Many told me that one of the best parts of the Booth experience is that you get to travel, get to know new places, and get to meet new people. Imagine my disappointment when during my Random Walk trip friends started asking me about the Colombia Trek. Colombia? I just left, why would I want to go back? All I wanted was to travel somewhere new! However, when I learned that Booth had a long tradition of celebrating first-year Spring Break in Colombia, I jumped on the opportunity to share my country with others by joining the trek! Here’s how we spent our week:
Day 1. Bogota – Andres.
For our first night in Colombia, Boothies flying in from Chicago joined those who had taken advantage of the calendar change and decided to take their finals from Colombia for a night out. And for that, there could be no better place to start the trek than in Bogota’s most famous restaurant/bar/disco/experience: Andres Carne de Res. This first taste of rumba and aguardiente was the perfect introduction to what was to come.
Day 2 Travel pt. 1 + Medellin
For day two, Boothies chose to either rest after the party or go on a walking tour that took them to the spectacular market at Paloquemao and the beautiful historic center of Bogota in La Candelaria. After regrouping back at the hotel, we were off to the airport and flew to Medellin, where people enjoyed a Chiva (a traditional party bus) and ended up in Parque Lleras, Medellin’s party district.
Day 3. Eternal Spring. Medellin – Step Up
Our second day in Medellin started with a walking tour in what was once the most dangerous place on earth, highlighting both Medellin’s struggle with violence and inequality and how urban renewal focused on inclusion has transformed the city. Boothies got to see the artistic and cultural expressions that took over the Comuna 13 and to take a ride on the pride and joy of the city’s inhabitants: the cable cars and Metro. The afternoon gave people a chance to immerse themselves in the culture of the region. Some went to traditional restaurants in Medellin to try out a bandeja paisa (with the obligatory post-lunch guarito as a digestive) while others enjoyed the beautiful mountain views while horseback riding or learned about coffee culture at a local coffee farm. Finally, to close off the day, we gathered for a one-of-a-kind party that highlighted the cultural and artistic expressions we had first experienced in the morning, and which included performers from the heart of the Comuna 13 who found in art an opportunity to stay away from violence.
Day 4. Guatape
After an early morning bus ride and a traffic jam while walking up 714 steps, we were finally rewarded with the impressive views from the rock of Guatape, overlooking a labyrinth of water and islands that blend into the mountains east of Medellin. Those who made it out of the rock in time then enjoyed a show by the municipal band of the rainbow-colored town of Guatape. Afterward, we had a traditional lunch in a hotel overlooking the lake, followed by a party that was cut short by the rain only to resume again after most people had left for the buses.
Day 5. La Heroica + Sunset at the bay
After traveling to Cartagena, people were greeted in the hotel lobby by a massive queue of people waiting to check in. After sorting out the mess, we went off to the harbor docks to board a catamaran and enjoy the sun setting behind the walled city.
Day 6. Barranquilla
March 24th. The match. Colombia’s national team had one last chance to qualify for the World Cup, trying to finally score one goal after a cursed run in the qualifiers. Naturally, we decided to invite 150 Boothies to share this experience in Barranquilla. After 30 minutes of collective suffering, it finally happened. After a brilliant dribble, Lucho Diaz hooked a right-foot strike past the Bolivian goalkeeper. From there on, it was a party. The passion and excitement went overboard when Colombia then scored a second, a third, and a fourth goal.
Day 7. Islas del Rosario
After another early wakeup and a boat ride, we arrived at the beautiful Islas del Rosario for a day at the beach. Boothies toasted with coconut spiked with guaro, had another party, and, most importantly, enjoyed a relaxing time in the Caribbean sun. After a bumpy boat ride back to Cartagena, we enjoyed a free afternoon and night in restaurants and bars in the walled city.
Day 8. White Party
Day 8 started with a taste of culture as people joined salsa dancing lessons or a Caribbean cooking class, followed by a walking tour of Cartagena’s historic center and the neighboring Getsemani. As this was our last day, we went back to the city for the closing White Party. With a beautiful view of the walls and the bay and the sounds of the Caribbean, we closed an amazing trip with another amazing party!
While I did not travel somewhere new, what I got was better: an opportunity to share my country with the 360 Boothies who went on the Colombia Trek; an opportunity not only to travel to one of the most beautiful places on earth but also to share the places, food, parties, history, and culture that makes it unique.