Hot Springs Region of Colombia

The coffee region of Colombia is a gorgeous area to spend time in. Perfect weather, beautiful mountains in every direction and friendly people. But we were ready to explore some new places. So we left seeking water!

Our first stop was at Rio Claro. Here we found a riverside campsite with some other travelers parked nearby. rio claro camped.JPGThe river made a perfect backdrop for relaxing. rio claro with others.JPG We even rented tubes and went on a four-hour float down the river. rio claro mike relaxing at river.jpg It was fun, but exhausting. They use these fun buses to transport tubers and rafters along the river.rioclaro river ride.JPG

The river was cold water, and the air was hot, so it was quite refreshing.   rio claro geneva sitting But we were ready for mountains and volcanic hot springs.

We drove through Manizales. This city is formerly known for large-scale coffee production. They used cable car style trams to move people and coffee up and down the steep hills. This interesting bronze art is a reminder of the time before roads and cars as it hangs over the highway. manizalesart over the city.JPG

After bumping along a rough dirt road for a while we found the Boy Scout Grotto. grotto for boy scouts.jpg This is a memorial to a tragic flooding and mudslide that occurred in this area. Eight scouts and their leaders died in the disaster. grotto boy scout memorial.JPG  They were camped here, enjoying the hot springs and cold stream when a storm came up quickly. These plaques and memorial honor them and call them a Tropa Celestial (Heavenly Troop).

Nearby is a slightly improved hot spring with three sparkling pools of hot water. We parked in a flat area and the family welcomed us. The little girl enjoyed playing with Nica. grottonica and girl.jpg  We stayed several nights and enjoyed the fog, the hot water and the views of the city far below us.  grottoviews of city below.jpg  grottocamper in a fog.jpg The elevation is about 10,000 feet and the mountains are the northernmost tip of the Andes! grottorock cliffs and clouds.jpg It was amazing. Even the bathroom offered a lovely window seat. And of course, a spider! grotto spider.JPGgrottotoilet with a window.jpg And now for a few photos of the hot pools.

Nearby we hiked for a short distance up a small creek. This area of the forest is managed and controlled. forest management The rules include no fishing, no hunting and no off-trail hiking.  At the end of the canyon we came upon a waterfall. geneva and nica waterfall.jpg  At the base of the fall is a pool of blended warm water and icy cold water. We did not get in, but others were bathing. We just posed for a few photos. geneva and nica.jpg

A stop in a small city for groceries included a walk through the central plaza. The city was conducting their blood drive. We spotted this poster taped to the ground in the plaza. small town central blood drive.jpg

As we drove out of this mountain region we found another waterfall. Mike looks tiny compared to the long, crashing veil of water.  waterfall with tiny mike.jpg  And near there we saw these fence posts that are demonstrating the sheer determination of the forest in this region. Although the trees were logged, cut, painted and used as fence posts… they insist on returning to their original selves… trees!

And with that, we shall wrap up our time in this section of the Andes of Colombia and move on to some new scenery.  I hope you will follow along as we explore Salento and more of this beautiful country!

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