Bogota Market

Bogota Churches


Hacienda Venecia Coffee Plantation

Touring Colombia

November 2013

In early November 2013, Kathy and I flew to Bogota, Colombia for a tour organized by the Road Scholar tour company. Our friends Bill and Gail Sofer were also on the trip.

On the first morning we had a lecture on the history of Colombia. In the afternoon we had an overview tour of the city. We saw some of the interesting murals painted on the walls.

Mural 1 Mural 1

Just before sunset we arrived at Monserrate, the site of a historic church with a view overlooking Bogota. I had brought my tripod and was able to get this low light shot of the city just before sunset.


Kathy was able to get these two shots before it got too dark.

Hillside Restaurant

We had dinner at the Casa San Isidro.

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The following morning we had a lecture on Fernando Botero, one of Colombia's most famous artists. Then we went to a museum to view his works in his "oversize" style.

Botero 1 Botero 2

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The next morning our leader, Alvaro, took us on a walking tour of the Mercado Plaza Market, a local market selling fruits, meats, flowers, etc.

Market 1 Market 2

Here are some pictures of the flower section of the market. The first one and the last one are Kathy's pictures.

Next we continued our walking tour past the Presidential Palace and we visited several churches (see the pictures here.)

Soldiers 1 Soldiers 2

After lunch we had a tour of the Gold Museum that houses the largest collection of Pre-Columbian gold anywhere in the world. The first two pictures are mine; the second two are Kathy's

Gold Museum 1 Gold Museum 2
Gold Museum 3 Gold Museum 4

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The next day we flew to the town of Armenia and then drove through the countryside to Manizales, one of the oldest cities in the coffee region. Along the way we stopped to hike up into the hills and we admired the Wax Palms that are the national tree of Colombia.

Wax Palms Horses

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The grounds of our hotel in Manizales were quite picturesque

Hotel Grounds Hotel Grounds

Our first morning in Manizales we visited a local charity that works to support disadvantaged Colombian children.

Foundation Nutrir Foundation Nutrir

After lunch we had a walking tour of Manizales, including several interesting churches and statues. Kathy took the picture below as we were walking down the hill to the church in the distance with the white steeples. Here are some more pictures of the churches.

Church Street

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The next morning I took photos on the grounds of the hotel.

Ostrich Hotel Grounds

Then we headed out to spend the day at the Hacienda Venecia coffee plantation. Here are some pictures.

Back at the hotel I took some more pictures.

Flower Bird

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The next day we drove to Medellin, about a 6 hour drive. We stopped at a road side restaurant/hotel for lunch. Kathy took this picture of the group eating lunch after we played a local coin toss game.

Lunch on the road to Medellin

When we got to Medellin, we had a lecture on the city's past and present. It is now considered one of the safest cities in South America.

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For our first full day in Medellin, we actually left the city on a drive to the town of Guatape. There is a lake there with one of Pablo Escobar's burned out houses. We toured the lake and checked out the house.

Boat Ride Escobar House
Escobar House

We ate lunch at a local restaurant and then explored the town square and the church.

Square Church
Shops House Facade

Back in Medellin that night, I took photos from the roof of our hotel.

Medellin at Night Medellin at Night

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The next morning we toured Medellin and the modern metro, including the cable car.

Sculpture Sculpture
Mural Cable Car

After lunch at the airport, we flew to Cartagena.

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In the morning we had a walking tour of the old part of Cartagena, taking note of the colonial era (1600s) architecture.

Cartagena Cartagena

Kathy's picture below shows one of the colonial era churches and the second story balconies on the houses; her other picture shows one of the colorfully dressed ladies who were selling fruit in the streets.

Cartagena Cartagena

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On our last full day in Colombia, we had a lecture about Colombia's most notable writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Then we toured more parts of the old city.

Cartagena Cartagena

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The next morning we flew home after having breakfast with a toucan and taking pictures around the hotel.

Cartagena Cartagena

C. Brandon Jones
email: Brandon "at"
updated January 29, 2014