The hunt for El Dorado | Budget Adventure Travel

Jan 05, 2012

Acknowledgement: My sincere gratitude to the Seccion Consular Embajada de Colombia en Ottawa for profiling this blog post on their bulletin

Legend has it that two adventurers departed from Quito in 1541 to search for the elusive City of El Dorado (Golden City). Inspired by this story, we decided to set sail on a voyage of adventure to find this elusive place where riches abound, many an adventures be told, and only the bold and vainglorious have the right to seek the treasures of this forbidden place. LONG LIVE THE MIGHTY!

Well, we just managed to get past the gates of our hostel! Then Quito rush hour traffic happened, which meant a panic dash to catch our mighty sailing ship (aka Avianca Air) to our next destination – Bogota, Columbia.

El Dorado International Airport, Bogota

This is one of the most busiest and largest airports I have ever been at. Now I was lost and trying to figure out where to obtain a tour of the City. Incidentally, a young lady stopped by and in American English asked me if I needed help. She spoke to a couple of tour operators and arranged for a personal tour with a cab firm. She was just genuinely nice. This was my first surprise.

Our guide

Senor Carlos Arturo was our guide. If you are visiting and need a reliable cabbie contact him at 3133316891 at Astaxdorado. You have be fluent in Spanish though as he does not speak English.

We started out at La Candelaria. According to Wikipedia “it is historic neighborhood in downtown Bogotá, Colombia. It is the equivalent to the Old City in other cities.The architecture of the old houses, churches and buildings has Spanish Colonial and Baroque styles. It houses several universities, libraries and museums.

Our first stop was at the Museo de Oro (Museum of Gold), supposedly the largest collection of gold artifacts on public display. A MUST STOP!

Local Artisan Market beside the Gold Museum

Inside the Artisan Market

Artisan Store

Streets of Bogota

Palace of Justice in Bolivar Square

We were at awe seeing these majestic buildings. Reminds one of those Roman Empire era architecture.

Liévano building, seat for the Mayor of Bogotá

Primate Cathedral of Bogotá

Love these Pillars

Simon Bolivar Monument (The Pigeon didnt come with the original)

Local Policia (Police) dressed up taking photos with tourists. Just how cool is that!!! Another surprise for us.

Next we browsed through narrow streets of Old Town Bogota and managed to capture some delightful artwork and architecture.

Wall Art

More Wall Art

Museo de Monedero (Museum of Money)

It was very short trip in Bogota. We had plans to stay for a longer time but due to some travel document issues, we were delayed in our arrival. Nevertheless it was an amazing trip especially to gain a fresh perspective on a South American country.

At the airport, we had a bit of confusion on payment with our guide. There was a bystander who saw that we were struggling with our limited Spanish and came by to assist. She was a local but fluent in English and managed to reconcile our dispute. Another surprise for us.

In the end we realized that we had found our El Dorado from the moment we had landed in Bogota. It is not a place or a thing. It was the energy of the people. From the lady who initially helped us at the airport, the fun Police force, the friendly guide, and again the lady at the airport who came and helped us out, there was  sense of warmth and hospitality. In Bogota, all that Glitters IS Gold. By this I mean the friendliness of the people.

They want to shed the staid Hollywoodized perception of Colombia. At the airport I was asked by a stunningly beautiful Colombian lady about what I felt about Bogota. A Miss Universe type actually asking about my feelings!! Haha. You get the sense that they care.

A new campaign by Colombia Tourism sums it up right.

Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay

Of course my risk was running out of my limited cash reserves by the end of my journey, so I had to leave. But I have to return as there is more questions left to seek than those answered. So I ask you, what would you give to feel once again like that adventurers who went in search for El Dorado? Did they care for finding the gold itself? Or was it the search for something that intrigued them? What will intrigue you!

And finally it was off to Miami on our first class flight with LAN Air.

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2 thoughts on “The hunt for El Dorado | Budget Adventure Travel

  1. I’m Colombian!!!!! and yes! its a gorg country indeed! people are warm, friendly, they care about you and yes! women are stunning!! Im so glad yo loved it! Hope you go back soon! the gold museum its amazing!! I have some jewelry pieces (I have shown on my blog search pre-colombian) and I just love how they resemble the real thing! btw: is Colombia not Columbia LOL (diff on the category 🙂 You have amazing pics here! I will def share this!!
    xo,
    Dee

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