Great Friends, Great Food & Over-coming Challenges

Sorry for the break in posts, but I was on a remote island for the past 6 days where the internet was very inconsistent at best.

Off to Colombia!

We set out for Colombia last week, and it’s been an amazing experience so far. We are staying with John’s biz partner Jesse & his lovely wife Lisette in downtown Medellin, Colombia. Their condo has 360 views of the beautiful city and mountains.

View from condo in Medellin

They have a lovely cook named Aide who makes an amazing traditional Colombian breakfast of huevos (eggs) with an arepa (corn tortilla), queso (white, fluffy cheese) and hogado (homemade tomato salsa).

Huevos, arepa & hogado

Arepa with queso & hogado

We decided to kick-off our stay in Colombia with a trip to the island of Providencia, and it far exceeded my expectations. I’ve never been to such a remote island; it’s about 7km long with a population of 5000 people, and they only have 15,000 tourists per year. Unlike my other Caribbean vacations staying at all-inclusive resorts this trip felt different; more authentic.

To sum up my trip to Providencia in one phrase: great friends, great food & over-coming personal challenges. They say pictures are worth 1000 words…

Great Friends

Travelling is amazing, but it comes with highs & lows. Finding people you enjoy travelling with makes the experiences and adventures that much better.

Me & Lisette

Great friends & travel partners

Cruising the island in a four-wheeler!

Great Food

The food on the island was amazing. We had fresh fish every day, which was usually a combination of black crab, king crab, conch, snapper, barracuda, lobster, sardines (local delicacy) and ceviche (raw fish cooked in the acid from lime juice).

The best part was that we were able to see most of our meals being caught & prepared before enjoying it – it doesn’t get much fresher than that.

Parrot fish for fresh ceviche

Ceviche being prepared

Kitchen of amazing local chef

Fresh caught King Crab as a starter

One of the best meals I've ever had: fresh barracuda with local fresh ingredients & flavors: mango, tomato, basil and plantain

Oliver the chef: self-taught by travelling & eating

Fresh snapper prepared by a Canadian women who moved to the island 20 years ago

Coconut pie with ice cream: one of the best desserts I've ever had

Pan-fried sardines: local delicacy called Sprot
Black crab legs with fried plantains (patecones)

Fresh coconuts

Fresh coconut water!

We also enjoyed plantains, coconut rice, and coconut bread – all amazing.

Over-coming Challenges

Packing all my clothes & toiletries for 5 nights & 6 days in 1 backpack and a purse. It was a thing of beauty.

Packing light

Getting on a 18-seater prop plane…

Trying to hide my terror

We made it!

The island’s creepy critters…

Blue lizard



One thing I wasn’t able to capture were the hundreds of giant black crabs that inhabited the island and only came out at night (nightmare). We encountered them on our first night while eating at an awesome restaurant on the beach. We wondered why the tables had bars across the bottom where you could put your feet up while eating. Once we sat down and giant black crabs started surrounding us; we understood the importance of the foot bar. Walking through a sea of crabs to get to the bathroom was another challenge in itself that I couldn’t have accomplished without Lisette leading the way.

I’m painting a bad picture of the crabs, but they are actually the most valued species on the island. We happened to be there during the black crab migration. Every year in May & June they migrate from the top of the mountains down to the ocean carrying their eggs. The eggs hatch in the ocean, and the tiny red babies than migrate from the ocean back up to the mountains. During this time the people of Providencia close down the road to let the sea of little red crabs make their way back up to the mountains safely. It’s kind of terrifying and amazing all at the same time.

Next challenge – Extreme Hiking: a 5 hour hike to The Peak (that we thought would only take 2 hours going into it) where we encountered trees and bugs that made us feel like competitors in the Hunger Games. One tree in particular was covered in black pods that were full of ants. If one of the pods exploded on you the ants would cover your body and start biting. Our guide had one important rule for the hike: “don’t touch anything.”

Setting out on the hike

Deadly red tree - don't touch

Tree with spikes - don't touch

Made it to the peak!

Technology Challenge: driving to the only internet cafe on the island, in our four-wheeler, in the pouring rain, with no windshield to print, sign & scan the paperwork to sell our condo in Toronto.

The only internet cafe on the island: Coconet!

Signed papers in hand - officially homeless!

Extreme Snorkelling: this wasn’t the luxurious all-inclusive snorkelling that I’m used to. This was one tiny boat, with 6 people in open water with the possibility of sharks, and no hospital on the island. Providencia is home to one of the 3 largest coral reefs in the world. I did the first two snorkels, and the fish & coral were amazing. Everywhere you looked was another beautiful, bright fish. I even talked myself into swimming through an underwater cave (I’m slightly clausterphobic so this was quite terrifying). I decided to sit out on the last snorkel due to my fear of sharks, and it’s a good thing I did because a few reef sharks decided to showed up. The one challenge I didn’t overcome: actually swimming with sharks – maybe next time.

Chillin' on the boat after our snorkel

Amazing snorkel spot

Beautiful views from the boat

This trip made me realize that it’s important to continue challenging yourself as you get older or you’re going to let your fears keep you from amazing experiences, seeing new places, and meeting new people.

, , , , , ,

7 Responses to Great Friends, Great Food & Over-coming Challenges

  1. Senior May 30, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    Wow, what a trip Lauren!

    • Lauren May 30, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

      It was an amazing trip!

  2. Sara May 30, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    Ahhhmazing! Thanks for such a juicy post sista! What an amazing trip xoxo

  3. Brooke May 30, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    Love this post Sister! Miss you! And jealous!!!!!

  4. Ashley May 31, 2013 at 4:40 am #

    What an incredible trip! It sounds like you had a fabulous time 🙂 Good for you for overcoming some of your fears and thank you for sharing your amazing pictures.

  5. Lauren May 31, 2013 at 7:11 am #

    Thanks everyone! Glad you liked the pictures!

  6. Jill June 3, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    What an adventure!!!! Food looks pretty amazing too. Enjoy yourself!!!

Leave a Reply