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More Posts on Colombia:
- 5 Great Colombian Films to see before travelling to Colombia
- Renting an apartment in Colombia, or staying in a hotel?
- 5 Great Hostels in Colombia - in Taganga, Santa-Marta, Salento, San Agustín, Medellín
- How to Rent a Finca in Colombia (Near Bogotá)
- Colombia Portraits #4: Vicki Kellaway, Bananaskinflipflops. About Living in Colombia and in Bogota.
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Tierra Caliente, Fincas and a Decent Puente in Colombia
Not that I’m complaining, of course. The great thing about puentes (the word for bank holidays) when you live in Bogotá is that you can head out of town on Friday night to Tierra Caliente and enjoy a finca for a few days.
Allow me to elaborate. Tierra Caliente is the region that surrounds Bogotá, known as such because it is at a lower altitude than Bogotá, and therefore much hotter (Tierra Caliente translates to Hot Land). It’s pretty incredible driving into the mountains that border Bogotá, where the views are spectacular, and heading out into the small local towns. The temperature rises noticeably within just one hour.
Popular places to go outside of Bogotá include La Mesa, La Vega, Tocaima, Villavicencio and around, Girardot, Melgar and, if you’ve got friends with money, El Peñon. These are all small villages (except El Peñon, which is a closed community) with plenty of fincas on the outskirts.
Now, what are fincas?
A finca is basically a country house. They’re extremely popular with the more affluent Colombian community, who often have at least one finca near their hometown where they’ll holiday on a Puente. This is great for you, because you’ll get invited too. Colombians love nothing more than a long weekend with their friends, copious amounts of alcohol and a couple of days and nights chilling out at poolside while listening to reggaeton, vallenato and merengue. Oh, and cooking up a tasty barbecue too.
I’ve been to several fincas on puentes, and they’re some of the best weekends I’ve had. Drinking with your friends surrounded by Colombia’s stunning landscapes is an experience everyone should have at least once.
Most villages outside of Bogotá are between 2 – 4 hours away. If you haven’t got friends with fincas then not to fear, it’s also very easy to rent them online (here for example http://www.finkeros.com). Buses will cost between $10,000 to $20,000, but always be sure to note very precisely where the finca is, because you’ll be dropped off in the town centre, and fincas are rarely closer than ten minutes from the centre.
If you ever get offered the opportunity to visit a finca (which you should do thanks to those generous, welcoming Colombians) then I implore you to take it. Bank holidays should be like this everywhere.