tired after having been on our feet for 18 hours. When I asked Jhon how far we had to walk back, he said 30 minutes. But of course it was the whole way back, so it took longer!

After a good two hours of walking in the dark through the Amazon jungle, we took a cold shower in the dark and then fell into bed exhausted.

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas

Day 10 Onward journey into the Amazon jungle

We were woken up by the sounds of the jungle. In daylight, we realised how beautiful but simple our tree house was. We went out onto the balcony, enjoyed the view and brushed our teeth. Jhon was already out again looking for more animals. Over breakfast, which Jimmy had prepared for us, we told him about the night walk and I showed him a few photos.

At around eight o'clock, Sergio came to pick us up. We said goodbye to the two of them, thanked them and drove back to Leticia. There we strolled around the market and through the market hall. There wasn't too much going on today on the public holiday.

We sat in a small restaurant at the boat stop until the transfer boat departed. This time our suitcases were actually packed on the roof of the boat. When all the seats were taken, we left Leticia and travelled along the Amazon for just under two hours.

We changed to a smaller boat at a jetty and travelled another 20 minutes across the river until we reached the village of San Martin.

This small village has just under 650 inhabitants. In the past, girls were married off from the first day of their period, became pregnant quickly and died in their mid-50s. Fortunately, this has now changed and the neighbouring regions and villages have kindergartens or secondary schools, including for girls. If they want to study later, the state will pay for this. But people have to pay their own way to Bogota, Medellín and other places. On the boat trip, we met Camilla, a friend of Sergio's who had accepted the offer and became a nurse. She visits her family on the river at Christmas and New Year's Eve. We also had lunch with her family.

We then visited Viktor, one of the remaining indigenous people who belongs to the Ticuna tribe. He only speaks Spanish and Sergio had to translate it into English for us. He showed us a traditional ritual to purify body and soul. A piece of resin from a particular tree in the jungle was set alight. He walked around the room and around us with it. Afterwards, we went to the "village garden", where some herbs and vegetables are grown.

 As it was very hot again that day and we were both struggling with the heat, we then drove even deeper into the jungle until we reached our accommodation, the "Nainekü Reserve". We moved into our room and recovered from the journey and the weather, and later I went on another tour into the dark rainforest with Sergio and Augusto, a ranger, before dinner. Heike stayed in the room as she wasn't feeling well.

Day 11 Jungle trekking

Before breakfast and before sunrise, the three of us set off on a bird and animal watching tour around the reserve today. But unfortunately without success. After a good hour and a half, we returned and ate our breakfast. Here we met the Scottish biologist Charlie, who is here for six days and is focussing on frogs. In conversation, it turned out that he also takes photographs with Olympus, among other things.

Sergio, Heike and I travelled with Raphael, our boat driver, for about 30 minutes on the Amacayacu River, and it started to rain. Real rainforest weather.

We left the boat together at a small jetty and set off. It was all muddy and slippery. We were both so glad to have wellies on our feet again today. The two of them kept telling us about the fauna here and tried to attract the birds by making noises. But somehow they were still in their Christmas slumber. None of them showed their faces. But Raphael found two very small frogs, perfectly camouflaged in the foliage. Of course, I tried to take good photos again, which I managed to do quite well. Heike also spotted a green beetle and on the way back we saw a few more insects. By now we were all soaking wet, but we didn't mind because my camera stayed dry under my rain poncho. After about four hours of hiking, we returned to the boat. 

On the way back, we saw various bird species and the sun came out too.

Green Kingfisher
Green Kingfisher

We spent the afternoon chilling out in our little bungalow before setting off again on the Amacayacu River on a wildlife and birdwatching tour. 

On the way back, we spontaneously decided to go frog hunting. And we actually found lots of different ones - and a snake! We also heard an owl.

We love the Amazon, with its rain, sun and the whole variety of flora and fauna.

