Category Archives: Adventure Travel

NO MORE UPDATES- Go to Ecuador not Colombia

Hello, after a long journey of trying to help others come to Colombia, the time has come to CLOSE THIS WEB SITE.

My goal was never about making money from this site OR any of the dozen or more books I now give for FREE, all for information only, not to make money, never was about money.

Books are still available on these links:

Colombia Expat Guide 

Colombia Food Guide & Five Days Trips out of Medellin 

Here it is in black n white:   I have never sold Real Estate or Rented apartments for anyone coming to Colombia, I have MADE ZERO $$ no money ever off any person coming to Colombia, I do not give tours nor do I receive any referral fee from anyone. I do have a few people whom I pass along your request to, but these services are not by me or any company I own.  Too much of many of the reader of this site say otherwise, my personal friends here in Colombia whom know me, know this statement is true.

I decided to close any future referrals to anyone for anyone, your coming here, good luck your on your own.

TRY GOING TO ECUADOR !!   Much better cities, cheaper, way too many expats all ready there to share your stories with, better and easier methods of getting low cost health care too.  If your reading this do some research on Ecuador, you may find this a country better than Colombia.

If you still decide upon Colombia, I am easy to find, glad to share a cup of coffee share world travel stories and photography & video tips.

My best to all  Rusty

internet transformed expat life living at coffee cafe’s

Black coffee & computer now the norm at most all Expat Coffee Cafe’s

Editors note:   This past week I wanted to meet a friend at a coffee cafe in Poblado, only to find my two favorite “internet cafe” FULL !!   Now in the last year they have expanded to double the size added more tables took over the shop next door too, all the way when we arrived EVERY TABLE FULL.

The place was full of EXPATS on a computer mixed with the normal Nomad travelers with their notebook computers, iPads and cell phones all typing away.  No place sit and enjoy a cup of joe.

A few years ago this would not be the case, as taking a smaller notebook for work to a coffee cafe was unheard of, let alone now the norm.

My task over the next few weeks was to talk with these travelers and expats, to find out 99% of them were working, WORKING!  Travelers still connected to the office, no one knew they were traveling, and then the others whom this is the new life style.  Working a few hours from remote locations around the globe.

We welcome all internet entrepreneur’s whom share my favorite table street side at a coffee cafe, now move over, that is my table !!  

CLOSE UP YOUR COMPUTER & TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE AND TALK WITH PEOPLE, YEA PEOPLE, FRIENDS MEET SOMEONE NEW, REAL LIVE PEOPLE ARE ALL AROUND YOU, CLOSE THAT DAM COMPUTER.

my best to all Rusty

Tools required:  Small notebook computer, smartphone, VOP service, headphones, ear buds, virtual assistant, freight forwarder mail service, social media.   My toys are Apple MacBook Pro, iPhone, iPad, SKYPE, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger phone, MagicJack, Sony headphones, Plantronic mic headphones, HP ear buds, Philippines for VA, Caribbean Freight Forwarders [Amazon delivery service to my door], of course keeping in touch via Facebook, instragram, YouTuber personal video messages,  sorry I’m not a twitter fan plus several personal family blogs I keep posting to, also. 

Below is a news article on this subject:

In less than a generation, the Internet has transformed expat life: Is it a danger or a vehicle for international integration

By Cliodna O’Flynn

I am wondering if trying to control the amount of time I spend on the Internet in direct or indirect contact with home, with EU, has become necessary. I am worried that as it gets easier to connect with back home I am both mentally and physically spending less time where I live. Is the internet a danger to integration?

chl internet changeI am no newbie expat, nor am I here to escape the financial crisis or anything else. In fact, my life abroad has coincided with the growth of the internet, social networking, and cheaper and easier connections of all sorts. When I moved out here, initially for a year, it was for personal reasons; some real, some imagined. I stayed, probably for the wrong reasons at the time. Back then, in 1999, the world of computers was only coming into its own as a user-friendly sphere, and the number of people who owned a portal at home for fun was small. Computers at home were pretty much work related.

