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Holy Buga – not far from Cali Colombia

After an 8-hour bus ride from Medellin to Buga I arrive in this cozy town in the department Valle de Cauca. Buga is located 73km northeast of Cali. I take a taxi to Buga hostel, a very nicely decorated hostel. I am welcomed there by Pipo. Pipo gives 3 different tours in Buga and cooperates with this hostel. I'm going tomorrow to La Cascada de los Milagros with him. But first, I enjoy tasty lasagna in the Buga hostel where I sit on the balcony and watch what´s happening in the street.

Pipo takes me to the cerveceria (brewery) of Stefan, a German and the owner of the hostel. Stefan is not there, but I am well acquainted with his 2 workers Clint and Richie. Stefan liked it better to brew his own beer because here he does not have to follow the German 4-line. It means that you can use only 4 ingredients: yeast, hops, water and malt. He also wanted to experiment with fruit, which is resulting in some delicious beers: The Holy Water Ale. I try the Mango, Summer and Barrel Jamaica.

All very nice but Summer is my favorite! The beers are distributed over several bars and cafes in Buga and Cali. I'm not a real beer drinker, but these ones I like! We also go to the Wunderbar, a very cozy bar where live music is played fortnightly.

I see stunning artwork of artist Luis Hernan Villanueva.

We walk along the Basilica De Los Milagros El Señor. Pipo tells me that everything here is called milagros: Rio de los Milagros, Futból Milagroso, Cascada Milagroso ...

Why? Well Pipo tells me the story: a long time ago there was an Indian woman who washed the clothes of others in the river to make money. She wanted to earn enough money to buy a Christ statue. To do this she had to work very hard. Once she had saved up the money, she went out to buy the statue. She met 2 soldiers and a handcuffed man. When she asked them why the man was handcuffed, the soldiers replied that it was because the man could not pay his food. The woman bought the man free and went back to the washing. A little later there was floating a black Christ Statue beside her. Overjoyed she took the statue home. At first, people were afraid of it, but later on they begged Christ for help. There happened a few miracles. The Christ statue still stands in the cathedral and attracts more than 4 million pilgrims each year to come to Buga and request a miracle.

There is also a museum where you can see beds from people who have stood back from a long illness. There is a wall full of tiles, from people who like to thank El Señor for the miracle that he has done.

In addition to beer and religious miracles, Buga also offers a beautiful nature. I go with Pipo Tours to La Cascada de los Milagros.

We leave around 7:30 and buy fruit along the numerous stalls along the road for breakfast. We take the bus into 3 Esquinas (20 min - 3pp). We drive through several small villages. Here everything is still so pure, so beautiful.

We walk through the forest to the 25m high waterfall.

We take off our shoes. I'm standing on the natural shower. It's super cold but it is also wonderfully refreshing and massaging.

Then we walk further into the woods. The road that Pipo normally takes is blocked by a fallen tree trunk. There is a zip line used to bring goods across.  We decide to try it as well. Pipo goes first! Exciting! It works! One by one, we are drawn to the other side! What an adventure! Once across, we enjoy the sun and we rest some time.

On the way we see a lot of different types of mushrooms

I wish I had a mushroom guide!

Pipo promises to delve into the matter!

We also see a transparent butterfly (Crystal Mariposas), colorful flowers, miniature plants, millipedes and so much more!

What a beautiful unspoiled nature it is! Wow! Definitely worth a visit!

1. Here you can read about how to get to Buga.

2. The hostel does not have many private rooms so book in advance to be sure you’ll get one.

3. Buga can be very crowded in Holy Week (starts at 29.03.2015).

4. Take hiking shoes, your bikini and a towel when you go on a tour with Pipo Tours. You can book spontaneously when you arrive at the hostel.

5. Lago de Calima is closer to Buga than to Cali. It is only 1 hour from Buga. From Cali it takes 2 hours.