Day 12 Monkeys and sloths

Before breakfast, we went out on the Amacayacu River by boat again with Raphael and Sergio to look for animals. We didn't see anything for a long time, but then a pair of birds belonging to the toucan family high up in the tree. Unfortunately, the light was not so good, so I didn't manage to get a good picture. However, our destination was the toucan nest that we had found the day before, as this species of toucan can only be found in this region. When we arrived, one actually peeked out, but then unfortunately flew away. We travelled on and let ourselves drift back with the current so that we didn't make any noise. Sergio called the toucan just before the tree. It came out of its hole again, but I wasn't in the right position, so once again I didn't get a good photo. So I went back again and let it drift forwards. But this time the toucan didn't even fly out of its hole. We gave up because our stomachs were already growling.

After breakfast, it was time to say goodbye. Together with our suitcases, we travelled for just under an hour, first on the Amacayacu River and then on the Amazon, until we arrived in Mocagua. Here we visited the Maikuchiga Foundation, which works to protect and rehabilitate primates that have been in captivity, as well as the Mico Churuco forest conservation centre. There are six different species. We saw four, but only photographed three of them. The smallest monkey species is no bigger than 10-15 centimetres. When we were in the jungle, a monkey fixed its gaze on Heike. Then he jumped, but only used her to get to the other side. The same thing happened to me later.

We had lunch in a local restaurant run by women from the community.

We then travelled another hour across the Amazon to Peru, to Cocoa Island. Around 50 sloths live there. We went in search of them with a ranger and found three of them. Unfortunately, they were all very high up and sleeping. Sloths sleep 18 hours a day! But then we discovered another sloth lying awake in a tree. Magno, our guide, called us over. We walked through the mud and almost got stuck in our wellies. But then: a one-year-old young animal, not even a metre above us and still active. It was so cute. Simply a dream. We took videos and photos. Afterwards, we visited the small village and took a break, as it was extremely hot.

Raphael then drove us to the other side of the Amazon to a larger jungle village: "Puerto Nariño". Here you immediately feel like you're in civilisation. And yet you are in the jungle. We were put up in a hotel as there were difficulties with the actual reservation at the lodge. It was the best hotel in the village. It was nice, but we wished we had the Amazon jungle feeling back.

We walked around the village a bit and had a beer on the terrace.

Day 13 Last day in the Amazon jungle

It had rained all night and the weather forecast didn't look good either: it was due to continue raining until 3pm.

In the morning, we walked about 20 minutes outside Puerto Nariño until we reached a school. There was a park and a café behind the school and that's where we found them: The macaws. Blue and red ones. It was great to see them in the wild. I had already had the pleasure of discovering the green macaws in Costa Rica, and now the other two species too. We spent the whole morning here, despite the rain. Monkeys came too.

After lunch, we drove to the Tarapoto Lakes. Here we kept an eye out for the rare pink Amazon dolphins. We found them, but they were not really easy to photograph. They rarely jump and when they surface they are gone faster than you can look.

Heike also jumped into the lakes, even though piranhas live there. I preferred to look for the dolphins from the boat. The weather forecast was also right. The sun came out in the afternoon. We spent about three hours on the lakes before heading back out onto the Amazon at sunset to look for dolphins. This time we had a bit more luck, but I only managed to take one photo.

We spent our last evening on the promenade at a jungle festival.

Tomorrow we will unfortunately have to say goodbye to the Amazon jungle, as we are heading north to the beautiful Caribbean.

14 Day From the jungle to the Caribbean

The first public boat took us back across the Amazon to Leticia in just under an hour. As we were quicker than originally planned, we sat down with Sergio in a café and chatted for a while. He then took us to the airport, we said goodbye to him and thanked him for the wonderful time in the Amazon jungle.

After a two-hour flight, we arrived in Bogota. There we had to change planes and flew another two hours to the Caribbean island of San Andres. But this was only a one-night stopover. We checked into the hotel "Be Happy" and got a really big flat, ordered something to eat and I organised the first day of diving for tomorrow on the island of "Providencia".

