FOOD #1…and beverages

Normal meals in Colombia and many countries in South America consist of soup or fruit salad for the first round. Then for the second round it’s rice or fries (sometimes both) with a choice of meat and beans/lentils with salad and BBQ plantains on the side. The meal always include juice as well!

Columbia is a little expensive considering the prices in the surrounding countries. This plate was $4. The usual price for street restaurants for lunch.

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A normal meal in Colombia

I just needed to put this up to show how HUGE avocados are here and just wanted to emphasis how much I LOVE avocados!

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Huge avocados!

Now on to beverages….BEER!

Beer is pretty cheap in Columbia and really good too. Although I can’t really say I know what is good beer and bad beer…as long as it gets me drunk and does the job well 😉 Usually for a six pack it’s $5~$6USD.

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Beer section

Someone really needs to tell me what this drink…or dessert is called! It has a lot of different fruits in it such as strawberries, papaya….a lot of papaya. They’re all mixed in cream and topped with shredded cheese. What is this? It looks really sweet but actually it’s not at all and very creamy and fruity. $1 on the streets.

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Cool fruit…cream…drink?

My favourite manzana (apple) soda. Usually fast food places ask you what kind of soda you want and ask between coke or this soda! Mmmmm! They have similar variations of this in different South American countries.

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Apple Soda

My ultimate favourite drink in the whole of South America! Guanabana!! They have these drink carts everywhere in Columbia and usually sell between Guanabana and Mandarina juice. Get the guanabana one! Tastes like drinking yoghurt! Mmmmm! Usually 50 cents to $1USD.

Those green huge spiky things are guanabana and the inside is white. I have never seen this in my life until this trip! So many fruits to try in this world!

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Juice carts-guanabana and mandarina

PS. I just thought I should share what I usually eat when I’m broke and am trying to live cheap. Always the rule of thumb is to eat in! Restaurants will be always expensive. If we go to supermarkets and buy loads of vegetables and fruits for the same price of a meal at a restaurant, it can feed us for two days straight.

This is rice with stir-fried veggies and minced meat in sweet soysauce. Yum….

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Random cooked meal #1

Spaghetti! We have been making so many different kinds of spaghetti because it’s the easiest and cheapest to make. Usually the noodles sold in supermarkets are 80cents and can feed two people. Just sauté garlic and chili pepper first and add all the other ingredients soon after (onions, tomato, mushrooms, spinach) and finish it off with ready-made tomato paste. It can never go wrong.

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Random cooked meal #2

Apples we bought in the fruits/vegetables market for 40 cents.

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I love Bogota

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Juan Valdez Cafe!

So what is the most popular cafe in Columbia and in South America?

Juan Valdez! Way cheaper than Starbucks and quality is even better.

It’s a famous Colombian product and is spread across South America in replacement of all the starbucks we see around the world.

It used to be my favourite place to go to in Columbia to chill and read.

Usually coffees range from $1~$3 USD. Their cakes are really good too. For a cheap poor traveller like me it’s a sweet indulgence.

Many of the Juan Valdez cafes all sell their products such as t-shirts, bags and their premium coffee beans and powder.

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Juan Valdez Bag

One side of the wall of the cafe.

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Juan Valdez Cafe in Bogota, Colombia

The cafe itself. Yes it’s fancy. The next starbucks.

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Juan Valdez Cafe

I don’t know if Juan Valdez has stretched its legs to other parts of the world yet.

Monserrate in Bogota

There aren’t many things to do in Bogota except go to the Salt Cathedral, Botero Museum (artist famous for drawing plump people) and Monserrate.

Monserrate is the highest point in Bogota where you can look down the whole city.

It’s around 3152 meters. You can either take a cable car (teleferico) or the train which is the same price. Both are for 14,000 pesos (around 8 USD).

You can also just choose to walk which I heard was a bit more dangerous. But hey everyone needs more exercise.

I was too lazy so I decided to take the cable car.

If you live in the La Candelaria region, it’s easy to walk to the base of the mountain to take the train or the cable car.

We saw the cables on the mountains from afar from our hostel so decided to walk to it which turned out to be a red carpet walk.