When I moved here at the age of 37, I still wrote and received letters, and loved them (still have them). Of course I also made phone calls, although this was still at the tail end of the era when calls to a foreign country were considered a luxury and a once-a-week kind of event. So home was abroad, away, far away. I spent fifteen minutes a week talking to parents and sisters and sometimes to friends. I wrote letters.

But most of my time was spent building a life here, learning Spanish, and getting to know people, supermarkets, places, customs, and habits. In other words: integrating, fitting in. I moved here alone, so I was happy to have to go out and make friends. At the first few jobs I landed I insisted that people spoke to me in Spanish, and gradually I learnt the language. Connections of all sorts, not just Internet ones, were slow. When a very close family member was dying I had to endure 4 a.m. connections to make it to the hospital; direct flights only became a reality eight years ago.

I was a journalist before I left home, and very soon the call of the profession was too strong. Within five months I was working full time for a local English paper, but here too we were antediluvian in our internet connections – there were two computers that could go online, and the use was monitored. It would take years before we were all able to log on first thing in the morning. But it meant that I was reading (and gradually understanding) two or three local Spanish papers a day, and interviewing local politicians became a bit easier. However, modernity caught up with us bit by bit.

Just a few years ago there were only a handful of people in our village with online connections – the hotels and the upwardly mobile bright young things – but almost overnight, that changed. Fast forward, and now if you’re not online, hooked up, tweeting out the messages and posting photographs on Facebook faster than you can say “where can I buy a stamp”, you’re not living. In fact, my daughter’s primary school recently organised a trip to the local post office as an excursion, and the kids were taught to post a letter. What a novelty and something very few of them see their parents doing these days.

So, how has the Internet changed my life as an expat? Hugely, and not completely for the best I think, though I am no Luddite. As a result of a recent birthday I am now the owner of an iPad, I am online at home, own a Smartphone, can make cheap calls to anywhere in the world, and am instantly contactable, which is a drag a lot of the time.

The advantages are numerous, I admit. I have watched a cousin get married courtesy of the webcam, and was able to watch, with great sadness, the funeral of another contact live online. I follow politics from home with huge interest and contribute to Facebook chats on Irish issues, despite the fact I haven’t lived in Ireland for years and do not have a vote. I have rediscovered old friends, people who I had cared for but hadn’t written to in years. With the magic of social networking I now know more about them than ever. And interestingly enough some are, I feel, closer to me as friends today than when I left home 14 years ago. Maybe in the intervening years, before we rediscovered each other, we all grew up a little, stopped trying to impress each other, and are truer representations of who we really are – at least online anyway!

Nowadays I listen to Morning Ireland on RTE (Irish national radio) as I am getting breakfast, check the Irish Times online the minute I get to the office, and listen to the News at One on my headphones in work. Keeping in touch is great, but there is a cost involved. The time I once spent watching Spanish news, finding out more about what was going in on my adopted country, is now given over to catching up on the minutiae of life in a place I may never live in again. In many ways, I have become more of an expat than before in recent years. I spend more time talking about and thinking about Ireland because I know more about what is going on, and that of course maintains the notion that some day soon I might go back.

I hope it’s a phase and that I will be able to find a balance. I love both living in a different country and Ireland, and if I am to be truly content with my life here I think I need to wake up a little, sign off, and go out and smell the local flowers. The Internet should be a communications tool rather than an escape mechanism. Real life is outside the front door, not through the square window!

Medellin in 36 hours New York Times video post

The New York Times recently had posted a Travel Video on Medellin which is worth the three minutes to watch.  Interesting places and things to see and do while on holiday or extended longer visits, here are some ideas of what to do.   One of these links below should work !!

 

32788_1_36hours-medellin_wg_480p.mp4

 

Brewing the Perfect Cup of Coffee

Coffee Coffee Coffee, can we ever get enough of this wake-up must have everyday drug habit?  YES, this is a drug, a legal one at that too.  Even if it comes from Colombia noted for the Drug Capital of the World, this is their other export product.

Brewing your perfect “cup of joe” as many refer to this brownish liquid take a bit of the science involved.  Taking you back to high school chem lab, is not my mission today, but rather give a few hints to the perfect cup of coffee you can make at home.

