Medellin - Santa Marta Colombia
Tip: Visa and Manners

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Medellin - Santa Marta Colombia Travel Tips Newsletter
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ISSUE:  009
DATE:  May 07, 2000
TITLE:  Medellin - Santa Marta Colombia
TIP:  Visa and Manners:
LOCATION:  COLOMBIA!!! Guaduas Manizales Medellin Caucasia Los Arboletes Covenas Sinecejo Cartagena Santa Marta



Volume 1, Issue 9 -

For travelers that, DO NOT WANT TO GO HOME!
Buccaneer's, Blockade Runner's, & Adventurer's - Hobo’s


Travel Tips by Andy the Hobo                                  

COLOMBIA!!! Guaduas, Manizales, Medellin, Caucasia,
Los Arboletes. Covenas, Sinecejo, Cartagena, Santa Marta.

I need to get writing, or I will never get caught up. Colombia is
a great place. Just avoid the bad neighborhoods. I think there
are Guerrillas in them.

Guaduas is a very nice charming, small colonial town. Great to
stop for a night. Manizales is large and if you need to stock up,
the place to stop. Medellin, has lots to offer, and has some of the
most beautiful women in the world. Modern city, with lots of

Going to the coast, I wanted to stop half way along the path.
I found Caucasia a great place. Small easy to understand,
and a great taste of typical Colombia culture. But lots of
people looking at me, being the only foreigner in the town. Plus
it had a place called CompuWeb where I could use the internet
for 1 dollars US per hour. Oh yea a large river along the edge of
the city, with boat rides.

To the Caribbean coast town of Los Arboletes. Great little town,
and they have this Volcano of Clay, or mud. Great fun, to
swim, wallow, or soak, and they say it is therapeutic for the
skin. Plus its free. I paid 3.50 US dollars for a room close to
the nice beach.

Covenas is up the coast, and is a little more expensive, and
much more touristy. But if you are coming from the Cartagena,
and want a big clean beach to lay on, and relax, it is great.

Cartagena is a city with everything. Big buildings, a history of
pirates attacking the city, and a large wall around the old
section of the city. They were serious about stopping them
pirates, and privateers. I stayed at the Viena Hostel and Hans helped
me on numerous times. Especially making my life easy to get
a Venezuela Visa.

Santa Marta, and Cartagena both have this silent under current,
like maybe there are some drug smugglers walking around. These
were the only place in all of Colombia, where they tried to sell me
cocaine. Santa Marta has a lot of scuba diving, and is a delightful
city. The Casa Familiar, is one of the friendliest, cleanest places
I have been, for hotels. They smile, even when they do not understand
my Spanish. A very close walk to the bay, where you can sun bath,
watch very large ships, coming and going. This is a great location
to see a little bit of everything that happens around a harbor.

Now I am in Merida, Venezuela, and thinking about going up the
teleferico, or cable car.

Off to the coast. I am still searching for the perfect beach...


TRAVEL TIPS - Commentary

Travel Manners, or Etiquette when traveling.

I think my biggest problem of traveling is the lack of manners of
people I meet, both the other world travelers, and the people in the countries
I visit. Of course different cultures have different customs, and I sure do not
want to be an imperialistic American. Not that I really understood the
phrase but I did know they was not giving me a compliment.

I decided to do some research on what Imperialism is: I opened
my Microsoft Encarta CD ROM encyclopedia... hmmm...

“Imperialism, practice by which powerful nations or peoples seek to
extend and maintain control or influence over weaker nations or peoples. “

OK, I am sure I am at fault, and I am sure my nation is also. But I would only,
like them to stop spitting at my feet. It irritates me.. and if one more
person walks in front of me in line, I am going to “ahorcar” them, or choke them
to death.

I am traveling around in some conservative cultures, where on many
occasions I have to meet the parents of women, just to have a date,
and soon they ask me what religion I am. OK, so I am in their country,
and they deserve respect.

