Backpacking in Colombia: The Town of Chia

Nope, it’s not a spelling mistake. It shouldn’t be China, it shouldn’t be Chiayi. This is the typical non-touristy Colombian town of Chia. Backpacking in Colombia threw up a few random gems, of which this was more of a “cool enough city – let’s go grab a beer though!”

I ended up there courtesy of my Colombian friend Julio Felipe. You could mistake it for a subrub of Bogota, but the countryside in between and the town square make this surely a town of it’s own right in the area known as Cundinamarca.
We called in with David, Julio’s brother who lives with his dog near the town centre. That’s his flat. We’re invited in for Coca leaves, which taste like Mate but I’m not that keen on them. 

Just seeing a vehicle like this are typical in these random Colombian towns.

There were a few desperate things I wanted to do in Chia, as it was my last full day in Colombia (though I had a bus change the next morning in Cucuta to get across the Venezuela border). This included posting a postcard, withdrawing some money, getting some Venezuelan notes (which was in vain and really affected my time in the country) and squeezing in a final beer with Julio.
Entrance to the town square.
Street in the centre by the town square of Chia.
Chia town square.

Standing in the square, obvious foreigner.

Christmas Tree.

Main Church in Chia Square.

The bar Rio Grande where I had my last beer with Julio and David before leaving Colombia.

Having a wee Aguila beer with Julio and David.

Town centre sign in Chia.

Wee roundabout area where we met Julio’s Mum and sister at a supermarket while we had our beers.
The shopping centre where we went where I couldn’t withdraw money or get Venezuelan money. It was all a rush and very confusing.

That Shopping Centre was random. Julio’s Mum and sister tried to sell their cat, Cow Semen was for sale and in the middle of a Colombian town, a stray camel oddly graced the shopping centre’s aisle…

The stray camel…

And the world’s smallest McDonalds was also in that shopping centre.

This was captured just on the way out of Chia, nice to have 2 places I saw in Colombia on a wee sign (Bogota and Guasca).

And after my visit to Chia I was soon back in the town of Sopo and heading on a bus north east towards the Colombian border. Colombian bus wilderness captured in all its mundane, rusty glory above. This is some journey…

Name of Town – Chia, Cundinamarca, Colombia

Language – Now Spanish, but originally Chibchan

Population – (of which one is David, Julio’s brother) 196,640

Nickname – The Moon City

Key Song – 

R.E.M. – MAN ON THE MOON:

HAVING A BEER WITH FELIPE AND DAVID IN RIO GRANDE BAR, CHIA:


A FINAL NOTE ON CHIA:

Chia is so obscure and I reckon rarely would a foreigner ever go there, it’s nice to have added it to my off the wall travel list…
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5 thoughts on “Backpacking in Colombia: The Town of Chia

  • Hi Ray. It was a cool town called Chia. I loved places like this that I went to and never really wrote enough about. Chia is about 2 hours north east of Bogota I think (really no idea!). I was the only tourist in sight and the beers by the square were pretty chilled out. If you’re heading to Colombia, my mate Julio Felipe could hopefully take you there, though no doubt the McDonalds has now got an extension and perhaps the cow semen and random camel have gone. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Wow Jonny! You toured some really remote towns and wrote about them. Chia in Colombia? Never heard of it!! And even more cool – your friend from there (Julio) actually met you and showed you the sights and had a beer together, he didn’t lie to you like me. I feel so ashamed. Wish I could rewind time and understand why you backpacked to the lonely towns and villages of every tourist and friend you made on your 14 year, 150 country journey. As always, safe travels and best wishes, Aleksandra

  • Hi Aleksandra, thanks for the comment. As I have mentioned and tried to explain many times (to no avail), all I expected was that you were the same type of honest tourist and travel friend as the other 2 thousand people I met in 150 countries over 14 years. NONE of my other friends lied to me. They met me, they showed me sights, told me bus routes, the most unusual towns are better (Kokoszkowy, Mizra, Isfiya, Shahr e Kord etc.) and I wrote about their towns and they loved them. You were the first person to disrespect my journey, my writing and lie to me to make a fool out of me, and you have made me suicidal daily for 10 months now. I still pray for you and wish you all the best but please try and understand what you have done wrong here. Best wishes. Jonny

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