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¡Qué Chimba, La Chamba!

What is more fascinating than a tool from our ancestors? In Colombia, La Chamba is a piece of pottery to prepare food that has been made there for centuries. Named after its origin, La Chamba, Colombia, this pot has a unique look but also a very unique creation process. Let’s see how La Chamba is created, where it comes from and some different recipes you can make in it! By Alexx J. for The Adventures of Pili

In the town of La Chamba, you will find a small community of artisans who create this cookware that dates back to 700 years ago. They continue the process of only using resources available exclusively in their region, which includes the black clay that the pots are molded from. 

Black clay is harvested, rolled, hand-formed, painted, fired in a kiln, and dried before getting an extreme hand-polished finish. The whole process literally takes a village as each person takes on a specific role such as handle-maker, lid cutter, pot sculptor, or kiln operator. These are truly a labor of love, each step takes patience and focus and the community will do whatever it takes to protect them from the elements, such as rain. 

The reason these pots are still used today is for their long-lasting capability to distribute and retain heat evenly. They can also be used on a gas or electric range and be simply used to serve in. Due to their natural makeup, they are free from toxins and instead, can add a smokey, rich flavor to your meals. The final step of creating these pots occurs when the pots are lit on fire and then the lid is shut to smoke them for many hours. Black colored pots will emerge from the smoking barrel and you’ll taste that richness in your meals when you cook with this piece of pottery. 

Sustainable and suitable for many recipes, it seems like there’s nothing La Chamba can’t do. Now that we know it’s the essential cookware for Colombian recipes, let’s look at a couple of classic recipes you can make at home! 

Recommended Cooking Books for Kids:

By: Alexx J. for The Adventures of Pili. This is the latest post in the Pili´s Explorers Cookbook conceived by  Kike Calvo and the team of The Adventures of Pili, which profiles interesting information, research, and thoughts on nutrition and food around the world for families and kids. Click here to read the previous article.


Our Blog: Uncover Magical Colombia

The first in the Colombia Blog Series by Colombia Photo Expeditions, in which Kike Calvo profiles interesting information, research and thoughts on Colombia for journalism, ecotourism, science, exploration and photography.

We invite you to explore our site including:

Why Colombia?

Why Us?

Upcoming Expeditions 

Colombia on the Media

Are you a journalist, organization or tour operator in need of images of Colombia? VWPics.com archives one of the best photo libraries about Colombia, including the widest range of bird photographs in the market.
Photo: Rusty Flowerpiercer © Juan Jose Arango / VWPics



00:0002:49 Vistas aéreas de CHIRIBIQUETE ⏱02:4903:19 Introducción Entrevista con el Antropólogo y Arqueólogo CARLOS CASTAÑO ⏱03:1904:31 Encuentro del ARQUEOLOGO Carlos Castaño con el JAGUAR ⏱04:3108:09 ¿QUÉ es Chiribiquete? ¿DÓNDE se encuentra Chiribiquete? ¿Y qué importancia tiene Chiribiquete para Colombia y para el mundo? ⏱08:0909:32 ¿Qué es significa la palabra TEPUI? ⏱09:3215:46 ¿Cómo se DESCUBRIÓ Chiribiquete? Carlos Castaño explica cómo descubrió Chiribiquete. ⏱15:4621:53 ¿Cómo fue la primera EXPLORACIÓN TERRESTRE de Chiribiquete? ⏱21:5324:50 Las PINTURAS RUPESTRES y los Murales Pictóricos de Chiribiquete. El arqueólogo Carlos Castaño explica la TRADICIÓN CULTURAL CHIRIBIQUETE. ⏱24:5028:38 ¿Cómo se descubrieron las primeras pinturas rupestres de Chiribiquete? ⏱28:3832:25 Representaciones más comunes de las pinturas rupestres de Chiribiquete. Simbología del arte figurativo rupestre de la Serranía. ⏱32:2538:42 El JAGUAR en las PINTURAS RUPESTRES de Chiribiquete. Carlos Castaño explica la DIMENSIÓN ESPIRITUAL del jaguar. ⏱38:4241:08 ¿Qué representa el jaguar en el plano antropológico y etnográfico? ⏱41:0842:38 Situación actual de la conservación del jaguar en América del Sur. ⏱42:3845:32 Situación actual de la conservación del jaguar en el Caribe Colombiano. ⏱45:3249:19 Animales EXTINCTOS representados en las PINTURAS RUPESTRES de Chiribiquete ⏱49:1959:51 Comunidades Indígenas NÓMADES NO CONTACTADAS que viven en Chiribiquete. Los Indígenas Karijona, Urumís, Arawak, y Maku de la Serranía. ⏱59:511:05:55 Carlos Castaño explica su opinión sobre el futuro del TURISMO en Chiribiquete ⏱1:05:551:08:51 Aislamiento y Endemismo de la SIMA del ESTADIO en Chiribiquete ⏱1:08:511:11:01 Simbolismo y Connotación COSMOGONICA de los PUEBLOS ANCESTRALES de las SIMAS de la Serranía de Chiribiquete ⏱1:11:451:13:24 El Jaguar en América Neo-Tropical. Simbolismo y Connotación COSMOGONICA de los PUEBLOS ANCESTRALES del JAGUAR en la Serranía de Chiribiquete ⏱1:13:241:13:48 El Juego de las Palabras con Carlos Castaño y Kike Calvo. ⏱1:13:481:14:10 El arqueólogo Carlos Castaño explica el significado de los TEPUIS ⏱1:14:101:14:33 El arqueólogo Carlos Castaño habla del AJIACO colombiano. ⏱1:14:331:14:52 El antropólogo Carlos Castaño explica quienes son los HOMBRES JAGUAR ⏱1:14:521:17:13 El antropólogo Carlos Castaño explica los símbolos del SOMBRERO VUELTIAO ⏱1:17:131:17:57 El antropólogo Carlos Castaño habla de Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff ⏱1:17:571:17:57 Tres consejos para ser antropólogo por Carlos Castaño ⏱1:24:371:26:26 Invitación a NUNCA DEJAR de SOÑAR del antropólogo Carlos Castaño

