Tayrona National Park

While we were in Taganga, we did a few excursions. A day out in Minca was amazing, you can read all about it here. We also visited the Tayrona National Park and spent a night there. Unlike National Parks in Australia, Colombia is all about providing service and making money.

Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Get to Tayrona National Park

We got to Santa Marta knowing there are buses that go the National Park but we didn’t know from where. So we got to Santa Marta and asked a few people till someone was calling out to us hysterically. Maybe we looked like the people heading to National Park because he directed us straight to the bus.

The bus ticket from Santa Marta to the Entry of the National Park costed us 14,000 pesos (USD 4.50) each. We lined up for 15 mins to get the tickets but once we got to the cashier, she pointed us to the other side and said “bring a token”. Initially, we thought they wanted us to sort out our accommodation for the night before heading into the park but it turns out we had to watch a short informative movie about Parque Tayrona before buying our tickets. After watching the movie, one of the staff gives you an overview and hands you a token which means that you have watched the video and now you can buy the ticket. Bear in mind that the video and short intro was in Spanish, so almost foreigners were confused and didn’t get much of the information.

The ticket into the park was 39,500 pesos (USD 13) per person for Non-Colombians. You need to show your passport but they were fine with our driver licenses.

Accommodation for Night

As mentioned above, we thought we needed to sort out our accommodation before getting the entry ticket. We knew there are locations within the park that rent out hammocks for the night and Parque Tayrona is incredibly popular so getting a spot can be difficult and expensive in popular beaches.

We spoke to a guy sitting on a tiny table for options. He said we could find out if 2 hammocks were available at Arrecifes beach and that got us excited! While doing the research, we decided Arrecifes would be our first option.

After making a call he confirmed that he can book 2 hammocks for us. The cost for each hammock was 32,400 pesos(USD 11) per person. Again, while we did our research, We had read that hiring cost was about 12,000 pesos, so that seemed a little strange to us. Anyway, we had no choice, but to pay the price.

Once we bought these tickets, we heard a guy selling hammocks at the same beach for 15,000 pesos (USD 5). Now, that was the better deal. We decided to go back to the gentleman on that table and request him to cancel our booking. He gave us the spiel that their service was better and that the other place doesn’t have lockers. We didn’t really require a locker, so we ignored everything and took back our money to reserve at the cheaper place. Savings double!

Unswimmable Beaches

We walked from the entry to the first beach, Cañaveral, though we could have taken a shuttle. It was about a hour walk but we were glad we did it as we spotted titi monkeys fighting and making noises on the trees. Other than that, we heard lots of birds and got to breathe fresh clean air.

Tyrona National Park, ColombiaUpon reaching Cañaveral, one of the main beaches only to find out that it is closed for swimming. This story played itself out many times with different beaches. This stretch of the Carribean Sea is rough and the non-protected beaches can easily take your life.

Canaveral beach Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Hike to Arrecifes

After Cañaveral, the trail was mostly wooden structure built by the park authority. The trail goes up and down hills and around boulders and cliffs. It is only 3.2km and there are markers the whole way but it took us bout 1 hour 15 mins due to the terrain. After reaching Arrecifes, we realized the place we booked was actually quite good for the price.

Canaveral beach Tayrona National Park, Colombia

La Piscinita

Arrecifes beach Tayrona National Park, ColombiaWe walked from Arrecifes to La Piscinita. Strangely, though there is accommodation on the Arrecifes beach, the beach itself is unswimmable. La Piscinita was a small beach next to it and we enjoyed ourself in the water for a while. The beach is covered by rocks protecting it from big waves. We were kind of getting an idea of why Colombians love Tayrona!

La Pacinita beach Tayrona National Park, Colombia

El Paraiso

Hotel El Paraiso Bukaru had a restaurant, camping grounds, tents and hammocks with a mosquito netted area. To be fair, the mosquito net wasn’t the best but we had our insect repellent so we were fine. There were showers, toilets, a great restaurant serving juices, alcohol and food and a parrot that said, “Hola”. Great deal!

