Archives for category: Colombia

Image uploaded from iOS-10Over the last few months, I’ve been mining memories of past trips to Caribbean locales like Cartagena and Panama City and translating them into curated city guides for Luxury Living International magazine.

In my most recent piece, we sink into the evolving Panama City neighborhood of Casco Viejo to experience the city’s vibrant nightlife scene by roof top. Aim to head to one of these three roof tops during golden hour and plan for a sip of Ron Abuelo or two:

  • Reach for the Sky at These Rooftop Bars in Panama City
    • Excerpt: “Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997, this geographically petite neighborhood vibrates with activity at sunset and often continues into the next morning. With sweeping views of the Downtown skyline and surrounding landmarks, twenty minutes from the city center are these three Casco Viejo roof tops:”

Dreaming of Cartagena? Read my city guide as a thought-starter piece to create your own tropical getaway:

  • Where to eat, drink and stay in Cartagena
    • Excerpt: “The city that played muse to one of Nobel-prize winner Gabriel García Márquez’s most memorable and fantastical novels is having a moment in the fiery Caribbean sun. Top ranks on must-visit lists, nonstop service from the U.S. to Rafael Núñez International airport and an impressive dining scene have fanned the flames of the Colombian jewel’s rise from local holiday spot to global destination darling.”

In other news, today is my long-awaited interview for Global Entry status. I am hoping all goes well so that I may breeze through international airports during my upcoming trip to Europe next month. As I type this, I realize that the word breeze may be a bit optimistic, but hey anything to make long-haul travel more comfortable is worth trying in my book.

Last weekend, friend and travel content collaborator Alina (of ARose Travels) and I took a mini-jaunt to Anza Borrego State Park to see the #SuperBloom. Here’s a few photos from the trip; I even got to prance around in front of her camera in the name of creativity:

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Super Bloom in full effect at Anza Borrego State Park (Photo: Alina Mendoza)

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(Photo: Alina Mendoza)

Find more photos from the weekend on Instagram:

 

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Roadside, we waited beneath shaded trees to flag down a collectivo bound for Santa Marta. From there, we’d continue to the tiny village of Minca. Eventually, we planned to arrive at Casa Elemento, a thoughtfully constructed hostel perched high enough to boast views of the village, Santa Marta, the surrounding valley and out to the Caribbean.

In Colombia, transportation timetables are approximations. Forget trying to consult Google and talk to a human instead.

“Just wait till the blue and white bus passes by, you will see it,” explained the patient receptionist as we peppered her with questions. 

It took a few attempts on a spotty phone connection to confirm our spontaneous reservation with Casa Elemento.

Skeptically equipped with directions, we checked out of our dreamy cabana at Costeño, squinted into the sun and hoped for the best.
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Costeño, Colombia

The journey is always worth it. Even when your travel companion and you are the last ones to board a packed bus and must squeeze into the remaining available seats. Even when, an hour into the five hour journey you turn to each other and say, “Damn, we should have eaten lunch before we boarded.”

Even when you must then take another vehicle to the little pinpoint on your GPS in the black of night and a torrent of rain only to learn (with rising panic) that your destination is nowhere to be found.

Because things usually fall into place. How?

They fall into place when you realize there are planned rest breaks along the way where, for a few thousand pesos (a few bucks in American dollars) you can share a savory arepa and a bag of sliced, salted mango. When the bus finally arrives two hours later and you tumble into a cab with an incredibly patient driver who does not give up on finding your final destination.

They fall into place when you are swinging in a hammock on an old coconut farm, a dash away from the Caribbean. When the sticky sweet scent of your piña colada mingles with the salt air. Above, rolling clouds do their moody thing, while the sun does its sunset thing.

And there you are, sipping a piña colada on the Colombian coast.

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Saturated Saturday is a photo series highlighting some of my favorite images, with editing courtesy of the photo editing apps I like at the moment. These include: VSCO, Instagram, and A Color Story. Most photos taken with iPhone 6s.

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