Central Colombia, Part I: Zona Cafetera and Jungle Hot Springs.
On this trip we really haven’t given big cities a fair shake. We tend to roll up to the outskirts, take the briefest of peeks into the urban center, and then promptly get the heck out of dodge. We have missed countless museums, fabulous restaurants, and delightful shopping. Example A: Medellin, Colombia.
We had a slightly terrifying drive up to the campground though the city (Google Maps is not our friend – we should have listened to Garmin), tried out the swing, and then tucked ourselves in for the night. The next morning we could have explored the city – we probably would have loved it(!) but we decided to press south to less populated areas in search of trees, waterfalls, and coffee plantations.
We pulled into Finca Guayabal after a long, long day of driving. They were getting ready for a big event the following day but graciously allowed us to set up camp anyway. The next morning Chris took a tour of the coffee plantation while I sipped instant cafe and watched the kids run around like crazed coatis. #coffeecrimes
We also decided to spring for the local delicacy and ordered up a taster plate. We haven’t had this much meat in YEARS. It did come with a few slices of tomato and avocado. Win! Maybe? We loved the spicy sausage but our family wasn’t a huge fan of the intestine, although we all gave it a few solid bites before passing judgement.
We’ve been humming along on the homeschooling front; Ben does a daily journal and we’re trying to keep up with both reading and math (although some days are better than others). I have a feeling that we’re going to have to buckle down this summer to make sure he’s up to speed for second grade.
Recommendations – Central Colombia
Al Bosque Hostel and Campground – near Medellin, Colombia
There were a lot of Overlanders at Al Bosque, including a sweet french couple with a young baby. We had intended to stay two days and explore Medellin but eventually decided to move further south. It was an ok place for a short stay. My only words of caution: plan out your approach carefully. Coming from Cartagena, Google Maps took us on a wild ride through tiny, dirt streets; do yourself a favor and stay on big streets as much as possible. Driving through Medellin is tough and crazy, but the roads are far preferable to the tiny dirt paths that we took. Next time I’d skip Al Bosque and try Casa Blanca, also near Medellin.
Finca Guayabal – Chinchina, Colombia
We hadn’t planned to stay here but the roads from Medellin were under construction and after a long day of driving we needed to stop. This used to be a fantastic place for Overlanders but they’ve since raised the prices and decreased the parking space. As it was, they let us park directly next to their huge covered dance hall that had bathrooms and a small playground. It was perfect for us. It’s a working coffee plantation so Chris was able to take a bean-to-cup coffee tour the next morning. iOverlander.
Gourmet Coffee Tour – Finca Guayabal
Chris loved this tour; he came back with a complete description of the process of growing, cleaning, and roasting coffee beans. Perfect for the coffee snob in your family. 🙂
Termales Balneario Santa Rosa
This hot springs is about an hour south of Finca Guayabal. We arrived on a weekday morning just as it started to drizzle, which actually turned out to be great for the pools. They’re in the process of spiffing the place up; there is a nice little restaurant and they’re constructing a path along the stream. It was great for morning soak. On the way back into town we stopped at one of the (many) restaurants serving local bbq. But maybe skip the intestine.