The Caribbean coast

Published: August 19th 2011
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After leaving Cali we got the bus up to Cartagena on the Caribbean coast. Cartagene is the biggest port in Colombia and is where all the boats arrive ferrying people to and from from Panama. The city has 11km of old walls around the historic part and a big fort which used to defend the city. It's full of old colonial buildings too so has a really nice feel to it. The weather here was a massive change though, being really hot and humid so was a bit of a shock to the system! We decided to spend a couple of days here to see the sights. The first day we took a tourist bus around the city as it was too hot to do much walking! The second day we did a tour to a nearby mud volcano. The volcano is only about 15m high and is full of bubbling mud, which you literally float in before washing it off in a nearby lagoon. It was one of the strangest and funniest things i've done in South America as the mud is thick it's really hard to control where you're moving so you literally bump into people and float along without much control of where you're going! Add to the fact that there were very forceful Colombian women in the lagoon trying to help you wash the mud off to gain a tip who were literally throwing water in peoples faces and ripping off girl's bikini tops to wash the mud out for them!

After Cartagena we took the 4 hour bus trip to Santa Marta, further along the Caribbean coast and near Tyrone national park. We spent a day at the beach in a nearby fishing town called Taganga before heading to Tyrone national park, famous for it's beautiful beaches. To get the park it's a 45 min bus journey from Santa Marta. It's then a 2 hour hike to the main site, where you can either camp or rent a hammock. The hammocks are about a minutes walk from the beach so we spent 3 days there just relaxing and trying to even out my tan lines a bit! After the first day we found that if we walked for 10 mins along the coast we could have the entire beach to ourselves which was pretty cool. The only problem with the park is the mosquitos which are absolutely brutal if you're not careful. Our hammocks had mosquito nets but most of them had holes in anyway so don't know how much use they were. Abbie counted 69 bites on one knee after we left so 3 days were definately enough! After leaving the park we had one more day in Santa Marta before getting the night bus down to Bogota to catch our flights.

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