Manizales night one

Manizales Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 8 › view all entries
Stuck on the side of the road in Villeta

My day began at 7am when I was wide awake thanks to the altitude in Bogota.  It always gets me the first few days in any city over 1500 meters, I guess because I live at sea level.

Anyway, I ate breakfast at the hotel and departed via taxi to the bus terminal.  I was quickly pointed to the Boliviariano ticket window. Two of the porters asked "Medellin?" to which I replied no, Manizales. I guess Medellin is a more popular destination for gringos at the Bogota bus station.  42.000 pesos later, I had a ticket on the 9am bus: Manizales via Honda.  It took about 90 minutes just to get out of Bogota due to their crazy traffic.

But the scenery was amazing!
But soon, traffic jams, apartment buildings and shopping malls gave way to cattle, flower farms, plantain trees and mountains; beautiful mountains.  The mountains are the reason the bus trip from Bogota to Manizales takes up to 8 hours.  One must go up and down mountains on two lane roads, which are full of other busses, tractor trailers and cars, also traveling between the cities.

At around noon, we pulled into the town of Villeta, for a scheduled stop. A couple of vendors got on hawking food items; one had grilled beef skewers with a salted baked potato on top; cost, 2.000 pesos, which is about $1 usd. Now, I know gringos aren't supposed to sample street food like that, especially in small towns like this.

The bus being worked on
But after a couple of colombians on my bus got some, I couldn't resist. It turned out to be pretty good too. Didn't get sick either.

Then, while awaiting the departure, suddenly it was announced that the bus needed repairs. We were driven down the street where it was discovered that we had a bent axle. Amazingly some local mechanics were able to repair it in about an hour. During this hour, we were encouraged to wait at the small bus station or at one of the several tiendas within eyesight of the bus. I enjoyed a nice cold bottle of coke (yes it does taste better in the bottle and when it's made of real sugar) and then a Poker, one of the cervezas nacional. I also saw the 10:00 Bogota-Manizales bus fly by. Oh well, it was nice hanging out in a small town for a bit.

Finally, the repairs were complete and we were off.

Villeta
  After a stop in Honda for lunch, we finally made it to Manizales a little after nightfall. When travelers first arrive to the bus station in Manizales, they might become a little worried. The lot isn't paved and is full of potholes. However, once you leave the station via taxi, you find quite a charming mountain city. It reminded me somewhat of the "nicer" parts of Quito without all of the sketchiness, or a more compact version of San Francisco.

I arrived at Mountain House in the city's north end and was quickly shown to a dorm room. I was the first one to be placed in there, and several attempts at socializing with some of the guests in the common area were met with a tad of cold. But whatever, I decided to go for a walk in the evening air, now down to about 50 degrees.

I quickly discovered another massive Colombian shopping mall, Cable Plaza.

gringos having fun
They sure love their massive shopping malls in Colombia.  I got some Frisby Chicken (Colombian equivalent to KFC) and a Colombiano (super sweet Colombian soda), and then walked around a bit and then headed back to the hostel.

I found two more people in my room, two English guys who had just arrived from Cali ("it's a shithole" was their review).  We all decided to go check out the nightlife. Mountain House is located just 3 blocks from the Zona Rosa area of Manizales. This being the safest area of an already mostly safe city, we had no problems walking, except for the massive hills.

Our first stop was a salsa club. After realizing that we were the only people drinking beer (everyone else had bottles of Ron de Caldas or Crystal Aguardiente) we decided it wasn't the right place for us. Next stop was a lounge type place called Holliday's, where we got a bottle of Ron de Caldas (best rum any of us have had in Colombia yet), and some Pokers.  Then when the rum was gone, we went on to a club.

Here, we were treated to not only reggaetron, but British and American and a live set by the house rappers, who were actually pretty awesome. I wish I could remember the name of this place.  Two bottles of rum later, it was already 3am and the place closed. We spilled out on the street with the rest of the drunk Colombians, and began to socialize over bean and pork covered arepas purchased from a street vendor.  Those things definitely ease your hangover! After stumbling home finally ended a nice first night in manizales by falling hard into my bunk and falling fast asleep.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Stuck on the side of the road in V…
Stuck on the side of the road in …
But the scenery was amazing!
But the scenery was amazing!
The bus being worked on
The bus being worked on
Villeta
Villeta
gringos having fun
gringos having fun
Manizales Hostels review
Friendly, quiet and safe
Mountain House of Manizales is located in a quiet and safe area of the city, convenient to the best nightlife and the new Cable Plaza mall, which are… read entire review
Manizales
photo by: alexindc