We chose the best time of the year (… not…) to come to Peñol in the mountains of El Marial at about 2200m altitude. It was cold as hell. And it was raining every night. Imagine this: We come from a tropical island where we had to keep the AC on almost day and night. Then we arrive in a pre-fab house with thin walls and windows and doors that are not sealed. Wind passes through the small openings constantly. There is no central heater and no hot water, except for a small electrical shower. Like Tony Robbins says… Winter makes strong people 😊The first trip we made to Home Center Rionegro (our favorite shopping center)
We bought two electrical heaters (and some more things…) and kept them on an entire day. This week after 2 months we received our first electricity bill. It was barely USD 10 (COP 42,750). A fitting positive note to add here now, don’t you think?
With this experience, I want to assure our future guests that we will ensure you have proper heating and hot water in all the cabañas that we build!
For the first two weeks, we did not have a car. The last 200 meters from the Vereda El Marial to our rental house is unpaved and steep. When it rains, it looks like a small waterfall. Our driver got stuck a couple of times in the middle of this road because he does not have a 4×4.
Usually at night after a day of shopping in Rionegro. Each of those times we had to get out of the car and carry all our groceries uphill with soaking-wet shoes and clothes. I only had a pair of medium-high-heeled boots, which bought in Holland about 6 years back. On their first contact with the muddy road, the soles broke in two, so I had to start using my hiking boots instead. On a good day, we went sightseeing in Guatapé with friends from Curaçao and I made one of the best investments to date: boots with rubber soles from Botines y Botas Guatapé. Stylish, sturdy, and comfy!
I must say we enjoyed taking the bus to town and back when it was not raining. The ride takes about 20 minutes and costs 4,000 COP, which is less than 1 USD. The bus driver has a cool playlist, similar to the “Paranda Bus in Curacao (if you are YDK you know what I mean hahaha) Travelers can bring anything they want aboard. The only thing I have not yet seen on the bus is a cow 😊 No, seriously, no live animals except for dogs. I have seen people travel with logs, bags of fertilizer, cattle food, and crates though. The bus also functions as a grocery delivery service. You can call the store, place your order and ask the driver to pick it up and drop it off at any of the buses stops down the road. Very convenient.
I must say I never thought I would take the bus here in Colombia. It all seems so dangerous if you believe the stories. However, now I even take the bus to Medellin and I enjoy the ride a lot. It is like a sightseeing tour. The fare from El Peñol to Terminal del Norte in Medellin is 15,000 COP which is about USD 3.25 and takes about 2 hours. The bus leaves every 20 minutes. Next time you are in Medellin, hop on the bus and visit us! If you need any advice send me a message.
Here you have the most respectable second-hand car dealership under one “roof”, which makes it easy to walk around, check out the models, compare prices and request the Peritaje.
, which is like a full inspection report (if you want to know more, please click on the link to an external blog). We wanted a Pickup truck double cabin 4×4. The place was huge with plenty of choices. However, none fit our budget. The waiting time for new care is about one year. The scarcity and high demand in Colombia push the prices of secondhand cars through the roof here in Colombia. When I saw this little Chevrolet Samurai, I fell in love 😊.
Theo was not amused by my choice. Fortunately for him, Alirio, who drove us to Medellin, saw a 2008 Hyundai Tucson with 195000 KM parked next to this little blue beauty and knew of a person in Peñol who was selling the exact same model for with only 135000 KM for less of the price. I came to my senses, said goodbye to the fun little car, and agreed to look at the car in El Peñol, which to be honest sounded like a good deal.
Long story short, we saw the car and agreed to buy the car. The start of another process that is much different from the one in Curaçao. Colombia has a system of vehicle registration called Runt. (Registro Unico Nacional de Transito).
Before you can transfer the ownership of a car, the previous owner, the car and you must be registered with the RUNT. The RUNT does NOT have an office in El Peñol. The closest RUNT Office is in Marinilla. We were extremely impressed by the friendly treatment we received from the worker of RUNT Marinilla named Cristian. While he was waiting for the system to update, we chitchatted with him. We were pleasantly surprised by his knowledge of the Dutch soccer team, even the older guys. He subscribed to our Instagram page on the spot 😊. Thank you once more, Cristian for the super friendly and attentive service!
Next, we went to Rionegro for the Peritaje.
The car tests were good, except for some very minor leakages and 60-70 deterioration of the tires, which we replaced the next week at Keluillantas.