El Paraiso, Tayrona National Park

For dinner, Shruti enjoyed her vegetable rice while I decided to go for some shrimp rice. The shrimps were fresh and the meal was tasty. We decided to be a little adventurous and tried costeño (colombian coastal) hot sauce, the ahibasco. It was mindblowing spicy and we could only have a little without ruining our meal. The meal was quite cheap, only 30,000 pesos (USD 10) given we were in a National Park. That would not be the case in Australia!

As night drew upon and we were done with dinner, we decided to take a stroll down the beach. Turns out we weren’t the only ones with the idea. We got a spot and spent some time under the moon light before heading to our hammocks.

This was the first time we would be spending a night in a hammock. I must say, I was a little concerned initially but had a comfortable sleep. Hammocks are really comfortable and I am not sure why we don’t use them much in Australia.

Tayrona National Park


On our way to Minca we met a few American girls and they told us how great the snorkeling was in Tayrona. As we were walking to El Cabo, another famous beach within the park, we came across the snorkeling board at La Piscina beach, a few beaches up from Arrecifes. An old grandmother was the owner of a snorking company and we decided to go with her. The equipment, guide and photos costed 40,000 pesos (USD 14) per person for 1.5 hours. Bargain!

La Piscina,Tayrona National ParkOur guide showed us around the bay, the corals and the fish. However, the star of the tour were 3 turtles we saw one after another. We followed each of them around until the guide spotted something else. We spotted a sting ray rested on the sea bed, covered with sand and lots of other colourful fish.

Snorkeling, Turtle, La Piscina,Tayrona National Park

The current in the water was quite strong and it was interesting to see huge boulders break the wave and long sea grass being swayed around. It was a beautiful sight and we were glad we did it.

Snorkeling, La Piscina,Tayrona National Park

El Cabo

Post-snorkeling, we did another hike to reach Cabo San Juan de Guia. It is the most famous beach in Colombia and the one that usually represents Colombia and Tayrona. We took lots of photos of the beach and Shruti went for a swim as well.

El Cabo,Tayrona National Park

A great memory of this beach was a huge iguanna who came from the rocks to walk around the beach, scaring tourists and walking all over their towels. Shruti got a couple of great shots. Scary but cute!

Iguana, El Cabo, Tayrona National Park

There are plenty of camp grounds, hammocks and premium hammocks available at El Cabo. Though, based on what we learnt, these spots cannot be reserved early on. There is a need to queue up and at checking in time, spots are allocated.

Premium Hammocks, El Cabo, Tayrona National Park

Long Walk Back

After an hour on Cabo, it was time to head back. Somehow the walk back was much quicker and we were able to walk 7km of rough terrain in 2.5 hours. We had almost run out of money so the shuttle to the exit wasn’t an option and we ended up walking 4km back to the exit again. We were sweaty, tired and in need for a shower. Eventually, we got a bus back to Santa Marta and made it home with a few thousand pesos left.

We had some great experiences in Tayrona. The beaches, the snorkeling, the hammocks and the heat will be remembered for a long time to come. In the two days spent there, we saw the beauty of the park which draws hundreds of thousands of tourists every year both Colombians and foreigners.

Tayrona National Park

Important Information

  • There are no cash machines in the park and card isn’t accepted. Make sure you take lots of cash.
  • Take fly spray as the mosquitos come out as soon as the sun is setting. And most likely long sleeves will not work.
  • Take lots of water and high energy food like muesli, nuts etc.
  • Buy from El Paraiso at Arrefices as it caters for budget travelers and things, such as water bottles, juices, aren’t as expensive as in El Cabo.
  • If you are spending the night in hammock or tent, make sure you either carry a jacket or blanket. It can get chilly from 3am onwards till the sun comes up.
  • Most popular beaches such as Cañaveral, Arrecifes, La Piscina and El Cabo provide accommodation options and have restaurants. Depending on your budget, you can pick what suits you the best.

Tayrona National Park

A Day in Minca, Santa Marta

Minca, Santa Marta is a village atop the Sierra Nevada range very close to the town of Santa Marta. While we were in Taganga, we decided to spend a day in Minca. We took the bus from Taganga to Santa Marta. Upon reaching, we enquired about the collectivo (shared jeep) station to Minca.

After asking about 4-5 people along the way, we managed to get to the station. We hired two spots in the collectivo which costed 7000 pesos (USD 2.50). The ride was about 35 minutes from Santa Marta.

