Overland from Colombia to Venezuela

Overland from Colombia to Venezuela
Overland from Colombia to Venezuela

We ignored all warnings and decided to cross the border between Colombia and Venezuela overland.

We had been staying for a few days in the lovely little village Mompos in Colombia. To get out of this city we had to take a “jeep”. We thought that sounded reasonable enough…until we realised that we were 18 people plus heavy luggage travelling with one car. The result: The car broke into two…several time. As you can see on the picture in which we are, again, stranded in the middle of nowhere.

We finally reached Buracamanga after 9 instead of 6 hours and obviously lost our onwards bus. Lucky we got the next overnight bus to Cucuta in Venezuela and it all went smooth from there…except Thomas being covered in dust from top to toe…having been a gentleman and sat in the back of the car the whole way 馃檪

Podcast: Panama City

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Following about a week in Costa Rica – during which time we happily managed to avoid San Jos脙漏 and the plethora of gringo-packed ‘eco’ destinations, we zipped straight down to Panama City, somewhere we both wanted to spend a few days. You can listen to the podcast we made whilst in Panama City by clicking the play button above.

Staying in Casco Viejo (the old town, pictured above in the foreground), we spent most of our time just wandering through the old colonial plazas and admiring the wonderful crumbling dereliction of the area.

In this podcast you will hear the sounds of the docks, a street musician, some street performers, the Panama Canal and we discuss some of the ‘personal security’ issues you need to be aware of if you decide to visit Panama City (following the robberies of two friends in a week).

Join us from our next podcast destination: Cartagena in Colombia

Momp贸s, Colombia

Momp贸s was founded by the Spanish in 1537 on the banks of the Rio Magdalena, and quickly became an important port through which goods passed from Cartagena to the interior of the Colombian colony. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Momp贸s is a charming town and well worth a visit despite the hassle getting there & away.

Mompos, Colombia

When the Spanish diverted their trade route to the other branch of the Rio Magdalena at the end of the 19th century, Momp贸s declined in importance and what you find today is a town where time seems to have stood still.

Momp贸s lies 230km southeast of Cartagena, and the journey there involved a series of boats, buses & taxis taking most of the day.

Famous for its locally made rocking chairs (in evidence all around town from about 5 pm when the locals emerge to sit out on their porches), Momp贸s has developed its own unique form of architecture.

The town has a beautifully laid-back riverside atmosphere (as the Lonely Planet describes it: "It may feel more like Mississippi"聺), making Momp贸s one of those places ideal for ambling around not doing very much at all. Which is how I spent my time.

Getting away from Momp贸s was troublesome to say the least. I ended up in the back of a pick-up sucking in dust for 4 hours, on unsealed roads. It broke down twice, and one night bus and 36 hours later, I arrived in Merida, Venezuela.

Links

More photos of Momp脧艗s, Colombia

New Years Eve in Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica

Having met up with a couple of friends from London/Australia who’d hired a car, we squeezed in (see photo) and began driving down the South Coast of Costa Rica towards Panama.

New Years Eve, Costa Rica

After a couple of days, Tina and I jumped out at a crossroads, and waited for a bus down to Puerto Jimenez – one of the largest towns on the Osa Peninsula, on the borders of the Corcovado National Park. Corcovado National Park is widely considered the crown jewel in Costa Rica’s extensive system of national parks and biological reserves spread across the country. The ecological variety is quite stunning. National Geographic has called it “the most biologically intense place on Earth”.

Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica

Sadly we weren’t able to afford several hundred dollars for a trek into the national park, but instead bided our time wandering around the town and beach relaxing and admiring the friendly Cockatoos.

New Years Eve was a very chilled affair, a nice meal in an Italian restaurant and a few drinks with the Colombian manager of the hostel & his friends. After a few days, we headed onwards to Panama City.

More

Map of Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica
Wikipedia on Corcovado National Park

A little message from the Brazilian Amazonas

Ooooops! We’ve been pretty slow at updating Earthoria recently, and it’s about time we updated you on our whereabouts. Since the last post from Nicaragua (below), we have hot-footed it through Panama to Columbia, through Venezuela and into Managua, Brazil from where I’m writing this. During our travels we’ve recorded a backlog of audio and video that we’ll be putting together on a week long trip up the Amazon towards Iquitos, Peru, beginning tomorrow.

In the mean time, here’s a photo from the Venezuelan Andes to keep you going:

Skull, Venezuelan Andes

Video: Panama Canal joins the Atlantic and the Pacific ocean

The Panama Canal is a 77 km ship canal that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and a key for international maritime trade. Annual traffic was 14,702 vessels in 2008.

One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the canal had an enormous impact on shipping between the two oceans, replacing the long route via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America. A ship sailing from New York to San Francisco via the canal travels 9,500 km, well under half the 22,500 km route around Cape Horn. The canal opened in 1914. This video shows the canal and a ship passing through.

While visiting Panama Canal we stayed in Panama City. I really liked Panama City. It was a nice change to the more dodgy capitals of Central America. Particularly interesting for tourists are various sites located in the old quarter (also commonly referred to as “Casco Viejo”, “Casco Antiguo” or “San Felipe”). Casco Viejo is designated a World Heritage Site.

Video: Isla de Ometepe – the fantasy island in Nicaragua

Isla de Ometepe is definitely a good candidate for “eight wonder of the world”. It is an absolutely fantastic island and one of my favourite places in Central and South America.

Ometepe is an island formed by two volcanos rising from lake Nicaragua in the Republic of Nicaragua. Its name derives from the Nahuatl words ome (two) and tepetl (mountain), meaning two mountains: two volcanic peaks (Conception and Maderas) rise from the hazy blue expanse of Cocibolca, ‘the Sweet Sea’ and form an hourglass of beaches and jungles.

Isla de Ometepe has an area of 276 km虏. It is 31 km long and 5 to 10 km wide. The island has a population of 42,000, and an economy based on tourism, livestock and agriculture.

It has a hiding a wealth of archaeological treasures and a very romantic countryside. Thomas and I spent some of the most romantic time of our travels there.