(a million thanks for the super service to Doña Claudia Marcela!). We returned to El Peñol, signed the papers, made a one-third downpayment, got the keys, and were able to take the car home with the promise that we would pay the rest the following week. FREEDOM at last after 2 weeks!
Since the car is registered at the Secretaria de Movilidad Envigado. ..
. which is one of the most reputable departments of Antioquia, we had to change the name registered there. We traveled to Envigado with Alrio the next day, only to hear that we went to the wrong branch and that they only attend to people with appointments made via phone or online. We went back to Peñol and decided to pay an agency to complete the paperwork and save us the travel to back Envigado (4-5 hours back and forth). It would take them approximately 10-15 days to complete the name change on the papers.
It appears that there is a Colombian guy whose “Cedula de Cuidadania” (cedula for Colombians) has the same number as my “Cedula de Extranjeria” (cedula for foreigners). I could not believe it. I called immigration and they assured me that this was possible but that the systems should capture each separately. They also explained to me how I could print out a certificate of authenticity for my Cedula de Extranjeria. So I made an appointment with the Secretaria de Movilidad Envigado and we drove the 2.5 hours in the middle of the year-end madness back to Envigado, determined to solve the issue.
I spoke to the Manager of the department, who spoke to IT: He was not able to fix the issue, cause the back-end system of Envigado is a third-party tool, which is different from that of the RUNT and their system does not recognize the Cedula de Extranjeria. Unbelievable right?? Nobody from the RUNT could believe it either. They told me that if I really wanted they could register me with my CE, but that I would then get the full history and any open debts of the other guy in my name. No thank you… The only solution he could offer me was for me to register with my Passport and give me a priority appointment the next day. This also meant that all the transfer paperwork had to be redone and that I had to pay again to register my Passport at the RUNT.
The next day we went to the RUNT Office in Marinilla. I looked up their opening hours on their website and it says that they are open till 17:00. Because of a prior appointment we arrived at 15:30, only to find the door closed…pfff. I did not dare go back to the car and tell Theo that they closed at 15:00. Since I heard voices inside I decided to ignore my parent’s voices in my head and knocked boldly on the door. Something that I would never do in Curaçao cause my parents always stressed having respect for rules. But there you don’t have to drive 1.5 to register a car. I was lucky. Somebody opened the door and I explained how much time I wasted the previous day driving all the way from Peñol to Envigado to try to fix a problem that their system is causing.
I practically begged him to let me in. Luckily, they agreed to help me. Since the cashier was already closed, I had to walk to 3 different stores a couple of blocks away to pay for the services and return with the receipts and a copy of my passport. I got lost a couple of times in Marinilla, but with the help of Google maps, I finally managed to register at the RUNT with my passport. I sent the information to the agency in Peñol, paid them and on the 24th of December they gave me a nice Xmas present as the registration card of the car in my name.
OUR NEXT BLOG WILL BE PUBLISHED IN 2 WEEKS TIME. THE SUBJECT WILL BE ” COLOMBIAN LEGAL SH*T.
DON’T MISS THIS WHEN YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BUYING PROPERTIES IN COLOMBIA
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Thank you Dushi.. We try to enjoy the experience and learn as much as possible and share our knowledge so others learn from us too 🙂
Wow wat een verhaal! Wat hebben jullie al een hoop meegemaakt. Daar is een hoop doorzettingsvermogen voor nodig. Het duurt allemaal even, maar dan heb je wat 😉 Ik kijk uit naar de volgende blog. Succes met alles! ♥️
Idd Daan, we maken dagelijks nieuwe dingen mee. Ik ga wat vaker schrijven nu dat we een beetje gesettled zijn. Promise!
Love to read your stories Yut-Mie! They take me back in time 🥳!
Kind regards from your Colombian 🇨🇴 friend in Switzerland 🇨🇭!
Andresito! So nice to hear from you 🙂 Well let me know when you are around!
I really enjoy your stories Yut-Mie, can’t wait to come and visit. Good Luck!
Thank you Dorise. I will be writing more often so stay tuned! Also will be doing some short videos on our Facebook page. Let me know what you think of those too. It is nice to get constructive feedback <3
Wow, nice to read all the adventures. Enjoyed it!
I love to read your blog with all your “adventures” in el Penol. You write it so perfect with additional website and info.
I am following Theo also on facebook with all the pics of places you have visited. Last year ai visited Medellin and I also went to el Penol and I fell in love with Medellin and Penol.
Wauw Dushis, this is the best motivational story I read in months about fighting for your goals and dont give up on determination !!! PROUD OF YOU BOTH 💕💕