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Where We Travelled in Colombia Last Year – A Final Review of 2012

After our 2012 Awards and the See Colombia Travel Review of 2012 we thought we’d bring you our final look back at the year that was today, in the form of a review of what adventures made up our respective year.

Paul Giles

Gilesy and Sarah rocking it in Bogotá

Somehow inexplicably, this year finds me living in Bogota. How did it happen? Was it the cowboy charm of Salento’s billiards bar? Getting lost and found in Tayrona and the Cocora valley? The lure of adopting my very own Chapinero hipster? Sure – all of these things were contributing factors; but the reason that comes in number one – with a bullet – is the magic of all the connections I’ve made with the loopiest, coolest, friendliest and (gosh darn it: I think I’ve got something in my eye!) most genuine people you could ever hope to meet.

Azzam Alkadhi

Azzam, just before running up Colpatria

So it’s been an interesting year for me, which started in London with numerous plans for the future. That was until April 4, when I arrived in Colombia and everything changed. To be honest, a year ago I couldn’t have imagined that I would be where I am now, with no desire whatsoever to head back to the UK.

April saw me travelling around the Amazon and the coffee region before arriving back in Bogota a couple of days before my flight. I was introduced to some people who lived here and promptly convinced me to do the same.

After finally deciding that, as enjoyable and interesting as it was, the life of a bum simply wasn’t financially viable, I started work as an English teacher, an all-too-common story amongst native English speakers living in Colombia. This, however, provided me with the funds to do yet more travelling and I spent time on the Caribbean coast and the stunning region of La Guajira with some members of my family.

Since then I’ve been working hard but enjoying the extraordinary lifestyle that us lucky foreigners have in Colombia. It’s certainly something that I plan to be enjoying for several years to come and I can’t wait to see what 2013 has to offer.

Sarah Duncan

Sarah in the mountains


One of the most beautiful parts of Colombia and the rest of the world. From being surrounded by mountains and wondering how we got to Switzerland via a 30 minute plane trip from Bogotá to visiting Colombia’s musical capital Ibagué or learning about the Spanish scientist José Celestino Mutis and the Ruta Mutis which follows the path he took when he visited Colombia, Tolima is a truly beautiful part of the world that I was lucky enough to visit this year.

La Mesa

La Mesa is one of the great getaways from Bogotá. Just a few hours on a bus from the capital and you find yourself in the warm and verdant area of La Mesa. Meet the locals, pitch a tent in someone’s front yard and spend a few days swinging in a hammock. You’ll be sure to forget all about the Transmilenio rush hour frenzy.


Cali has become one of those places that I keep going back to. The people, the food, the nights spent dancing Salsa until the early morning. Cali has an energy like no other. Here’s my Top 10 list of things to do while you’re in Cali.


Jumping off mountains, white-water rafting and hiking along creek beds, Tobia is a new adventure travel destination only a couple of hours from Bogotá. I was lucky enough to work in Tobia with a travel adventure company and had the time of my life!


Whoever tells you that Calima is just a lake, is lying because it is world-class destination tucked away in the hills of Colombia. A short drive from Cali, Calima lake is vacation spot and  part of a hydroelectric project which generates power for the entire department of Valle de Cauca.

Lost City

One of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had in my life but since I got an allergic reaction and thought I might not be able to make it back to civilization again from the Lost City, it was an arduous experience but absolutely worth every one of those difficult steps through mud, dirt and water.


Voted as one of the most innovative cities in the world, Medellín continues to surprise with its forward thinking plans, amazing transportation and flourishing cultural scene. This City of Eternal Spring has sparked the attention of people around the world and continues to impress with its growth and infrastructure.

Paul Fowler

Paul at Punta Gallinas

2012 saw me taking my favourite trip of all my time here: La Guajira. An incredible, otherwordly place, it is nestled in my mind as one of the highlights of all my travel experiences.

Other trips saw me visit Mompox, a beautiful little pueblo not far from Valledupar, and of course a wealth of little pueblos nearby Bogotá for the inevitable finca trips.

The real highlight, however, has been learning more and more about Colombia and the way of life here. I’ve almost completed two whole years living in Bogotá and by this time I’m starting to feel pretty much like a native. It’s a nice feeling to have two homes.

The See Colombia Travel Team

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