Day 15 Caribbean diving

We were supposed to be picked up at around 9.30am today and taken to the airport. But our driver didn't turn up. After enquiring with Chaska Tours, we ordered a taxi, which took us to the airport within a few minutes. Checking in went quite well, except that we once again had too much luggage and had to pay a little extra. We flew less than 20 minutes over the Caribbean Sea from San Andres to the island of Providencia. This island is located in the northernmost part of Colombia and is closer to Nicaragua than to Colombia. The small island was hit by a violent hurricane about two years ago.

Our driver James was already waiting for us to take us to our accommodation, Hotel Elma At first we were a little surprised that we were already there, but we were greeted in a friendly manner and Ruth, the owner of the hotel, explained a few things about the restaurant, village and island. At first we were a little disappointed that we didn't have a really beautiful Caribbean beach, but the hurricane had devastated and changed everything. Our room is a small flat with its own kitchen and a small terrace. We then had a quick lunch before walking a few metres over to Felipe Dive Center at around 3 pm. We had booked an afternoon dive. I had already contacted Felipe, the owner of the dive centre, from Germany. We were given diving suits and fins and had to check our equipment before we got on the boat. Together with a few other Colombians, we travelled to the diving spot "Felipe's Place". We left the boat with a roll backwards and dived down. Heike dived with Justifer and I dived with Felipe. The other group was travelling alone, all professionals! The visibility was much clearer here and we had good visibility of up to 20 metres. It wasn't long before I saw the first grey reef shark. I dived down to 24 metres. Sharks kept coming towards us, but we also saw moray eels, a large barracuda and we dived through small crevices. But then a reef shark about 2 metres long came towards us. Neither of us had ever seen one that big before. We encountered it and other sharks throughout the dive. After around 45 minutes, we surfaced again. We congratulated a couple from the other group, as a young woman there had been proposed to.

Back at the diving centre, we washed our clothes, thanked them for the dive and said goodbye.

We freshened up and walked the few metres to the small village. There we organised a scooter for the next few days, did some shopping at the supermarket and enjoyed the sunset on our terrace with an ice cream.

Day 16 Diving with sharks and New Year's Eve

Today we enjoyed our breakfast right by the sea.

We then packed our diving gear and went over to Felipe's diving centre. It was busier there than the night before. We assembled the equipment and got to know Elisa and Kilian from Bavaria. We took a larger boat out to sea today.

After half an hour we reached our first dive spot "Turtle Rock". Heike was my dive buddy today. We were joined by a father with his daughters and Felipe. We jumped forward into the water and dived down. Right at the beginning I saw a small reef shark. We dived further and further down and saw two lobsters and grey reef sharks again and again. At some point we dived into a ledge down to 34.9 metres. But only briefly. The visibility was nice and clear and the water temperature was a pleasant 28 degrees. Heike and I also saw a really big eagle ray gliding through the water. Finally with clear visibility. The last time I had seen one was in the Seychelles, but visibility wasn't good then. Then we passed a sandbank. Here we met the second group with Kilian and Elisa. We gathered there and then more and more sharks came closer and closer. And finally, after many dives, I managed to take some really good shark photos. After a good 50 minutes we surfaced again, of course with a three-minute juice stop as always!

From a distance, we could see that it was starting to rain on the island and the sea was getting a little choppy, so we had to fight a little nausea. The diving team swapped tanks during the one-hour break and headed to the second stop, a shipwreck. The hurricane had completely destroyed it.

We dived to just under 24 metres and once around the wreck. At the other end we also dived in briefly. On this dive we saw two more small sharks and a few fish, but nothing more.

After just under 40 minutes, we surfaced again. The sea was really raging by now, so it wasn't easy to get back on board.

Back on the shore, we had to leave the boat a little further out and swim part of the way to the shore. There we changed our clothes, cleaned everything up and walked briefly to the town where we wanted to pick up our scooter, which we had ordered the previous evening. But it didn't work, so we first had lunch with Kilian and Elisa. Afterwards, we asked again, but it still wasn't ready to go. So we went back to our little flat and looked through the photos and videos. In the early evening, we finally got the scooter and of course went for a ride around the island. After just under three quarters of an hour, we had circumnavigated the island and were able to enjoy the sunset on our terrace.

