Flying Avianca from Boston to Bogotá

In February and March, 2018, I flew round trip from Boston to Bogotá on Avianca.  These were direct flights and, as far as flights go, they were great.  I didn’t take any photos on or of the plane for you though, but here’s one of the kids play area in the El Dorado lounge in the El Dorado (Bogotá) airport:IMG_9315

I say the flights were great because (1) they were direct; (2) one of them was on time; (3) they give you hot towels; (4) they give you food.  Who even does that anymore?  The return flight was so not on time, however, it was due to a nor’easter in Boston (one of the real ones not that last fake one) and totally not the airline’s fault.  Nevertheless, Avianca provided vouchers for a night in their airport hotel (Movich), as well as three meals at the hotel.  They went ahead and canceled the flight ahead of time instead of keeping everyone waiting for hours to see whether it would leave and then canceling, which I really appreciated.  Had I not spend the night at the Movich, I would have been totally fine at the Priority Pass El Dorado lounge, as I found out the next morning when I was searching for snacks (and scored some chocolate con sabor de arequipe).  There was tons of space and it looked clean.  There were sleeping pod/chair-type things plus tons of smaller rooms with couches.  It’s pretty well reviewed over at Lounge Buddy so I won’t go into detail but will share the following photos of the hallway and a second of the kids lounge because, well, it had a volcano. IMG_9310IMG_9314

One more from the airport of a Colombian pato:

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¡Que precioso! Pienso que él querría viajar a Boston conmigo.

¿Habéis volado con Avianca? ¿Qué pensais del aeropuerto El Dorado? ¿De patos?

Have you folks flown with Avianca? Checked out the El Dorado lounge?  LMK

-caro

PNN Tayrona

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Hey, back to my trip to Colombia.

I headed over to Parque Nacional Natural (PNN) Tayrona aka Tayrona National Park.  It was pretty awesome, and has been covered well by some great blogs as you can see here:

All these blogs and many more should answer most of your questions. I was still looking for a good trail map.  The best one I found was here:

http://www.aviaturecoturismo.com/multisites/aviaturecoturismo/images/mapa-tayrona.pdf

I dutifully printed it out and brought it with me and then forgot I had it and ended up on a horse path on the way back.  Oops.  It’s not 100% correct to say that there is one trail and that you won’t get lost, but you won’t get, like, lost in the jungle lost.  It looked like most people were getting a pamphlet when they paid their admissions that had a map on it.  I didn’t get one and then I didn’t want to wait in line again to ask, but I suggest asking for that when you’re there.

DEFINITELY take the van from the entrance to the trail head. I saw most blogs suggesting this but I would say it’s a must.  Also not that it mattered but I had read we would watch a video before entering but that didn’t happen.  There was a video while we waited in a short line to pay the admission, but it’s not like you had to sit in a room and watch a movie.  I was given a wristband I was told to wear and keep the receipt with me.  The only time anyone checked this was right in the same admissions area.

BUGS/MOSQUITOS: I didn’t see any biting bugs.  Supposedly I was there in dry season (beginning of March).  The only place I saw a mosquito was back at my hotel outside of Santa Marta.  I’d nevertheless suggest covering up anyway and using bug spray and sunscreen.  I was not asked for proof of a yellow fever vaccine (March, 2018).

Is it a must-see?  Like many of life’s conundrums, I don’t think there is one right answer.  I wouldn’t call it crowded but there was no time when I was not in sight of other people.  The beaches were gorgeous, but they were kind of a project to get to.  I think it’s worth seeing but if you were short on time, had difficulty moving around, or weren’t doing anything else nearby, I think you could skip it without regrets.  On the other hand, the hike was cool and the people I did see were chill backpackers from all over.  And I saw monkeys.

 

I only did a day trip so if you were staying over you might have a totally different experience.  Agree?  Disagree?  Questions?  Does anyone have any interest in what I wore? LMK. -caro

 

Taxis in Santa Marta, Colombia

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I spent a few nights outside of Santa Marta, Colombia, in the Pozo Colorado area, between the airport and Rodadero.  There appeared to be Ubers available in Santa Marta itself but there were none to be found in the areas outside the city.  Taxis in this area don’t use meters; it’s a fixed rate between specified locations.  I always asked how much it would be before getting in the taxis (and knew how much it was supposed to be) and everyone quoted me the rate it was supposed to be (one guy told me not to worry about taxis in Santa Marta).  Below is a chart of taxi rates which seemed to be the same rates they were using in March, 2018.

 

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Source: http://seguimiento.co/colombia/ya-es-oficial-el-aumento-de-la-carrera-de-taxis-en-santa-marta-4877 (last viewed March 19, 2018)