Bogotá, Cartagena, and Cali 2014
Bogotá is the capital of Colombia and has a population of 7,000,000. Bogotá is the largest city in Colombia and one of the biggest
in South America. With its many universities and libraries, it has been called The Athens of South America. Bogotá is located on
the west of the Savannah of Bogotá and is 8660 feet above sea level with a very pleasant climate. The highest recorded
temperature is 80 degrees F. It is a relatively compact city with significant traffic issues and very friendly people with many miles
of high end condos and shopping areas.
Bolivar Square in the old city near the government buildings.
El Carmen Church right and below built
in 1927.
St. Augustin Church was built in 1637 and is one of the oldest churches in
Bogotá.
There is a splendid museum
of gold in Bogotá with
significant pre-Spanish
works of art..
Jackie eats a traditional
Bogotá soup dish with
chicken, three kinds of
potato, and half an ear of
corn.
North of Bogota, we visited the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, an underground Roman Catholic church built witihin the tunnels of a
salt mine 200 meters underground.
The historic town of Aipaquira where the salt mine is located.
Lake Guatavita, just two hours north of Bogota, is famous for the Legend of El Dorado. When the Spaniards came here and
heard of the Legend of El Dorado, they organized many expeditions to find the gold submerged in the lake and they even tried to
drain the lake but nothing was ever found.
Jackie tries the corn and then we eat at a local restaurant popular with the townspeople.
Cartagena is a city on the Caribbean Coast with a population of 900,000. The City was founded in 1533. Settlement in the region
dates back 4000 years by various indigenous people. Cartagena is the city most associated with the pirates in the Caribbean. In
1984, Cartagena's walled city and fortress were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Aerobic dancing in the evening in a square.
And lots of food cart options.
Ironically, Cartagena has been a popular cruise ship destination since 1995, even during the heyday of the cartels. The cruise
ship people arrive in hordes of groups in the early morning and are gone by noon. When the cruise ships arrived, we suddenly
found ourselves being treated much more aggressively by the locals who assumed we were with the ships.
Cali is a city of 2,300,000 people located in the beautiful Cauca Valley.  The city is approximately 3300 feet high and is the closest
city in Colombia to the Pacific.

We enjoyed walking around Cali, visiting some Haciendas, and visiting the zoo which is probably the best zoo in Latin America.
All three cities had gold museums, all worth visiting. Right, a sugar cane cart where the vendor crushes sugar cane into juice.
Some great local birds at the zoo
including this scarlet ibis.
The most interesting animal was
this white Bengal Tiger. Many of the
drug lords kept exotic wildlife which
were abandoned when they went to
jail.