View from the top of Old Man of Coniston hike in Lake District National Park, England.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Preston, Lancashire, England.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Wyke, West Yorkshire, England on May 29th!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Travel day! Medellin to Manizales...

Yesterday was a travel day for us. It's only 192 kms (119 miles) from Medellin to Manizales, but it's on a twisty two lane mountain road where you're lucky to get over 60 km/h (36 mph).

Lots of beautiful scenery though, to keep you occupied for the four to five hour bus ride!

So, we were up fairly early yesterday and ready to get out the door by 9:00am or so. We had said goodbye to Herber when he left for work around 7:00am, and Andrea locked the door behind us because she was leaving the same time as us. Really nice young couple and we hope to see them again when we return to Medellin in mid December for our return flight to Mexico.

Thanks for everything Andrea and Herber!

It took about two minutes to flag one of those little yellow taxis and we were on our way. It cost 15,000 pesos ($7.08 CAD) for the ride to the southern bus terminal in Medellin. Still pretty busy with morning traffic, it took about a half an hour for the 11 km (7 mile) ride.

At the bus terminal, we had to find which bus companies offered service to Manizales, and then choose which type of bus we wanted. They were all the same price...35,000 pesos ($16.50 CAD) per person.

One guy in one of the booths kept holding a sign saying "Manizales" and pointing to us. How he knew we were headed that way, we don't know. But he was persistent and it paid off as we decided to go with him. It was a smaller company using an 8 passenger minivan. And, he was leaving shortly. He got us into the van and made sure I was in the seat that had the most leg room. In fact, I could stretch my legs right out!

We were on the road by 10:30am. There were only two other people in the van with us, however he picks up and drops off people along the way.

All of these photos were taken out the bus window using our new little compact waterproof and shockproof camera. While it may be both of those things, we're not overly impressed with the picture quality. The bigger camera definitely takes better pictures, however you need to be cautious with security in Colombia and so we use the small camera when we don't want to stand out so much as tourists.

They use motorcycles for everything.

The southern outskirts of Medellin.

Yes, this is the main highway leading south!

Most of the road hugs the side of the mountain range, with steep dropoffs. 

And you had better not be queasy, because with all of those twists and turns, and drivers (including our minivan driver) that are willing to pass on many blind turns it's a bit of a hairy ride! However, we saw little indication of accidents and the drivers seem to all know how to avoid each other. I think Ruth closed her eyes a couple of times though!

The fantastic scenery takes your mind of the ride though. What a stunning country...

Most homes have a beautiful view. 

We could live anywhere along this route and be happy!

This is our kind of scenery

I know most people like the beach, but we'd rather be in the mountains.


Every turn offered a new view.

Heading down into the next valley.

Everything is green.

We're just at the end of rainy season here, which is one of the reasons everything is so green. Yesterday was the first day we didn't see any rain, although a few times it looked like it could have rained. It was interspersed with some blue sky and sunshine though which was nice to see.

Colombia is very mountainous.

We stopped in the town of La Pintada for a break around the half way point. You can buy food from the many vendors who sell to the many buses who stop at this point. And use the facilities!

More scenery.

I was hungry! I bought this big corn bread thing. At first, I thought it was a bit pricey at 3,000 pesos ($1.42 CAD), but we had a hard time finishing it between the two of us!

Getting close to Manizales.

Manizales is a small city with a population of about 350,000 people. It's a university town, with 7 different schools of higher education.'ll want to go to school here...I've read that girls outnumber guys by a ratio of 3 to 1! It's also the center of Colombian coffee production and there are a lot of coffee bean farms in this area.

We got off the bus around almost five hours for us including stops. The Manizales bus terminal is located right at a cable car station that takes you above the city to downtown. What an efficient system! And it cost only 1,600 pesos ($0.75 CAD) each.

Then we had to walk about 9 blocks to our downtown hostel. Very busy downtown area, mostly with pedestrians. The narrow one way streets did have some vehicle traffic, but it was really crowded with people. Sorry, no photos. We were too busy trying to make our way through the people with our bags.

Arrived at Kaleidoscopio Hostel. We had read excellent reviews about this place and have booked in for a three night stay at 60,000 pesos ($28.00 CAD) per night for the two of us. Owner Martha showed us to our room and insisted that we rest. And we did, falling asleep for about an hour!

Our room has two double beds, but it is a private room. We do have to share a bathroom, but it is spotlessly clean and with good hot water showers.

Even have a television, however with the strong wifi signal, we'll be busy on the internet during any spare time. Oh, and breakfast is included in that price.

Then, we went for a walk and got some dinner. Just another meat and cheese arepa, and with a beer and a juice the cost was only 12,500 pesos ($5.87 CAD). Hardly worth trying to cook it yourself for that price. 

They have a fantastic cathedral here and it was all lit up at night.

The cathedral here has the highest spire in Colombia.

We bought a bottle of aguardiente, the national drink of Colombia. It is 29% alcohol and has a taste like anisette liqueur. It is normally drank straight up, so that's the way we have it. I think the locals do shots with it, but we think it's a good sipping drink!

