Casco Viajo: Panama City

Its for sure the most beautiful part of Panama City . Casco Viejo is a place where the time stoped in the 1900. Is a must visit neighborhood for food, drink and shopping. Traditional buildings and churches , boutique hotels and a breathtaking view of the new Panama City.

Explore the rum bars and the Panama Hats shops. Casco is also famous for its rooftops. Look up and enjoy the view.

View of the new Panama City

Not everything in Casco Viejo is innocent so be careful when wondering around in day and night . Ask your taxi driver of the places you shouldn’t go as next to Casco is one of the poorest and most dangerous neighborhood.

Unexpected Bogota

Bogota has been a total great surprise! Bogota is a beautiful destination for a city break that includes beautiful attractions, monuments and a place where people are friendly and genuinely nice.

The area that most tourist should stay is Chico; is an area safe, with beautiful parks, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls. In Chico you feel like you are in an European city. The apartments and the offices are modern, the streets are clean and the neighborhood is full of life . Colombias love their pets and it is very common to see dog walkers with 20 dogs around them or people walking their dogs in the parks.

Downtown Bogota

In my opinion downtown in Bogota is not the most beautiful part of the city. However is a must visit since it has its charm. For example, the Plaza Bolivar is a must visit. The Parliament and the church is a part you cannot miss since is a big part of the Colombian history.

Plaza Bolivar
the Parliament at Plaza de Bolivar

In downtown, we also find the famous Museo Botero, dedicated to the Colombian artist Fernando Botero. The roads around the museo are also very charming as they have a feeling of another century .

The Museo Botero

Monserate

Is a beautiful monastery on top of a mountain . You can reach Monserate via cable car, via train or you can walk up a very long and difficult walk!

For the locals, Monserate is a holy place where people are going to pray and make offerings. Many people told me that Colombians believe Monserate is a holy place where miracles happen. Lot’s of people walk up on their knees to prove their dedication.

On the top of Monserate you can see the full view of the Bogota, you can shop and eat the local delicacies.

the Candelaria graffiti road

Tea Plucking in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

It is a really amazing experience as there are very few places in the world where you can experience it on its original version. Apart from Sri Lanka you can do it south India, in Kerala.

The road to Nuwara Eliya is long; it takes about 7 hours by car as the actual roads are pointy and narrow. You have to start really early to avoid traffic – 4am – as Sri Lankans are usually up by 5am! You may also use the train as it is very popular. The train is a great option as it is extremely cheap to purchase a first class ticket which normally costs 6 dollars ! The view from the train is breathtaking and it is highly recommended. Please do not expect a train like the ones in the western world, as trains are really old. Hence the overall experience is not luxury but it is not bad.

Reaching Nuwara Eliya, you will see why it is called “small England” as the houses will remind you of the British Era. There is a beautiful Golf Course in the middle of the city and a very well preserved park. In order to enter the park for the locals is free, but for the foreigners cost two dollars.

Nuwara-Eliya-houses

Nuara Eliya 

There are plenty of small and big tea estates in the area. Some of them they have bungalows for rent or boutique hotels. In the bigger ones you will find activities which explain the way tea is produced and you will have the opportunity to tea pluck yourself. Unfortunately, tea plucking is not a very popular job these days as the wages are small and the people seek opportunities in the cities.

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The traditional Tea Plucking uniform

Nuwara Eliya is the birthplace of the famous Ceylon Tea and being there is a true once in a lifetime experience.

Tips:

  • in Nuara Eliya is always cold so bring warm clothes
  • Book hotels @ Jetwings Hotel  or The Grand Hotel
  • try the local cuisine
  • Ride Tuk Tuks – they are safe but negotiate the rate before entering