We lost sight of the cables on the mountain and there was a huge group of middle school students waiting to get into a museum.

We tried asking how to get to the base of the mountain using our VERY VERY limited Spanish and the kids all just goggled at us.

They took pictures of us and with us and started saying random words like sushi and such. hahaha. I realized the effect of Korean drama when some girls came up to me and start saying some actress names. Yey! Korean drama!

That continued until the teacher came to goggle at us as well and finally decided to disperse the crowd around us.

We got no information though but we decided to keep walking.

Still walking…

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Finally!!

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Going up the teleferico!

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Still going up. Actually only takes 4 minutes 🙂

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Once you get up you see a big church. Behind the big church is a little way for vendors selling food and religious products. We decided to keep moving until we found this empty lot in the back!

Looks like a scene from a old Western movie!

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Next to the church is the 14 Stations of the Cross.

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The view from the top. Oh why oh why!!!! The weather was very cloudy the whole week. Usual for Bogota this time of the year. Damn you September!

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View of Bogota! Still good 🙂

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Going back to the teleferico to get back down.

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Coming up! Best cafe in South America? Starbucks,,,,,NOT.

Hostel in Bogota

Hostel hunting in Bogota was so much easier than what I had to go through in Medellin and Ecuador.

A taxi driver from the airport brought us to a hostel in La Candelaria (where most of the guesthouses and hostels are).

The hostel he brought us to was really run down and not good at all not to mention really expensive!

So we moved on to the next hostel which turned out to be great! A spacious room with a shared bathroom but with a huge window!

Only 42000 pesos for two people.

Hostel Argon. It has a large kitchen downstairs and coffee is always ready for breakfast.

Cooking is so much cheaper than eating outside. This is true especially in Columbia.

I ended up always using less than $20 per day if IF I cooked (including accommodation).

Usually a lot of vegetables and fruits always costs me $3 and lasts for 3 days too! Muy bien!

The view from the window!

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Another view from the window!

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New friends I made at the hostel. She works at a restaurant nearby and one day decided to cook for us

in the kitchen downstairs!

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Mmmm…Rice with meat and veggies. Best with Columbian beer! Really cheap beer too!

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Bogota! Hola!

First week in Columbia woohoo!!!

I was so tired from our 7 hour lay over in Florida and when we finally reached Bogota all I wanted to do

was to find a guesthouse and sleep non-stop for 3 days. Zzzzzzz….

I wasn’t able to take any pictures because I was so afraid something will happen to my camera after the horror stories I heard.

But rest assured I feel like it’s really safe here in Bogota. As long as you don’t roam around during the night it’s really perfectly fine.

So the story begins when we were so lost in the airport and we went to the information desk and they said they had no

tourist information desk WHAT?! I needed a map ahh

Anyways we were looking so lost at the exit and two men came up and asked where we were going

They said they were going to show us some places

I really thought it was something sketchy and the guy taking us showed us his ID

On his ID it said representative of tourismo or something but hey that id can also be fake. But we just decided to risk it

and thankfully he got us to a safer part of Bogota: La Candelaria!

It’s a really nice part of Bogota where most of the guest houses are and where there is a lot of universities!

The view from our guesthouse!

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Just walking around La Candelaria

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Bolivar Square

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Look at how HUGE these avocados are! LOVE LOVE LOVE!

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You can see mountains from all angles. Bogota is surrounded by mountains everywhere!

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On the way to Juan Valerez Cafe 😀 Really good coffee! It’s a chain…in Columbia??

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I need to find out what those are. It’s really creamy, has a lot of fruits in it and topped with cheese with strawberry syrup and one piece

of fresh strawberry. It’s actually not too sweet and good!!

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What I have realized about Bogota so far. Groceries are not that cheap. BUT if you go to nearby markets it does get a lot cheaper. Everything seems to close early around 6-7pm. Maybe even the locals think it’s sketchy at night.

It’s so much cheaper to travel on a long term basis because you’re not restrained by time. So we can book hostels for longer and actually buy groceries to cook (which reduces travel costs by a LOT). A lot of the hostels in Bogota have kitchens.

I’ll be back!