Where are we?

Leaving the high Andes and coffee farms into the valley

Monday Nov 4 - continued.

Well Dwayne found out today that Vanna CAN go over 60 kph here in Colombia - but only on holidays when we figure trucks are not allowed on the highways.  We haven't seen any trucks but still lots of traffic with people going home after the weekend. We are also on a divided 4 lane highway since Armenia. Nice change :)  We see lots of vehicles passing us with their road or mountain bikes on the back or on top. There must have been a lot of riders in that race yesterday. We did see a group of them at Salento and heard them say they rode 150km and up to an elevation of 9000' and back. Quite the ride! We have seen alot of road bikes once we started coming down from the mountain ridge.

Regular mountain bikes 

And road bikes 

When you look at Polarsteps you can see we've been travelling along the Central Andres mountain range. Going over the ridge and today we ended up in the valley between the Central and Western mountain ranges. Gone are the coffee farms and now its corn and sugar cane fields. We'll be driving back up into the mountains again as we get to Buga.

Looking west to the Western Andes with sugar cane fields in front

Not sure what's burning but sure is making a huge cloud

Looking back at the Central Andes 

We decide we can't make it to Buga, so have opted to spend the night at a 24hr full service Terpel gas station. The ones with Wifi, water, restaurant and showers 😀 Only 2000COP - $1C. Not even timed!  But just as we get within 7 kms the traffic comes to a stand still again. Not sure what the problem is but I can see that traffic is being diverted off the highway onto another roadway to get back onto the highway.  As we get closer we see that a garbage truck (we think) was driving over the overpass of the highway and must have been going to fast and went thru the barrier and onto the highway in front of us. Not good. We get around it within 30 mins and then shortly afterwards arrive at Tepcel.

Here's the truck laying across the lanes we are to travel on

After the detour we see where he went thru the barrier on the overpass. These guys just drive to fast! I'm surprised we don't see more accidents. 

Tuesday Nov 5

We leave our spot at the Terpel station and head to Buga to get more wifi. When we get there the roads are pretty busy and not many places to park. There is one spot near the corner that I tell Dwayne to take and I'll walk to the Cláro store a block or so away.  I end up turning one block to soon so have another block to get to the store. Once I get in there I wait in line and once it's my turn I'm told I need to go to the wicket. Ok, so I go there and show the girl behind the glass the package I had before - once you get a package and pay for it you always get a message telling you what you paid for. So it shows 2GB data, unlimited calling for 15 dias for 20,000.  She goes on her phone and can't find the package. I dont see any advertising on the wall for this particular package, but I know its available.  So she keeps looking and finally finds the package and I pay. This took much longer then I thought since I'm in an actual Cláro store, not just a cell phone sales store. Anyways I walk out and as I step out I see Dwayne turning onto the street!! He said that he was told to move because he was to close to the corner and then he thought he found another spot but was told to move again by the transit police. Luckily I was coming out of the store plus the street I first went up was a one way that Dwayne couldn't have turned on. So guess luckily we ended up at the same spot, otherwise I could have gotten a little excited once I turned the corner and didn't see the van!! He could have just been going around the block but I wouldn't have know that!!  Anyways it all ended fine - I didnt have to walk the 2 blocks back LOL!!

More fancy people movers 

A couple of guys catching a ride and taking it easy
Now we will get back on the highway and head to the campground we'll stay at for a couple of nights - it's call La Bonanza and gets rave reviews from everyone that stays there. Has everything you need for a few nights of rest! But we first have to go past it to get to the town of Silvia for Tuesday market day. This is when the indigenous people from the mountain area come into town with their goods and produce and sell it in the market place. They are known as the Misak and are easy to pick out since they all wear similar clothes, short purple cape for both man and women, black long skirts for women and blue skirts for men, plus they wear bowler hats.

One of the buses going into Silvia with the guy that loads the bus travelling on top and hanging onto a bamboo pole used to hold the tarp over the load when needed

This shows the side of the bus everyone has to get off of - there is no centre aisle and one door

Looks like the circus is coming to town LOL!!

Alot of Swiss influence here. They say the area looks like the Swiss Alps here

Oh course the Misak don't like to have their picture taken - guess not even for money - so I have to sneak shots thru the window while in Vanna

They look at us as much as we look at them :) 

These wagons are used to unload the buses and take the produce to the market, since they come in huge gunny sacks

Here is a bus leaving to go back to the mountains. The driver is even Misak

There are also jeeps that take them back up

A huge sack of different potatoes!!

This is my shot of the market but it came out blurry so I took the next 4 pics from the internet that are better 

This is a beautiful pic of a woman that is spinning thread from a ball of wool in her bag onto a spool. All the women walking around do the same thing

Clearer shot of the market
After the market we headed to La Bonanza and were greeted by Anouar and Kika owners of the Finca La Bonanza. They and along with their 3 kids bought this property 2 years ago after travelling for 3 years in South America. They are originally from Morocco. It took them a year to get the place ready for overlanders and now have quite a few people staying. No wonder, when the place is so beautiful! Plus both Kika and Anouar are lovely people ready to help you with anything and they say to treat their house as if it was our house. They also have a wealth of knowledge from their travels.  We got settled in, decided to park in the upper parking lot since the lower one looked pretty full with 6 other units. 2 couples from Belgium (1 couple bought their truck and camper from Kelowna!) 3 couples from Germany and 1couple from Switzerland.  We got to meet them all at 5 when Kika and Anouar serve Moroccan tea 😍 Wow great memories for us and served along with chocolate cake, some bread and homemade jam. Then Kika told us the story of the Misak people and how they live on their reserves and govern themselves TOTALLY. Not even the military is allowed into their reserves. Really nothing a lot different then reserves in Canada and US. I'm not sure if the Misak get any money from the Colombia government but I doubt it. They have a hospital in their town and all services are free. Unlike "white" Colombians (as they call Colombians) that have to pay approximately 100,000COP per month ($25C) for healthcare, which doesn't really cover alot of services and must be a hardship for alot of Colombians. And should the Misak need outside medical care it is also free. And here as in Canada and the US, there is constant fighting with the government for land they feel is theirs.

At the end of our get together Kika brings out a couple of bottles of wine so everyone can say Cheers and congratulations to one couple from Belgium that are celebrating their 53rd Anniversary :)  They are 71&72 years old and have been travelling for 12 years. Guess they took off one year and stayed in Belgium.  Their plan is to spend summer in Canada, winter in Mexico and in-between in the US. It always sounds like so long but we've been travelling now for 10 years 😍

After our wine we head back to Vanna to make a quick supper, watch a movie and then to bed.

Wednesday Nov 6th

Wow we had a great sleep, so quiet out here, except for the rooster who was crowing at 10pm????
I got up and walked around to take some pictures of the finca before heading to the shower and having breakfast. Not sure what the plans are for today other then relax, go visit and talk more with the other travellers and maybe go for a hike nearby. We are back at 8000ft :)  Which does make it nice and cool again :)

Their house

This building has a full kitchen and supplies for anyone to use, a bathroom/shower, and an eating room with balcony

Their garden area, hasn't been planted because she doesnt plant during the summer dry season.

The lower parking area 

The upper area where we decided to park

The meeting area for 5pm tea


  1. Looks like a beautiful place to stay and they sound like wonderful hosts. :-)


    1. Love your blog Lyd and the pictures. Be safe and have a Great time