Near Cali there is a small village called San Cipriano, inhabited by the descendants of slaves who were either freed or ran away, and decided to settle somewhere hidden inside Colombian jungle.
I’d been recommended to go to San Cipriano by a few people, and someone stopped by the hostel offering a tour. Even though it was more expensive, it made sense to me as it meant I would avoid getting lost or ripped off.
So at 4:30am the next day, I got up and headed off. Our group consisted of myself, two couples, one australian guy and Karina, our calena tour guide headed off to San Cipriano. It was a nice drive and there seemed to be some sort of cycling race going on, but the cars were still permitted on the same roads, which looked terrifying for the cyclists.
There is only one way into San Cipriano, a moto-trolley on the train tracks. A wooden box with seats attached to a motorbike, called a “brujita”. The internet reports the tracks as abandoned, but you can’t believe everything you read online. There are no passenger trains, but cargo trains also use the same track. So you hope you don’t run into one. The brujitas drive pretty fast, but our one had 15 other people, making us too heavy to speed with. We arrived and got changed. Karina said my shoes weren’t appropriate and gave me some aqua shoes to wear. Then we set off on our tour, first to find some waterfalls. I felt every rock on my feet, and when we walked through a stream they turned into sieves and my shoes became loaded with pebbles.
Karina enlisted the help of Johan, a San Cipriano native. as a local tour guide. I’ve lost my picture of Johan, but he was a black guy who wasn’t any taller than me, but seemed huge because he seemed built out of giant muscles. While the rest of us just focussed on not falling over while hiking, Johan seemed to be able to find the most disguised of animals just out of the corner of his eye. It would take us minutes to see the animals even after he’d pointed them out.