Colombia’s big city dwellers from Bogota, Medellin and Cali love to get away from their noisy urban landscapes whenever possible. Weekends, holidays, and school breaks are all cause for them to head to nearby pueblos usually no more than an hour or two away by car or bus. Vacation homes or apartments in these pueblos are called fincas, and if you’re lucky enough to be invited to stay in one — go!

In August, Troy and I accepted such an invitation to Guatape, a popular weekend destination for Medellin residents.

Carrying the basics in a daypack, we paid no more than $10 for a one-way bus ticket. We left on Friday afternoon, the trip being about 2 hours. My seatmate was a real estate broker in Medellin who offered me a 10% finder’s fee for anyone I could refer to her. She said she made the trip to Guatape every weekend. I tracked our progress in real time using GPS and Google Maps on my BlackBerry.

As we neared Guatape, the landscape turned into rolling hills, with small lakes surrounding them. Geographically, I hadn’t seen anything like it before.

The bus dropped us off in Guatape’s central plaza, which was bustling with the usual mix of people, motorbikes, cars and buses. Unlike the big cities, there were also tuk tuks. I immediately had flashbacks to Southeast Asia and India, though my first ride in one was actually in another Latin American country, Guatemala.

Guatape's tuk tuks await their next passengers in the main plaza.

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  • David Lee

    In late 2007, I quit my job and left the comfortable life in the USA for the open road with nothing but a 20-pound backpack, a …

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