A bicyclist on the early morning streets of Cartagena, Colombia.
February 6, 2014

Postcards from Colombia

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Welcome!  I appreciate you stopping by to visit my new blog. I will be using this space to feature recent work, as well as photographic essays that are more in-depth and cohesive than the (more or less) weekly photos that I’ve been posting over on tumblr.  Enjoy, and please check back often!

My wife and I recently returned from three weeks traveling in Colombia, so that seems like a great place to start for a first post.  When we were planning our trip, Amy and I received a lot of questions from friends and family who, familiar with the country’s relatively recent history of trouble with drugs and violence, were understandably concerned for our safety.  This will no doubt be a familiar experience for many folks who have traveled there.  Despite having read many reports saying that Colombia is starting to move beyond its dangerous reputation, you never quite know until you actually visit a place which rumors are true and which are not. Well, I’ll just cut to the chase and say right now that Colombia is an absolutely incredible place to visit.  We loved every minute of our three weeks there (well, maybe not the long bus rides), and could easily have spent months (or more) exploring this beautiful country. Although I am not as well-traveled as some, I have visited a number of countries and can say without a doubt that the Colombians we met during our short stay were some of the most friendly, generous folks I’ve met anywhere.  People were incredibly patient with our basic Spanish, and indeed were often eager to try out their equally basic English on us.  We would go back in a heartbeat.  We didn’t come remotely close to having enough time to visit all the parts of this large and diverse country that we had hoped to see, so I have a feeling we will visit again.

To summarize, if you get the chance to go visit Colombia, do it!  It is beautiful and the people are wonderful.  You won’t regret it.

Some postcards from our trip:

The skyline of Bogota, Colombia at sunset.

The Bogota skyline. This shot was taken at sunset, just before the only rainstorm of the trip rolled into town. Bogota was the first place we stayed in Colombia, and if you go, it will likely be yours. Though we are not really “city people”, we both quite enjoyed it here.


An amazing swimming hole below the Cascadas de Juan Curi, Colombia.

Enjoying a spectacular swimming below one of the Cascadas de Juan Curi, just outside of San Gil. The hike up to this spot runs right alongside several of the falls, and passes through a beautiful lush forest.


Frailejones on the paramo near Mongui, Colombia.

Frailejones on the Páramo above Mongui. These unique plants are endemic to the Páramo ecosystem, which is a high alpine ecosystem found only in northern South America and southern Centeral America.


Towering clouds above a hiker in El Cocuy National Park, Colombia.

Hiking in Parque Natural Nacional El Cocuy. Towering clouds like this would roll in each day around 11AM, but we managed to get up early each morning and were rewarded with some spectacular views. Our hikes took us up to around 16,500′ in elevation, which felt quite high to us (Our home in Bellingham is right around 30′ above sea level). It made for some slow hiking!


Our Wayuu guide at the Flamingo Reserve near Camarones, Colombia.

Our Wayuu guide at the Santuario de Flora y Fauna Los Flamencos, on Colombia’s Guajira peninsula. He is at the helm of a canoe carved from a single Ceiba tree that was brought down from high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.


American Flamingos at the Flamingo Preserve near Camarones, Colombia.

American Flamingos take flight at the Santuario de Flora y Fauna Los Flamencos. The “lakes” that they are found on within the sanctuary are actually barrier inlets of the Caribbean that are cut off from the sea by a large sand spit.


The lights of Santa Marta, Colombia.

The lights of Santa Marta glimmer in the early evening. We were treated to this view each evening from the balcony of our hostel. Not a bad spot from which to enjoy a cold cerveza!


Sunset in Cartagena Colombia.

Catching the sunset over the Caribbean from Cartagena’s 17th-century wall on one of our last nights in Colombia.  The old portion of Cartagena is very beautiful- full of vibrant colors and interesting architecture.  A great place to spend a few days just strolling around.


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