El Parque Nacional de Chiribiquete, la mayor área protegida de Colombia, es el punto de confluencia de cuatro provincias biogeográficas: Orinoquia, Guayana, Amazonia y Norte de los Andes. Como tal, el Parque Nacional garantiza la conectividad y preservación de la biodiversidad de estas provincias, constituyéndose en un escenario de interacción en el que ha florecido la diversidad y el endemismo de la flora y la fauna. Uno de los rasgos que definen a Chiribiquete es la presencia de tepuyes, mesetas de arenisca de lados escarpados que sobresalen en el bosque y que dan lugar a un paisaje dramático que se ve reforzado por su lejanía, inaccesibilidad y excepcional conservación. En las paredes de los 60 abrigos rocosos hay más de 75.000 figuras realizadas por los indígenas desde el año 20.000 a.C., y que siguen siendo realizadas en la actualidad por los pueblos no contactados protegidos por el Parque Nacional. Estas pinturas representan escenas de caza, batallas, danzas y ceremonias, así como especies de fauna y flora, destacando el culto al jaguar, símbolo de poder y fertilidad. Las comunidades indígenas, que no están presentes directamente en el sitio, consideran que Chiribiquete es un lugar sagrado que no puede visitarse y que debe conservarse inalterado.


DESCUBRE la ESENCIA del JOROPO: Entrevista con la cantante Ana Veydó del grupo Cimarrón. “La banda que lleva la música del Orinoco a todo el mundo” según la revista Forbes. Esta banda dos veces nominada a los Grammy presenta al mundo una mezcla extraordinaria de sus raíces indígenas y africanas, con un canto étnico crudo y profundo, una increíble danza zapateada y virtuosismo instrumental … Read More EXPLORA la ESENCIA del JOROPO de la ORINOQUIA con ANA VEYDÓ del GRUPO CIMARRÓN

🎥 Qué es la MUERTE para los WAYUU 👀 La GUAJIRA . Colombia ( Pueblo WAYUU )

Explicación detallada sobre qué es la muerte para los Wayuu en La Guajira. Curiosidades y secretos sobre las ceremonias y rituales ancestrales.

Kike Calvo´s Colombia work in National Geographic

It is always a pleasure and an honor to see my photographic work from Colombia published in National Geographic.

Photography Tips for Beginners

Maggie Steber, National Geographic Magazine contributor photographer and Guggenheim Foundation, will join Kike Calvo in a Colombia Photo Expedition in 2021.


What is a Peace of Mind Tour?

You are probably wondering what is a Peace-of-Mind Tour? We know that many of you are itching to get out and explore the world, and at Colombia Photo Expeditions we believe leisure travel will return and can be done safely. For this reason, we have designed a set of “Peace of Mind” natural history, birdwatching and photography tours and day tours that we think are the safest way to get you back out there when international air travel resumes:We are strictly following the World Travel and Tourism Council and the Colombian government’s biosafety protocols. The lodge has very spacious rooms with open hallways and common areas, excellent ventilation, and is only operating at 40% capacity.



