Guacharos and Gringos on the Rio Claro

Guacharos and Gringos on the Rio Claro

In exploring the new freedom of having our own transportation we took the motos to the national reserve of Rio Claro 3 hours east of Medellin. It wasn’t many years ago that this land was untouchable to tourists due to the perpetual guerrilla violence in the area. Now it boasts one of Colombia’s proudest nature reserves openly accessible and beautifully set in a lush jungle river basin canyon, not to mention fully ready to take all of your money. The impending nickel and dimming should have been obvious as we sat sweating from the jungle heat at the reception desk to the park hotel being promised that although the room I was about to book was open aired without a fan or mosquito net it was quite cool at night, and lacked any and all mosquitos and bugs. The price for this fairy tale was more than triple my budget typically allowed for a private room. 

As we sat at dinner the first night amidst the humidity and various jungle sounds we were approached twice by workers from the resort offering us the various caving, zip lining, hiking, rafting packages. They all seemed a bit concerned that we were not interested. Which I guess in retrospect was probably a fair assessment as I don’t think a ton of tourists come here, plus we came during the week. So I imagine those that typically show up on a weekday only have a couple days of vacation and don’t want to waste any time, we however wanted nothing more than to waste time.  Read more

The Moto Way

I think ever since the little scooter in New Orleans I’ve had a fascination with taking some cross-country pan american road trip on a motorcycle.

(circa 2006)

Unfortunately, like many intrepid fascinations  in life this one was diluted by the sheer logistics of the task. That was until I took my first South American night bus. Stopping once in 12 hours for some cheap fried snacks in between being sleeplessly whipped around mountain roads by a driver that must clearly be on potent stimulants was enough for me. So when we were hanging out in a hostel in Medellin the idea was once again brought up to purchase motorcycles and say to hell with all trains, taxis, and dreaded night buses for the duration of travels. Read more


Colombia has treasures to rival the Seven Wonders of the World.  Yep, unbeknownst to the rest of the globe, Colombia is home to two kinds of volcanoes: lava ones and mud ones…. Or at least that’s what our tour guide told us on our trip to one of the “mud volcanoes.”  Other backpackers had told us about this weird volcano thing outside of Cartagena (you basically play around in a mud bath–of course it had gained the attention of young travelers) so we squeezed it into our last day in the city. Read more