My travels through South America.

Area Rocks and Lakes

January 26, 2008
Day 850

I decided to get out of the city for the day and took a trip to the hills surrounding Medellin. After a short uphill bus ride, I was out of the city and in another world. My first stop was El Peñól, a massive 200-meter high… Read More »

Medellín After Escobar

January 24-25, 2008
Days 848-849

Medellin used to be the most problematic city in Colombia. Pablo Escobar's drug cartel was more powerful than the government and was constantly at war with the other cartels, paramilitaries, and the legitimate military. Bombings and shootouts often happened in the middle of Medellin, and its inhabitants were generally… Read More »

Marquez's Imagery

January 21-23, 2008
Days 845-847

When I left Santa Marta, I took a bus along the coast to Cartagena, a big city with the same sweltering climate. Many backpackers had raved to me about the city's old fortress, so I checked it out on my first day. As soon as I… Read More »

That Old Football Injury

January 19-20, 2008
Days 843-844

I decided to stick around Santa Marta to watch the Packers game, and what a waste that turned out to be. Not only did they lose, but I sustained an injury to my hand when I was cheering and it came into contact with a spinning metal ceiling fan.… Read More »

A Park Called Tayrona

January 16-18, 2008
Days 840-842

After finishing my scuba diving coursework, I needed a few days to relax. I went with Samantha, a girl from Bogotá who was on vacation visiting her brother in Santa Marta, to Tayrona National Park. It was only an hour from Santa Marta, but only had… Read More »

Diving Lessons

January 9-15, 2008
Days 833-839

I started my PADI open water diving course with Gretel, an Australian who had been traveling for the last seven years, doing various jobs around the world. Teaching English in Japan and Ecuador, doing office work in Canada and England, and being a dive instructor in… Read More »

Crowded but Fun

January 5-8, 2008
Days 829-832

Santa Marta was full. It was high season, so Colombians and foreigners alike were vacationing in the sun. I couldn't find any hotels with vacancies, so I slept in the hallway of a hostel for the first two nights. There wasn't a lot of touristy stuff to see in… Read More »

Socialism At Its Finest

January 4, 2008
Day 828

There were no buses going to the border with Colombia, so I shared a taxi with a Venezuelan family on vacation. The taxi was a 1974 Chevy Malibu beast that immediately put the song "Stick Shifts and Safety Belts" into my head. The driver and the dad got to… Read More »

Almost Out

January 2-3, 2008
Days 826-827

Now that New Year's Day had come and gone, it was finally time to start heading out of Venezuela. While waiting in line to board the ferry to the mainland, several kids were swimming near us and begging for people to throw coins to them. Occasionally someone would oblige… Read More »

Drowning My Sorrows with Twenty-Cent Beer

December 29, 2007-January 1, 2008
Days 822-825

I took the hotel owner's advice and took a boat before dusk to Isla Margarita. The trip was a little rough, and a girl puked onto the floor before she could access a plastic bag, and it immediately ran directly under my backpack. Otherwise, the trip went… Read More »