From the Desierto de Tatacoa (rattlesnake desert) and the humid valley of the Rio Magdalena, we cross a 3,500 meter high pass into the famous coffee growing region around Salento. For 80 km on a paved street we need 4 hours. The main road between Bogota and Cali leads over the pass and eventually I stop overtaking the extremely slow uphill crawling trucks …. it is just not worth the effort. The hope that downhill the heavy traffic is going faster is quickly vanishing also: On top of the pass, the traffic comes to a standstill, because the road is repaired due to mud slides and the traffic is redirected single lane. In Salento, the quite touristy place in the main coffee-growing region of Colombia, we arrive just before dark and find a nice overnight space in the Overlander meeting point “Hostal La Serrena” for the next few days.
We visit different, beautifully situated coffee plantations and are always amazed how different the information received on the same topics can be. Then – with our Quad Shujoo – we take a long day trip on a wild, very lonely, track through a neighboring valley to Toche, where we see many, up to 60 meters high wax palms (the highest palm species in the world and the “national tree” of Colombia). The tour is quite long and leads first over a 3,500 m altitude pass, so we feel pretty cold, but the view afterwards and the nature always compensates. The next day we make a nice, but also extremely muddy hike in the neighboring Valle de Cocora. It is rainy season and the soils are very soft, also there are many horses that carry tourists up the valley and further agitate the previously softened soil. Karin is very angry about the tortured nature and suffers with the poor animals.
Salento – as well as the neighboring village of Filandia – impresses with its colorful colonial buildings in paisa style. We have not seen such pretty villages on our trip to South America, and everything looks so clean and beautiful, just as freshly painted and wiped.
After 4 nights in the Salento region we move on to Bogota. But this time we drive down the central Cordilleras via another pass and then back up towards the eastern Cordillera to Bogota. The curves will not stop, but at least we do not have heavy traffic this time. Due to a long weekend there is a truck driving ban and we are stopped several times by the police or military and have to explain why Shujaa is not a truck but a motorhome and that therefore we are not affected by the driving ban.
By the way: We have made some new videos live, the “rest” from Argentina & Chile, Bolivia and our Rally Dakar adventure. Have fun!