More on Bogotá

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The New York Times posted this piece by Jada Yuan today: Beautiful, Complicated Bogota and I wanted to throw in my two cents.  I missed most of the places on Ms. Yuan’s list  – the city is huge and there is so much to see (and eat!).  Each neighborhood is a city unto itself so I think you can get a totally different vibe depending where you are.   I noticed a commenter recommended the Museo Botero (pictured above) which I thought was awesome.  It also merges into some of the other museums in Candelaria such as la Casa de moneda.  Unfortunately, I ended up there after climbing Monserrate (by foot – seen in the background of the photo) so I was super tired and didn’t get to spend as much time there as I could have (hello, altitude!).

I would also suggest using your own common sense about security.  I was super anxious about using my phone in public before going because I had read so many posts about safety, but once I was adjusted to my neighborhood (Chapinero) I realized it wouldn’t be a problem there and wished that I hadn’t been so stressed about it in the first place (of course, use your own common/spidey sense!).

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

Should I cut the laces on my Hoka One One shoes?

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Hey do you have a pair of running shoes like these Hoka One One Bondi 3 ?  I grabbed them on sale from runningwarehouse.com a year or so ago and finally got around to wearing them because my foot hurt.

Anyway what is with these drawstring laces?  They’re cool but can I swap them out?  They kind of pinch the top of my feet.  They come with regular laces.  So how do I undo the cinch laces?

The answer, if you are wondering, as I was, is you have to cut them.  Sorry.  Maybe this is a ridiculous thing to be wondering about but I couldn’t find the answer anywhere on the internet so I reached out to customer service and got the following response:

Thank you for contacting Hoka ONE ONE!

These are speed laces, unfortunately they are applied to the footwear out-of-house and are intended to stay in the footwear throughout the life of the model.

They would need to be professionally removed to ensure their continued quality. 

If we can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us!

David
Hoka ONE ONE Customer Experience Representative

Ok speed laces. Because they are more speedy to cinch, not because they make you speedier I guess.  Anyway when’s the last time you laced a shoe?  I just did it and it was super annoying.  Coincidentally, they seem to sell a lot of shoelaces on the streets of Bogotá (does anyone know what that’s about?).

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Maybe I’ll take these guys for a spin this weekend. Does anyone have any experience with these shoes?  Shall we talk about barefoot-style zero/minimal-drop shoes versus these? Or is that over and everyone’s just wearing foam shoes now?  Oh and can we also talk about foam rolling? IDK let me know.

-caro

 

 

 

Paloquemao

Do you folks want to know about the Paloquemao market in Bogotá, Colombia?  It was already covered pretty well here: http://seecolombia.travel/blog/2016/06/visit-paloquemao-market-in-bogota/.  Actually I thought that blog as a whole was great for Colombia travel.  Good thing, since that’s what it’s called.

Anyway, I went there, I thought it was ok.  Here’s a photo:

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I went on a Sunday morning, via taxi.  There was pretty much no traffic so it was easy to get there and, although I was a little concerned upon the drop-off, it was no problem getting back to Candelaria.  Man, did that taxi driver on the way back like to talk though. He really wanted to get deep into politics which I was not ready for–en español–on a Sunday morning.  Nice enough guy though.

I mean, it was definitely something to see, I don’t know if I would have spent a whole day there.  In fact, I know I would not have spent a whole day there.  Or even half a day.  But an hour, hour and-a-half was cool.  If I could have taken them home I would have bought so many flowers.

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I would not have bought a lot of these things, which tasted ok but just looked so gross on the inside: IMG_9142

I was told it’s a granadilla. Very cute on the outside though, but I neglected to take a photo. My bad.  At the time I didn’t know I had a blog to report to.

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)

More on Taxis in Bogotá, Colombia (and Uber)

I got some help with taxi-taking in Bogotá from this helpful site: How to Bogota with additional pages here and here.  However, I couldn’t get any of the suggested apps to work with my United States phone number.  

After stressing out about the transportation situation, I found some interesting news here which seemed to suggest that a new meter system was on the verge of being implemented, in which each taxi has a screen for the passengers displaying the route and rate.  

Disappointingly, I saw zero signs of this once in Bogotá.  I was still able to get around though.  

I used Uber four times.  The first time I tried to get in the front seat per the blogs I had read but the driver wasn’t expecting that and didn’t even have the front passenger door unlocked.  Edgar was very cool and got me where I was going (Chapinero to Candelaria) with friendly but not intrusive chit chat.  

Other travelers I had met mentioned the they had not had any issues with Uber except that they couldn’t get a car out of Candelaria. This turned out to be the case for me as well.  The remaining three Uber rides I took all originated in Chapinero.  Two of the drivers had me ride in the front seat and the third didn’t care. The prices for Uber seemed comparable to those for taxi rides. 

I ended up hailing taxis off the street since I couldn’t figure out the app situation.  I did see drivers using Smart Taxi but I couldn’t get that app to work.  None of the drivers had the charts visible but I don’t think any of them scammed me either.  All of them had working meters and were totally fine in my opinion. 

What are your thoughts?  Was this helpful to anyone?  Does anyone know about the supposed new system?