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Family travel BOG to VDL for stargazing

Sarasota
7 posts
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Family travel BOG to VDL for stargazing

Hi all...

My GF and her 16 YO daughter and I plan to travel to VDL along with her BOG sister and three teen-age children. All are Colombians except myself. I understant VDL is noted for a dark nightime sky and is popular with astronomy buffs. We will all stay at Charleys Place near the Usaquin RR station and Santa Ana Occidental mall in BOG from 4/17 to 4/21 and would like to be in VDl for 2-3 nights via bus during the mid-week.

Questions:

Any suggestions for Hotel or house rental for the 7 of us? Private baths and central location for walking around would be nice.

Any hints for a dark sight for observing that might be popular with others? Usually good astronomy sites are out in the boondocks, so safety and travel is a consideration.

I noticed a suggestion to take the Transmileneo to the north portal and minibus from there to VDL, still true?

I also plan to contact the Colombian Astronomical Society for info too.

This will be my fith visit to COL and we are all looking forward to the trip.

Thanks,

Sid in Sarasota FL

Bogota, Colombia
Destination Expert
for Colombia
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4,063 posts
7 reviews
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1. Re: Family travel BOG to VDL for stargazing

Hi, finally dug up some Colombian star gazing info;albeit in Spanish, if needed there are others; pump this Spanish phrase into a search engine - 'Villa de leyva sitios de observar las estrellas'

http://goo.gl/Y46EwX

Atlanta, Georgia
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8 posts
9 reviews
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2. Re: Family travel BOG to VDL for stargazing

Sid my husband and I just came back 3 weeks ago from COL and we visited VDL. We stayed at a beautiful home that we rent for 10 people. It is conveniently located not far from the town central square. You can send an email to arizaligia@hotmail.com or your Spanish speaking family could contact her in Bogota at 543-65-81.

Sarasota
7 posts
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3. Re: Family travel BOG to VDL for stargazing

Gracias Adriana, we will check it out.

Sid in Sarasota

Sarasota
7 posts
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4. Re: Family travel BOG to VDL for stargazing

Hola playa4u...

Mcho gracias for the suggestion and link.

Sid

Sarasota FL

Sarasota
7 posts
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5. Re: Family travel BOG to VDL for stargazing

Hi Adriana...

Our number grew to 10 and we stayed for 3 nights at the home you suggested. It worked out to about $10 US per person. The house was amazing and comfortable for 5 children and 5 adults. My stargazing was washed out by clouds but there was plenty of other things to do. There is a website but I'm not sure listing it is permitted on TA. What the heck, here it is: http://www.casasdecampo.info/villa_de_leyva/

I have no financial interest the site

My suggestions to others for Colombian travel: Bring Pepto Bismol just in case (we had no problems), a small pepper shaker and face cloth if you normaly use them, and sturdy shoes for the cobblestone streets.

Colombian security is more stringent than the USA. While walking towards the taxi stand on our arrival at BOG airport I was frisked. Carry-on items were more strict leaving BOG to the US.

Thanks for your help,

Sid in Sarasota

toronto
Level Contributor
100 posts
12 reviews
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6. Re: Family travel BOG to VDL for stargazing

Strict with carry on??? Was it the airline or the airport ? Did they prevent you from taking anything?

I like to be prepared for airport problems before I get to the counter! What was it they were strict about - the weight or the size or the number of items? Thanks.

Bogota, Colombia
Destination Expert
for Colombia
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4,063 posts
7 reviews
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7. Re: Family travel BOG to VDL for stargazing

Currently most of the airlines are changing their carry on restrictions; perhaps the worst are the "budget" ones i.e. VivaColombia;their c/o limitations are ridiculously small. You should double check your baggage restrictions directly with your airline/s websites and follow up with a call.

Other than that it helps to pre measure and weigh your baggage.Sometimes you can stretch your limit under the personal items stored in a shopping bag.

BOG is chaotic;especially if you are flying to international destinations,follow the exit procedures and you should be alright.

Sarasota
7 posts
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8. Re: Family travel BOG to VDL for stargazing

The item that was not approved for flight by airport security was the nail file that folds out of a fingernail clipper that was in my shaving bag, perhaps 2.5 inches long. As I recall, she broke it off and gave me back the clipper. A small detail but I thought that complying with US regulations going would be fine returning from other countries.

When I was frisked I had cleared Colombia's customs & Immigration and was walking in the public area to the taxi stands with my Colombian GF who flew with me. The policeman gestured me over to him and the frisk took 5 to 10 seconds. He was professional and we went on our way.

I think the greater point is that Colombia takes security seriously to the benefit of all travelers.

toronto
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100 posts
12 reviews
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9. Re: Family travel BOG to VDL for stargazing

OK. I see your point. Nothing to worry about - to the contrary, in fact. Well, I'll soon find out for myself anyway.

Thanks for getting back to me with the details

Bogota, Colombia
Destination Expert
for Colombia
Level Contributor
4,063 posts
7 reviews
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10. Re: Family travel BOG to VDL for stargazing

I don't consider Colombian airport security to be any more anal than say North American PSA;sure there's the odd occasion when airport officials may single one out for a secondary luggage search...so don't be surprised if you are "singled out" or patted down more than once.

Edited: 8:24 pm, January 03, 2015
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