After finding out about the Confluence project (by accident), I was intrigued by its peculiarities and the fact that it provides for a fun way to do something in the outdoors, which I love. Given the fact that I was in several Latin American countries on vacation, I decided this trip would be an excellent opportunity to make my first contribution. And thus, Colombia was my choice for that.
On Saturday, my friend Monroy (who hired a friend of his to drive us in an old car) drove from Bogota to the beautiful valley past the city of Villavicencio (close to Puerto Lopez). Althought the trip is only about 80 kilometers, the drive took about 4.5 hrs (partially due to all the military road blocks, partially due to the old car, partially due to the road, which became a dirt road at some point). The trip was exciting, to say the least. We accidentally drove past the exit (turn off road had not sign and was not very visible). So we drove all the way to Puerto Lopez and as soon as I saw two beautiful ladies displaying a sign with tourist information, I asked the driver to stop. They provided some help, but they were into the business of selling houses (yes, Colombians are creative sellers).
Right before going into the dirt road, we received valuable info on how to get to the area from an Engineer who works at a bio-diesel facility near by (Mr. Riveros). We had to leave the car with the drive and my friend Monroy and I walked several kilometers before getting to the coordinates. The real fun started when we had to cross several cattle farms. The farms are huge, measuring probably several hundred hectars (thousands of acres). The bulls looked mean and I was concerned about my safety, but after making some noise their curiosity got a hold of them and would run away (relief, at least momentarily!).
To add to the excitement, we had to cross several electric fences. Add to that the fact that we were wet (not a good combo). Of course, being my first time in Colombia and being there with a foreign accent, holding a GPS system and collecting coordinates can make you look like a good target (or at least appear to be doing something not normal, if you know what I mean).
Finally, I first got to the long awaited point where my GPS marked exactly the 4N and 73W confluence, with zero degrees and zero seconds of accuracy!
The best part of the trip was meeting the people. Despite the doubts about what we were doing, they were friendly and appear to be some of the most happy people on earth. Viva Colombia! Enjoy the pictures.