In the evening, we travelled south on our scooter because there was to be a New Year's Eve party on the beach. When we arrived at Manzanillo Beach, we didn't see or hear anything at first. A little further on we discovered the "Rolands Bar", a reggae bar. But it didn't look like a party there either. We ordered a pina colada. When we were served it, we looked at each other a little puzzled. The cocktail was red and not white as we knew it. It also tasted very sweet. Gradually, more and more guests arrived. We were told that people on the island go to church first, then celebrate the New Year at home and only then come to the party. We stayed anyway, a DJ played and later there was also live music. But there was no countdown to the new year, which we didn't mind at all. We liked the relaxed reggae feeling and so we slipped merrily into the new year.

Day 17 Last Diving day

We were able to enjoy a hearty breakfast as we hadn't made an appointment with the Entre Mares Dive Centre until 12 noon.

Afterwards, we packed our things and headed north on our scooter, as that was supposed to be the only petrol station. However, when we arrived, it was closed, like pretty much everything else on New Year's Day. So we had to be a bit frugal as we didn't have much petrol left. Once we had found the diving centre, but still had time, we parked the scooter and took a walk through the small town of Providence. We strolled across the colourful bridge to get to the island of Santa Catalina, which can only be reached via this bridge. We also saw the effects of the hurricane on this shore. We enjoyed the view from a vantage point before walking down the other side to Fort Bay beach. There is supposed to be a small cave there. We want to look for it tomorrow, as it can only be reached from the water.

Back at the diving centre, Markus and his girlfriend were already waiting for us. I had already contacted them from Germany, as they were the only diving centre that was open on New Year's Day. We got our equipment and set everything up. I tested the tightness of my camera and realised that something was wrong. So I had to clean it again, but we still had some time as two other divers were joining us who needed a "refresher". When we were all ready, we went to the harbour, which was directly opposite, got on the boat and headed out into the Caribbean Sea. Our first dive spot was good. There was clear visibility down to a depth of 20 metres. We saw four lobsters side by side under a rocky outcrop and again a whole lot of sharks. One was so curious and found my camera very interesting that it came relatively close to me. That's when I got scared and wanted to go up. Markus took me by the side and calmed me down a little and we slowly surfaced again. On the way up, however, we saw a small ray that no longer had a tail.

We then headed back to the harbour, swapped tanks, picked up two more divers and headed back out to sea. The second dive was a bit murky, with no visibility of five metres. It was also my 120th dive and the last here on Providencia. Here, too, we saw lobsters, small fish and sharks. As we could hardly see anything, we often recognised the sharks very late, only when they appeared two to three metres in front of us. It was a bit mystical to dive through the sea like that, but it was also interesting. I imagine our rivers and lakes in Germany to be like this.

Once we were back in the harbour, we took our equipment and brought it to the diving school, changed, washed everything, paid and thanked Markus and his girlfriend.

We took our scooter to our accommodation, freshened up and then went to Felipe to pay for our dives. However, we only met his employees, but that didn't matter, they knew what was going on. We asked them if there was another way to get petrol and they gave us a tip straight away. We drove together to a friend who sells petrol. So we still had petrol and drove to South West bay for dinner. There was supposed to be a good beach restaurant there called "Davino Nino". We found it relatively quickly and had dinner there.

Day 18 Last day in Paradise

It started to rain after breakfast, so we had to wait out the shower before setting off on our day trip.

In the morning we drove to Providence again, parked the scooter there and walked over the bridge to "Santa Catalina", the former headquarters of Captain Morgan.

We walked along the promenade until we came to Fort Bay again. But before we went for a swim and looked for the cave (Morgan's Submarine Cave), we took a small path along the coast through the thicket. In the middle of the path, my flip-flops didn't work anymore and so I had to continue barefoot. At the end of the path we reached our destination: "Morgans Head". Here we had a great view. Once we had enjoyed it and taken a few photos, we walked back until we reached the beach.

