Be THE FIRST TO KNOW..
(AND RECEIVE 10% oFF YOUR FIRST ORDER)
A Colombia Travel Diary
Penmayne founder, Claire, shares the highlights (and lowlights!) of her recent trip to exotic Colombia...
Drug cartels, kidnappings and violence was all I knew of Colombia from watching 'Narcos' on my iPad before bed. So I was pretty surprised when I found myself convincing my 65 year old mother that we should go there on holiday! I was totally intrigued by a country that appeared to be breathtakingly beautiful, welcoming and fascinating in equal measure. So off we ventured, panama hats and all....
First stop Providencia. After 24 hours of flying, transit and tropical airports with no air conditioning I was beginning to wonder if I had got this completely wrong, but when we arrived on the tiny island of Providencia in the middle of the Caribbean Sea it all became clear.
Bright turquoise waters, untouched white sandy beaches and a scattering of beach shacks serving fried fish and rice - or fried fish and rice - we left life behind for 4 days driving around the island on a golf buggy, sipping beers under a palm trees at sunset and swimming with turtles in shades of turquoise that I never knew existed. Not for those who want slick luxury but one of the most beautifully rustic, unspoilt and friendly places I have experienced.
Next stop the buzzing historical port of Cartagena on the caribbean coast; a magical colonial walled city set against the modern sky scrapers of Bocogrande, host to some of the finest boutique hotels, seafood and salsa in the world all with a wonderfully relaxed caribbean vibe.
Not to dwell too much in our new-found luxury we ventured to the local market with a guide to get under the skin of the real Colombia; a raw sensory onslaught of bright sights, pungant smells, and loud music that brought Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 'Magical Realism' to life in an instant.
Our adventure continued to the coffee region in the central mountainous region of Colombia. Home to the guerilla fighters and until recently unsafe for tourists the area is now opening up and thriving
It is not only stunningly beautiful; dotted with family run 'haciendas', tropical fruits and flowers and colourful hillside towns, but we also met some of most warm and passionate Colombians here who were infectiously enthusiastic about their country, history and political views.
Final stop Bogota. Not the highlight of the trip but worth a visit if only to marvel at the rapidly evolving street art scene which is truly amazing.
An awesome (and very real) experience in a beautiful country with a devastating history - now on its way to becoming one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Get in there quick whilst the magic is still there (and perhaps take me with you?!)