Toasting another great day in Colombia!

Yesterday's bus ride....192 kms (119 miles).

Thanks for doing your Amazon shopping through our links here. A great deal today on some top quality kitchen appliances...

And in Canada, you can shop here...


  1. Love those mountains - what views you had - another very interesting post! Have a great day!

    1. Everywhere you look here you see the beautiful mountains and we just love it, well except some of the driving on the twisty windy roads.

  2. Amazing scenery and a great way to end the day.

  3. Awesome....although I would have like to see the street scene...maybe tomorrow's post :-) Love the hostel you stayed in....have to keep that in mind if I ever make it to Columbia. I read they have coffee tasting stations near the coffee plantations.

    1. My sister & I once slept in a room the size of a closet...with a single bed and a mattress on the floor in NYC. The hotel's five upper floors flooded so they had to squeeze us into what looked like a broom closet LOL The stories I can tell about sleeping arrangements while traveling...he hee hee

    2. You may have to wait a little longer for a picture of the busy street. We didn't want to take out our big camera for that and we didn't have the small one with us at the time.

      The hostel is really quite nice and our room is a decent size. We certainly have some stories too about sleeping accommodations while traveling!

  4. That hostel is a steal. I love trying local liquers, although at 29 percent that is too much alcohol for me. Beautiful scenery!

    1. If you look around you can definitely find some great deals on accommodations and this is certainly one of them. :-)

      We love to try the local drinks. This for us is a sipping drink, we wouldn't want to do more than a couple of shots if we had to do it that way!

  5. Love the scenery. With the obvious exception of the banana trees, most of the roads are reminiscent of the back roads in Slovenia and Western Austria. Fun to drive, unless you're behind a big-assed truck. (deleted that last go at a comment due to a minor screw up. :) )

    1. Yes, we would imagine that they would be similar. Being behind a big truck doesn't seem to slow them down here but it isn't a lot of fun when you are sitting in the back of a small van on a very twisty, windy roads and you start to feel a little motion sick. :-(

  6. I'm glad you have had a good trip, now I follow you too. Greetings!!

    1. Thank you very much for everything Andrea. We had a wonderful time with you both. Hopefully we see you again in December.

  7. Ah you know I like my annisette, we miss you guys, don't forget to stay with us at the Weeb Ranch again, Sam & Donna

    1. Yep,we remember that Sam! ;-)

      There is a possibility that we may head your way next fall and if we do we will most certainly stop by. Miss you both as well. :-)

  8. I would have closed my eyes on that drive too :-) Cheers - Ellen

    1. Yep, I definitely had them closed once or twice, glad that I was sitting at the back so that I didn't see the road ahead.

  9. The hotel doesn't look bad for that price, but I do miss whenever we stay in a place that doesn't have a bedside-table lamp (or two). Does that bother you two? I have to read in bed! Beautiful photos of the green mountains!

    1. It is actually a hostel not a hotel so we do have to share the bathroom but considering that the price is for the two of us and includes breakfast it is an excellent deal. It has a very homey feel to it an Martha is an amazing hostess and Gizmo the dog is an added bonus.

      No it doesn't bother us as we just get out of bed and turn the main light off if we want to read in bed.

  10. Hey, you guys are already having way too much fun! Sure miss having you at the house and you should've stayed longer. As fish you guys keep up to two weeks! Wilbur Arestigui is the guy with the sign. We wanted to help you out so we called him and told him to give you the thumbs up! Great pics and keep posting.

    1. We sure are Chris and we would be having even more ifit would rain a little less.

      Thanks for calling ahead and making sure we got to the right bus! ;-)

      Miss you both too, you never know we may just see each other again at Christmas.

    2. I love friends like nice that he called Wilbur.

    3. He was just being funny Rita, the guys at the bus station spot us "gringos" a mile away a just start calling out or waving to get our attention to come to their stall. We had it happen to us again today in Manizales. :-)

  11. We said a lot of WOW's that day!

  12. I loved your pictures and hearing about your trip on the bus from Medellin to Manizales, Caldas. I had a special college friend that lives in El Poblado, Medellin. I have tried so hard to reach him but all dead ends. He is 79 this year. He is Alvaro Estrada Mesa. His kids are Alejandro, Luis and Manuela Estrada Villegas. Alejandro is married to Paola Turbay ...1991 Miss Colombia, actress and model. Alvaro’s wife Olga Clemencia Villegas is from Manizales, Caldas. I am afraid to hire someone over the internet. They would rob me blind. I live in Chesapeake Beach, MD and have no idea if you might know someone in Medellin that can help me get an email address or address or contact info. I am reliable and if you could let me know either way.
    Thank you Ruth and I hope you understand.
    Elaine Quigley Sheehan
    [email protected]

    1. I am sorry but there is no one that we know in Medellin that you help you find your old college friend. We wish you the best of luck in trying to track him down.


There are more comments on our facebook page at

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.