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Tom Germain

There was No Risk: I Wanted to Stay in Villa de Leyva

For my first blog trip, courtesy of ProExport (the same people who bring you colombia.travel), my mission was to discover Villa de Leyva in the state of Boyaca. Villa de Leyva is a focal point of history, paleontology, art and nature. There is no crime, no garbage in the streets or streams, no raucous crowds. All the buildings are in the colonial Spanish style, with white walls and tiled roofs as mandated by the town's charter. Most of the streets are made of the original stones and mortar, completing the illusion that here time has stopped. The climate is perfect thanks to the dry air of the adjacent Candelaria desert, despite being located at over 2,000 meters (6,000 feet) above sea level. It is a place of singular beauty, and not unlike many others who have discovered it, I fell under its spell and long to return, not just to visit, but to live!

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Recent Comments Show all comments
  • Juancho
    Juancho says #
    I disagree that lodging is inexpensive, it is quite pricey considering how basic accomodations are. If you go on a "puente" (holi...
  • Scott
    Scott says #
    Hi Tom, Do you have any contact info for the inexpensive hospedaje located 1 block from the plaza. Thank you. Scott...

What to Bring Back from Colombia


When I go to the land of my birth for a visit, I have few options for authentic Canadian gifts to bring back to family and friends in Colombia. Maple syrup and T-shirts with maple leafs on them are not very original ideas, but it is hard to come up with much else!  The reverse is not true, however, as Colombia has a rich, ancient culture, and as a result has plenty of uniquely Colombian items you can give to those in your home country. Here are a few that will put a smile on their faces without putting a big dent in your budget.

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Tags: gifts, souvenirs
Recent Comments Show all comments
  • Tom Germain
    Tom Germain says #
    Apparently, there's a territorial war between the distilleries, a bit like Coke vs Pepsi. In Antioquia, it's hard to find anything...
  • Eva Laura Siegel
    Eva Laura Siegel says #
    Caldas! I say this as someone who has never tried nor even seen Medellin...do they sell it in Cali?

The Real Colombia is Found in its Villages

Most tourists will spend their entire time in Colombia within the confines of its major cities, many limiting their escapades to Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena. This is a mistake! While you will get a dose of Colombia's unique culture via its cities, these are modern cosmopolitan centers and their inhabitants' lifestyles are eons away from the traditions of the past. Fortunately, for a taste of what I call the "real Colombia", you need only venture  a bit outside the city to find it.

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Recent Comments Show all comments
  • Richard
    Richard says #
    Villa de Leyva and then through Santander. From Bucaramanga you can catch a bus to El Banco, Magdalena and then a 4x4 from there. ...
  • Tom Germain
    Tom Germain says #
    Your new home town is high on my bucket list, Richard! I'm actually studying the best way to get there from Villa Leyva, my next s...

Colombia for Big People: Cartagena (Minus the Secret Service)

For mature visitors, Cartagena is the number one place of interest within Colombia, just as New York is for the United States, or Paris is for France. It is not the capital, but it is the city that offers itself as both a seaside resort as well as a picturesque historic destination.   For this reason, you will find no shortage of articles about its attractions, but I hope to give you a more practical guide to La Heroica (the Heroic), as Cartagena is known here.

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