I was in the a small Hotel in Panajachel, Guatemala about 10 months ago,
and was very irritated. The hotel was ran by a very simple, and
friendly family. They were great people, fun, and happy.
They had two daughters, one 14, the other 18. Very nice
polite, and pretty. I walked out one morning to take my shower,
and here is this (COUNTRY) guy, standing in front of the mirror
shaving in his underwear. Being from conservative Indiana, my
first thought was “what’s wrong with that guy”, but than I thought
to myself. Oh yea, I am from a conservative culture. I thought
to myself. but wait, this is an even more conservative culture.
This man had made the decision that what is acceptable in his
culture was going to be acceptable in their culture.

I think I will call him an “imperialist pig”. He was forcing his
culture on the other country.

Now respect is where you have to start to have manners. What
is proper, what is respectful, and how do you like to be treated.
Often the young travelers venture themselves, intellectuals, students
of the world. But I find the first words out of their mouths is something
negative about the USA. OK so some things are true, but you
do not need to talk bad about my mother, oh I mean my country.
Intellectually I would say to have world peace, we need to
find more reasons why we are alike, than reasons we are different.

So, in this confused, and crazy comment on manners,
I have to always remember to have:

Respect for the local customs.
Do no FORCE them to accept my customs.
Remember the words, thank you, please, excuse me, and learn them in their language.
Just because they do something bad, is not a reason for you to.
(i.e. if a person throws trash on the ground, do not do it also)
Do not make a person responsible for the actions of their country.
Find out why we are similar, and not why we are different.

I am trying to compile a list of manners, that maybe we can
force hehehe... the world to do. i.e. stand in line (Queue).
Or at least that would appear to be a universal need to be polite.

Thank you for patience with this stupid, uncultured,
and absolutely no knowledge of geography person.
Or, this is what everyone seems obligated to tell me.

Andy the Hobo in Merida, Venezuela May 7, 2000

Note: Lonely Planet, Footprints, Rough Guides all have good
comments in their guides on how to behave as travelers.



Hey ,
thank you for the email and that you are willing to
answer my questions. As I will go backpacking to a
great extent for the first time and none of my friends
did this before, I have quite some questions.
My friend and I want to start in September and tour
our way to Israel via some Greek islands. We are
applying on a voluntary job in Israel at the moment.
That should be no problem.
Then, after about 6 weeks we want to head off to
India, Thailand, Indonesia, New Zealand and different
parts of America. The whole trip will take us about
one year.
Now, how do we apply for visa best?
Did you apply for visa directly to the embassies or
via an organization? How long before you go do you
have to apply?
Did you book your flights last minute? How do you get
the cheapest flights?
How did you manage your money matters?
Did you work anywhere?
How much did the trip cost you?
Which places would you recommend and which not?
Any other advice?
I'm glad about any information I can get.
Thank you for all your help!

Steffi Pöhler

Sounds like my kind of trip. Exciting.

Visas are tricky question, and has a lot to do with which country you
are from. I am from the USA, so I can travel pretty easy, and do not
have to get many visas, or special entrance.

Things I do...
1. Read the Guidebook sections on Visas before you leave.
I have a guidebook for the whole continent. I am in South America right
now, and I read through the parts on each countries that said what is needed
to enter each countries. Looking for the exclusions, prices, etc. I found that
for Brazil I needed a Yellow Fever shot to enter, so when I was in Quito, Ecuador
I got a shot. I just got a Visa to enter Venezuela from Colombia. I got it in Cartagena,
Colombia. It took 4 days. The first 2 days were a holiday that I was not aware of,
and on Tuesday I applied for the Visa, on Wednesday I received it.
Hans at the Viena Hostel in Cartagena probably save me a day.

2. Get advice from a person that knows.
i.e. an owners of hotel, or other traveler.
I save a day because Hans told me I had to where long pants. Cartagena is very
hot, and not a place to where long pants. But since he gave me help, it went

3. Dress nice, and do not complain.
Try to be a respectable citizen, and realize, they have the power, and you have none.
You are a visitor, and they do NOT have to allow you in their country. Having
bad manners, and demanding things, is a great way to have problem. Probably the most
common reason.

4. Go to the embassy of the country.
You go to the embassy of the country you wish to enter. This could be a problem, if you
get close to the border, and do not have a visa. ONLY the big cities have embassies,
and not all big cities. Know where you are going to apply. The closer to the country,
the easier it will probably be to get the visa.

5. Take these things for sure.
Passport, Copy of passport, Proof of money. 100-200 US dollars in you pocket.
Get some cheap passport photos for some countries. If you do not speak the
language, take along someone to translate the form. Take along you best
humble attitude, and best manners.
Carry a copy of your birth certificate

5. Do it ahead of time.
Know at least one month ahead of time, where and when you are going to apply.
Do not plan on only one day to get a visa. Plan on at least 4 days, and up to a week.

6. Do not worry, they want you in the country.
There is always a way, so do not worry. It is something that will happen, and you
do not need to worry. All the things they want can be bought, or purchased easily,
as long as you have a current passport.

7. Have you picture taken with a tie.
I was told by Hans in Cartagena to have my passport taken with a tie.
They like rich people to enter their country. Look a little rich.

So have fun, and do no worry.

I have not found many good websites on this, and right now the guidebooks
are the best source. Send some websites please...

Airplane are tough. To get a good price on short flights, I go directly
to the airlines, an poll them. I also check about all the travel agencies
for discounts. This applies like when I traveled from Panama city, to
Lima Peru. A student card would have saved me a lot of money.
But being that I am not a student, and did not want to lie, I was
out of luck.

Long Airplane flights, you need to check into Consolidators, or Bucket
Shops. I have yet to find a good website, but I am sure I will
find some, so keep checking my pages.

OK. Places to stay. I have a page that has a great list, and growing.

I am looking for more, so please send any you find.



Dear Andy,

I enjoy your newsletter and it sounds like you are
having the time of your life! Congratulations!

As I travel only domestically, I have been reading the
newsletter and discarding it; however, I may be
traveling to Costa Rica this summer. I have spoken
with a minister who is from CR and will put me in
touch with some church folks who will help me, but, I
think the experience of a foreigner in the Central
American countries may be a valuable guide.

I intend to go to San Jose, then to Managua, back
through San Jose and then to Panama City. Are the roads
shown on the map really roads or are they dirt paths?
Maybe they are similar to a country road in rural
Indiana. Let me know if you have experience with this
type of travel. Would you use the bus system? Are
reliable trains available. Is it safe for women to
travel? (I have very lovely wife from whom I am pained
to be separated even for a few hours but I will not
endanger her).

Any tips will be appreciated.

Hello Tim,

I went through all these countries from you mentioned, and
the roads are not dirt paths, although I am sure if you look
hard enough you can find some. The 4 wheel drive vehicles are
everywhere, and seems quite trendy as it is in the USA. There
are a lot of gravel road in some areas, especially Costa Rica.
I was surprised to find the road there, worst than most countries,
I had more problems with slow travel, and just general complications
of buses in Costa Rica.

This trip is quite easy, and I would say it is safe for women. Be
cautious, and have a guidebook with you. Know the hotel that
you will live in before you leave one city, and go to the next.
Try to arrive in the morning, or before 3 in the afternoon.

I think the most dangerous time, is between the time you get
off the bus, and arrive to the hotel, or hostel. You are bewildered,
tired from the trip, in a new city. I take a taxi about 80 percent
of the time when I arrive in the city. It saves so much frustration.

Nicaragua is sort of strange, and the people are not so outgoing
as they are in Costa Rica. Very few... ATM machines in Nicaragua, take
a lot of US dollars. Travelers checks do NOT work everywhere, but
US dollars are easy to spend.