Select your jar of Coffee beans, fresh grind to a medium fine grind, 2 tablespoons of ground beans per 8oz cup

Fresh bottle water, minus the chemicals in the tap water, helps too

Water heated to a boil, then wait off boil count to twenty, = 190f or about 90c

pour over grounds, wet first, then continue.  See many Google Post on how to use a pour over

This will equal the perfect cup of coffee, no matter what country your in.

Now if your in Medellin, head over to Pergamino Cafe in Poblado for a cup of Perfect Coffee, my favourite place to sit and watch the world go by, outside patio cafe.

Check out a few images of pour over coffee making PLUS see the BBC news post on making the Perfect Cup of Coffee, of which this reporter decided to visit Medellin for himself, to test the coffee…

I have a few YouTuber Videos on brewing via a Mr. Coffee Jr, making it into a pour over, link click here in a week.

 

Link to BBC News post on making Colombian Perfect Cup of Coffee 

 

Link to Serious Eats Science of pour over

 

 

Colombia Food & Travel Guide Medellin FREE DOWNLOAD

Colombia Travel in your plans, coming to Medellin Valley, here is a handy Colombia Travel Medellin Guide for FREE.

Colombia Medellin Food & Travel Guide is free…

My book on Colombia Great Eats called “Colombia Street Food Guide” has five day trips out of Medellin Valley not to miss.  The bonus chapters have self guided direction, maps and photos of places outside the normal tourist spots you should visit while in Medellin.

Medellin city itself has plenty to see too, this guide is for getting you out of the city for a day & Enjoy the Great foods of Colombia too ! 

Absolutely FREE,  chick here to be directed to a download page. 

 

Retire Medellin Colombia Adventure day trip Travels


Hello this is Russell, today in this video I wish to tell you about all the places you can go starting from Medellin as your “base camp”.   Adventure Travel to other close countries and day trip out of the Valley Medellin to close cities you should visit.  A few hobbies you may wish to consider too, all possible as your new life begins here, today from what I call my Base Camp the Valley of Eternal Spring Medellin Colombia.

Take a peek at this video, the entire list of links mentioned in this YouTuber are listing at the bottom, scroll down.

ADVENTURE TRIPS WITH LNKS BELOW Know a travel spot you have found, send me a photo and note glad to add your adventure to the list.

These are in no special order. My personal list when someone ask “what to do”, we start down the list to decide.

Cartagena old city and Spanish Fort
Bogota Salt Mines Zipaquira and Nemocon
Santa Fe and the oldest suspension bridge in South America worth a visit
Coffee Tour day trip out of Medellin and a longer coffee tour to Armenia
Rio Claro Caves and river fun
Bike riding, road bikes and mountain biking the old rail road trails and tunnels, Friday nite city meet-up tour easy ride
Hang Gliders Para Gliders
Churches, photography, stain glass art windows from Europe, pipe organs
the ROCK
Churches way too many to count
San Andres Island seven shades of blue waters
San Blas Islands over 400 of them just off the coast of Colombia
Turtles La Cuevita Beach
Bird Watching Just out of Medellin is the Warbler Reserve in the coffee plantations, Yellow one name? Red head one too
Sierra Nevada lost city
Death Road Mountain Bike Trek
Chile Milky Way Stars photography tour Atacama Desert
Chile Wine Region
Argentina Wine Region
Patagonia
Peru Train Trip to Machu Picchu & overnight at base cheap hotel
Costa Rica Surf Camp and the best rain forrest ZIP line tours anywhere.
Horse back riding around Medellin countryside
Jardin city more caves, waterfalls, gondola, horses, quad trek
Bolivar coffee day trip
Cuba Havana has daily flight from Medellin, visit for a day n back
Aruba Island flight from Medellin
Flower grower tour “how they get from seed to your supermarket”
Coffee tour what I call “earth to cup” complete coffee plantation tour two days
Wild Bee Honey trek “how to get gather your own honey”
Jeep back country trek
Quad back country trek
Sailing private charter Cartagena to San Blas fly back from Panama
Santa Marta beach park
Amazon Rain Forest & Amazon River origin
Caribbean coast
Mud Baths Volcano hot mud Cartagena and Arboletts
La Miel Beach & Capurgana beach travel ‘white sandy beaches” Sapzurro waterfall
Bahia Solano-El Valle Deep Sea Fishing some of the finest in the world plus Humpback whales with their young
Necocil first city the Spanish landed 1509
Gold Mine Town Marmato 80km north of Manizales
Suroeste Antioqueno waterfall Magaio en Conocordia Church Caramanta inside view

see my book for all most 100 things to do in city Medellin in the book section, photos, maps and details