Our revised cancellation policy allows you to book with much flexibility and peace of mind.

Exclusive and private. A private guide means you will not share activities with others and you will always be transported in a private vehicle.

Flexibility in Daily Activities – This itinerary is merely a suggestion of activities; please contact us for more options.

Minimum Contact: Surely, we have designed the tours to visit sites where contact with other travelers will be minimal.  We understand that contact with the locals it what makes traveling an enriching experience, so this will happen only in open areas and outdoors where we can practice social distancing.

Our Peace-of Mind Trips Include*

  • All Lodging (Double Occupancy)
  • All Meals From Dinner on Day 1 to Breakfast on Day 8
  • Bottled Water Throughout the Trip
  • All Activities Listed in Itinerary
  • Bilingual Guide During Trip
  • Internal Terrestrial Transport From Airport Pickup to Airport Drop-off
  • Limited Health and Accident Insurance

    Trip Does Not Include
  • Tips
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Insurance
  • Airfare to Colombia
  • Laundry
  • Items of Personal Nature

    * Please check each particular departure, as some variations may occur depending on the destination.


How to Photograph Strangers on the Street with National Geographic Photographer Maggie Steber

In this new episode, National Geographic photographer and Guggenheim Fellow Maggie Steber talks about her experiences photographing strangers in more than 70 countries.

► Travel with Maggie Steber to Colombia: https://colombiaphotoexpeditions.wordpress.com/wild-colombia/

Maggie Steber, National Geographic Magazine contributor photographer and Guggenheim Foundation Fellow Maggie Steber, and Safina Center Fellow, author and photographer Kike Calvo will lead a photographic tour to Colombia in August 2021.

About the tour: This tour is designed to highlight Colombia’s astounding natural and cultural diversity, and we believe we have struck the perfect balance with this exhilarating itinerary: From exploring the Feria de Las Flores in Medellin in the Andes mountains, to swimming in a river that has been dubbed “the liquid rainbow”, to the Latin rhythms of the salsa capital of the world, to riding motorcycle-powered carts through the luscious rainforest, to visiting the beaches and mangroves of one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet in search of Humpback Whales. This trip is of epic proportions, complete with beaches, city life, owers, and incredible hospitality. Join us in a land where everyday life is very real but visitors can easily escape into a magical world as they explore the culture and natural richness the country has to offer.


The Ultimate Video Guide to Colonial Cartagena

This episode is the ultimate video guide to colonial Cartagena in Colombia. What do to, what to eat and where to go. Find the most instagrammable places in the city. A great vlog to prepare for a trip to this unique and magical city, located on the Caribbean side of the country.  


Online Photography Classes for Kids

Already Paid & Registered?
Click Here

This is an Online Photography Tutorial for kids & their parents.
Tricks, Games, Secrets, and Projects for Creative Little Explorers.


Canva - Rabbit Toys in The Forest
Photo by ParentRap–2161438

IMG_5612“The first time my dad Kikeo grabbed a camera he became a superhero. You can too! You can play being a journalist searching for stories around your home, a secret agent capturing photographs without anyone noticing, or a National Geographic photographer documenting “wild” animals in a local park. Together with my dad, I will share my secrets to capture great photographs. Together I will guide you through projects and lessons, and we will even explore projects of what can do with your pictures.”  — Pili.

Are you looking for an art class for your kids, but lack the skills to teach it? Does photography sound like a useful home activity? Do you want to support your kid´s artistic side and expand their critical thinking? Is your kid homeschool and needs support in the artistic challenges?

Canva - Teddy Bear Holding a Camera
Photo by Skitterphoto–324082


Look no more! Click! Click! Click! Photography for Little Explorers is a Photography Tutorial for Kids by Kike Calvo and is the perfect solution for your needs. This online course is project-based. It was designed for 4-13 years old kids and homeschoolers in mind but don’t that let stop you if you want to take it.   This course contains sections such as Kikeo´s photo tips, fun simple tricks; DIY projects; basic photography concepts; and much more. The core of the classes are projects (or assignments as we call them) so the children can go out and practice.

Canva - Boy Taking a Photo Using Camera
Photo by Victoria Borodinova

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Photo by Tuấn Kiệt Jr.

