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The Basilica of Our Lady of Monguí and adjacent convent, which now houses a museum. On our way to the heritage town of Monguí, we found ourselves once again on an unpaved road. It turns out Waze really doesn’t know the back roads of Colombia very well. Who knew?? We headed out early from the small town of Guadalupe on a paved rural route through the rolling landscape of Boyaca, with field after field of potatoes, peas, beans, and onions (lots of onions!) against a distant Andes backdrop. Upon reaching the highway, we had a choice: keep going south, or take a shortcut recommended by Waze. Of course we took the shortcut, even though we lost the pavement pretty soon after leaving the highway. The road added two hours to our trip, but the day was far easier than our journey to Barichara more than a week earlier. And the scenery…

A couple of weeks ago, we spent a few days in one of our favorite sections of Colombia’s Caribbean coast: an area in Magdalena Department east of the port city of Santa Marta and anchored by Tayrona National Natural Park. After so much COVID confinement, we were looking for a beachy location at which to celebrate a big milestone for Susan: her early retirement. (Susan note: “Retirement” is such a strange word. I think of it as moving on to new vistas!) We had visited Tayrona almost three years ago and had really loved the area, so a trip back was just the ticket. We also wanted to explore two towns we had missed before: Palomino and Minca. (NOTE: As usual, most of our photos are in galleries. Just click on the first one to view larger versions one by one.) The lay of the land Colombia’s Caribbean coast spans over…

When does a goat roll on four wheels and an old Ford chassis? When it’s a Colombian chiva! Since publishing our April news post, we’ve gotten lots of comments and questions about the vehicle in the highlight photo: This colorful contraption is known as a chiva (Spanish for female goat), so named because of its ability to take on even the most treacherous Colombian mountain roads. In the rural towns, chivas are just about as common as arepas (the corn tortilla-like disks that are served with every meal). Chivas provide rustic but important and low-cost transportation for the people, their livestock, and just about any other goods you can imagine. They’re Colombia’s answer to “chicken buses.” We spotted the above chiva in San Carlos, a small town about two hours’ drive west of Medellín. (Just before the pandemic hit last year, we made a very cool road trip to San Rafael…

Where did April go?? With our weekend quarantines now a fact of life and Colombia’s devastating third COVID wave showing no real signs of relenting, the months are whipping by. As travel bloggers, we’ve been a bit challenged to come up with interesting things to write about as we stay grounded by the pandemic. Until we can hit the road fully vaccinated and ready to travel, we’ll keep highlighting interesting news about Colombia every month. Here’s our April Colombia news roundup. Colombia’s April COVID news isn’t good. Just yesterday, the New York Times published a story with this distressing headline: If you subscribe to the Times, here’s the full story. But in essence, it quotes Colombia government officials, among others, and states that the COVID crisis in South America has taken an ominous turn for the worst – posing a major threat to the progress that’s been made in other parts…

Here are some interesting Colombia stories that got our attention over this past month. Colombia is making some inroads in alternative energy. Colombia has just inaugurated its first geothermal power generation facility, as part of a broader plan to expand geothermal, wind, and solar resources across the country.  Here’s the story. Now YOU can own the former mansion of a guerrilla! This BBC story, “The website helping to sell homes with a bloody past,” describes Colombia’s effort to sell homes, apartments, farms and lots of land which have either been seized by the government or handed over by armed groups that have demobilized over the past years. The proceeds will go towards paying reparations to more than seven million victims from the armed conflict of past decades. COVID-19 news: Colombia receives South America’s first COVAX shipment The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), a division of WHO, announced on March 1 that Colombia…

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…

We’re still in temporary “armchair traveler” mode courtesy of Colombia’s nationwide quarantine. In lieu of new adventures, we’ve been reminiscing about some of our previous trips and remembering what we loved best about each place.  Here’s our first installment about our voyage to the Galapagos Islands in 2017. Over Christmas and New Year’s in 2016-2017, we spent an unforgettable two weeks in Cuba. President Obama was just about to leave office and had made a historic visit to Havana the previous March. And Fidel Castro had just died a month before we got there. It was an interesting time to visit Cuba: there was an overall feeling of transition and optimism in the air, travel restrictions for U.S. citizens had been eased, and there was still plenty of hope that relations between the U.S. and Cuba would continue to normalize. Of course, the opposite has happened over the past four years (here’s…

Dateline: June 8, 2020 What a week. It’s hard to believe only 10 days have passed since I woke up heartsick about the murder of George Floyd and then wrote this. In the meantime, we’ve seen mostly localized demonstrations against racial inequality and police brutality grow into a national – and now international – movement.  Even the media seems to be getting it now: Whereas initial reporting was focused on lootings and riots, now the coverage is on the peaceful protests by millions of people in capitol cities all over the world. And every day the movement grows. More and more politicians, large corporations, military leaders, police authorities, and other public figures are taking a stand with the protestors. Such as the NFL commissioner’s stunning reversal and apology to Colin Kaepernick and other U.S. football players who had previously knelt in protest over police brutality. That one’s REALLY astonishing to us…

DATELINE May 17, 2020, Medellín, Colombia. We don’t know about you, but the longer this pandemic drags on, the more we’re craving even the smallest signs of normal. At least, what we considered normal before the coronavirus hit the fan. Even little things  – like the workers getting back on the job at the construction site across the street (we don’t even mind the noise like we used to), or the reappearance of the corner empanada vendor this morning after many weeks – are enough to put a smile on our socially deprived faces. Since we’re still so very early in the trajectory of this pandemic, any ideas about a new COVID-19 normal are mostly speculation. While speculating in public can be a dangerous thing (bleach injections, anyone?), sometimes a little musing is good for the soul. And since we don’t have the bully pulpit of POTUS, hopefully our musings won’t…

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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