Saturday, July 28, 2012

Colombia - Here We Come!

Buenos Dias mi Amigos Y mi Familia
Colombia, here we come!

After a long dry spell on the blogging front I've decided to give it a try again to document our upcoming trip to Colombia. I know it's a bit passe' now that everyone has adopted Facebook as the go-to site to share experiences but I don't use Facebook often and this venue seems a little easier to use given that I'm more than a little technically challenged.

Rosi and I have wanted to visit Colombia quite a few years ago but as everyone knows it had a REALLY bad drug and crime problem in the 80's and 90's and it just wasn't in the cards. In the last 10 years though, it's really cleaned up it's act and it's now a popular South American destination known more for it's culture and friendliness than for crime issues.

Mexico is still our favourite vacation spot but in the last few years we've settled into a comfortable routine and we now gravitate towards condo's and/or resorts and we either drive down or fly in. We also spent two months in Arizona last winter and we're going back this winter for even longer. I do a lot of teaching online and I can work from anywhere. What we don't want to happen however, is only spending our winters in AZ. There's just too much world left to explore. So with this in mind we've decided to go back to our roots, strap on our backpacks and head out with no set itinerary, no plans and an open mind.

But don't worry, it's not as scary as some of you might think. We're definitely WAY past the ultra-budget back-packer hotels and second-class buses we frequented when we first started travelling. This time we may be travelling with a back packs but we're only "backpackers" in the sense that we're travelling light and we have no set plans. We'll be staying at some very nice hotels and using high-end executive level first-class buses. Our very loose plan is to fly in to Bogota and then travel overland in a clock-wise direction and spend time in Cali, Medellin, Cartenga and then a final few days on the beach in Santa Marta. From there we'll fly back to Bogota and then back home.

But here's the good news. Rosi and I have been collecting Aeroplan points for years and we've never used them. Last year out of the blue I received a notice from Air Canada that if I didn't use them I would start loosing them based on a quarterly schedule and within a few years they'd all be gone. This scared us so we decided to blow the wad and use them all once so we're flying first class on points! It's just a Jazz commuter flight to Vancouver but from there it's First Class to Toronto and Executive First Class to Bogota, which means a private "pod" with a fold flat bed, an open bar, linens and silverware, and a down duvet if you want to take a nap. Muy Bueno! THIS is backpacking!

I'm up in Dawson Creek working and Rosi is here with me and we're here for another week. We'll get home just after the long week-end and we'll then have a week to tie up any loose ends and do our final packing and prep and then we fly out on Aug 15th. Once we're on our way I'll do my best to post every few days and for those of you interested in this type of travel I'll keep a running tab of our expenses so you have an idea of what to expect if you decide to try this yourself.