life on pine ✧

hiking the valle de cocora: salento, colombia

Kate ParrishComment

this place is like nothing i've ever seen

for a quick adventure after relaxing at hacienda bambusa, we found ourselves on a bus to salento, a tiny town that is part of the los nevados national park. it is the principal location of the national tree,  the quindío wax palm –– and when we saw photos of the palm forest i knew it was not to be missed. the town itself is pretty tiny and filled with small hostels/restaurants to support the heavy tourism that rolls through for adventure like the valle de cocora hike. we stayed at the coffee tree boutique hostel and had our own little private room that was pretty perfect for us. it was walking distance to the town square and had a cozy communal feel to it. 

interested in doing this hike? here are a few things to know:

  1. catch a shared jeep (or a "willy" as they call them) to the valle de cocora from the main square in salento.
  2. the cost is 4,000 COP ($1.50 USD) / person. the jeeps leave six times per day: 6:10am, 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am, 2:00pm and 4:00pm. they then return to salento an hour later.
  3. bring a lunch! the hike takes most of the day 
  4. we stopped and ate our sandwiches at the acaime hummingbird sanctuary where they also serve coffee/hot chocolate * stopping here adds about an hour to the hike, but it's fun to see if you have time
  5. bring a rain jacket –– the weather changes quickly when you get to higher elevations 
  6. do the counterclockwise loop, it is a great work out and ends at the palm forest which is the perfect reward. your hostel/hotel can give you more details on the different ways to do the trail (or you can check out this blog –– they have a lot of great information about the trail)

S C E N E S  F R O M  S A L E N T O 


Y O U  M I G H T  A L S O  L I K E:

day trip from cartagena: isla baru photo journal

Kate ParrishComment
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cartagena is really hot in the summer

and walking the streets was really fun, but also really difficult to do for the entire day because we would get exhausted by the sun. we kept hearing that there were islands nearby that many people take day trips to (and saw TONS of men trying to sell us a boat ride) and we finally decided that it might actually be really fun and refreshing. 

we ended up pricing out a few of the offered tours before we realized they all actually work together and it really didn't matter. we boarded a cute little boat and rode for about an hour before arriving to isla baru –– here, we got off and spent the entire day lounging/swimming/drinking coconuts. you can also take separate snorkeling trips/etc. –– but we were more interested in relaxing and catching up on our books. 

the beach bars were adorable, the water was refreshing, and there was plenty of shade to hide under when it got too hot. if you're heading to cartagena for a few days, i'd definitely recommend this day-trip! we were back in the city by 4pm, just in time for sunset happy hour. some favorite photos below...


O T H E R  P O S T S  Y O U  M I G H T  L I K E:

northern colombia: 4 nights in cartagena

Kate ParrishComment
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a quick flight from medellin and we were in this colorful little city

people told us cartagena would be way more touristy than other cities in colombia which is definitely true, but i loved it all the same. the cobblestoned streets, seaside restaurants and incredibly kind locals made for a romantic and welcomed escape (albeit a HOT escape -- it is frickin hot and humid in colombia in june). 

this walled city is famous for its colonial architecture, street art, colorful buildings, castles, culture, and rich history (dating back to 1533) being colombia's largest port city (as it still is today). cartagena has played a major part in the country's history,  not only protecting them from a number of invasions, but also in battling pirates who desired the city’s treasure and riches.


if you're visiting cartagena, here are a few things we loved:

  1. our airbnb in getsemani (bunch of cute hotels near here too) –– we loved staying in this neighborhood because of it's proximity to the center park and nightly hangout
  2. burgers in the square (from the food carts ... also loved the "patacon con todo")
  3. cocktails on the rooftop at alquimico 
  4. a night at the cafe havana club (touristy, but honesly a must do)
  5. bazurto social club (arrive around 11pm or it will be dead!)
  6. popsicles from la paletteria
  7. breakfast bites from la esquina del pan de bono
  8. some of the city's best ceviche at la laguna azul (literally in a strip mall, but trust us)
  9. gathering at cafe del mar with tourists and locals for sunset at the wall (i'd recommend BYOBing)
  10. grab lunch at la mulata, delicious food and great vibes. many people recommended la cevicheria, which is definitely *good*, but we found it a little over priced and too touristy. 

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a long weekend in medellin, colombia

Kate ParrishComment


hello! when we returned to the US this summer, i made the decision to take a break from blogging and just live in the moment for a bit. now somehow we're all the way after christmas and i find myself missing this little creative outlet of mine –so, i'm back and will start with finishing up about our time spent in colombia ;)

with eternal springtime weather (almost reminded me of SF) and a more "town"ish feel than bogota, are a few reasons why so many gringo expats end up gravitating to this cool city. it's also known as one of the most organized and "developed" of the colombian cities, getting a lot of attention because of their green-living initiatives. it's a friendly, vibrant and scenically unique city to spend a couple nights in. i'd also look into taking classes (we almost did a few weeks here but ran out of time) ... if you end up making the trip, here are some of our favorites:



  • criminal taqueria tasty tacos and beer with only street seating. loved this place
  • clandestino awesome cocktails in a small cozy space, next door to criminal taqueria 
  • lo exquisito del mar authentic neighborhood seafood spot
  • bigote's head here less for the food, but more to hang with the locals - students and transplants in the streets with drum beats and the best of vibes
  • pergamino for hipster high end coffee shop experience - pretty cool though
  • OCI.mde go here for dinner
  • burdo another fun spot for festive drinks and good food in poblado
  • bar atlenal og bar, far south but for soccer games and history looks so rad - 
  • restaurante herbario for one of the best high end dining experiences (at a fraction of the cost)



Y O U  M I G H T  A L S O  L I K E

cali, colombia

Kate ParrishComment

cali isn't known as a big colombian tourist destination

it can be very hot and parts can be dangerous. as a whole though with some research, recommendations from a friend/local, and a great airbnb, we found it to be one of our favorite and most authentic cities that we visited. we were staying in the colonial neighborhood san antonio, which is generally safe and a beautiful place to spend time. in the middle of this part of a town is a huge park that becomes lively with great vibes as the locals and tourists alike gather to have a picnic, play live music and enjoy the cool night air [the temp always dropped at least 25 degrees every night]. 

some of the places we loved:

  • watching & dancing salsa in what is known now to be salsa's global must be experienced. best seen at night, we loved la pergola which is on a rooftop and has great drinks. we also wanted to dance at zaperoco or tintindeo which look more casual but fun too.
  • pao for breakfast or lunch;  part bakery, part pizza spot, salads, great iced coffee and cookies, pretty much everything they did was good and it is a great place hang from the heat. we went many times!
  • park at colina de san antonio come here around sunset to see 18th century church and crowd that gathers to hang for the night
  • cafe macondo for dessert, coffee, cocktails and often live music
  • empanadas obelisco random location and not the greatest setting, but these empanadas were on a different level and highly worth seeking out 
  • la colina – A MUST! maybe our favorite local bar of the entire trip. grocery store turned cultural icon, where the locals hang out, over some hot some empanadas and ice cold beers.
  • gallery alameda the city's 'farmer's market' which is a fun place to wander and grab snacks or fresh fruit and produce. 
  • museo la tertulia a cool museum featuring collections of modern art, an auditorium, an outdoor theater & a nice outdoor garden area