After spending weeks being convinced that we needed to own a farm in the coffee region of Colombia, we had to change it up, and Jenine agreed to seek out some kitesurfing with me. We had heard from a few people that Lago Calima in Colombia is an excellent spot for kiteboarding and is one of those rare places in the world that has wind nearly every single day of the year. Sounded like we couldn’t lose, if wind is what we wanted.
The lake is about 1.5 hours outside of the city of Cali (recall the Cali Cartel?) toward the south of Colombia. It is a hot spot for Cali residents with money, and most of the lake is surrounded by ‘compound’ like high security structures
We showed up at the lake not knowing where to stay, but when driving along the lake we saw two huge BEST KITEBOARDING flags outside of a warehouse building, and we stopped. This happened to be Pescado Kitesurfing one of the best kitesurfing operations in South America.
We met the owner ‘Pescado’, a former windsurfing pro whoes career was unfortunately ended by an auto accident, he warmly welcomed us and told us we could camp in his huge garage / gear warehouse.
This turned out to be a perfect set up. The had nice bathrooms, showers, a great kitchen and an incredible lakefront view. I was beyond thrilled.
They claim the wind blows everyday and for the 5 days we stayed here, it didn’t disappoint. Everyday the wind started howling around noon, but it was glassy and pleasant in the morning for paddle boarding or fishing. It was a gorgeous set up, very similar to the Gorge in Oregon, with wind that was about as wild. I scored plenty of time on the water, and was thoroughly sore by the end of the week. It was also fun watching all the local rippers, since they are able to practice year round, they were some of the best freestyle riders I have seen.
After 5 days, Jenine was able to pull me away from the this paradise, and we headed into Cali on a Saturday to catch the Festival Del Pacifico which is a massive free concert celebrating the African music of the Pacific coast of Colombia. We had just come from the Pacific coast so it was cool to see artists from tiny towns we actually were familiar with. The crowd was fun and fired up. Everyone was drinking this sweet liquor straight from the bottle, kind of like Kahlua (it was the only liquor being sold), and it felt like all of Cali was here. Cali is the rhythm capital of Colombia and the home of Salsa dancing in Colombia. The energy here certainly did not disappoint, although every ‘song’ from every band was pretty much the same.
The day after the festival, we tried to explore Cali in the morning, but as we’ve come to discover in South America, nothing opens before noon on the weekends. You can’t even get a cup of coffee. I guess this was our cue to leave.
We headed out from Cali on the long drive to the little mountain town of San Agustin where we had booked a week of Spanish lessons and camping at another Colombian finca.
We stayed at Finca El Cielo and it was an incredible property. Wild horses, cows, puppies, and more roamed the grounds which were full of coffee plants, fruit trees, sugar cane and wonderful flowers. This all this continues to reaffirm for us that we want to own property with a large garden one day.
The town of San Agustin is also home to some of the most important archaeological ruins in Colombia, and we had fun pretending to be interested at the nearby archaeological parks.
But the bulk of our time, 20 hours per day, was spent with our awesome spanish teachers Jovanny and his uncle Hildebrando. We’ve been practicing Spanish for over a year now, and this was our 8th intensive week of Spanish on the road. We are going to be fluent by the end of the year, but it is still going to take a lot of work. We both felt our Spanish grew tremendously over the week, and we plan on continuing to hire instructors as we head south this year. On the last day of our time together, Hildebrando invited us for lunch at his incredible finca. The fresh trout lunch his wife made was the best meal we had in Colombia, and the views from his property were stunning. It was a very special day with our local hosts and new friends. We are grateful for the time we got to spend with them.
Suddenly, we realized we really should to get to Ecuador, or we’d stay the rest of the year in Colombia and miss summer in Patagonia. The thoughts of the Galapagos, the Amazon jungle and the great surfing that awaits in Ecuador, motivated for us to push through a long 3 day drive to get to the border. The drive wasn’t all bad though, it led us through some more incredible scenery, including a stop some of the most dangerous/highest(?) waterfalls we have seen so far on our trip (El Fin Del Mundo Waterfalls) and even a stop at one of the most impressive Churches we’ve seen, Santuario Las Lajas right on the border of Colombia and Ecuador. Thank you so much for the sweet memories Colombia!!
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