Photo Essay: Ruta de la Navidad 2013 in Bogotá, Colombia

Not since Mexico City have we felt the kind of big city buzz we got from Bogotá, Colombia with its high energy, high fashion and high prices. Part of the buzz was coming from the city’s widespread and well-executed Christmas displays including fancy light shows and even fancier water shows involving fountains with projected images on them (never seen that before). Most of the fun of Ruta de la Navidad 2013 took place in Bogotá’s many public parks. We traveled around town like mad to bring you this photo essay of the best of Christmas in Bogotá.

Ruta de la Navidad 2013 Christmas celebrations in Bogotá, Colombia

Plaza Bolivar Christmas lights, Bogota - Ruta de las Luces

Plaza Bolivar in Bogotá, Colombia gets the Ruta de la Navidad 2013 treatment with Christmas lights and special fountains.

Plaza Bolivar Christmas  water & light show, Bogota - Ruta de las Luces

This temporary fountain was constructed just for the Ruta de la Navidad 2013 Christmas lights and water show in Plaza Bolivar in Bogotá, Colombia.

Plaza Bolivar Christmas lights - Bogota, Colombia

Plaza Bolivar in Bogotá, Colombia got all dressed up as part of the city’s Ruta de la Navidad 2013 but the protesters who had set up a sort of camp in the square to protest the recent ousting of the city’s former FARC mayor just kept on protesting.

Check out the sound, light and water show put on in Plaza Bolivar in Bogotá, Colombia as part of the city’s Ruta de la Navidad 2013 in our video from the plaza, below.

Santa watching the Christmas Spectacular - Plaza Bolivar, Bogota, Colombia

Santa takes a break to enjoy the Christmas show put on in Bogotá’s Plaza Bolivar.

Unusual nativity creche - Christmas in Bogota Colombia

This Nativity scene in Bogotá wins the award for most unusual depiction of the holy family. Cows? Really?

Plaza Usaquen Christmas tree, Bogota, Colombia - Ruta de las Luces

Lights galore in Plaza Usaquen in Bogotá, Colombia as part of the city’s Ruta de la Navidad 2013 Christmas displays.

Mirror Man - Plaza Usaquen - Chritmas in  Bogota

Mirror Man enjoying (and reflecting) the Ruta de la Navidad 2013 Christmas light displays in Plaza Usaquen in Bogotá, Colombia.

Plaza Usaquen Christmas lights, Bogota - Ruta de las Luces

It was raining Christmas lights in Bogotá’s Plaza Usaquen as part of the city’s Ruta de la Navidad 2013.

Happy snowman Plaza Usaquen - Chritmas in  Bogota

Frosty gets some lovin’ in Plaza Usaquen in Bogotá, Colombia.

Plaza Usaquen - Ruta de las Luces,  Bogota, Colombia

The light displays went well beyond traditional Christmas themes in Plaza Usaquen as part of Bogotá’s Ruta de la Navidad 2013.

Parque de los Novios Christmas lights, Bogota - Ruta de las Luces

Now this was cool. People lined up for hours to see images projected onto lit up water fountains in Parque de los Novios in Bogotá, Colombia during Ruta de la Navidad 2013.

Check out what happens when you project images onto brightly lit fountains in our video, below, from the Ruta de la Navidad 2013 Christmas display in Bogotá’s Parque de los Novios.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqVovsoPQDsrel=0

Torre Colpatria Christmas lights, Bogota - Ruta de las Luces

The Torre Colpatria building in Bogota, Colombia dressed in projected Christmas images as part of the city’s Ruta de la Navidad 2013.

Watch the Ruta de la Navidad 2013 animated Christmas light show on Bogata’s Torre Colpatria building in our video, below.

Parque de la Independencia Christmas lights, Bogota - Ruta de las Luces

Parque de la Independencia’s Ruta de la Navidad 2013 Christmas lights in Bogotá, Colombia.

Zona T Christmas lights, Bogota - Ruta de las Luces

Even Bogata’s chic Zona T shopping and dining district got into the Ruta de la Navidad 2013 Christmas spirit.

 

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Photo Essay: Christmas in the Andes of Colombia

Traveling during a holiday that’s shared in your home country is a great way to fast-track to the heart of a foreign culture as you compare local traditions with your own. That was certainly true for us as we traveled from our base in Sogamosa to small towns in the Andes of Colombia as they geared up for Christmas with their own unique takes on crèche Nativity scenes, including one deep underground in a former salt mine and one made out of coal. We also saw plenty of Christmas trees made out of recycled bottles and took in the stunning town-wide Christmas lights show in Corrales and more. Get a glimpse of what Christmas looks like in Colombia through our favorite moments from Christmas in the Andes.

Recycled-water-bottle-christmas-tree-Barichara-Colombia

The first of a long list of Christmas trees made from recycled plastic bottles was this one, spotted in the main plaza in the amazingly restored Colonial town of Barichara,  Colombia.