Basic Salsa Steps to learn

The best way to meet people here in Colombia, is you need to LEARN SALSA.  Really not hard to learn the “basic” Cali Colombian Salsa steps.  Build on your dance from there.  Several dance studios are in Medellin to help, below are a few YouTube videos to get you stated.  Many of the Salsa Clubs give free lessons prior to opening for a hour at 7:00pm too, come learn to dance, meet girls have a great time for your second life to begin !!  Really, it all starts with a few simple steps.

 

This next video below is one I found easy to learn from, you will see all the basic steps, now go out to a Salsa Club there are plenty of cute girls just waiting to dance with you “age” is not an item, trust me all the girls will dance with you, give you a chance to meet a lot of great Colombian people too !!

Retire Colombia Medellin how to catch a Taxi

Hello everyone today let me show you how easy it is to get a TAXI in Medellin or any city in Colombia all have the same methods.  The Taxi in Medellin is “metered” meaning you pay the actual amount shown on the meter.  A few cities in Colombia there are taxi service however they do not have a meter system in place for a few smaller cities, in that case ask about the fare prior to getting into the taxi !!

Medellin is no problem, stick your arm out flag one down, jump in, the meter should be re-set to 2600 peso, if not ask the driver to re-set prior to your start.  The minimum meter amount to pay is 4400 peso, a very short trip this is what to expect to pay if less than this amount on the meter.  Taxi to the airport is fixed flat rate set  by the government, now at $57,000 peso and includes the toll booth fee, the taxi driver will pay this.

Enjoy the video, for the most part in Medellin or any city in Colombia the taxi drivers are courtesy, friendly group of guys and gals too.

Summit of the Americans Correa, Obama engage in heated exchange of words

Although the weekend’s Summit of the Americas in Panama City was highlighted by a handshake between Cuba’s Raul Castro and the U.S. President Barack Obama, there were also emotional exchanges between several Latin American leaders and Obama.

Latin America Leaders exchange emotional words with Obama

One of the most intense came on Saturday when Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa told Obama that Latin America will no longer accept U.S. intervention in its affairs.

“Our people will never again accept the interference and intervention of the United States. Our memory is still torn by the abuse and violence of the past,” Correa said. “Panama is a good example of this with the December 1989 U.S. invasion, which caused the deaths of thousands of innocent people, so that the U.S. could arrest the bloody dictator that it installed into power,” he said.

Correa continued, personally addressing Obama: “Your government is still trying to intervene in our affairs as evidenced by your executive order that declared Venezuela a threat to your national security. It is also evidenced by officials from your office asking the U.S. Congress for money to defend freedom of expression in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua,” he said. “We totally reject this act of arrogance,” he added.

Apparently caught off guard, Obama at first said he was not prepared to respond, but then said the U.S. had not always respected Latin American rights in past. “We admit this but we must move on and not be trapped in old ideology,” Obama said. “At least I’m not trapped in it.”

Obama suggested that the U.S. is a convenient scapegoat for problems not of its own making. “This kind of thinking will not bring progress. It will not educate our children or feed those who don’t have enough to eat,” he said.

Obama added that he was “open to the history lessons” he was receiving at the summit. “My country does not presume to be perfect but we can learn from your experience as well as our own and we can work together for a better future,” he said.

credits for news from April 2015

http://cuencahighlife.com/correa-obama-engage-in-heated-exchange-at-summit-of-the-americas/

Ecuador President Promises Venezuela Support Against U.S.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said that the government of Venezuela can count on Ecuador’s help to facilitate a solution and to reduce the current tension between the United States and Venezuela.

“If we can serve as mediators to resolve by peaceful means, through dialogue, Venezuela knows it can count on us. We will be where we need,” Correa said Friday during a television interview. The Venezuelan government has asked Ecuador to lead a group of facilitators to initiate dialogue with the US, as decided at a meeting of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) on Tuesday in Caracas.

