Colombia - Santa Marta to Cartagena


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South America » Colombia » Cartagena
May 23rd 2012
Published: May 23rd 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

So. After the hard work of trekking up a mountain, I was ready for beaching, relaxing and some partying. Therefore, as soon as we arrived back to our hostel (The Dreamer, Santa Marta - thoroughly recommended!) and reunited with the lovely Sara Mansi, the 4 of us booked ourselves onto something called a "Chiva bus" for a night of, um, bussing?? A shower, a nap, a Cuba Libra and we were good to go. However, the first glimpse of this bus brought memories of LAST year's Easter trip and boat sinkage flooding back... a wee beaten up, wooden affair with the seats all taken out and, in their place, some poles and ropes for the "passengers" to dance around whilst parading through the town. It was hilarious. We were driven around (successfully) for 2 hours, thrown off of a beach by the police during one stop, posed for photographs in front of some very random buildings before finally being dropped off at a club. We stayed there for all of about half an hour as it was utterly mental, very hot, very crowded, very South American! Off we trooped back to the hostel and had ourselves a party there instead. Wicked.

The next day we made our way to Taganga. A dump. Why people have this as "the" place to go is beyond me. It was nice down on the water, lots of restaurants and bars and stuff, but other than that...not so much. Dirt roads, derelict buildings, general rankness. It was our gateway to Tayrona National Park, however, so that was fine. We were collected the next day to go to Tayrona in the smallest, most cramped bus of all time. Which proceeded to break down about a million times. There were moments we thought we wouldn't make it. Thank goodness for Ant Hero (Mansi!) who saved the day and helped fix the bus. I can't remember how long the journey was in the end but it was eventful to say the least. Arriving at the park, I was adamant that I had done enough walking for at least a month and was not going to endure the hour trek to our hammocks for the night. So by horseback we went! Well, Mansi and I did. So, you know when you go riding anywhere, you get on a horse and usually just go for a wee stroll, often lead by someone? That's what I thought this would be. Not the case. Cue an utterly hilarious trek through some very beautiful jungle type stuff to the beach with Mansi shrieking at the top of her voice whilst her horse very nearly galloped her away. Should have probably checked she'd ridden before... it was funny though. Tayrona itself is really beautiful. I am waiting for the moment that I think "just another beach"... We had a lovely evening sat on the white sand looking at the crazy surf having a wee sasparilla. Our night in the hammocks left me bitten to SHIT and Lucinda with a sore back and a general feeling that we would prefer 4 walls and a bed for the next night so we spent the day at the lovely beach, ate delicious ceviche, played with a monkey and then all 4 of us got a horse back to the carpark. This time, cue Doug shrieking at the top of HIS voice that he was going to throw himself off if he didn't stop running! Heehee. Obviously we had missed the last bus back to Taganga so had to wait an hour for a taxi and then obviously our hostel was fully booked...as were many others...anyway we found somewhere, had a good kip and got the bus the next morning to Cartagena.

Unbelievably beautiful walled town. It's really so, so pretty. We stayed at a really fun and central hostel and spent the next 3 days hitting the town. It's so easy to forget when you live in Caracas that going out can be FUN and people TALK to you! Haha. We met a great group of people to hang out with and had a great laugh with them. The town was literally FULL of police officers as it was the Summit thingy and Obama was arriving! Exciting! But a little off putting also... Had a few little wanders around - the buildings are stunning and sort of what you would expect of South America but not something we see a lot of in Caracas. I found a pink house I obviously have to live in. Lots of little, windy streets with music coming from the houses and such. Then there was the shopping. Oh how we are deprived. And how we made up for it! Tennis is not a sport but a way of life. (actually a store!! heehee) One of our days in Cartagena was spent going to visit a "volcano". Actually, less volcano, more mole hill as we discovered. We had to climb up it and get in this mud bath thing. I did not enjoy this experience at all. It was weird, there were too many people in there and the wee dudes who worked there kept trying to massage us. Yuck! I can see how it would be relaxing and all that for some people but no-no, waggy finger, no-no! Had to find my happy place and just zone out... lovely lunch on the way back though!

And there endeth the trip. An uneventful 2 flights back to Caracas and the countdown to the next holiday... haha. Next stop - Trinidad next week for visa getting...should be interesting given how "easy" everything is here! Can't wait.

Till the next,

Maz xxxx

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