Adventurous hike to Chorro de las Campanas

Medellín is a popular destination among foreign visitors to Colombia. It may not be the best choice when it comes to your first job as an English teacher, but the city is really impressive. There are plenty of interesting sights such as Pueblito Paisa, but you can also go on trips to other places in Antioquia. Probably the most popular one is Guatapé, which is located close to the amazing Piedra del Peñol. If you don’t have much time, you can simply take the Metrocable to Parque Arví. For those who love something a bit more adventurous, there is another really nice place that can be reached by public transport.

Adventurous hike to Chorro de las Campanas

Envigado is officially a separate town, but visiting it will make you feel like you are still in Medellín. It’s only seven metro stops away from the centre and you can actually walk there from El Poblado. Many people prefer living in Envigado because it allows you to stay in a calm neighbourhood while being reasonably close to everything you need. Its location is also convenient for trips to places such as Parque El Salado and Cuevas del Higuerón.

If you like hiking, I recommend visiting a waterfall called Chorro de las Campanas, which is located close to Envigado. Let me show you what it looks like, and if you would like to know how to get there, just scroll down and keep reading.

Adventurous hike to Chorro de las Campanas

The hike to the waterfall starts in Arenales, which is just 7 kilometres away from the metro station in Envigado. Although the easiest option is to get a taxi, the most entertaining one is provided by the local bus leaving from the southern exit of the metro station. The last section of the winding road is very narrow and maybe a little scary, but that’s the only way to get to Arenales. Although most of the buses turn around and return to Envigado, some of them continue to La Catedral, which now contains facilities for senior citizens. Don’t hesitate to ask the driver to confirm that you’re in the right place.

The trail to Chorro de Las Campanas is easy to follow. If you go there at a weekend, there will most likely be other visitors to show you the correct way. You can also use this helpful Wikiloc trail to guide you. At the beginning, you have to go downhill towards the small river, and the only thing to pay attention is that when you reach a gate, you should take the path to the left of it. You will then reach a narrow concrete bridge crossing the stream, and that’s where the fun part starts. If you get lucky, you may be able to see colourful butterflies.

Adventurous hike to Chorro de las Campanas

The hike to the waterfall is pretty straightforward since you just have to follow the stream. You will cross it several times, and in some places it’s actually easier to wade through the water due to thick vegetation on both sides of the stream. You can walk barefoot if you feel comfortable with that, or you might want to take an extra pair of shoes for the hike. I tried to keep my feet dry as long as possible, but in the end I gave up and decided to walk through the stream. Going back home in my soaking wet hiking boots wasn’t the most pleasant experience ever.

Adventurous hike to Chorro de las Campanas

The waterfall is just a kilometre away from the bridge, but the hike isn’t exactly easy because of the terrain. Getting wet is part of the adventure, and there are also several natural pools to take a dip in. Some visitors even jump into the icy cold water directly under the waterfall to cool off after the hike. If you are hungry for more adventure, you can continue to Salto del Ángel and La Catedral, which involves going through some rather challenging passages of the trail. The other option is to go back to Arenales and catch a bus to Envigado. Whichever route you choose, you won’t regret it because both of them are great choices for spending time in an amazing place away from the busy city.

FUTURITY: Teachers on the move

If you are an active LinkedIn user involved in ELT, you have most likely come across Silvina Mascitti’s posts. Since the beginning of the year, this experienced English teacher has been sharing amazing lesson plans on her website EFL Creative Ideas, which I highly recommend visiting. When Silvina approached me with a few questions for an article on teachers living abroad, I was very happy to share my story. You can find her text in the following magazine:

FUTURITY: Teachers on the move

As we know, people involved in ELT love all kinds of abbreviations, so let me briefly explain what this is about. IATEFL stands for International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language, which is a prominent organisation involved in various activities, including hosting a huge international conference. SIG refers to a special interest group that focuses on a specific area. You can find a list of 16 SIGs associated with IATEFL here.

FUTURITY is an e-zine published by Global Issues SIG. Silvina Mascitti’s article titled Teachers on the move appears in the latest issue (#3) of the magazine. If you aren’t a member of IATEFL GISIG, you can get access to it for a small donation on this page.

Teachers on the move features stories of several people who decided to teach English abroad. It was really nice to read about other teachers’ experiences with adapting to working in a new country. I was also happy to see that the TEFL in Colombia blog was mentioned in the article. If you wish to find out more about topics related to living in Colombia, you can read my posts on learning Spanish, travelling, and obtaining necessary documents.

Most of my recent blog posts have been on professional development, so let me tell you a little bit about what has been going on in Colombia. You may have noticed that you can now enter the country without proof of a negative PCR test, so basically anyone can travel to Colombia without any restrictions. That sounds like positive news, but the actual situation in the country isn’t that rosy.

Colombia was supposed to co-host this year’s edition of Copa América, but CONMEBOL decided to move the tournament to Brazil, which is a clear sign that something isn’t right. COVID-19 still isn’t under control and several regions of Colombia have been heavily affected in recent weeks. There have also been strong countrywide protests taking place for more than six weeks. I understand that many people are keen on moving to Colombia to teach English, but I’d recommend postponing those plans because relocating to a new country when the local environment isn’t very stable wouldn’t be without its risks.

The good news is that more and more people in Colombia are getting vaccinated, so there is hope that things will improve in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I am still teaching online and spending most of my time at home. It isn’t the most interesting experience ever, especially when you are an avid traveller, but I prefer not to get frustrated by stuff that is outside of my control. I decided to focus on taking courses, reading books, and trying to develop as a teacher. Even though it doesn’t make for very exciting blog content, I hope to benefit from that in the future.

I believe that it’s important to stay positive and have something to aim for, and I’d like to end this post with a quotation from Silvina’s article:

Sometimes the beginning of the journey can be tough: language barriers, employment difficulties, bureaucratic obstacles and homesickness can make migrants doubt whether they took the right decision or not. It is true that reality can hit you hard in the face, but being patient and learning from good and bad experiences will make them stronger and resilient, as long as they firmly believe in what they are doing.