Minca has various spots which can either be walked to or there is the option for taking a moto taxi – basically transported by motorbike.

Walking in Minca, Santa Marta

Pozo Azul

We opted to walk to Pozo Azul which was a beautiful series of two waterfalls. The walk was probably 45 mins long and an easy one. Each waterfall formed a pool, the first one was shallow and the other was deep. Shruti even managed to jump into the deep pool along with the locals. After the swim, we sat there and watched people dive from the top of the waterfall which was a height of around 12 feet.

First waterfall, Pozo Azul, Minca, Santa Marta Second waterfall, Pozo Azul, Minca, Santa Marta

La Victoria Coffee Plantation

Once dry, we took a moto taxi to the La Victoria Coffee Plantation. Walking up hill for an hour or more would have been a nightmare. The ride on Bajaj Boxers was quick, dangerous and noisy but we loved it. We never thought we would be seeing a Bajaj vehicle in Colombia of all places. Hamara Bajaj!

Moto taxi, Minca, Santa Marta

La Victoria Plantation has a coffee tour, coffee for sale, a microbrewery, a great bistro and amazing view. We had sandwiches and house beers while enjoying the view. Though we didn’t get to do the tour because the guide who spoke English was missing, the place is still a must go.

La Victoria Coffee Plantation, Minca, Santa Marta

Other Spots

Minca also has a few other highlights like Marinka Waterfalls and Los Piñas. Both of these can be done in half a day but it is recommended to hike and spend the night. As we didn’t have the time to do so we had to skip them.

Instead, we walked down from the plantation to Minca while breathing in the clean air, enjoying the view and hearing the birds. In the end, we were happy to get a small taste of Minca and it was great fun!

View from Minca, Santa Marta

Taganga and Santa Marta

After spending 3 days in Bogota, we wanted to check out the North of Colombia. This region is famous for its beaches as it is part of the Caribbean sea and natural areas. After doing some initial research we figured there isn’t much to do in Santa Marta, an attractive town for tourists. It basically is a destination to explore the region, so lots of day trips around the area. Some of the popular spots to go are Minca and Tayrona National Park.

We looked through the accommodation for Santa Marta and it was a little expensive. So we looked into nearby smaller towns and found a pretty seaside village called Taganga. Turns out, it is the backpacker hub and has plenty of options. We checked AirBnB and found a nice place and great opportunity to stay with a Colombian family.

Rancho Aparte

Rancho Aparte is located at a hill in Taganga. It has great view of the beach but also of the hills around Taganga. We were able to book a room for a very good price not knowing much about the ranch at all.

Rancho Aparte, Taganga, Santa Marta

Normally, I don’t like the flight landings but in Santa Marta you land right between the sea and mountains and the sun was setting too. It was certainly a beautiful start. Ingrid, our host and her husband Jeff picked us up from the airport.

Santa Marta Airport

The journey from airport to Taganga was eventful. A police pulled over Jeff for no apparent reason. Jeff and I got off the vehicle, went through a body check, our IDs were reviewed and we were done in 5 minutes.

We stayed with Ingrid and her family for 8 days and had a great time. Her mother was gracious enough to offer us fresh juice upon our arrival and cook us a Colombian breakfast and dinner. Everything was very delicious!

Dinner at Rancho Aparte, Taganga, Santa Marta

Rancho Aparte, Taganga, Santa MartaWe relaxed at the ranch couple of afternoons enjoying the strong cool wind and swaying in our hammocks. It truly was relaxing time.

Taganga Beach

Taganga became a backpacker mecca sometime ago. Though we don’t know when it happened but it certainly amazed us. Everything in the town is catered to the tourists and some of those who stayed behind and now have businesses catering to other tourists.

Playa Taganga, Santa Marta

The beach has several restaurants, few bars, cafes and tiendas (shops) selling alcohol and eatables. Bonsai Bistro is a small cafe run by a Dutch couple and is worth checking out. The breads are baked fresh everyday! Another place to check out is Pachamama. It is a nice joint in a small alley from the beach strip.

