Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Colombia - We've Never Meet So Many Overlanders In One Country!

After our night with the super-friendly, gun-toting watchman in San Martin, we drove a slow, windy road south to arrive at the top of Chicamocha Canyon (pictured below). It was a stunning landscape so we decided to pay $5 to park overnight in the National Park lot, located conveniently next to the police station. Later, we learned that we could've parked for free just up the road - dang.

Chicamocha Canyon - 6500 feet deep

The next morning, we headed to the quaint colonial highland town of Barichara. We had read a recent account of someone who camped in Barichara overlooking the canyon, but didn't know exactly where it was. While walking along the edge of town, we spotted our not-so-illusive camping spot. There were 2 other campers already parked for the night - one couple was German and the other Swiss. It was a great place to camp, so we stayed a couple of days and explored the area.

Germans, Swiss, and Americans - lined up along the canyon edge in Barichara
Morning coffee and morning allergies
Cathedral de Barichara

Since we've arrived in Colombia, we have met more overlanders than in the past 2 years combined. It may be that we are now on the more traditional overlander trail, as opposed to the obscure surf beaches we visited in Central America. Our next significant stop took us to Villa de Leyva, where again, we met 6 more couples (4 German, 1 South African, and 1 American) doing the overlanding thing.

El Tigre felt awfully small next to this 30-year old German firetruck. The tires weigh 330 lbs each (without the rim)!!!!!!

The American couple, Nate and Sarah from The Long Way South, seemed to share our obsession with pizza, so we ended up going out for pizza 2 different times with them. We never pass up an excuse to get pizza.

It's no wonder we met so many overlanders in Villa de Leyva. We all stayed at a place called Hostal Renacer. Despite not having the best parking situation, overlanders flock here the world over. The facilities are clean and functional, there is a free breakfast every 5 days, and a 20% discount for stays longer than 6 days. Scott decided to take the opportunity to do some work on the truck. Things didn't go according to plan, but lucky for us, we were parked somewhere comfortable to wait out the unplanned mishap. When we arrived, we told them we would stay 1-2 days, but ended up staying 16. Stay tuned for the next blog post by Scott...


Cesar said...

Nice! Colombia is always top on our list. I also recognize the German camper from Baricharra- we camped next to them in Costa Rica and again in Arica. Enjoy!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the info, Heather. Great photos. It's really encouraging for future overlanders to fine such valuable information about places to stop over and refresh a bit from the road. Since my wife and I are in our late 50's, my wife, Molly, would like to know if there are overlanders in our age group or are we going to be the only 'old folks' on the Pan-Am highway... But
I keep telling her that age is only in one's mind.