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Pretty villages and rural sights

Colombia day six

View Colombia 2023 on ToonSarah's travel map.

View from the Mirador Colina Iluminada

I slept well and again awoke early to enjoy the sight of the trees surrounding our ‘aviary' room. We had a good breakfast (I especially enjoyed the pancakes with whipped ricotta) and were ready (naturally) when Juan-Paolo picked us up at 8.40, this time with Paula as our driver.

They took us first to a view tower, the the Mirador Colina Iluminada, overlooking the town of Filandia, from where we had great views not only of the town but also the surrounding hills.

The Mirador Colina Iluminada

View from the tower

Finlandia from the tower, and us at its foot (taken by Juan-Paolo)


We then drove into the town where Paula dropped us off in the main square. We had a coffee in a very local cafeteria, as they are called, and then went for a walk around some of the nearby streets. Filandia gets its names from filia (Latin for daughter) and Andes. This is therefore the daughter of the Andes, and a beautiful daughter she is. The people here take pride in painting their doors, windows, balconies and other building details in the brightest of colours.

The cafeteria, and a typical street

Another street

Of course I took loads of photos here! I promise you these are just a few 😏






On the streets of Finlandia

We also popped inside the rather lovely church.


Iglesia María Inmaculada

Planting a tree in '23

Our next stop was very different, and UK friends 'of a certain age' will get the allusion in my heading here! We went to a property that is part restaurant, part farm, the Restaurante Donde Laurita Campestre. I was thrilled on arrival, to be able to see a toucan in one of its trees. Juan-Paolo identified this as a Tucan Verde, a Green Toucan, but a Google search suggests it might be a Chestnut-tipped Toucanet.

The toucan

We were to return here for lunch later but for now it was the farm we were here to see. Or rather, we were here for a somewhat odd but not unrewarding task. We were invited to plant a small palm tree, taken by our host from a nursery area and carried by Chris to the designated planting spot further up the trail. He then dropped it into a pre-dug hole and tucked it in, while a Spanish guy who was also with us on the walk did the same with his tree. Our host then said some words about linking Colombia with England and Spain.

Selfie plus group taken by Juan-Paulo

Chris planting the tree, and the indigenous tomb

The Guardian of the Forest

Following the path around this area we passed what we were told was an indigenous tomb, and a fun Guardian of the Forest.

Valle de Cocora

Then it was on to our next stop, Valle de Cocora, the valley of the palms. Here the native wax palms grow up to 60 metres and live for about 200 years. The trees were once threatened, in part because of Palm Sunday celebrations in this staunchly Catholic country. But nowadays they are protected within a national park, Los Nevados. The felling of the wax palm tree is forbidden by law and punishable with a fine. I was surprised though to find the area quite developed with lots of small restaurants along the road in the park, and several Instagram-friendly features like this one:

There are various trails and Juan-Paolo showed us on a map one that he thought would be OK for my dodgy knees and take us to a good viewpoint. Most of the path was well made, with steps in places and handrails on the steepest parts. Of course we stopped for lots of photos on the way up.

The Valle de Cocora

You can see the trail in this shot


On the way up

When we were nearly at the top, however, the path ended. I was a bit disconcerted to see that there was just a steep grassy slope for the final few metres. At first I decided to opt out of this and left Jean-Paolo and Chris to climb the last part without me.

But I couldn’t come so far and not see it through, so I soon followed them up. Jean-Paolo was right about the views from this spot.


Views from the top

Chris at the viewpoint (taken by Juan-Paolo before I arrived!)

As I’d suspected though, I found the descent much more challenging than the climb. I paid the price for the next day or two with very sore knees!

Once we were down again, which took me some time, we stopped for Canelazo, a traditional local drink made with sugarcane, passion fruit (more usually lime juice), spices and a shot of spirits, served warm. It was delicious, reminding me of cough mixture but in a good way!

In front of the building where we enjoyed our drink

We then returned to the farm/restaurant for lunch where Juan-Paolo recommended a dish of meat, cheese, tomato and onion served on a large toasted sheet of plantain. It was listed as an appetiser but proved to be huge, far more than we wanted to eat at lunchtime. We should have shared just one.

Restaurante Donde Laurita Campestre

Our final stop of the day was Salento, another very colourful town where again I took loads of photos despite really feeling my knees by this point!

A street in Salento






In Salento

Outside and inside the Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Carmen


Then we returned to the hotel, getting back around 4.30. It had been a long and tiring (for me) outing but a very good one.

In the evening we again ate in the hotel’s excellent restaurant (on reflection I decided we probably ate the best food of our trip here). We shared some tacos to start with, then I had one of the day’s specials, an excellent salmon dish. But we skipped dessert, having had a bigger lunch than usual.

Posted by ToonSarah 08:57 Archived in Colombia Tagged landscapes trees streets tower restaurant colour views doors windows colombia street_photography

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The brightly coloured buildings are stunning and the views from your walk were probably worth the pain of getting to them.

by irenevt

Definitely worth it Irene, but the colourful towns were the real highlight of the day for me!

by ToonSarah

All's well that ends well!... The doors and the windows look amazing indeed...Thanks for your story, Sarah!

by Vic_IV

Thank you Victor, always good to hear from you :)

by ToonSarah

I like the sound (and look) of Finlandia ;)

by hennaonthetrek

It's gorgeous Henna, one of my favourite of the villages we saw. But there are several more just as lovely to come, I promise you!

by ToonSarah

My gosh, sad to hear that the knees were not all that, but what a day! You can certainly say that you made it! Well done indeed!!!

by Ils1976

Thanks Ils, I did indeed make it - just!

by ToonSarah

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