Ecuador has accepted the Caracas approach, but also stressed its position that Washington’s executive order, which declares the internal situation in Venezuela as an “extraordinary threat” to U.S. safety, is an interference in Venezuelan politics.

Correa was asked during the interview whether Ecuador should suggest possible concessions to the parties during the mediation process, if a mediation does materialize. Ecuador’s president asked in return: “What concession has Venezuela to make to the U.S.? The United States is practicing a blatant interference that violates American law, against international law that prohibits a country to interfere in each other’s internal problems. The problems of Venezuela are for Venezuelans to solve,” and after ensuring that, there must be “zero tolerance for such interference.”

Correa went on further to say that an Executive Order from Washington, “was always the prelude to invasions. Latin America has a very sad story about it,” he recalled. “Who could believe such nonsense? [contained in the Executive Order]” Rather, it’s that Executive Order that proves Washington is “a serious threat” against the Venezuelan government.

However, Correa forecasted a “very difficult military intervention” since “boots and bombings are a thing of the past” but that now it is “more effective to destabilize a country and maybe that is what the U.S. is looking to accomplish in this situation with the Venezuelan government.” The “isolation, these sanctions, economic, media manipulation, etc.,” are part of these subtle ways to destabilize governments,” he added. The Ecuadorian president said that Venezuela has “endured intense political, economic and media harassment for several years” and emphasized that the Executive Order issued by the U.S. Government has only added to that situation.

However, Correa stressed that the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) had passed a resolution in its meeting last week asking the U.S. to repeal the Executive Order against Venezuela. “Just the fact that UNASUR has formed a unanimous decision, means that something has changed irreversibly in Latin America,” a region which “will no longer accept impositions from anyone,” said Correa.

Originally published in el Mercurio as “Correa dice que Venezuela puede contar con Ecuador en tensión actual con EEUU”  on March 20, 2015;
translated and reprinted here with express permission.

Retire in the Andes Mountains

Here is another opition to anyone thinking about retirement in Colombia, is to look at Ecuador too.  Many things are very similar to life in Colombia, cost of living, quality of life, health care and of course plenty of farmers markets too.

The ABC News team did a great video on telling about the life in Cuenca Ecuador, without another moment, check out this video too.  I think Colombia is the best place on earth you only need to make up your own mind to see which country is best for you.

direct link click here

 