Corrales: Big lights, small city

Though the town of Corrales is a tiny, sleepy place for most of the year it puts on a big city holiday light show for Christmas drawing gawkers from around the country who come for the festive display of lights which are placed on anything that doesn’t move. They also enjoy the town’s famous golf-ball-sized Genova chorizos. The whole town smelled like Santa and sizzling sausages.

Christmas lights plaza Corrales Colombia

Christmas lights of Corrales Colombia

Luces de Navidad, Corrales Colombia

Mejor luces de Navidad, Corrales Colombia

Corrales Colombia Christmas snowman

Corrales Sogamoso Colombia Christmas lights

Corrales Colombia Christmas lights

The Christmas light show in Corrales, Colombia included one display that did more than just twinkle and flicker.  Check it out in our video, below.

Salt Cathedral: World’s deepest Nativity scene?

Hundreds of feet underground lies a Nativity scene that is on display year round. It’s part of the Salt Cathedral in the town of Zipaquirá and every figure is carved from salt.

Nativity Pesebre Salt Cathedral Colombia

Boyacá: battle of the Nativity scenes

As we traveled through the department of Boyacá we noticed that every town’s Nativity scene had a poster next to it announcing its participation in a department-wide contest to find the very best interpretation of this Christmas classic which is called a pesebre (crib) in Spanish. Here are our favorites.

Nativity Pesebre Aquitania Lake Tola Colombia

We were amazed by the craftsmanship of the figurines in this Nativity scene in the town of Aquitania, Colombia on the shores of Lake Tota.

Nativity Pesebre Puntalarga Colombia

The main drag through the town of Punta Larga was lined with life-size depictions of the story of Jesus’ birth.

Nativity Pesebre coal Topaga Colombia

Topaga is a town in the heart of Colombian coal country and they have developed an industry around carving the uniquely hard coal from their hills. This includes their Nativity scene which was made entirely from coal.

Nativity Pesebre Mongui Colombia

The town of Mongui, Colombia uses its bucolic river-side setting to good use by building its Nativity scene on the banks of the water as it flows through town.

Nativity coalNativity Pesebre Cuitiva Colombia Cuitiva Colombia

Yes, those are eggs for heads in the Nativity scene we found in Cuitva, Colombia.

Nativity Pesebre Tibasosa Colombia

The wise men arrive in the Nativity scene in Tibasosa, Colombia.

Nativity Pesebre Iza Colombia

We love that the town of Iza, Colombia blanketed their huge and detailed Christmas display in fake snow.

Check out our video post to see the Christmas traditions in the Colombian town of Villa de Leyva which are dominated by three nights of fireworks. And don’t miss our photo essay about the amazing Ruta de Navidad Christmas light displays in Bogota.

Fireworks Villa de Leyva Festival de Luces

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Christmas Fireworks Videos, Festival de Luces – Villa de Leyva, Colombia

Every year the Colonial town of Villa de Leyva, just a few hours from Bogota, Colombia, pulls out all the stops for Christmas. The highlight is the traditional Noche de las Velitas (Night of the Little Candles) which celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This has evolved through the years into three nights of fireworks set off right from the town’s inordinately huge central plaza. Rival crews compete to be the best of the fest and the event marks the start of the heart of the holiday season.

The 2013 Festival de Luces was the 27th anniversary of this celebration. Locals and a smattering of travelers gathered in the plaza and on nearby patios fortified with bottles of Old Parr Whiskey or aguardiente and cups of hot chocolate or (better yet) boozy canelazo, a beloved holiday hot toddy.

We arrived with our cameras, of course, so you can see the surprisingly serious displays for yourself.

Festival de Luces Fireworks Villa de Leyva, Colombia

Festival de Luces 2013 Christmas fireworks in Villa de Leyva, Colombia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZcyO3ahWr4?rel=0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhE_bbg2CVY?rel=0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69KsgJJGL6I?rel=0

 

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Photo Essay: Granada, The Most Beautiful City in Nicaragua

It’s no contest. Granada is the most beautiful city in Nicaragua. Everywhere you look vibrant Latin colors and stately Colonial architecture team up to stunning effect. Enjoy these glimpses of Granada (lots of colorful doorways) and learn about other great reasons to travel to Granada in our full post about Granada.

Color shadow - Granada, Nicaragua Colorful Granada doorways - Nicaragua Buildings of Granada, Nicaragua Colorful buildings of Granada, Nicaragua Colorful doorways of Granada, Nicaragua Colorful Granada doorways Granada doorways - Nicaragua Colorful Granada, Nicaragua Centalito Bar Calle Calzado - Granada, Nicaragua Colonial buildings of Granada, Nicaragua Granada, Nicaragua house Granada, Nicaragua Colorful doorways Colonial doorways of Granada, Nicaragua

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