On any day, you can find people haggling prices to take tourists other beaches along the coast by fishing boats. Playa Grande, Playa Crystal and Playa El Cabo are some of the options and the cost varies depending on distance.

Playa Taganga, Santa Marta

However, it is the freedom that the backpackers love here though the village itself has no sealed roads. You can drink on the road, on the beach and outside bars and no one will say a thing. The locals are friendly and safe.

Playa Taganga, Santa Marta

We had the chance of taking a dip in the Tanganga Beach as the sun was going down, it was raining unusually and there was a rainbow. Add in the hills around and the sight was picture perfect. Para para para dise!

Playa Taganga, Santa Marta

Playa Grande

Aside from Taganga’s main beach, there is also Playa Grande which can be reached by walking 20 mins along the hilly path or boat taxi for between 6000 to 10,000 pesos ($2-3.5 USD). We decided to walk it. It was an easy walk and the view of Tanganga from top of the hill was a sight to behold. While it has developed slightly, Tanganga is still a pretty fishing village at heart.

Taganga view from hill, Santa Marta

Playa Grande too looks beautiful from the top of the hill. In comparison to Bondi Beach or beaches in India, it is small and overly crowded but one can easily hire chairs in a beachside restaurant for 5000 pesos($2.5USD) to sit, tan and enjoy the cerveza.

Playa Grande, Taganga, Santa Marta

We enjoyed the water for a good hour in the calm waters and were able to go in quite deep in the water. As we swam, people were being thrown off banana boats around us.

Playa Grande, Taganga, Santa Marta

A funny thing happened as I got out of the water. I noticed my slippers were gone. As I looked around, I saw a young local girl coming back with them on. At first, I thought better of it but then yelled at her in my bad Spanish “Oye! Este son mis zapatos”. She immediately took them off and apologised. She probably thought she shouldn’t have walked past me. Lucky me, I managed to get my lost slippers back while Shruti couldn’t stop laughing. Fingers crossed we don’t have to deal with this again!

Santa Marta

We did a day trip to Santa Marta while here. This historic city was one of the first cities founded by the Spanish in Santa Marta. It has beaches, historical buildings and great food. The bus from Taganga took only 1400 pesos($05.USD) to get us to the historic centre and dropped us right at the Bahia beach with its port and cargo ships.

Santa Marta, Colombia

We spent the first couple of hours just waking through the streets and taking in the sights, sounds and the colours. The colors of the houses, the blue sky and the strong sun made the city look remarkable. While Bogota had it rustic beauty and Taganga its natural beauty, Santa Marta looked much more beautiful than both. There are lots of parques in the old city which looks more like plazas then parks but they were great places to sit, people watch and have a coffee in.

Santa Marta, Colombia

The Cathedral, Santa Marta, ColombiaThe Cathedral of Santa Marta shined like a white sheet against the Sun. Both from the outside and inside, it was stunning and showed the former glory of Santa Marta. An interesting thing about the Cathedral is that Simon Bolivar, the Liberator General of Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador was buried here but his remains were exhumed and moved to Caracas, Venezuela.

The Cathedral, Santa Marta, Colombia

Our next stop was the Museum of Gold in Santa Marta. We didn’t intend on visiting as we had seen the Musuem of Gold in Bogota but another museum in the area was closed and this was free. It ended up being a good decision as the museum had lots of information on the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Foundation and Trade in Santa Marta, natives of the region and Simon Bolivar. The information was well written and just the amount without boring us.

Museum de Oro, Santa Marta, Colombia

Post lunch, we decided to take a dip in the beach. At first, we went to the close by Bahia Beach but then decided against it. Rodadero Beach is the famous one in Santa Marta so we decided to head there instead. Buses to Rodadero beach are available from the main street in Santa Marta and takes around 15 minutes to get there. Once we had corssed the hill, the conductor dropped us on the main road in Rodadero, about 10 minutes walking distance from the beach.

Bahia Beach, Santa Marta, Colombia

Rodadero Beach, Santa Marta, ColombiaThe sun was almost setting as we arrived at Rodadero beach. The beach itself was packed to the brim. The best thing about popular beaches in Colombia is that they have plenty of food and drinks right at the beach itself. There were people selling arepas, alcohol, tours to the national park, sweets and DJing right on the beach itself. The atmosphere is like a party and you can easily stay all day.