Americans Find More Affordable Paradise for Retirement

May 15, 2013

Nestled in the Andes Mountains is a kind of paradise that has lured thousands of Americans away from home.Cuenca, Ecuador, may be a place many people have never heard of. But it’s become a city teaming with retirees from all over the United States, drawn there by quality health care, a booming social scene and a low cost of living that makes their nest eggs suddenly seem golden.Jan and Paul Cottage moved to Cuenca from Houston, Texas about a year ago. But it was not a future they were counting on when they began discussing retirement several years ago.”I think we are the least likely people to end up in Ecuador,” Jan Cottage said. “We owned a time share in New Mexico. That’s where I thought we would always retire.”But when Jan Cottage, 61, lost her job and the company Paul Cottage, 67, owned was downsized, they realized they were looking at an early retirement with less money than they had planned on. So he got on the computer and started researching.”So when he comes home and says, ‘What do you think about Ecuador?’ I just burst into tears,” Jan Cottage said, smiling now at the memory. “You could see him go, ‘Oh, this is not good.’ And so he kind of went away and didn’t mention it again for several months.”She said she could have looked for a new job, but knew at her age the chance of finding something at her same salary was slim.”It’s real hard when you’re in your mid-50s to find another job. You’re competing with very well-qualified people that may be 30, 35 years old,” she said.Despite her initial hesitation, the couple kept researching the possibility of retiring overseas, knowing that if they stayed in the United States, even moving to a less expensive city, they would be strapped by high health care costs, property taxes and other fixed costs like utilities and gas.”We all know people who have retired and they spend a great majority of their time watching television,” Jan Cottage said. “We wanted to make sure that wasn’t us.”They went to Costa Rica on vacation but decided it wasn’t a place they wanted to live. They also visited Panama and Mexico.Then they flew to Ecuador and found it had just what they were looking for: a moderate climate where temperatures didn’t typically climb out of the 70s, an active art and music scene, and plenty of places to hike and exercise.They went back for a second trip, this one for five weeks, where they tested what it would be like to live in Cuenca. They took Spanish lessons and learned to navigate the cobblestone streets. Then they moved there for good.The Cottages, who don’t have any children, said they don’t miss much about their life in the U.S. aside from their friends. Their property taxes were slashed from about $10,000 per year in Houston to just $72 per year in Cuenca.Jan Cottage’s health insurance dropped from $640 per month in COBRA payments in the U.S. to just $100 a month for private insurance in Ecuador.Even a year later, they marveled as they moved around their kitchen pointing out fruits, vegetables and a loaf of bread they bought for just a dollar, even less in some cases.There have been some hiccups. While Cuenca offers most of the amenities they were used too — such as widespread Internet service and DirectTV — there is a more relaxed vibe that took some getting used to.”I don’t think I would do people thinking about this justice without saying that this isn’t probably for everyone,” Jan Cottage said. “You have to be flexible here. If someone says they’re going to do something like show up to hang a chandelier tomorrow, tomorrow may be Wednesday of next week. So you have to be patient with all that.”The Cottages are just two of what some have coined “recession refugees” — Americans who left the country in search of a more affordable, yet still rewarding life.It’s a crunch many Americans have felt. The Social Security Administration sends monthly benefits to more than 346,000 Americans living overseas, an increase of nearly 47 percent from 10 years ago.In Cuenca, the Americans first came in a slow trickle. Then, in the last couple of years, a deluge of retirees began settling there. The mayor of Cuenca estimated 4,000 Americans were now living in his city of about half a million.”There has been a growth and, of course, it is complicated for us because, evidently, it makes it less accessible [for] Ecuadorians,” Cuenca Mayor Paul Granda told ABC News in an interview conducted in Spanish.Granda said prices in Cuenca have soared by as much as 40 or 50 percent, in some cases. He pointed not just to the Americans for the prices rising, but also the large number of Ecuadorians that had moved to the United States decades ago and were now bringing their families back.”The basic services are very cheap and of quality. Obviously we are also obligated to keep being more efficient,” Granda said. “But I think that the goal is how to make politics active so that that immigration fits in with our society and would be a contribution to our society.”The locals have been welcoming to the Americans. In Cuenca, the word “gringo” is a term of endearment, with many establishments even hosting “Gringo Nights” once a week.International Living magazine has named Ecuador a top retirement destination for five years in a row.Some of the Americans who are now living in Cuenca worry that the city will become too popular with expats.Edd and Cynthia Staton moved to Cuenca from Las Vegas about three years ago. They had always talked about retiring overseas, but their search began focusing on the more affordable South American countries after the recession forced both of them into early retirement.”We had an idea of the kind of retirement life we wanted,” said Cynthia Staton, 59. “And Cuenca seemed to check all those boxes.””We had the choices of accepting a lousy retirement, which wasn’t a choice, continuing to keep on keeping on like we’d always done before,” said Edd Staton, 64. “But there was no guarantee that was actually going to work. And if it didn’t work we would have given up perhaps the best 10 years of our life we had left.””Plan C,” he said, “was think of something else.””This is our something else,” she said. “And we couldn’t be happier. This was a great decision for us. “Their news raised some eyebrows among their family members, including their two children. But they pointed out that if they had chosen to stay in the U.S., they would have kept working to pay the bills. So they would be on a tight budget and get very little vacation time to visit their family, which is scattered across the country.Now they can visit the States for two to three weeks at a time. Living in Cuenca, Edd Staton pointed out, has meant that they’ve been able to see their children and, now, grandchildren more than they ever did living in Las Vegas.And they Skype daily.”With technology what it is, I think that you can move abroad and still feel connected to your family, whereas years ago that wasn’t possible,” Cynthia Staton said.Neither couple has any plans to move back to the U.S. Instead, they are just enjoying what they call the best years of their lives.”We certainly wanted to have this fling before we possibly physically can’t do that,” Jan Cottage said.It’s what Ecuadorians call “la tercera edad” — the third and, quite possibly, best chapter of their lives.