We swam and snorkelled for a while and also looked for the cave, but didn't find it. Back in Providence, we enjoyed a cool drink in a café and drove back to our accommodation because I really wanted to take a photo of the blue lizards. And they really did come out. Even though they were a bit shy and quite agile, I managed to take a few photos.

Afterwards, we went to Café Studio and treated ourselves to a slice of cake and an iced coffee. Here we also met Elisa and Kilian again.

After the coffee break, we went to Manzanilla beach again as we wanted to meet Rocky, whom we had met on New Year's Eve and had promised to try his world's best mojito. We chilled in a hammock with reggae music and enjoyed the afternoon. We also got to know Edward, who I of course had to take a photo of. He also had a lot of fun, but apart from "yes man" not much came out of him. When we wanted to leave, we arranged to meet up with the boys for the evening and drove to South West Beach to have one last meal at Nicole's Davino Nino with a beautiful view of the Caribbean Sea.

Back at the accommodation, we packed our things, freshened up and went to Manzanilla beach again in the evening and enjoyed the Caribbean ragga feeling.

Day 19 Bye bye Caribbean - Hello Cali

Just in time for sunset, we were picked up by James and taken to the airport. Just before we were about to check in, Edward and Emanuel, who we had met the day before, came to say goodbye to us. We thought that was great.

The flight to San Andres again only took 20 minutes. We had a three-hour layover there before taking the next plane to Cali, where we landed after a two-hour flight.

We were met by our driver and taken to the hotel, which is located in the historic centre. After checking in, we immediately set off to explore the neighbourhood. There were lots of restaurants and cafés, but hardly any bars. We had dinner on a roof terrace with a great view of Cali and the Andes. Afterwards, we took a look at the side streets and when we ordered a cocktail, all we got was a lemonade. So we ended the evening quietly.

Day 20 Silvia - the city in the Andes

Our driver Ivan picked us up at the hotel on time. As he only spoke Spanish, we communicated via google translate. We drove through Cali and shortly afterwards left the city behind us to drive further into the Andes. After about two hours, we stopped and Ivan invited us in for a coffee and a traditional pastry (pandebono), which consists of yucca flour, milk and cheese. The recipe even won an award. He also told us that the "Silvia" region is also known as the Switzerland of America. Most of the locals here speak Namtrik, a language that is only spoken in the Andes in the south-west of Colombia. However, Spanish is also spoken here. The region is also home to around 40,000 people, who are divided into seven groups. Misak is the largest group.

After the break, we drove for another half an hour until we reached the Andean town of "Silvia". Katherine and her eight-year-old son Luis joined us here. They come from the indigenous Misak community. Together we drove to our accommodation, which was with a local farming family outside the town. After a friendly welcome, we were shown to our sleeping place, a traditional Misak house decorated in the colours of the traditional costume.

As it is quite chilly here in the Andes, we changed our clothes first. In the meantime, our guide David had joined us. He translated everything that Katherine and Luis explained to us. We drove to the indigenous people's medicinal plant laboratory and were given a guided tour of the cultural interpretation centre. We had to clean ourselves before entering the centre and taking photos was also forbidden, as it is very sacred to the locals and their history and beliefs are explained there through paintings and stories.

We were also lucky enough to visit the community's doctor in his traditional house after a ceremony.

Afterwards, we stopped off at a traditional restaurant and all had lunch together. Afterwards, we visited an indigenous farmers' market, but it was already winding down, so I was barely able to take any photos.

We decided to drive into the centre to have a look around. Unfortunately, the market here is only open on Tuesdays; today was Thursday. We were told that between 1 and 6 January, people shoot water at others. We got caught out too, but while driving. There was a lot going on in the market square, a band was playing and there were also a few stalls.

Katherine and Luis said goodbye at around 5pm and we were taken to our accommodation, where we also spent the evening. Our host mother showed us the animals and museums that they have on their property. For dinner, she brought us an "aquapanela", bread and cheese from the region. We also played Ludo to round off our penultimate evening.

Day 21 Cali: Comuna 20 and salsa night

The night was fresh in the Misakhouse. We had breakfast with a view of the Andes before leaving Silvia and travelling three hours back to Cali. Cali was founded in the 16th century and is one of the oldest cities in Colombia, with 2.6 million inhabitants and eight neighbourhoods.