Rodadero Beach, Santa Marta, Colombia


Manish enjoying burgerWhile in Santa Marta and Taganga, we tried a lot of local food from street stalls, which was mostly cheap and tasty. One of the first things I had was the local fish in Taganga. It was fresh and flavoursome. Another local food we had a few times was the arepas with cheese and sauces. It was cheap, only 1500 pesos (USD 0.50), tasty and fatty with all the cheese. I even had a massive chicken burger from a street vendor for 5000 pesos (USD 1.50). Similarly, Shruti tried the vegetarian salchipapas which was salad, cheese and french fries. It costed 5000 pesos (USD 1.50) and was a sufficient dinner meal.

Shruti enjoying street food

Moreover, we had one of the best lunches in Santa Marta. The lunch special was kidney beans, rice, plantain and a choice of yuca or chicken with a maracuya juice. It was similar to thali lunches in India and we were incredibly full. And surprisingly, the entire lunch only costed 20,000 pesos (USD 6.50).

Delicious lunch in Santa Marta

3 Days in Bogota

We arrived in Bogota after a long layover in Atlanta. Our flight from Fairbanks got delayed, thus resulting in missing our connecting flights. We ended up with only less than 3 days in Bogota but they were certainly action packed. However, Bogota was a lot of fun and different to what we had read on forums.

Museo Del Oro

Our first stop in Bogota, like most travelers, was to the Museo del Oro or the Gold museum of Bogota. You may have heard of the term ‘El Dorado’, the land of Gold. That legend was primarily based on the Andes region of Colombia.

There are more than 50,000 pieces of gold jewelery and artwork in the museum. The natives of Colombia believed that gold was a gift from the Gods and wore it to celebrate the Gods instead of accumulating riches. There are displays of gold artwork from each region of Colombia and it can take upto 2.5 hours to see the entire display.

Museum de Oro, Bogota, Colombia

The sad part of the museum is that once the Spanish arrived they either traded the natives for the Gold with Cotton or simply conquered a tribe and took all its Gold by force. In addition to the Gold, there were some excellent videos about archaeology, Colombian Life in different regions and chanting of the natives.

One beautiful thing we found is that the natives of Colombia believed in something similar to rebirth and spirit staying in this world. They put the ashes of the dead in an urn which is really round at the bottom as the round shape represents a woman’s body which is the path to come back to the world. Beautiful!

Museum de Oro, Bogota, Colombia

P.S – Museo Del Oro is the best value museum which we saw in our travels so far. It costs 3000 COP which is close to $1 USD. Bargain!

Carrera 7

Fresh Fruits, ColombiaCarrera 7 is the cultural heart of Bogota. This street is strictly for walking, no motors at all. Bogotans love to walk with their families, dogs,veat in the shops, watch the street shows and buy things on sale on the road. From the 9am to 7:30pm there are hundreds of people on this street. There are street vendors selling exotic fruits with a recording which goes something like “Mil! Mil! Mil! Mangoes a la orden!”. It means something like “A thousand pesos for mangoes. Buy it now!”.

Carrera 7, Colombia

As a non-Spanish person, it is amazing to just see life go past as people whizz past you on roller blades, bikes and skateboards. Moreover, Colombians love to walk with their dogs and you can see dogs of all sizes following their owners with no leash on. We saw some people playing chess next to a band singing about beer where people were dancing. Welcome to Latin America!

Carrera 7, Colombia

Plaza De Bolivar

Plaza De Bolivar is the historic square of Bogota named after its First President and the General who got freedom for Colombia and other countries in the region. The legislature, judiciary and the administrative arms of the Colombian Government are all around this square. Like any touristy place in the world, there are people selling postcards, photos and booklets about Bogota.

Plaza de Bolivar, Colombia

One unique thing we saw was Jukebox around on various streets and corners. Basically, it is like having a personal DJ in the middle of the a packed square.

On Sunday, the Cathedral is open and one can see the beauty of it from the inside though it looks amazing even from the outside. There are all sorts of museums within 5 minutes of this square and most of them are free on Sunday!

