My (Colombia) Year in Review

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flower parade
Copacabana, Antioquia
Copacabana, Antioquia

Hola amigos, es Dave otra vez.

I hope you’ve been enjoying Ryan’s adventures in Antioquia while I’ve been off exploring Ecuador and Peru.

I had another amazing 6 months in Medellin this year. If you’re new to the blog, here are the highlights.

February

After visiting Japan for the first time, I arrived back at the same Poblado apartment where I’d been living in 2010.

This year, in addition to Wilson, I’d have three  additional roommates cycle through the extra room.

I spent my first 2-3 weeks working on the relaunch of my online community, Travel Blog Success.

A scallop, just one of the many delicious moments at El Cielo
A scallop, just one of the many delicious moments at El Cielo

March

In early March, my friend Rodrigo invited me to spend a Saturday night at his family’s finca in Copacabana.

I continued exploring the nightlife in Medellin, and had my first (awesome) night out at Dulce Jesus Mio.

I also made a concerted effort to experience the city’s upscale dining scene, including a visit to El Cielo which specializes in molecular gastronomy.

By the start of 2011, Medellin was clearly on the map as a desirable location to live and work (online). As in 2010, I met a ton of other travel bloggers for the first time.

They included Marcello (Wandering Trader), Brendan (Brendan’s Adventures), Gareth (Tourist 2 Townie), Ryan (Ryan Goes Abroad), Jeff (Maverick Traveler), Jack and Jill Travel, and Colin (Expat Chronicles) among a bunch of others.

Prizma Discoteca
Prizma Discoteca

April

April was akin to March.

I was working, hanging out with new friends Marcello and Brendan, and checking out lots of new clubs in Barrio Poblado, including Luxury Discoteca, Prizma, and The End.

I got back into the swing of taking private salsa lessons again.

The colorful pueblo of Jardin
The colorful pueblo of Jardin

May

In May, I began working with Jessica, a New Yorker who’d moved to Medellin to be with her paisa boyfriend.

Jessica would go on to contribute for several months this year, covering such varied topics as underwater hockey, love motels, yoga, pole dancing, and the best places to take Spanish classes.

I visited the pueblo of Jardin for the first time, and went horseback riding to La Cueva del Esplendor.

Parque Tayrona
Parque Tayrona

June

I continued to explore new parts of Colombia in June, with a 2-week trip to the Caribbean coast.

Stops included colonial Santa Marta, the backpacker ghetto of Taganga, beautiful Parque Tayrona, and Cabo de la Vela on La Guajira Peninsula.

It was on my way back to Santa Marta from La Guajira that I came down with a nasty stomach bug or case of food poisoning.

As if being sick wasn’t bad enough, a few days after I got back to Medellin I was robbed at gunpoint while taking a taxi to renew my tourist visa.

The experience, which caught me completely off guard as it happened in broad daylight on a busy street, left me stunned and extremely anxious for the next few weeks.

Thankfully, I wasn’t hurt in the interaction, and aside from the cost and inconvenience of having to visit Bogota to apply for a new passport, I was no worse off for it.

Colombiamoda 2011
Colombiamoda 2011

July

After a hectic June, I laid low in early July, but that didn’t last long.

I took my salsa teacher, Yamile, to the annual Colombia Salsa Festival.

Then, my friend Troy Floyd (FOGG Odyssey) returned to Medellin, and together we crashed Colombiamoda, the country’s annual fashion week.

And that lead us right into the 2011 Feria de las Flores, which I was much better prepared for having experienced it the year before for the first time.

I was so busy at the time, I never did get to write up my experiences at this year’s Feria, however I had a blast and maybe I’ll still get some photos up before the next one rolls around.

In late July, I took a weekend to visit Santa Fe de Antioquia where I began putting together a city guide to Medellin.

This is an eGuide I intend to finish and publish in early 2012.

The 2011 Flower Parade
The 2011 Flower Parade

August

By the second week of August, after the flower parade had wrapped up, I was on a flight to New York for my cousin’s wedding.

A week later, I was flying to Quito, Ecuador to begin exploring the rest of South America.

Travel Plans for 2012

I’ll be celebrating New Year’s in Lima, and then heading south toward Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.

I fully intend to return to Medellin for a few months in 2012.

Until then, Ryan is going to continue contributing on a regular basis, and I hope to share the perspectives of many more.

Thanks for your continued support!

 

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Hey, Dave! I always keep track of your blog posts, I’m a Paisa living in Santiago de Chile and I’m really thankful for all the love and good writing about Medellín and Antioquia, It’s really nice you can experience the love we have for that piece of land.

    So whenever you’re coming to Chile just let me know, I’d like to share a beer, show you the city and introduce you to Santiago’s nightlife if you want (it’s not as fun as in Medellín but sure you can have fun too). I feel like I owe you at least a beer for all the writing about Medellín to the world. Take care and I hope you make it to Chile.

    Greetings!

    • Thanks Cristian, it’s been a real adventure getting to know Medellin, Antioquia, and Colombian culture over the last 3 years.

      I’d like to take you up on that offer too. I’ll be visiting Bolivia early next year, and from there I’d like to head down to Santiago by late February.

      Following me on Twitter is the best way to keep up with where I’m headed and when. http://twitter.com/rtwave

  2. Hey man i really enjoyed your stories, but i’d like to see more pictures, that’s nice and you liked my city i hope you come back soon.

    Best/Suerte!

  3. Hello Dave, thanks for this nice summary – I am still dipping into your perspectives for my forthcoming 11 weeks in medellin. As a late starting salasarin in would be interested to know what you paid for you private lessons and where you found the most convivial social dancing – I am interested in going out to dance rather than find women and I hope to spend some time in Cali and work on my estilo caleno!

    I note that you are heading for Lima in the New year, I was there a couple of New years ago and you’ll find some reference to it in my blog – having visited every year in the past 4 each year focuses somewhat on Lima although my writing style is more diary than yours you may gain some insights. Have a great time in Lima and if you’re around in March I would happily buy you a beer – or two. HNY, Alan

    • Hi Alan, thanks for reading. I was paying about 95,000 COP per month for 4 one hour private lessons at my teacher’s studio in Poblado.

      At the current exchange rate, that’s about $49, or $12 per lesson. Way cheaper than in the US, where private lessons can start at $50/hour. Of course you can find cheaper teachers, but I’d already developed a connection with mine, and felt the price was very reasonable.

      In terms of social dancing, read this post by Jessica — sounds like you’d be more interested in the Academy-oriented social dances vs the discotecas:

      http://medellinliving.com/difference-between-academy-dancing-and-club-dancing/

  4. I am planning on going to medellin this summer…and was looking for some info..

    I have traveled to many places in south america like quito and buenos aires..and they all have blogs similar to this…but man…this is pretty well organized. Props to the blogger.

    I wish you could write about cost of living…maybe?