Small and colorful Salento is the closest town to the Cocora Valley, home to the tallest palm trees in the world. The buildings are well maintained, the streets are clean, and there are many restaurants and cafés to choose from.
Cocora Valley is home to the tallest palm trees in the world and one of Colombia’s most popular outdoor destinations. Hiking the valley was one of our neatest experiences in South America, but it wasn’t without a little misadventure.
Bogota is Colombia’s capital city at the foot of the Andes, with a colonial old town remarkably similar to the one in Quito, Ecuador. Even though Bogota is a huge city, the tourist attractions are mostly clustered in the old town, which you can visit in a day or two.
From Cartagena we flew to Medellin, Colombia’s city of eternal spring set in the lush Aburrá valley. Once the most dangerous city in the world in the 1980s, Medellin has transformed itself into the most innovative city in the last decade.
In February we spent a few days in Cartagena, Colombia, famed for its colorful old city inside a fortress-like wall. February we discovered was summer, the dry season when the city receives the most tourists, driving prices up and making Cartagena Colombia’s most expensive city.
We spent a productive and incredibly cheap month in Santa Marta, Colombia in January, discovering some aspects of the city we really appreciated as well as others that came as unpleasant surprises.
There are two places to see penguins in the wild near Punta Arenas, Chile. One is Magdalena Island, where small Magellanic penguins roam free. We decided to go to Magdalena Island because it’s close to Punta Arenas and the entire island is run over by these little penguins.
Puerto Williams is the southernmost city in the world, a small town and naval base of merely a few thousand people on Navarino Island at the southern tip of Chile.
We flew to Punta Arenas from Puerto Montt after visiting Chile’s lake district, picked up our rental car at the airport, and drove straight to Puerto Natales, our base for taking day trips to Torres del Paine.
Chile’s lake district is a land of volcanoes, glacial lakes, German settlements of old, and millenary araucaria trees.