Edit Blog Post
Published: September 30th 2017
Geo: 11.2694, -74.1913
Santa Marta was sizzling today - though normally a bit cooler than it's colonial cousin Cartagena, the mercury hit 35 C, and that was only in the late morning! This called for another morning ice cream at a local joint specializing in exotic ice creams - the perfect cure for the heat, but only a temporary one.
Though Santa Marta isn't the most exciting of places in Colombia, the biggest advantage of staying here is proximity to other neat locales on this part of the Caribbean coast. With a late flight to Bogota this evening, we had the entire day to enjoy, our final in the hot Caribbean, before going to Bogota's cold and rainy climate.
There were two choices for day trips today - Minca, a cute little town high up in the hills above the coast, famous for its breathtaking scenery, coffee production and most importantly, for being cooler than the boiling coast. It would've been a perfect escape from today's searing heat, but a strike meant that public transport was nonexistent, and a taxi would be pricey, as Minca is a fair distance away.
That left us with the other option - Taganga, a fishing village with some
El Inglés ...
... bacon and scrambled eggs.
mixed reviews. It used to be a neat little town where hippies would congregate and feel the love, but as with anything good on the tourist trail, it becomes overrun with those hoping to visit the place before word gets out, when in reality word got out long ago.
Reading guidebooks is always a bit of a time warp - the most recent edition of Lonely Planet Colombia was published in 2009, and as with any guidebook, the info is out of date even before the ink is dry. And now, it's a further two years out of date - though the guidebook's original description of the place remains valid, it's now even more overrun with travelers from all over the world.
Taganga has a gorgeous location, with its beach sitting on a little bay surrounded on either side by lush green hills, the water shimmering like Colombia's famous emeralds under the sizzling Caribbean sun. Picturesque, but the place is completely overcrowded and feels a bit overwhelming, with seemingly not even a square inch of space available on the beach. It's a place where people come to drink on the beach all day and party all night - I'm sure it's a
My Spanish Sucks ...
... in Spanish, the menu said the eggs were "passed through water", which I took to mean poached - wrong! Soft-boiled, they were pretty good when cracked open and dotted with some butter and sprinkled with some salt.
great place for such debauchery, as evidenced by the packed beach, but it just wasn't what we were looking for at the moment.
It's always a fine line we walk as travelers - always searching for that little undiscovered gem that nobody really knows about, that place whose name when uttered to locals, results in a knowing nod and smile, punctuated by a subtly-raised eyebrow in a slight expression of surprise.
It's a sad truth, but the act of searching for such places invariably taints and sometimes even destroys, the very beauty that we seek. Any place worth visiting eventually becomes "discovered" by the rest of the world - as long as people can physically reach such locations, they will find a way.
More roads, more tour groups, more restaurants, more hotels ... eventually that quaint little fishing village becomes a sprawling complex of resorts. Taganga isn't quite there yet, but the wheels have been set in motion, and are impossible to grind to a halt - the impetus of the greed of developers is far too great, and plans have no doubt already been drawn up to turn this town into a money-making machine.
Perhaps it was the crowds, or
the looming spectre of gross over development, but Taganga's first impressions weren't all that great. However, after a Club Colombia went down coolly and quickly, along with some fresh seafood, followed by a bit of dessert, and then some fine Colombian coffee, something magical happened - the temperature started to drop as the sizzling sun slowly fell to the sea, turning day to dusk, bringing forth a delicious breath of cool air, and our final sunset on the Caribbean.
Funny how things can change so quickly ... all the chaos and crowds in Taganga no longer mattered, nor did my first original impression of this little town. With a sunset like that, how could Taganga be anything but amazing?
Tot: 1.349s; Tpl: 0.074s; cc: 11; qc: 32; dbt: 0.0213s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb