One of my trip highlights was going down the old lady river on my back.
No, I’ not going mad, that is what I did.
So what am I talking about? The Rio de Vieja (a.k.a. Old Lady river) is a river about 20 minutes from Montenegro in the Eje Cafetera. For $50 mil pesos (approx. £20), you can take a boat day trip which includes guides for the day (who row the boats), transport in a Jeep Willy, lunch (which was the best meal I had in my whole trip), snacks and tinto.
The Willy picked me up at 9.30am. It was driven by Angel and packed with other passengers. It was a great party atmosphere as we tolerated the heat in the best way possible…by riding in an open Jeep along the bumpy country roads followed by a cool down in a river.
Angel Rios (yes, his surname really is ‘river’) is a lovely chap and the whole experience felt very safe. Especially once the group were all strapped into life vests. The rest of the group were a mix of Colombians…Some from other parts of Colombia and others were Colombians living abroad. Incredibly, there were no foreigners on this trip which made me immediately want to let you into this secret.
After choosing between a bamboo boat or rubber dingy, the group was rowed down the river by the guides. I opted for the dingy as was told it would be more fun but was soon gripping the edges for dear life as I questioned what I was doing on my first solo trip in the middle of nowhere.
OK, I’m going to let you into a little secret…I am slightly afraid of the sea and rivers. Yes, I know, it’s stupid, but as I can’t see what’s going on inside the sea or river,my imagination runs wild about what I may brush into…jelly fish, snakes, fishes, crocodiles. But I bite the bullet, made sure my life vest was strapped tightly and literally laid back and went with the flow letting the river’s current lead the way.
It was awesome.
The scenery in this part of the Eje Cafetera was one of the most spectacular I have seen in my life. Anywhere in the world. And lying on my back and watching the peaceful landscape pass me by was one of the most relaxing ways to pass the day and get to know the countryside.
After a while, we stopped to see a waterfall and eat lunch by the riverside. Lunch was a typical lunch for workers in the region and was wrapped up like a little parcel of delight in banana skin. A genius solution to environmental waste…
I thought it couldn’t get better. I was making friends, had a great lunch and the sun was shining. But I was wrong. I saw monkeys. Three howling monkeys were chilling in a tree watching us with mild curiosity. It was amazing.
So, that was how I spent my Wednesday some while ago in a land far far away. And all for the price of a T Shirt. I hope if you’re in the area, you’ll give Angel a call. He really is an angel and I’m sure you will have your own experience just as great as mine.*
* Angel Rios can be reached on:
+57 (311) 744 2828
+57 (318) 794 4430
+57 (036) 753 5058