Zoológico de Cali & Trip to Pitalito


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Cali’s zoo is a masterpiece. The layout and signage are the best I’ve seen anywhere in the world. It’s like you’re in the jungle!

The Zoo belongs to a foundation whose mission is improving the animals’ diet and natural environment and promoting the care of native flora and fauna. It has a collection of species indigenous to Colombia and a mariposario (butterfly enclosure). They took great care in designing an ideal habitat for the birds and animals.

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“Cali Zoo offers a unique experience of direct contact with nature and the culture of South America. The Zoo promotes different educational, recreational, and investigative programs to help maintain Colombian biodiversity.”

It’s been very hot in Cali and most businesses were closed yesterday for the New Year holiday. The zoo was a perfect place to spend time!

Thanks to Jorge, a helpful local driver, tomorrow I leave for San Agustin. Never would have been able to book the trip alone with my borderline Spanish. The seven-hour bus ride passes through gorgeous back roads in the Andes! The bus leaves at 6:00 a.m. and arrives in Pitalito at about 1:00 pm. From outside Pitalito you take a taxi to isolated San Agustin.

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Jorge wrote a script for me in Spanish – exactly what to say to the bus driver. The trip goes a bit off the normal bus route and involves being dropped off at a spot outside of Pitalito.

From what I’ve read about San Agustin it’s the kind of place you might never want to leave, but I must be on the road again headed for Quito by January 5th. San Agustin’s population is about 30,000 and the area is known for its pre-Columbian archaeological ruins which form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The onward trip to Quito involves traveling from San Agustin back to Pitalito and then passing through Pasto and Ipiales before crossing the border into Ecuador. The border crossing sounds a little hairy but I’m not dwelling on it. No doubt it will be an interesting adventure!

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