The islands are the main attraction.

Panama is easy. It uses the US dollar. The roads are good, and
the cities can be very modern. Panama City is very modern, and
the Panama Canal is very powerful, and large. Be careful of the
hotels in Panama City. It is more difficult to find a cheap hotel there.
I stayed in the Voyager Hostel in Panama, and Abdiel can help
you find everything of interest. He speaks English, and has a great
understanding of history, and how the city evolved to where it is now.

Oh, almost forgot. In Costa Rica, I would recommend going to the
Orosi Valley. The Hotel Montana Linda is one of the cheapest, most
comfortable diversions I have had in any country. A small city in
between mountains. Waterfalls, Coffee plants everywhere, and just
a general clean, and warm feeling.

Hope you enjoy you trip.




AmitNegi from Village Danda Dhrampur, Nehrugram ,Dehradu ask:

I am making a report on Eco tourism in the Garhwal Himalayas
It would be a great help if you could guide me in this project.
Amit Negi

Has any reader got some suggestions?


Name: rita fan

I'll be visiting Egypt, the Mediterranean cities (turkey, Israel, Greece, Jordan) from 6 may - 31 may 2000.
where do you suggest to stay (cheap & near down town)?

I have not been to these countries yet, but am looking forward to going there. I have
a page called I call the Route. I have visited a lot of cities, and sometimes am quite
frustrated reading the Guidebook. It has so many suggestions for hostel, or hotels,
and I am carrying a heavy backpack, so I cannot, and do no want to walk everywhere
with this.

On this page, I have tried to find to place that I would recommend to travelers. The
hotel have to be below a certain price to be eligible. I look for hotels that are helpful
to travelers, have common areas to meet travelers, and a general Hostel like atmosphere
with Kitchen, etc. If the owner is especially helpful toward directing the traveler to
other good spots to live, or visit, than I take special notice of this. Sometimes it is
a cheap tour guide to meet some of the owners. I talk to a lot of travelers and
try to get the consensus of what is considered the best traveler Hostel - Hotels in
each city.

I have collected quite a few from Mexico to Peru, but always am looking for more. I hope
in the future to cover the whole world, but for this I will need the help of the other world
travelers. Maybe someone reading this letter, can send some help.
Here is the page address:

It is also located on the main page under the link of hostel, or hotels.

Thanks, and if you find some good ones please send to me.



Need companies that sell around the world ticket.

I am traveling through South America. I would like to travel to Europe in
about 6 months from one of the cities in South America. I would like the
website, or email address of a Airplane ticket consolidator, that you have use,
and would recommend?

Cynthia from Sydney, Australia want some advice on how to improve her internet cafe.
The answer: Update to most recent versions of Explorer, or Netscape. Make sure there
is not call waiting on your telephone lines.

Does anyone have an expense log, that would show cost of their travels?

How to say life is good in different languages

Can anyone recommend work for travels in Norway, Sweden, Denmark?

Place to work for all the travelers that do not ever want to go home,
types of jobs. Where, What, How much?


Please submit


Recommend 5 places you absolutely must visit in any particular country.


Tell me the worst problem with traveling, that you would like a solution for?

Anja from Holland replied to newsletter. She said, "the worst problem about travel, is that it is ADDICTIVE."

An examples of traveler theft, and the solution?


Recommend countries that the exchange rate makes life easy?
Ecuador... Guatemala is good

DEBATES? Tell me your opinion.

Is it better to carry your money all the time. Give to hostel owner. Hide,
Is it better to carry your passport on you, or a copy when walking around a city.

Internet Cafe’s

Your biggest problem when emailing in an internet cafe?

Please fill out form on this page: Please repeat the subject you are commenting on.

I am in Merida, Venezuela, and off to the coast.
After the countries of Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana,
and Brazil to catch a ride on the Amazon River



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