A hearty welcome to Buenaventura, Colombia!

Updated: May 25, 2020

8/5/2011 Bienvenido A hearty welcome to Buenaventura, Colombia! This journey starts in Cali and ends up in my second home, Buenaventura.
I visit Buenaventura monthly. I began visiting Colombia in 2008 to see my significant other, Victor Renteria Caicedo. My first year in South America was spent in Bogota, the capitol of Colombia. Since my first visit to Buenaventura, not much has changed. If you want to imagine Buenaventura, picture any third world country. The town is poor and is in need of significant contributions and supporters. Other than the port, there is no other viable industry there; therefore there are no viable jobs according to the Chamber of Commerce. The infrastructure is in desperate need of improvement.

Buenaventura does not have a large airport, I have to fly into Cali, Colombia. I arrived in Cali via Avianca Airlines. Avianca is one of the largest airlines in South American. I choose Avianca for many reasons but the main reason is the crew is magnificent and it is a great airline. Even though I work for Delta Airlines, I jump seated on Avianca. On board the aircraft and at the airport, I feel like I am a part of this family.

Cali is the capital of the State of Valle. It is the third largest city in Colombia. From the airport we take a bus to the bus station. At the bus station we have dinner at Restaurant Las Delicias De Aquivoca. The cook prepares a stellar dish for us: robalo fish, sweet plantain; Cameron rice with french-fries, salad and a sugar paste juice. We stay overnight in Cali at a nearby hotel.

Buenaventura is two and a half hours away from Cali. There are three ways to get there by land: car, taxi, or bus. The most popular is the bus. Generally, we travel on the Metro Express. It departs around the clock until 10 o’clock p.m. transporting passengers back and forth without veering off to pick up passengers in rural areas. The Transmar is a big green and white bus that takes you into small towns picking up and dropping off people that come from the countryside and the city to do different types of activities. Some are carrying their products home and some are going to sell their products. They have chicken, cow parts, raccoons, armadillos’, all kinds of birds, grain for the cows and horses, shovels, machetes, clothing, etc. you name it. I stay away from this bus when traveling because it is basically carrying workers back and forth. It is the cheapest mode of transportation if you are traveling by bus.

Traveling from Cali to Buenaventura is very calm and relaxing. The mountains and landscape are magnificent. As an avid traveller and lover of photography, I have a serious interest in photographing the people and the landscape.

There are hundreds of vendors along the way. Everyone is pretty much selling the same products. As the bus approaches its stop, the workers race out to the bus to make their sales. The products include peanuts, bee honey, fresh pineapples, plantain chips, mangoes, arepa bread, mazamorra (made from corn, brown sugar, cinnamon, milk and water), chicken, pork, borojo juice, coconuts, etc.