The Road to New Life Peñol, Colombia

The New Life.

November, 2021


Dear subscriber/ reader


In this blog, we want to share some details about the initial steps required before we start building. The Road to New Life Peñol.


When we bought our property in El Marial, El Peñol, it was only accessible by foot, through a very narrow footpath (approx. 1 meter wide), or by boat from “La Represa del Peñol”. Very nice for a nature walk, and sight- seeing tours, but not very practical when you want to start building a house and cabins for a Retreat and B&B.The Road to New Life Peñol.


Whenever we speak to contractors, the first thing they want to know is: Is there a paved road and can we get there with our trucks? Then they ask: Is there water and electricity available? Reason: Not meeting these basic requirements increases the price of construction by default.



The widening of the 250m long footpath to a 4m road was part of the agreement with the vendor. He made all arrangements with the contractors to broaden the road from the main road to our finca(The Road to New Life Peñol), and promised to keep us in the loop about the progress.



We have a saying that in the Caribbean, where we currently live, everything goes poko poko (slow slow). With the experience we have currently in Colombia, we can now say that there everything goes “despacito” (slowly). We go with the flow, hope and pray that the work speeds up and all will be concluded before the start of the rainy season. Rain on the barren soil would turn the road into a pool of mud and make it very hard for the excavator tractor to do its work.


We were very happy when few weeks ago (second week of October 2021) our wingman in El Peñol told us that they made a start with building the “trinchos” (see picture below of stacked bamboo walls) that were needed to hold the excavated earth from sliding down the hill uncontrolled and making a mess.


Not an easy job to make a road on hilly terrain(The Road to New Life Peñol), with trees and roots. Fortunately, it did not rain much, mostly during the night, and with a lot of sun during the day. The excavated dirt, and wood could be reused to fill up the “trinchos” and make some flat areas on the adjacent lots. The owners took great care not to destroy to many trees in the process.


Since our lot is at the end of the 250m footpath, it took a week or so for us to see the results. Our wingman in El Peñol (who we can highly recommend), sent us videos and photos with the latest developments on a daily basis, for which we are very grateful. He was also very patient with answering all our questions and address our concerns, as if we were present ourselves.


When we looked at one of the video’s we were wondering if it is wide enough for a truck with construction material. He assured us that it was 3,50 to 4.00 meters wide, which is just wide enough for a truck, but what about oncoming traffic? We don’t anticipate that it will be too busy with cars on our road because it’s a dead end, but always good to have a little extra space on the road. In any case in front of our lot, at the end of the road they made it a bit wider to allow traffic to turn around. Now that the excavation work is done, they will need to build the water ducts to allow the rain water to flow without damaging the road.. The former owner assured us that the work is carried out in consultation with contractors with experience and who adhere to the rules of the Ministry of Planning. This gives us the peace of mind that our guests will have smooth passage to arrive at New Life Peñol in the future.


Another highlight of the past month was the measuring of the lot.


In our previous blog we mentioned that our wingman registered the Deed of Ownership at the register of Marinilla and had to wait approximately 1.5 months for the official stamped Deed and the cadastral inscription of our names on the “Certificado de Tradicion y Libertad” (Certificate of conveyance and clearance for property registration). This is a notarized registered public certificate listing the owner of a real estate property. That registration was done based on a percentage of ownership, to allow us to speed up obtaining the Certificate, and apply for the building permit. The vendor needed to engage with a land surveyor for the exact measurements.



Now in Colombia there is a rule that says that you buy a Finca at “cuerpo cierto”, which means that you buy it based on walking around with the vendor on the lot while he tells you exactly from where to where the boundaries of your lot is and that that covers an approximate number of meters.


If there is a difference when you do the exact measurements of the finca, neither party has legal grounds to get back money or property for the difference.


The results given by the topographer was 1600m more than what we initially agreed upon. That was a shocker. We were of course happy, but at the same time a bit worried, because this was more than 20% difference. We decided to get a second opinion and had a professional team of topographers with the latest technology with RTK to measure the lot. Real-time kinematic positioning (RTK) is the application of surveying to correct for common errors in current satellite navigation (GNSS) systems.


The difference they measured was around 600m more than agreed initially. With this information we can finalize the registration with the correct meters on the deed of ownership.The Road to New Life Peñol


Once the property is properly registered and we obtain the official certificate, we will be able to arrange to be connected to the public power grid and water supply of El Peñol.


We can get a temporary connection for the construction site. According to our wingman this request may take up to two months to process, so we need to start the request sooner rather than later. For the future, we will investigate the pros and cons of installing a generator or solar panels for backup, so our guests are never left in the dark.


We are also interacting with a Medellin based architect for the design of the cabins for the retreat.


We provided him with samples of what we have in mind and based on that he made a complete offer for the design including all drawings, electricity, water, soil samples to calculate the foundations etc. We were quite impressed with the completeness of the information he supplied, and especially with the speed with which they replied (not so “despacito” this time). In our next blog we will give you a glimpse of what we have in mind .


The Road to New Life Peñol


In summary we are pleased that things are moving forward


We will try to keep you updated every month as we see new developments. If you liked this blog, please subscribe and you will receive notifications in your mailbox each time we publish a new update. Do not forget to confirm to the email send to you, to complete the subscription process.


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The Road to New Life Peñol


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