Click! Click! Click! Online Tutorial

  • This Photography Course is an Online Tutorial and You Choose Your Schedule.
  • Recommended for Ages 5-13. (Read FAQ for more info on this.)
  • Each Lesson takes between 30-60 minutes to complete.
  • You can take photographs using a camera, a tablet, or a smartphone.
  • You get a certificate of completion.
  • There are not mandatory projects. No homework. We suggest fun activities after you watch every lesson.
  • We include fun DIY projects.
  • We many simple tips on how to improve your photographs.
  • Your parents or teachers can always reach Kike with questions.

Canva - Kid drawing at home
Photo by Winnie Bruce

Multi-Module Photo Adventures: The course organized into module assignments, your kid’s projects. Each lesson contains an introduction to the project with photography tips tailored to the assignment. Kike will explain each of the weekly assignments in a way that will get the Little Explorers excited. Assisted by Pili, we will follow her as she completes her assignment. Each outing culminates with a photo review and a lesson, where National Geographic & Lindblad Expeditions Photo Expert Kike Calvo will discuss some of Pili’s best shots, always giving her tips on how to improve. Each weekly assignment, combining the video lesson and the actual practice assignment should take between 30 and 60 minutes.

We can’t wait to have you join our class.
See you inside the class!

Pili & Kike

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Photo by Actina–2477360


Canva - Father and kid on terrace with picturesque view
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need?
Just a few minutes a day to watch the lesson using your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. After each lesson, you will find suggested photo adventures (or assignments) you can do with any camera, including your phone. We include DIY projects, for which you will require basic materials listed on each one. But remember, this is a fun course, so nothing is mandatory. We suggest ideas for you to practice. Your access to this tutorial will be open for a month.

We suggest this course for kids between 6-13, but we have had 5 years old, and even adults taking it. Kids between 5, 6 & 7 will certainly benefit from doing the course with the parents/teacher’s supervision. Great opportunity for spending family quality time together.

Will my assignments be looked at?
After much thought, we concluded it was best to share our lessons and allow the kids to experiment and explore their creativity. You can ask us questions at any time using our store chat, but we will note give grades or review any projects. If you have special needs, please let us know.

Do we get a certificate?
The answer is yes. Once all lessons are completed (and checked as completed) we will email you a printable certificate with your kid’s name.

What if I am homeschool and I need credit?  If this is your case, please check with us before purchasing the tutorial. In general, our team can accommodate that truly need a grade so they can get homeschool credit or credit for an extracurricular class.

What is the instructor’s availability? Kike is always available through the chat room at The Adventures of Pili store for any questions or concerns. He normally gets back to you within 1-2 business days! Sometimes sooner.



Meet Your Instructors:

KK_KKC6709 - Version 2Kike Calvo: Author, and photographer has trained hundreds of photography enthusiasts during his multiple assignments on National Geographic Expeditions and Lindblad Expeditions around the world.

“Children will learn basic notions about photography and will discover some fun tricks.  The course can be done with a smartphone or any camera. It is a fun way to spend quality time with your kids, while you both gain skills to capture the world around you! If your children are older, they can do the course by themselves. It is nothing but a creative and interactive photography and creativity online course in your own schedule.” — Kike

A world-wide traveler with just 5 years old, she helps her dad in teaching this course. She goes around with dad’s phone actively pursuing Kike’s lessons. A fun and unique way of teaching kids how to take better photographs. Pili was the inspiration of The Adventures of Pili books. And no, she does not like this anymore!

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Photo by jyliagorbacheva–5290522



Planting the Seed for the Up and Coming 200-feet Natural Towers

For many, thinking about Colombia brings the self-inflicted notions by watching  Netflix series. But the country´s reality is far from such. Think of a country where one-third of its land is filled with jungles. Rivers such as the Caqueta, the Putumayo, the Apaporis, or the world-renown Amazonas bring life to its inhabitants. But what if I told you deforestation has become up a raising concern to the well being of conservation areas?

The Adventures of Pili Tree Planting Campaign

Back in 2016, Colombia ended an armed conflict that had affected the country for more than 50 years. During that half-century, many of the protected areas were under the control of the revolutionary forces of the FARC. As a bubbly mind, I started to wonder about what happens to those protected areas when conflict stops? What happens to the dozens of butterflies, to the hundreds of birds, and the thousands of tree species when the is no more presence of forces that discourage deforestation and resource extraction?

With no rebel forces to interfere, mining and illegal logging operations found their way to these protected areas. As I was thinking about writing the first in the bilingual series The Adventures of Pili, I was already aware of this situation. I clearly identify back then the need for not only inspiring and educational books focused on young generations, but in the necessity of interconnecting the bed-time stories with real-life actions that could impact their planet, our planet.

