Ixent’s guide to Colombia

Colombia: A Whistlestop Tour

[Click here for a guide to teaching English at the University of Ibague.]
[I've written some travel guides to some lesser-known parts of Colombia I've been in: Mompox, Los Estoraques and Parque Los Nevados.]

I lived for 15 months in Ibagué, a small city tucked in the mountains about 300Km west of Bogotá, the country's capital. I worked as an English teacher at the University of Ibagué at the Language Centre.

View of Ibagué on the feet of the mountains of the Cordillera Central, the central mountain range in Colombia
Ibagué, the Musical City of Colombia.
The capital of the Tolima department. Being about 1300 metres above sea-level, it has a spring-like climate all year round.

Want to learn Spanish here?
The University of Ibagué does an annual summer course for foreigners.


Ibagué, a well-kept secret

You may have heard that Colombia is one of the most dangerous countries on Earth, and that it is full of drugs and violence. Whilst it certainly has its social and political problems, from what I can see most people just go about their everyday lives, going to work, shopping and picking up their children from school.

The Cathedral in Ibagué Ibagué Cathedral (left)

Plaza Bolívar, Ibagué (right)
Note the statue of Simón Bolívar, el libertador, on the left.
Plaza Bolivar, the main square in Ibagué, Colombia


High Mountains

Colombia has many breathtakingly beautiful places, and is ideal for people who enjoy mountaineering and trekking.

Nevado del Tolima seen from near Mesetas La Leona mountain lake, in Los Nevados National Park Nevado del Tolima (left)

Laguna La Leona (right)
This lake is located at 4000m in the páramo, an eco-system peculiar to the Andean region where frailejones grow. The Paramillo del Quindío can be seen in the background.

See my Parque Nacional Los Nevados page for more information.


Pre-Columbian vestiges

There were numerous indigenous groups living in the Americas prior to the arrival of the Europeans. There are fascinating vestiges which they left behind to be seen in Colombia.

San Agustín statue of owl holding a snake in its beak
The Lost City of the Tayronas
San Agustín (left)
San Augustín has a famous archaeological park with mysterious statues similar to ones found in Easter Island.

Ciudad Perdida (right)
The Lost City of the Tayrona Indians, a 5-day walk in the jungle surrounding the Santa Marta mountains. See this Miami Herald article for a recent account of a trip there.


Cartagena

Cartagena in the Caribbean, a colonial centre, formerly centre of the slave trade

Statue of the India Catalina, a famous indian warrior who resisted against the Spanish invaders, with San Felipe Fort in the background


Food

There are some excellent places to eat out in Bogotá with food from all over the world. But don't miss out on the Colombian food also, it is excellent.

Eating sushi with Johana in Bogotá


This page is still under construction.
(c) Ixent Galpin 2002 - 2008