Cities, scenery, wildlife, beaches, rain, and heat

Storm clouds

When I was planning my trip to Peru and Ecuador last year, I signed up for an optional post-trip extension to Colombia. But because too few people signed up, Overseas Adventure Travel had to cancel the extension. So I decided to do Colombia on my own. Some research suggested that January is the ideal month to visit because it is dry season.

It turned out that figuring out transportation from place to place in Colombia was a big challenge, so I opted for a tour with Explore! They are a British travel company. 

When I was looking for flights, I found that Copa Airlines offers free stopovers in Panama, so I booked four nights in Panama City and arranged for three day-trip excursions with Panama Road Trips. This turned out to be the highlight of my entire trip. Panama enchanted me. The city is stunning, the canal fascinating. I saw lots of birds and other wildlife, and I had an interesting visit to an indigenous community.

The Colombia tour was excellent. Although the pace was quicker than I usually like to do, with mostly two-night stays, everything was managed efficiently. And my tourmates, mostly British, were a delight to travel with. But Colombia overall did not rise to my expectations. The cities were not especially attractive or interesting. In spite of being dry season, it rained hard most afternoons and evenings. The scenery was nice but not spectacular. And the food overall was okay but kind of the same everywhere we went. Cartagena was definitely the highlight, but it was so hot and humid there that it was hard to appreciate. And there were other unique and special places, several outstanding museums, and great opportunities to commune with nature. 

I liked Colombia, especially the people, who were friendly and welcoming. And I wasn’t disappointed, just not wowed.



Casco Viejo (98 items)
Emberá Drúa Village (75 items)
Gomboa and Lago Gatún (65 items)
Panama City and the Canal (28 items)


Bogotá (89 items)
Museo del Oro, Bogotá (78 items)
Museo Botero, Bogotá (46 items)
Quindío (65 items)
Birds of Quindío (40 items)
Medellín (80 items)
Museo Antioquia, Medellín (57 items)
Guatapé (55 items)
Río Don Diego (48 items)
Cartagena (91 items)

Blog Posts

Coming soon: Panama and Colombia (1/1/2023) - My first adventure of 2023, a visit to Panama and Colombia, is just over a week away. I had planned to visit Colombia as part of my trip to Machu Picchu and the Galápagos last year. Overseas Adventure Travel had… more…
A view of a modern city skyline with a lot of tall buildings, seen across an expanse of water. Panama City and the Canal (1/11/2023) - I arrived in Panama City yesterday morning, and now have had the better part of two days to see the city. Yesterday I wandered around the old city, Casco Viejo, on my own. Today I had a private tour by… more…
A group of indigenous children sitting on a bench wearing traditional costumes A visit to the Emberá Drúa village (1/12/2023) - Deep in the Panamanian jungle along the Chagres River is the Emberá Drúa village, with about 123 residents. After an hour drive north from Panama City, my guide, Miguel, and I arrived at a landing point at the point where… more…
Birds and wildlife of Panama (1/13/2023) - Today I took and excursion to Gomboa and Gatún Lake to commune with nature and see some of the birds and wildlife of Panama. There’s really not a lot to write about. It’s all about the visual. Words can’t begin… more…
Bogotá: art, gold, sun, and rain (1/16/2023) - Two days in Bogotá were barely enough to scratch the surface. Mornings were sunny, afternoons were rainy. The highlights were visits to two museums: Museo del Oro and Botero Museo. In addition, I sampled some interesting flavors at Mercado Paloquemao,… more…
Quindío: Scenery, color, coffee, and rain (1/18/2023) - Quindío is the second smallest department in Colombia. It is in the center of a triangle formed by Colombia’s three largest cities: Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali. And it is in the heart of the country’s most important coffee producing region.… more…
Medellín: Graffiti, walking, art, and shopping (1/21/2023) - I’m not going to write a whole lot about Medellín. It’s actually not a very pretty city. In spite of being surrounded by hills, Medellín doesn’t have an attractive cityscape. I enjoyed a few aspects of the city anyway, so… more…
Guatapé: Rock, zócalos, and lake (1/22/2023) - Guatapé is a cute, colorful town. There’s a big rock nearby. And there’s a lake, well actually a human-made reservoir. We climbed the rock. Then we walked around the town. We went to a replica of another town that was… more…
Cartagena: charm, history, heat, and humidity (1/27/2023) - To be fair, Cartagena and the other parts of the Caribbean coast I visited were very pretty. But I did suffer from the heat, humidity, and hungry mosquitoes. I didn’t blog about the my time in Palomino and on the… more…