Scenery east of the town of Trai Mat near Da Lat, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Da Lat, Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Not sure yet!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Busy day, including Colombia's highest waterfall...

Yesterday morning we were sitting at the table here at the hostel, having a hot chocolate and just finishing up writing the blog when the girl from the hostel comes over with a guy who does jeep tours of the area. We had wanted to do one of these tours because it's the only way to see some of the sights we wanted to see.

But he was leaving right then! In fact, the jeep was waiting outside with four other people already in it, and he was looking for two more passengers to fill the vehicle.

We hummed and hawed because we hadn't even had breakfast yet. Then, he offered incentive. Normal price is 40,000 pesos ($18.20 CAD) each, and he said if we go right then he would do it for 30,000 pesos ($13.65 CAD) each.


We scrambled to get ready, and in 15 minutes or so we were in the jeep! We had the driver stop at a bakery to pick up some pan de bono (cheese bread made with corn flour) and yogurt, and off we went.

Soon, we were in the mountains on a narrow dirt road.

The tour includes six stops...three natural areas, and three archaeological areas. We were told it would be about six hours. The two other couples already in the jeep were from Scotland and Italy. We all spoke English except for the driver.

First stop was the Magdelana Canyon and the narrowest point on the Magdelana River. This river is 1,528 kms (949 miles) long, and flows through the western part of the country all the way up to Cartagena.

Ruth at the narrowest point in the Magdalena River.

From there, it was a short jaunt to a small archaeological site of Obando. We had to pay 2,000 pesos ($0.91 CAD) to get in. Not much, but it really wasn't worth it to me. There were three tombs that had been excavated along with a small museum. We were done in 15 minutes.

Only two things worth seeing there...

A small gold trinket. I think it's amazing how they made this kind of stuff 5,000 years ago.

I thought this sign was hilarious. "No drunk people in the museum!". Too funny.

Then we had a half hour drive through the countryside. Beautiful scenery, and too many photos to post them all here! Next stop was the Alto de Los Idolos archaeological site. This one was much better. Here, we had to pay 20,000 pesos ($9.10 CAD) each for a two day passport that includes admission to the main park near San Agustin. (We will visit that park today.)

Much of this park was excavated way back in the 1940's, but there is still work ongoing today. The tombs were each protected by a statue, and buried under a mound.

Statue protecting the tomb. He didn't do his job very well.

This big stone slab looks like an alligator or crocodile which is odd because neither are found in this area.

The Alto de Los Idoles site.

Us, with one of the statues.

Now it was getting past 12:30pm and there is a restaurant at this site where we stopped for lunch. Great meal, and considering it was at a tourist spot it was still reasonably priced.

I ordered the grilled chicken.

And Ruth ordered the vegetarian stir fry.

I then gave Ruth some of my chicken and she gave me some of her vegetables. They are big meat eaters here and if you want vegetables with your meal you normally have to ask for them extra. Price for all of this, along with two fresh lemonades? 26,000 pesos ($11.83 CAD) for the two of us.

Next stop was another small tomb site called Alto de las Piedras. This one was no charge.

One of the bigger monuments.

Still some work going on here.

Hmm. This one is pretty detailed!

A better description of how the tombs look under ground.

Next on the agenda? Colombia's highest waterfall. Salto de Bordones waterfall is 400 meters (1,300 feet) high! We had to do 10 kms (6 miles) on a dirt road to get there, and so it took a while.

Especially when you meet guys like this along the way. he was bigger than us, so we had to back up a bit to let him by.

Unfortunately it's difficult to get a decent picture of the waterfall itself. I took a video and posted it to facebook and will embed it here...hopefully it views okay, just press this link...
On the way back, we made an unscheduled stop at a panela factory. Panela is unrefined whole cane sugar manufactured similar to the way they make maple syrup and maple sugar in Canada. Here, they take the raw sugar cane and squeeze the juice our of it. Then boil it and thicken it to make natural unrefined sugar.

Sugar cane.

The guy feed the cane in non stop.

And the sugar cane juice comes out the bottom.

It then gets boiled down.

The blocks of panela are ready for packaging.

One more waterfall to see...

Salto de Mortino.

What a good day we had. It was 5:00pm by the time we made it back to the hostel!

Today, we're going to the main archaeological site in San Agustin.

Amazon's big Black Friday sale starts today...tons of great deals! In fact they have a bunch of daily deals on as well...check out this Fuji camera with a 50x optical zoom lens...

And Canada is in on the deals too. Fantastic price on an Acer 15" laptop...


  1. Wow what a beautiful tour...only thing I didn't like is people digging up ancient graves.

    1. Yes, it was a fantastic tour, we really enjoyed our day. We agree about digging up ancient graves but many of them were looted way back in the 1600's even up until the early 1980's when they had trouble with rebels in the area. Also I understand to find out more about a past civilization this is sometimes necessary. We certainly have mixed feelings about it.

  2. If you thought that $300 laptop price was good, on US Amazon there is supposedly a 15-inch ASUS laptop for $129 some time this weekend!

    1. People will certainly have to keep their eyes open this weekend to catch that deal.

  3. I'm not sure if that sugarcane factory would pass the Health inspection here in Florida i'm guessing there you do what you got to do
    If you get to sample any after they squeezed it sometime it's better than the finished product
    It is a long slow labor-intensive process But fun to watch
    Enjoy your day and trip

    1. No, it probably wouldn't but I think I would much rather eat this panela which is totally natural than the white sugar they make using chemicals back in Canada and the US.

      Yes, we did get a chance to sample the cane juice after being squeezed and it tasted very nice but I like the finished product too.

  4. Wow, so glad you were able to hop on that tour - it seems like one of your best days yet in Columbia. That gold shark/fish is very cool.

    1. It was a fantastic day but I still think our best day was when we were in the Cocora Valley with the tall wax palms. We found out yesterday that the gold shark/fish is a replica, the original is in the Gold Museum in Bogota which we will hopefully be visiting.

  5. What an awesome tour. I can't believe how cheap everything is. I think you both got your money's worth for sure.

    1. It was a great tour and worth every peso we spent! :-)

      Colombia is a fairly inexpensive at least for us, maybe not so for all Colombians though.

  6. Another awesome day seeing more new sites.

  7. Great tour. Sure am glad you guys are doing all these wonderful things for our enjoyment.

    1. Thank you Jim and Sandie, it is our pleasure to do these things for you! ;-)

  8. What an amazing trip you two are having. I never would have known Colombia was so beautiful if not for you two! Thanks for sharing this amazing journey with us!

    1. Yes, so far we have been having a wonderful time here. We can't get over how beautiful this country is. There is always fantastic scenery to look at.

  9. Great job on the video Kevin. Amazinag waterfall. I thought it would never end! Food looks good, scenery fantastic, and it looks like you're having fun!

    1. Thanks Chris! The waterfall was amazing and we never actually got to see the very bottom of it because of our angle. We had read that there isn't a trail to the very bottom but I bet the locals know of one, sure wish we could have hiked to the bottom of it.

      We are having a wonderful time and yes, the food is good and cheap. Just wish they could spice it up a little more.

  10. Replies
    1. Yes, they were beautiful. Really wish we could have hiked to the bottom.


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