Tag Archives: nature

Friday Fotos: A swimming hole in Antioquia

Because I am nothing if not a dreamer, I recently submitted a photo essay to World Nomads‘ travel photography scholarship contest. While I definitely didn’t expect to win (and win I did not), I learned a bit about photography and was inspired by the amazing entries from around the world. It’s worth taking a look at the winning entry and those that were short-listed (congratulations, all!). I’m reproducing my five-photo essay, below, along with a few bonus shots, all taken with my iPhone SE. Follow me on Insta at @courtenaystrickland for more. Enjoy!

Man on HorseSometimes it seems horses and motos frequent the Autopista Medellín-Bogotá nearly as often as the trucks for which it’s intended. As the two-lane passes through Antioquia, the Colombian state dominated by Medellín, it yields views of waterfalls and easy access to charcos, or natural swimming holes.

fullsizeoutput_588bPast the Santuario toll (always much further past than the locals say), not far from Cocorná, lies the Hotel-Restaurante El Descanso. In the US, it would be only a truck stop – oil leaches slowly from the undercarriage of parked semi nearby – but here the adjacent charco makes it something more.

Children PlayingOn weekends, locals gather to drink and chat by the quebrada’s banks and take dips in the icy cold waters. In the shallows, children splash and squeal; young men teach the newbies to skip stones. A very old man, unable to walk, lies on a grassy spot, wrapped in blankets and attended to by his wife.

Ready to LeapYoung people congregate around the deep end and on the balcony of the tiendita above. A cracked pool slide remains installed in the concrete embankment. On the makeshift diving platform, a girl readies herself to leap as a tanker truck roars by. She backs away as those below yell encouragement.

Away She GoesAfter several minutes of indecision, the girl is airborne. She doesn’t dive head first to meet her reflection, as some of the adult males have done, but she’s the youngest to make the attempt today. Those watching break into smiles as she surfaces.

BONUS PHOTOS – Photo contest entries were limited to five photos each. The photos below were not included.

fullsizeoutput_587cLearning to skip stones.

fullsizeoutput_5885The diving platform.

fullsizeoutput_5889And he’s off!

fullsizeoutput_588dMan meets himself.

fullsizeoutput_587f

Advertisements

(Friday Fotos) Minca: A Tiny Treasure in the Sierra Nevada

Minca – a tiny town perched in the highest coastal range in the world, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta – is one of my favorite places to visit on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast. Minca has an artsy, communal spirit and a culture grounded strongly in the area’s indigenous roots. Minca is also a bird watchers’ paradise. True birders (think The Big Year) can take multi-day tours to scout out rare varieties; the rest of us can see some fairly spectacular feathered friends while enjoying lunch at Hotel Minca.

Coffee lovers, too, will find their home here. La Victoria – an organic coffee plantation dating back to the mid-1800’s – will show you how they grow, harvest, and process coffee through environmentally friendly, organic, and sustainable methods that use much of the original equipment. After you get your caffeine fill, you can take a hike or four-wheel-drive ride to a nearby waterfall for a swim. Finish it off with a frozen limonada or some Spanish tapas at a restaurant overlooking the lights of Santa Marta far below. If you’d like to make a night of it, rent a mountain cabin, or even just a hammock. You’ll have memories that will stick with you for years to come.

Logistics: Minca is about 30 minutes by taxi or 1 hour by bus from Santa Marta’s city center. Fidel Travels helped arrange our visit and got us to places that most 2 year-olds have never been. I highly recommend them! The folks at the Casa Loma Hostal were also incredibly helpful.