25.11.2012 - 01.12.2012 38 °C
Sunrise in atlantic city airport and skyping home
After a 4hr flight from atlantic city via Fort Lauderdale we arrived in Cartagena a city in the north of Colombia on the Caribbean coast. The Spanish colonial city was named after Cartagena in Spain. The city has an old walled city and the new part of the city around it. We stayed in a little b&b just outside the old city which was cheaper but still very nice.
We had 3 great nights in this awesome city that we loved and spent lots of time exploring the old city, walking around the lovely little streets, eating great food and looking at the shops.
One afternoon we experienced a huge columbian tropical downpour but luckily we were able to take refuge in a lovely little book/coffee shop and chill there for about 2 hrs until the heavy rain had subsided. We thought it would have been like a joburg storm and cool things down but when we got outside it was still as hot as before.
We had sun downers at the cafe del mar which over looked the sea, ate dinner outside in one of squares and had brilliant street food one night which was chorizo and arepas which are delicious corn/ flour pattys filled with cheese and covered with butter!! On the last evening we had dinner with a couple on a lovely roof terrace who have been sailing the world for three years and are only half way.
It was very very hot in Cartagena so We spent one afternoon at a beach just outside the old city called bocogrande which isnt the best beach but then the next day we took a boat to an island with a lovely beach called playa blanca. We spent the day swimming and staring at the amazing plastic surgery jobs....boob and bum implants are very popular in Colombia!
after a great time in Cartegena we took a bus about 5hrs to an idyllic little fishing village called Taganga. We spent the night there and had a lovely morning on the little beach before taking a taxi half an hour to a hostel just outside Tayrona park.
The only accomodation option in parque-tayrona is to camp on the beach,as I'm not big on camping we decided we would stay 2 nights at the hostel outside the park and walk in for the day but on our first night we met a lovely German couple, Flo and Steffi, and they suggested we walk in with them and stay the night so we changed our plans which turned out for the best!
The next morning we realised that we did not have enough cash (300k COP is the max withdrawal) on us to pay for our accomodation, meals and spend the night in the park so luckily our emergency stash of US$ came in handy and the hostel owner accepted them. We had made this error before in china and its not fun being stuck in places with no cash and no ATMs but luckily this time we had a back up!
So after sorting the money out, we set off on a walk into the park. Walking through the jungle was awesome with lots of different vegetation. After 3 hrs of walking in the humidity we saw the beach and couldn't wait to dive in the sea but the 1st beach we came to was too dangerous to swim in so we walked further until we got to where we would stay for the night.
After a swim and lunch we secured our little tents. We had a choice between sleeping in a hammock or a tent but after hearing the hammocks were tiny we went for the tent option. I have only had to camp once on this trip so I have been lucky but we were very unprepared! We had no pillow and the ground was extremely hard but despite this and the heat we managed to get some sleep and luckily we were at the sea so I didn't feel the need to shower because we had to share 4 toilets/ showers with about 200 people!!
It was a lovely 2 days and night with Flo and steffi and the the park and beaches were stunning!!
Exploring the area outside parque Tayrona
We spent one more night at the hostel outside the park then headed for Santa Marta. Byron was not very well the day we arrived in Santa Marta so while he slept at the hostel I walked around and checked out the beaches. Santa Marta has one very long beautiful beach but it is very busy and touristy so Byron didnt miss out on much. The owners of the hostel where we stayed were so nice, they gave Byron some medicine and took us to the airport the next day to get our flight to medellin.
Our first few days in Colombia were amazing and it was great to practice our Spanish again!
Will update the rest of Colombia soon!