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Cocora Valley

Where have you been?
Colombia. Villa de Leyva, Chivor, Medellin, Coffee Region, Honda.

Have you been before?
To Colombia, yes. I lived in Cali until I was 13 then I went back there for holidays a couple of times. I then went to Bogota and Guajira in 2007 but I’d never been to the places I visited on this trip.

If so… notable differences?
I can’t say - I didn’t see much of Bogota this time and I hadn’t been to the other areas before.

How did you get there?
I flew on Avianca’s direct flight from London Heathrow to Bogota and then on to Medellin.

How long were you there?
2 weeks.

General route?
I started off in Medellin then flew to Bogota. The rest of my trip was all self-drive: I drove to Chivor, Villa de Leyva and back to Bogota. I then drove to Armenia, Pereira and Manizales in the coffee region and on to Salamina, Honda and back to Bogota again.

Which was your favourite…
Place: Salamina.
Hotel: Hacienda Venecia.
Excursion: Horse riding in La Samaria wax palm forest.

Appeals to which type of traveller?
Adventurous, curious travellers who want to discover the real Colombia – and people who like to drive!

What did you pack/take with you?

Nothing out of the ordinary – walking boots, lots of t-shirts, one or two jumpers/fleeces and swimming costume.

Any good food, drinks, restaurants or bars recommendations?
Try the delicacies offered in Salamina! Macana, steamed eggs...

Room for improvement?
Yes, they need to improve their English! And maybe a bit of a road upgrade would be good. Otherwise, I think the places should try to stay as genuine as possible.

How would you summarise your trip in a sentence?
The most exhilarating trip I have had – so far.

Any top tips?

You need to really like to drive, be experienced, in particular driving up and down mountains with sharp bends, and know how to properly use a gear box, not just rely on brakes. Negotiating certain routes requires some skill and concentration, but the rewards are amazing – you will get to see breathtaking landscapes and some incredibly beautiful little villages.

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