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Open Air, Open Bar: High-End Teepee Getaway Near Bogota

A quirky hostel in Colombia offers guests bucolic surroundings, Indian tents to sleep in and a generously stocked bar.

El Monte Teepee Hostel was designed to give you a taste of nature, without the hardships.
El Monte Teepee Hostel was designed to give you a taste of nature, without the hardships.
Michelle Arévalo Zuleta

BOGOTÁ — Living in traffic-choked Bogotá means stress and anxiety, and locals are always looking for a rural refuge outside the Colombian capital. I recently found one particularly charming and unusual guesthouse that felt far away even if it was only a 45-minute drive to get there.

This is El Monte Teepee Hostel on the Bogotá to Guasca road, designed to give you a taste of nature without subjecting you to hardships. The name Teepee — meaning "For living" — recalls the buffalo-skin tents of Native Americans. Indeed, the hostel has five conical, synthetic tents brought in from the state of Oregon in the northwestern United States. They sleep three, though the hostel also has cabins for up to six.

When I arrived, I was welcomed by our host Mateo Páez, a young photographer who found in Guasca not just an interesting enterprise, but the opportunity to live quietly while entertaining others looking to spend some alone time with nature.

Inside a teepee — Photo: El MØNTE teepee hostel.

The hostel's dining room serves both local dishes and foreign fare, like an exquisite pizza made on site. They bake bread here, and particularly a Nutella bread, which I must warn may become many a visitor's favorite dessert. The hotel is committed to using local ingredients and promoting local farming. You can buy some of the produce and handicrafts to take back home. Monte Teepee has also contributed to reforesting the surrounding land with native plants.

This is, however, no rigorous retreat: there is a drinks bar inside, and an open-air bar I noted on arriving, the Venado de Oro. Customers on this visit were a mix of foreigners, locals, and one family with a dog lapping up the Arcadian surroundings.

Perhaps the only possible imperfection was the lack of en-suite bathrooms. You must walk a little, both to shower and to answer nature's call.

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Serbia And Kosovo: A Local Conflict Turns Dangerously International

Tension are rising between Serbia and Kosovo, taking on an international dimension with Russia lending its support to Serbia, while NATO has long had a presence in Kosovo. There is only one real solution to such a historic feud over territory and ethnicity, and it's called: Europe.

photo of garbage bins blocking the road

A roadblock as the conflict simmers near the northern Kosovo city of Mitrovica

Predrag Milosavljevic/Xinhua via ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS An unresolved conflict is always a potential time bomb. That's what happened last week in the Caucasus, with Azerbaijan's recapture of Nagorno-Karabakh, driving thousands of Armenians into exile. And it is also what is threatening Europe's southern flank, with violence breaking out between Serbia and Kosovo.

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