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We’ve been hearing about Jardín, Colombia, practically since the day we moved to Medellin. We had a picture in our minds of a fantastic old colonial square with a huge and striking cathedral and brightly painted, neat-as-a-pin colonial-era homes, all set against a stunning Andes backdrop of near-vertical mountains sporting every hue of green you can imagine. That’s exactly what we found on our recent three-night visit to Jardin, and then some. We’re in love with Jardín, and we can’t wait to go back! Jardín Factoids Jardín is one of 17 Pueblos Patrimonios, historical colonial towns that are the best examples of the country’s cultural heritage. Many publications list Jardín as the most beautiful town in the department of Antioquia. So far, we agree! The dominant feature of Parque Principal – in fact, the whole city of Jardín – is the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, a National Monument of…

One of our favorite photos from our 2023 travel: Sun-dappled Porto, Portugal Happy 2024 to All!  Ah, a fresh new year. Time to dream about the future, but also to reflect on everything that made the past year so memorable. And for us, 2023 was memorable in so many ways. It was a time of transition and brought a major course change, seasoned with some fantastic travel and expat experiences in our lovely adopted home of Colombia. We reached a milestone: Five years in Colombia In the wee small hours of Thanksgiving Day 2018, we boarded a plane from Panama City, Panama to Medellín for the next chapter in our expat adventure. And here we are, five years later – still Colombia expats, and still in love with this beautiful country and its wonderful people. A lot has happened since that Thanksgiving: We weathered a pandemic in a big South American…

The beautiful colonial town of Santa Fe de Antioquia has been on our radar for a long time. An easy and scenic drive from Medellin, Santa Fe is one of 17 Pueblos Patrimonios, towns honored by the Colombian government for their pivotal role in history, beautifully preserved architecture, and/or unique cultural heritage. And Santa Fe de Antioquia has all three, in spades. Situated on the mighty Cauca, one of Colombia’s longest rivers, Santa Fe is the oldest town in Antioquia department and was once its capital. The town was founded in 1541 as a gold-mining center and was once one of the most prosperous towns in the Spanish empire. We spent four nights in Santa Fe de Antioquia in July. Here are our highlights. As usual, some photos are in galleries – just click the first one to view each in sequence. A Deep Sense of History Stroll through town to…

The charming town of San Miguel de Allende was our last stop on our April tour of central Mexico before returning to Mexico City for a couple of days, and then home. Driving from Guanajuato, we made a stop in Dolores Hidalgo (mentioned in our previous post) and then worked our way down through wine country to San Miguel – a nice way to pass a morning. With a European history dating back to the 16th century, San Miguel de Allende is central Mexico’s oldest city and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The cobblestoned central district serves up example after example of stunning, beautifully preserved baroque and gothic Spanish architecture. A standout is the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, whose dramatic pink towers rise above the main plaza. Work on the church began in 1709, but the current spiky facade was completed in the mid-1800s. Today’s San Miguel boasts one of…

Valencia, Spain has always been one of those places that we’d been vaguely aware of, but knew next to nothing about – except for maybe its famous oranges. We had no idea, for instance, that Valencia is Spain’s third largest city and the busiest container port on the Mediterranean. And then, after our close Medellín friends relocated there last year, we began to hear about Valencia’s draw for expats. We knew we had to see this spectacular city for ourselves. So we made Valencia our first and last stop on our month-long trip along Spain’s Mediterranean coast in February.   Here are our Valencia favorites, with a few tips thrown in! (As usual, a lot of the photos are in galleries – just click through to see each.) 1. The oranges: They’re really a thing. In fact, you’ll see ornamental orange trees gracing many Valencia streets (but the fruit is only for…

We loved our short visit to San Andres, Colombia a couple of weeks ago. We’ve been on a bit of a Caribbean kick lately. With the coronavirus pandemic still limiting our ability to travel far and wide, we’ve been focusing on destinations that are fast and easy to get to. In early November, we journeyed to Aruba and Bonaire – two fantastic islands that are just off the coast of Venezuela. For our latest Caribbean adventure, we didn’t even have to leave Colombia – but we did go further afield. San Andres and its sister island, Providencia, are part of a Colombian archipelago situated at the same latitude as Nicaragua. We had been on the fence about visiting San Andres because we’d heard mixed reviews from friends. But throughout our travel careers we have always been determined to experience a place first before forming an opinion. And we’re so glad we…

Oozing with charm, Jericó, Colombia is a mountain hamlet in the southern part of our home district of Antioquia.  Another officially designated Pueblo Patrimonio (Heritage Town), Jericó had been on our list to visit for a while – and we finally got to make the trip by car in September. Jericó was our first overnight trip since the beginning of the pandemic, and it was a welcome change of scene after so many months confined to the big city. Without a doubt, this is our favorite rural Colombian town so far (but there are so many yet to see!). Jericó has many similarities to Jardín, another Pueblo Patrimonio that we visited last year (blog post here). They’re both colorful, picturesque, surrounded by the verdant hills of the northern Andes, and populated by friendly and laid-back paisas (as the people of Antioquia proudly call themselves). However, Jericó is further off the beaten…

El Carmen de Viboral is yet another charming Colombian town that’s an easy day trip from Medellín. El Carmen de Viboral’s claim to fame is its artisan ceramics workshops, with craftsmanship that’s been handed down from generation to generation. Ceramics aren’t just an important economic sector for this region – the unique, hand-painted style of the pottery work is a symbol of local pride. All over town, you’ll see exquisite mosaic work and embedded dishes on everything from lamp posts to store fronts. As usual, photos are in galleries. Just click through to see each one by one. As small Colombian towns go, El Carmen de Viboral is relatively young. The town dates back to the late 19th century (1870-1880) when locals discovered rich deposits of feldspar and quartz in the region, key ingredients in the fabrication of ceramics. The hand-painted designs are unique to El Carmen and combine indigenous and…

Today is a big day! Colombia travel (or any travel, for that matter) hasn’t been on our radar for many months now. But after almost half a year of quarantine (one of the longest-running in the world), the country is opening back up. President Duque has announced a new phase in management of the pandemic, moving away from confining large groups of people and emphasizing “individual responsibility” (yikes). Cities with stable or declining numbers, including Medellín, can start relaxing restrictions and giving citizens more freedom of movement. Colombia isn’t out of the COVID woods yet, but . . . Sadly, more than 19,000 Colombians have died from this terrible disease and we have just passed Mexico for total number of cases. But things would have been much worse if the government had not acted fast and early to keep a lid on the pandemic. Very large parts of the economy have…

As we look forward to another adventurous year, it’s fun to look back and see which of our posts resonated the most with our readers over the past 12 months. In no particular order, here’s the top-10 list of our most-viewed posts of 2019. (Note that these were most-viewed posts this year, although some of them have pre-2019 publication dates.) On behalf of the Latitude Adjustment team, we want to say THANK YOU for visiting, reading, and leaving comments. Here’s wishing you all a a healthy, prosperous, and adventure-filled 2020! Reflections on an Expat Year  With this post, we got reminded that our readers really like information about the expat experience. What’s it like to pull up roots and leave all that’s familiar. How to cover the basics: getting legal residency, securing a rental, getting healthcare. Tackling language and finding a comfort zone. https://latitudeadjustmentblog.com/2019/12/14/reflections-on-one-year-in-medellin-colombia/ Best of Madrid Boy, did we love…

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