A weekend getaway in Alvarado, Tolima



I was invited by my host to visit his family in Alvarado, Tolima, approximately 200 km from Bogota (which was supposed to be about 4 hours).

We were going to be granted a car from my hosts friend, in order to get there with as little hassle as possible, but it turned out the proverbial latin way.

He was supposed to come on Saturday morning- 9am. On 8,45 he wrote that he is coming in less than an hour. Later he gave up picking up the phone or responding messages. So we left at 12.30 pm to the bus terminal.

First, it was 40 minutes taxi ride there (Bogota so far is the city with worst traffic jams I’ve ever seen- even worse than Bangkok or Sao Paulo).

Then, it took us 2 hours just to get out of Bogota (again, Saturday afternoon). The road itself was effectively 4 hours though. In total as little as 7 hours.

We got the town, and I immediately felt the trip was worth the time spent. It was around 3,500 citizens there. Everything was within few minutes walk, but at the same time vibrant and active. Not to mention that the weather was finally tropical, not getting below 30 degrees (that couldn’t be said about Bogota).

For dinner we ate Tamal, the typical dish of the region. Served on banana leafs, consisted of rice, chicken, beef and beans. Very good and filling in my opinion.

After that I was introduced to some folks of my age.

We had a walk around, I saw the game of Tejo (throwing the piece of metal into designated space, and if aimed correctly make the fuses explode.


The night started slowly, but wasn’t going to be slow at all. We began drinking rum (35% of alcohol). In the proximity of 2 blocks there were 2 discos. I was expecting some dull night when everybody will just chill or simply not go out. But it was full – literally. Out of the habitants, there were at least a hundred people in the disco, not counting the surrounding bars or other establishments (also full). The disco night was going on until 3 am, with latin hits. I went home due to exhaustion, but was told that they moved to the main square, until the sunrise.

Next day I was invited for lunch to friends of my hosts.

Even though the place was no more than 4 blocks from my hosts house, he decided to go there by little Piaggio, know as local Uber.

This time served was sancocho soup. Extremely filling, with chicken, beef delicate to the point where it melts in mouth, juca, potatoes, corn accompanied by rice. Needless to say it was delicious.


I have to say that if you come from such small town, it is infinitely easier to maintain the social relations, and if you come back there are always subjects to talk about than if you are from the big city (as in my case). When you grow old, coming back to the family home and being taken care of by younger generations is something obvious. It gives some sense to life.

Plus, south american culture in general about sharing. It is rather inclusive than exclusive.. And this way I was invited to the “Finca”, the most impressive housing residence I’ve ever seen (and take my word, I worked for few years in high-end residential real estate).

But before that, we went to the river. The small fish were biting the skin, it was the first time I saw it in nature (before only in Thailand and Cambodia in aquariums). At first, it gives itches, but later is pure pleasure.

Mosquitos were starting to bite, so it was time to head to Finca.

From the gate it looked somehow like a prison, but after it opened, it was infinite piece of land (just to walk the road leading to the house it took me exactly 6 minutes, and after there was much more land).

Just to give the idea about the scale, there were 2 full-size pools, under the roof place for cars had room for 10 of them, there was a track designated to ride the Enduro bikes (young child – 4 years old started developing this passion) and the house had 14 bedrooms (and some more rooms). A headsprung.

The party itself was for children, but I was told that afterwards it will turn out to be adult one.

This one didn’t stand up to expectations though. Kids left around 11 pm, but the party instead of wild dances and pool craziness turned into full-scale night of drunkness. This way I headed home around 1 am, letting some time to rest.

On Monday I was basically chilling on the street, overlooking the flow of life in the little town. And frankly last thing I needed was to have whatsapp, or email. Some rarity in modern world where we are basically stick to modern technology and have it in constant use.

Below is the slideshow with some featured photos from the trip. Do you like it this way or to simply click to see next image? Let me know in the comments section, so I’ll adjust the future galleries!


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