Plaza de Bolivar, Colombia

La Candelaria Walking Tour

We did a free walking tour of La Candelaria with Beyond Colombia. The walking tours of Bogota are usually free with tips. Daniel, our guide, told us the history of the native tribes, the Spanish looking for gold and setting up of Bogota itself. As we walked, we learnt of the contested sites of the beginning of Bogota and the people who fought to make Colombia free and modern.

La Candelaria, Bogota, Colombia

As we walked through the streets of La Candelaria, we visited a local cafe for an introduction to the local culture and drink, Chicha. It is made from fermenting rice or corn and sweetended with apple or sugarcane pulp. It was a nice introduction and we took the cups as souveneirs. Lets see if the Australian customs will let it in!

Chicha, Bogota, Colombia

We learnt more of the history of Bogota especially Chorro de Quevedo. It is most likely to be the first Spanish settled area of the city. Funny thing is that we were living within 5 minutes of it without knowing it. The 12 original houses are now bars or restaurants and the Chapel still serves the local area.

Chorro de Quevedo, Bogota, Colombia

We ended up hanging out with Daniel, our guide, for lunch after the walking tour. He helped us pick traditional Colombian dishes, Gracias Daniel! The portions were huge and we had a great chat with Jonas from Sweden and Daniel while having a huge Colombian portion. Daniel’s knowledge helped fill in the blanks of all the main buildings which we saw in La Candelaria. A great end to a great tour!

Colombian Soup with Chicken

Tip: Please refrain from walking around La Candelaria on a Sunday night. As the area empties of Colombians, homeless people and drug addicts try to prey on tourists. Though they may only ask for money, it can quickly turn into a robbery.


As you get to Bogota and look above, you can see a mountain with a big white building on top. At night, the building glows blue and is an amazing sight. The white building is the Church of Montserrate which is a pilgrimage for many Bogotans as the Church watches over the city. We walked up to the colonial house which serves as the starting point for cable car and metro that goes to the top.

Montserrate, Bogota, Colombia

Since we were there on a Sunday, the crowds were huge and we spent 45 minutes in a line to get in the cable car which was made worse by the fact that we were in the wrong line. We started queueing for the train instead of the cable car.

The trolley of the cable car is like a bus and can easily fit 40 people in it. As we boarded, I could just get a little window space for video while Shruti got a couple of shots of the city as we ascended. Unfortunately, as with all big cities there is a pollution problem in Bogota and the haze was all over the city making it harder to see most things except the oldest parts. It was picturesque nonetheless!

Montserrate, Bogota, Colombia

Montserrate, Bogota, ColombiaHowever, one has to admire the Church. The location is perfect and the Church itself is beautiful. The original was built in 17th Century but was replaced in its current form in 19th Century. As it was Sunday, we attended the mercado (market) next to the church. As backpackers, we don’t have the space to buy anything but we like to view the market nonetheless.

Montserrate, Bogota, Colombia

We saw some water bottles made out of cow’s bone and that disgusted us to the core. However, we washed that down with an expensive coca leaves tea at a little tienda (shop). The tea was sweet with no taste of the coca but we were happy to do the touristy thing anyway. As a final hurrah to the place, I accidentally broke a chair while getting up. They didn’t charge us and we all had a good laugh about it. Phew!

Coco Leaves tea, Bogota, Colombia

Botero, Banco Colonial and Casa Moneda Complex

This entire complex is only a block away from Plaza de Bolivar. As you follow the last street of Plaza de Bolivar up, you reach the complex. There are multiple musuems that are interconnected, have several doors and is a mish-mash of architectures. You can enter any of the museums mentioned and you will be able to see the entire collection. There is no charge and the museum is open all days even on Monday when the others are closed.

Botero is the richest artist in Colombia and his paintings are extremely different if not strange. All Colombians have an opinions about the paintings. However, the artist himself has a great rags to riches story in that he was an average artist who realised this fact and went back to study the circle shape. Hence, his paintings all have round people, round objects and round animals. It may be strange but it is kinda clever.


Botero, Colombian Artist

Banco Colonial, an art museum, has a large art collection from the abstract to modern to protest. As you walk through the museum, you question your inner artist and wonder what the hell was the artist of the painting thinking. Why did they get into naked bodies in the 60s Colombia? Am I high? In seriousness, the collection is huge and we definitely recommend seeing it.

