Exploring the Amazon rainforest sounds like an impossible task. It is an impenetrable, unforgiving place. Countless explorers have disappeared in its depths, snatched by disease, starvation, animals, or hostile locals. Even now, when we know so much about the Amazon, it retains a certain aura. We know that the Amazon basin produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen; we know that it holds around one fifth of the world’s freshwater; we know that about half of the world’s species of animal, plant and insect live in the Amazon. And yet, we don’t know anything for certain. It is too big, too impressive, and too important for us to think we have conquered it.
Colombia is a country of beautiful places. Away from the Caribbean beaches, the depths of the Amazon rainforest and the snow-capped mountains of the Sierra Nevada, lies the coffee triangle, an inland gem. The hills and valleys around Salento are stunning. They are a lively set of hills, where so much seems to happen. Other hills tend to be repetitive: the same trees and colours rolling impressively into the next valley. Their minimalism is aesthetically pleasing, but beyond that there is little substance. Meanwhile, the varied, busy hills of Salento compel the beholder to maintain their gaze. In Salento one becomes an active viewer, as opposed to a passive observer.
Paradise is an overused term. The slightest hint of a white, sandy beach and clear, blue water has become synonymous with the word. We picture an idyllic, tranquil spot, hidden from prying eyes and bathed in the warm rays of a setting sun. But with a plethora of these so-called ‘paradise’ beaches to choose from all over the world, it is surely reasonable to demand more from our idea of utopia?
Colombia: cocaine, coffee, danger. That's the misinformed impression. But, as millions of other travellers will attest to, there is so much more to this fabulous country. Firstly, despite the presence of all three aforementioned 'qualities', their influence on Colombian society has decreased dramatically in the last few years, as the country becomes a much safer place to live. Secondly, this gateway between Central and South America has a relatively rich history and boasts some ridiculously diverse geographical phenomena.