We arrived there late in the morning and were allowed to check in earlier than planned.

After packing our things for the afternoon tour and freshening up, we looked for a nice café in the neighbourhood. Unfortunately, most of them were closed. We finally settled down in a small café and I had a Colombian cocoa. For dessert, we treated ourselves to an ice cream.

Catalina, our guide, picked us up at the hotel on time at 2 pm and Luis, our driver for the past few days, took us to Comuna 20, which used to be considered a very difficult and dangerous neighbourhood, but is now, like Comuna 13 in Medellín, colourful and full of life. Comuna 20 in Cali is located in the western part of the city, between the Farallones de Cali, the Avenida de los Cerros, the Cristo Rey hill and the Bataclán hill. There we met our Spanish guide Luis González, who grew up in this neighbourhood and still lives there. We walked through several stations with murals that refer to the social reality, transformation processes and life stories of the community, but also about the fauna and flora, the colours, as well as sad fates with murdered children, or how a violent and persistent heavy rain devastated the whole neighbourhood in 2016.

At the end of the tour through the neighbourhood, we said goodbye to Luis and headed to the city's cable car. We travelled up to the end station, enjoyed the view of Cali and got off at the "Tierra Blanca" station on the way back, where Catalina showed us and explained the exhibition on the history of salsa.

On the way back, we stopped at a street stall and bought a typical sweet snack (cholado), which consisted of fruit, honey and ice cream.

Luis (our Driver) then took us back to our neighbourhood. Here Catalina showed us the cat street. She said that anyone who hadn't seen it hadn't been to Cali. There are almost 19 cats on this path, which leads through a small park.

Back at the hotel, she gave us some tips for salsa activities and we said goodbye. After a short break, we got changed and walked to the outdoor salsa party "La calle del sabor", about 10 minutes on foot. There was a lot going on there, everything took place outside. Fridays are really busy here, as they say in Germany. Salsa music on every corner, hundreds of people simply singing along, playing instruments, dancing and drinking - and we were right in the middle of it all. We met José and his wife. They showed us a few salsa steps and José later organised a taxi back to the hotel for us, as he thought it would be too dangerous to walk back.

The perfect last evening! Unfortunately, it's time to say goodbye tomorrow, as we're heading back to Germany.

Day 22 Departure

We used the morning to go to the "Galeria Alameda", a very large market in Cali, on Catalina's recommendation. We wanted to buy coffee and chocolate for friends, family and ourselves. It was a hive of activity on the streets and in the halls. I was annoyed that I hadn't taken my camera with me. We wandered through the aisles, people-watching and looking for the coffee stall. When we found it, I tried a coffee with a fruity flavour and Heike drank a tea. After shopping, we drove back. The taxi only cost us 6,500 pesos per journey, which is the equivalent of just under €1.50. Back at the hotel, we packed our things and I decided to go back to the market on my own with my camera. Heike stayed at the hotel. I tried to capture life at the market with my camera. Some people really enjoyed being photographed by me, others greeted me in a friendly manner. I also enjoyed a fresh coconut and drove back after about an hour.

From the hotel we went to the airport, where our flight to Bogota was due to take off. Then it's time for us to say goodbye to Colombia - it was great!

Now it's time for us to say goodbye!

Thank you for the wonderful and unique moments we were able to experience here!

Recommended contact details:

travel agency: Chaska Tours

Bogota: Guide Luis: +57 305 7587319, Email:

Bogota: Hotel:

Bogota: Restaurant:

Medellín: Guide Pablo Ospina Guia: +57 315 4987952

Medellín: Hotel:

Santa Elena: José:

Nuqui: Hotel:

Nuqui: Diving: Lilli: +57 314 7000021

Leticia: Guide Sergio: +57 310 2796068

Leticia: Hotel:

Providencia: Hotel:

Providencia: Diving:

Providencia: Diving:

Providencia: Restaurant:

Cali: Guide Catalina La guide +57 315 5116391