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Early retirement travels - week 8 Colombia

A Toucan seen during our Jungle Joe tour

I believe the journey to financial independence is best when it's a balanced one – focus too much on saving money and you may miss out on things along the way, but spend every penny or cent and you'll never reach your financial independence goal. Somewhere in the middle is a good balance.

Longer periods of travel also need a balance. Our treks of last week were physically tough, so we’re striking that balance by taking it easier this week.

Beach was the plan for Monday, but the weather had other ideas and we spent the day sheltering from the rain reading and catching up on some life admin. Tuesday was a moto-taxi (Rebecca's getting used to this new mode of transport - her Mum would have a heart attack!) followed by a relatively short couple of bus rides to Minca, a small village in the foothills of the mountains.

I like the bus journeys. They’re an insight into the everyday lives of the local population, watching people on the bus, along the roadside and in the towns and villages as we drive by. Seeing different versions of normal life is fascinating. I remember when we visited India last year, my favourite parts weren’t the icons such as the Taj Mahal or the Amber Fort but rather the activities, colours, sounds and smells that we experienced driving through the towns and villages where people are living normal life.

Minca is a small village that somehow became a destination for travelers. It has a nice relaxed vibe and also benefits from being a little cooler because of its higher altitude. For a small village there are plenty of hostels, restaurants and mini-supermarkets to meet your needs.

We were happy to simply pass the time chilling in Minca although we did sign up for a one day tour with Jungle Joe. They lead us on an easy hike through the town and the woodland landscape, a dip in the river, a visit to a small chocolate and coffee farm, lunch, an informative and entertaining talk from a naturalist, a tour of a bamboo house and a lesson on how to make “real” natural hot chocolate. Our guides were excellent, knowledgeable, fun and entertaining, well worth interrupting our relaxation for. The taste of the freshly ground raw cocoa mixed with raw sugar was made for me, although it's not the mostly elegant thing to eat!

Catching the plane from Cartagena to Medellin

After a few days in Minca we jumped on the first of two busses for a seven hour trip back to Cartagena where our flight to Medellin would depart at the end of the week. We’d missed Cartagena Castle during our first pass through the city and, second time around, we managed to miss it again because Rebecca was sick. It seems that going to the castle just wasn’t meant to be.

We ended the week on a plane. Next stop is Medellin, and then Salento and Guatape. I’m looking forward to the cooler weather away from the coast - hot and humid is a struggle for me. My hoodie may even get some use.

Turnaround point for my Minca trail run

Three runs made this week’s exercise score into almost respectable 6 out of 10, although it's a little below what I'd like to achieve. I took to the trails in Minca and ran to some waterfalls which was good fun, before missing my turn and feeling a bit lost on the way back. Fortunately, being small, it's pretty difficult to get properly lost in Minca. For healthy eating, I did well with some salads but there was also pizza, quesadilla and piadina that didn’t feel so healthy. Still, not so bad so I reckon 7 out of 10 sounds about right.

Daily diary and costs

I'm including a list of what we did during our week and the approximate costs - I find my blog is a little like keeping a journal and sometimes read back about what I did or what I was thinking six months or a year ago. I always thought that keeping a diary sounded a bit dull, but it turns out it can be kind of fun.

Week 8 - what we've done:

Monday – Playa de Costeña. It rained on and off all day, so a reading and life admin day

Tuesday – Playa de Costeña to Minca. Wandered around Minca and relaxed in the hostel

Wednesday – Minca. Jungle Joe’s explore Minca tour

Thursday – Minca. Morning trail run to waterfalls. Life admin and blog post

Friday – Bus from Minca to Cartagena. Again, travel took all day!

Saturday – Cartagena. Rebecca was sick🤮. Morning run. Blog post. Coffee shop. Netflix

Sunday – Flight from Cartagena to Medellin. Grocery shopping. Afternoon run. Netflx

Week 8 - we spent a total of £176 / €197 / $231 for 1 person on:

Accommodation £61 / €68 / $80

Meals/Coffee/Snacks £64 / €71 / $82

Transport £23 / €26 / $31

Toiletries/Medicine £4 / €5 / $6

Laundry £3 / €3 / $4

Tours/Attractions £19 / €21 / $25 Jungle Joe Minca tour

Other £2 / €3 / $3


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