Casa Moneda means the House of the Mint. Coins were minted here for Bogota and the surrounding regions for a long time. The entire history of natives mining the gold to the first mints of Bogota and the modern day reality is showcased in this complex and it is amazing.


Bogota seems to have gone through a graffiti movement. As we drove into the city late at night, we were surprised with the amount of art along the side walks. It was just so pretty and colourful.

Within the La Candelaria area as well, small alleys and side walks had drawings and messages on. We didn’t have the time otherwise would have loved to do a walking graffiti tour as well.

Graffiti, Bogota, Colombia

Local Drinks

We tried a few drinks while in Bogota with the best being Chicha. It is fermented corn alcohol mixed with apple pulp. It is made at home by the local women in La Candelaria and it tastes amazing. The alcohol content depends upon the place and it best to ask instead of being knocked out quickly.

I also tried a couple of beers, namely, Poker and Club Colombia Roja. Unfortunately, both had a mass produced average taste.


Colombia is famous for fruits and somehow we never knew that. When we got to Bogota, we realised there are all sorts of fruit. Shruti tried the mango bought from a street seller mixed with salt and lemon and it was sour but tasty.

We tried the mora fruit juice. Mora is a fruit similar to black currant and it was sweet. Shruti also had maracuya and feijoa juices which were again amazing. It just amazed us that there are these fruits here which we have never heard of and they are sooooo goood!

Exotic Fruit Juice, Colombia

Bogota Breakfast

On our last day in Bogota, we thought we will try a Rolo breakfast. People from Bogota are also known as Rolo and their breakfast consists of 2 buns, 1 of which is buttered, hot chocolate and cream cheese.

One is supposed to cut the cheese in small pieces and put it in the hot chocolate. As they cheese melts, you can sip the hot choloate or eat the cheese with you spoon. Meanwhile. you can also dip the breads in the chocolate. It is a contrast of tastes, and definitely an acquired one, but the locals love it!

Peru visa for Indians

Based on our change of plan #2, we decided to visit South America before Europe. So that means, applying visa for South American countries. Having said that, we lost lot of our time trying to renew Shruti’s passport.

We read about the visa application processes for various countries and their leniency when a non-resident applies for visa from another country. That means, as an Indian, Shruti has to apply for Peru visa from Colombia though She’s not a resident there. There are lots of people who have tried and shared their experiences. After doing initial research, we gauged that Peru is one of the toughest countries to grant visas overseas.

So we decided to get Peru visa in India before flying out. And here we share our experience, applying Peru visa for Indians. Hopefully it is helpful.


Peru embassy in New Delhi is located at D2/5, Vasant Vihar. There is no public transport close to the embassy. The closest metro stations are Hauz Khas and Chattarpur. It costs around Rs100 to get there. Once at the end of Vasant marg or on Paschimi Marg, there are signs for embassy of Peru. Its not a big building and is a bungalow next to a park.

Documents needed

The visa form and the documents needed are standard for any visa

  • Photo graphs
  • 2x Filled application form
  • Valid Indian passports for one year
  • Photocopy of front and back passport pages
  • Proof of financial capability
  • Itinerary for Peru
  • Hotel and flight reservations

However, please note that we were able to provide bus tickets from Cruz del Sur and into another South American country as proof of ‘flight’ reservations. Our plan was to travel overland and Peru embassy accepted these.

In addition, Shruti also has a USA B1 visa which helped with the application. We had called up several times to check for details and the embassy was readily available to answer questions.

Processing time

We were told that the application would be processed in 5 working days.


We received no calls in 6 days. Upon calling them, they told us that the application was neither rejected nor approved. Their ‘new’ system could not accept our arrival date being more than 90 days though we had everything else in order.


We had given all the right paper work and everything was in order. However, our arrival date in Peru which was based on the bus ticket was longer than 90 days. It was a grave mistake on our part.

What now?

As stated in the change of plans, We will fly to Colombia and then cross into Ecuador. At both places, we will apply for Peru visa in various consulates. If received then great otherwise Machu Pichu will have to wait til when Shruti gets an Australian passport.