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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.

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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

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.

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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.

PEACE OF MIND DESTINATIONS

ARAUCANA LODGE . COFFEE AREA & PARAMOS  
WILD CAMP ORINOQUIA . MASSIF & CULTURE . THE PACIFIC 

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.

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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.  

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Online Photography Classes for Kids

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

ENROLL NOW!

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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?

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Photo by Skitterphoto–324082

ENROLL NOW!

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.

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Photo by Victoria Borodinova

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Photo by Tuấn Kiệt Jr.

Click! Click! Click! Online Tutorial
ENROLL NOW!

  • 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.

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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

ENROLL NOW!

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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.

Ages?
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.

ENROLL NOW!

 

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

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Pili: 
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

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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

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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.

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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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Visual Tour of the New Wildlife Camp in Colombia

Colombia Photo Expeditions has just introduced a new unique once-in-a-lifetime expedition, a brand new Wild Camp Experience in Colombia.

We can make it the core of your Colombia exploration, or add it, as a superb extension to your main trip. With a maximum capacity at the camp for 10 persons, the Camp is located in El Encanto de Guanapalo, a 9,000-hectare private reserve in the region of Los Llanos, also known as Orinoquia. The reserve is a 2-hour drive from Yopal Airport and 30 minutes from the town of San Luis de Palenque. The region of Los Llanos consists of savannahs covered with flooded grasslands, lush forests, and wild rivers that derive from the vast Orinoco basin.

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Featured Song: Mind The Drop

Banner Photo by 12019–12019

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Smartphone Photography Tutorial 🔥 50% OFF

This online tutorial has been created for those who have busy schedules and want to learn at their own pace. Kike Calvoauthor, and photographer has trained hundreds of photography enthusiasts during his multiple assignments on National Geographic Expeditions and Lindblad Expeditions around the world. You’ll gain the skills, tools, and knowledge you need to capture the world around you with your smartphone. This is not your average smartphone course, but an exploration of your creativity from the comfort of your home.  Once you register and proceed with payment, we will provide you with all details. You will be given access to a password protected online course that includes 7 hours (7 classes.)

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Please Note: 50% Discount will be applied during checkout

 

iPhone Online Course Testimonials:
¨I found the course to be very informative especially on the technical aspects of my cell phone camera.  I also appreciated the assignments that allowed us to explore the technical capabilities of our phones. It reinforced in me the importance of looking at the entire photograph and not just the primary subject.  I also appreciated the introduction to the photographers and the opportunity to see various styles of photography.” — John Harris

A great opportunity to use these precious days at home focussing on new and inspiring learning experiences.

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Photo by Paul Theodor Oja

 

Banner Photo by Tomáš Malík

Malpelo: Shark Diving Capital of the World 🎥 Magical Places | Episode 3

In this episode, we explore Malpelo Island in Colombia. Malpelo is a small island in the eastern Pacific Ocean, located about 500 km west of the Colombian mainland. It consists of sheer and barren rock with three high peaks, the highest being Cerro de la Mona with a height of 300 m. Divers can find one of the largest shark populations in the world. … Read More Malpelo: Shark Diving Capital of the World 🎥 Magical Places | Episode 3