Thursday, May 8, 2008

Update from Cali in Colombia

Puert Lopez in Ecuador was our next port of call after Montanita. Not much to there but is nice and relaxing and the scenery around it is impressive. We spent 2 days here and the first day we got a boat over to the island of Isla de la Plata. We did a 10 k walk here which was really good. The blue footed boobys are the main attraction here and we also saw 2 Albatrosses. We also snorkelled here for half an hour and I was really impressed with what we saw. We headed to Los Frailes and Laguna Blanco the following day and as the photos will show the place was really pretty. We met a Ecuadorian lad from Quito on the boat trip the previous day and I must say Mucho Gusto to him if he´s reading this for driving us to Laguna Blanco and home again.

Our next stop was Banos which was west of us but it weas really awkward getting here as due to the state of the roads we had to head back down south to Guayaquil to get here. We left at 9 in the morning and only arrived in Ambato which is an hour from Banos at 10 at night. We hit for Banos early the next morning in the Colectivo which is really just a mini bus of sorts. Banos was beautiful. It´s built in a valley with the mountains appearing to be at all sides and there´s a volcano just outside it. We did a 12 k cycle here to Aguas Verdes which was really nice with loads of waterfalls but on the down side we were covered in muck from head to toe. Bar this we took it fairly relaxed here. It´s a spot I´d definitely recommend to ther people though.

Quito was our next stop and our final stop in Ecuador. All the rest of Ecuador was amazing but Quito was very bad. We always felt that we had to watch our back here and in the evenings we really clocked up the man hours on the telly here. We stayed here 3 nights in total. The first day we went to the old town to see all the churches. It was a really nice place to walk around in. I must say that it´s the new town that has the reputation for being dangerous but maybe the old town could have been different. The second day we headed to Mitad Del Mundo or centre of the earth aka the Equator. Inti Nan Museo Solar was recommended to us here as opposed to the Mitad Del Mundo complex as it´s at the real equator whereas the other place is 300 metres off. This was really good and I enjoyed it alot better than expected. We headed back for a salsa lesson that night which again was really good once you got into it. It was run by a Cuban lad who was really good.

The following day we arrived into Popoyan in Colombia after a 16 hour bus journey from Quito. Still living the dream as you can imagine. We arrived to Tulcan at the border after 5 hours and the formalities at both sides were handy enough. Colombia was a cake walk. I was able to check Caroline through immigration without her even coming to the window. We arrived into Ipiales on the Colombian side and we then organised our bus to Cali which was meant to get in at 10. With all the delays we decided on staying in Popoyan that night as we only arrived into here at 10 with Cali being a further 3 hours away. Popoyan was lovely with all the walls very white looking. Churches are the main attraction here and after the old town in Quito I've seen enough of these but very nice to have a stroll around and very safe.

We headed for Cali the following day. Cali was meant to have super night life but it wasn´t evident last night. Maybe it´s the weekend that things get busy. We headed to the Zoo today which was absolutely amazing. There are lots of photos from here you can check out. We headed south of the Rio Cali after this to have a look around town but bar churches there wasn´t much on offer. The scenery in Colombia has been very impressive so far. Tomorrow we´ll head for Armenia and Salento and probably only spend one night here. At the moment our plan is to head for Bogota after this followed by Medellin, Santa Marta and Cartagena.

The latest photos are here:
Montanita, Puerto Lopez, Banos, Quito, Popoyan, Cali

I believe the weather is very good at home so here´s hoping it lasts till June. Hasta Luego.

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