The Adventures of Pili Tree Planting Campaign


This is how The Adventures of Pili Tree Campaign was born. It derivated from observing the deforestation of many protected and ecologically-rich areas, not only in Colombia but around the world. It has not been a simple process. From vision to implementation there was a long path. As time passed by, a saw the potential of technology as a tool to transition between vision and inspiration to action in the field.

This past weekend, we inaugurated our fieldwork. A team of four took off to the highlands of Colombia with the mission of planting 80 wax palm saplings in the Combeima Canyon. I am sure the first question that crosses your mind as a reader is regarding the location. Why did we select this area in the Department of Tolima in Colombia? As cattle ranchers and loggers fill the vacuum left by the insurgents, big extensions of forest are being destroyed. Conservation areas are quickly wiped out by an inattentive economic development. The background of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) can be pointed to this department in Colombia when in 1949 Manuel Marulanda began his guerrilla career by joining a Liberal guerrilla band. Later in 1966, he became Chief of Staff of the newly reorganized FARC.

The Adventures of Pili Tree Planting Campaign

Forest is home to a great percentage of Colombia´s biodiversity, and the world´s as a matter of fact. Animals, plants, and organisms depend on trees. By reforesting selected areas we strive for the healing of our planet. The same way parents and teachers of around the world have embraced our bilingual children’s publications to teach and inspire younger generations, we hope our tree planting campaign will be joined by families and schools in communities around the world.

It was early morning late June 2020. The team had not slept the night before from all the excitement and the long conversations that popped up constantly during the short night. But that was no impediment. Life in Colombia starts before sunrise. As soon as the alarm woke everyone up, the operation started. Our mission was clear: To plant 80 saplings in three different locations. After surpassing the logistic challenges due to the COVID pandemic, our team of four reached a Reserve located between 1950 and 2100 meters above sea level.

The area represents a low montane humid forest ecosystem, The reserve is part of the Combeima River, on the southern slope of the “Nevado del Tolima.” This river is very important because it is the water supply of the musical capital of Colombia, Ibagué. In addition, I should mention that the reserve is located in the lowlands of Los Nevados National Natural Park, helping defend the strategic ecosystems of Los páramos and foggy forests. Los Nevados National Natural Park is a 58,000-hectare volcanic complex that spans three departments. It is made up of three snow-covered volcanos, Nevado del Tolima, Nevado de Santa Isabel, Nevado del Ruiz, and some small high treeless plateaus are known locally as Paramillos (Cisne, Santa Rosa, and Quindío.)

The Adventures of Pili Tree Planting Campaign

When you carry the small wax pam saplings in your arms you cannot envision the towering height they will one day reach if they become fully developed. These palms grow as tall as 200 feet.

The Palma de Cera, as it is locally known, Ceroxylon quindiuense is Colombia’s national tree. It is the largest flowering plant with an embryo that bears a single seed leaf.  It’s a slow-growing species and needs more than 150 years to reach its maximum height. The palm is endangered due to deforestation and the expansion of the agricultural frontier. In the past, the wax palm leaves intensively used in Catholic Palm Sunday celebrations.

The Adventures of Pili Tree Planting Campaign

The country´s populations of these species are concentrated in two small relics: one in Toche, Department of Tolima, and the other in Salento, Department of Quindío. As the team planted the 78 wax palm saplings in three different areas, distributed in 50, 20, and 3 + 3 + 1 + 1, they could not spot talking about how this plant constitutes the habitat for many forms of life including insects, mammals, and birds. And I would add, the endangered Yellow-eared parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis), a near-endemic bird from Colombia uses this plant to feed and nest.

Yellow-eared Parrot_Ognorhynchus icterotis_Colombia Birdwatch-2

Yellow-eared Parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis). Photo © Christopher Calonje

With the support of my Safina Center Fellowship and the help of private supporters, now parents and teachers can take action. The project will keep a georeferenced logbook of all planting efforts, including information on the areas being intervened and the plant species selected. Not only can they inspire children by reading our dual-language adventures beautifully illustrated in the pages of The Adventures of Pili, but hand-in-hand with Pili,  the young readers can join forces with their loved ones and help reforest the world. We are proud to see that our tackled concepts of cultural diversity and empowerment; global readiness and peace; entrepreneurship, and climate change have materialized in real-life action. And now you can be part of it. What are you waiting for? 


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