Blogs from Santa Marta, Colombia, South America - page 2


South America » Colombia » Santa Marta August 23rd 2015

After the world championship, a few of us had some extra time to travel around. I flew with Ena, Olly, Louis, Bobby and his girlfriend Elly to Santa Marta on the Caribbean Coast for some relaxation and diving. We had a bit of trouble at the Santa Marta airport when both Ena and my bags didn't show up. But luckily, we were picked up by Cata from the diving company, and she was able to help us sort everything out. The bags were still at Bogota airport and they arrived at our hostel later that night. We stayed in Rodadero, which is the smaller beach town 10 mins down the coast from Santa Marta. We spent the next couple of days diving in the amazing reefs of Parque Tayrona. I was doing my Open Water certification, ... read more
Cabo San Juan de Guia, Parque Tayrona
Pozo Azul, Minca
Sunset at Minca

My first impression of Colombia was real good. In the plane from Letitia to bogota there was a guy next to me traveling back home with his son. He offered me his help right away, should I need anything while being in bogota. But after getting out of the plane from 35 degrees to 10, I changed my mind about going to bogota.As I caught a little cold on the boat I decided to rest a little longer in Santa Marta and the fly directly to San AndrésBut my first longer stop should be Cartagena. Cartagena is a quiet big city with a colonial style on the Caribbean coast. The old town is really nice with colorful houses that have little balconies full of flowers. There are lots of nice restaurants, bars, ladies that sell fresh ... read more

South America » Colombia » Santa Marta March 11th 2015

Had a quiet and rather lazy day yesterday in Santa Marta. In the morning I went to the Quinta San Pedro which is where Simón Bolívar died in poverty and obscurity, having failed to keep the states he liberated together as a single country. I took the hotel staff's advice and went and returned by taxi - the fare of 7 thousand pesos is less than £2. Unfortunately the place was mobbed by elderly and very decrepit- looking American tourists whose guides had microphones and were competing with each other in volume. Perhaps a lot of their charges were deaf. Anyway it made me think that I had better get my travelling in quick before I was reduced to doing it their way. I found out from the taxi driver that they had come off a ... read more
School children visiting Quinta San Pedro
Cathedral of Santa Marta
Santa Marta by night

At breakfast today in my Santa Marta hotel met two older American women who were travelling together, without husbands. They were a bit smug when they found out I was going with a tour to the park as they had taken a 'collectivo', (small bus), that is until they discovered how little I had paid! It's easy to succumb to this mentality, that using anything other than public transport is cheating: why take a taxi when you can spend hours walking and waiting for buses? Well, because it's exhausting and wastes precious time, that's why. Have decided the trick is to do some trips on public transport just to prove you can and for the other trips do whatever makes best use of your time! In any case in the hierarchy of independent travellers I reckon ... read more
On the walking trail from Cabo de San Juan to Arrecifes
Mangrove tree, Parque Nacional de Tayrona
Arrecifes,  Parque Nacional de Tayrona

South America » Colombia » Santa Marta March 8th 2015

Hi everybody. I left Bogota today and am now on the coast in Santa Marta, in the so-called historic quarter. I can see why the Colombians go to the high rise resort next door as this place is really run down and decrepit. It is also a port with petroleum storage etc. However when I went out after dark this evening I was pleasantly surprised to see that it looked a lot better and was quite lively with street musicians and people eating out of doors round the illuminated square and in the street next to me. It certainly feels a lot safer than my bit of Bogotá at night. The reason I am here is to do a trip to Parque Tayrona which is supposed to be very beautiful. You do a trek through the ... read more
My hotel in Santa Marta
Pre-Colombian art, Museo de Oro, Santa Marta

Why Tayrona Park? Of course vacations!—The pilot had said that the flight would take two hours and a half to land into Bogota, he saw his watch and it was eleven twenty am and he observed through the windows some snow mountains from the central mountain range of Peru and soon beautiful snow mountains, probably they would be Huascaran and the black and white eastern mountain ranges of the Andes, they were heading north east taking the route of Iquitos, so soon the jungle appeared and he could see many brown meanders rivers, but all of a sudden a big river —that must be the amazon river— When Tolomeo arrived at Bogota, he had to pass through the customs hall and later again through the inspection area, many dogs are there sniffing baggage, —Do not worry! ... read more
Hiking to Tayrona ´Park
Cabo San juan del Guía
Cabo San Juan del Guía

South America » Colombia » Santa Marta » Ciudad Perdida February 9th 2015

Just got home and catching up on the posts I missed, had so many photos to upload I didn't want to waste my travelling time doing it. Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City) is an ancient ruin of the Tayrona people in the Sierra Nevada. I went on a 4 day trek through the jungle clad mountains to the lost city and back. We had a great group of about 20 people who all got along well by the end of the week and we also had great guides looking after us and feeding us very well. The trek wasn't easy as there were a lot of steep uphill and downhill sections but it was worth it for the amazing views along the way as you will in the pictures. The lost city itself was well worth ... read more

South America » Colombia » Santa Marta January 18th 2015

Stefan, a 7yr old boy runs to his bedroom when I arrive with Jose at his house for lunch. One of ten children he returns moments later with his exercise book and a broad cheeky smile on his face. I'm at Queenie's. The home of Jose in barrio Los Fondadores on the outskirts of Santa Marta. Unmade roads, ramshackle block houses with tin roofs packed into every square meter of land. Kids playing football in bare feet. Old men sat at tables playing dominoes. Dogs roaming the streets. Corner shops displaying their wares. Women holding their children sat in the shade of their stoop. This is the other side of Colombia. The real side. Queenie is busy preparing dinner and from the smells coming from the pot on the stove it's going to taste delicious. Jose ... read more
HMS innocent childhood
Los Fondadores
Queenie's casa

South America » Colombia » Santa Marta January 17th 2015

It's all very well seeing the tourist sights of Colombia but what's the real Colombia like? Where do people really live and what's life really like? My opportunity arose during an organised tour. Jose, a local guide, invited me to lunch at his home in a barrio called Los Fondadores. I recall experiencing the opportunity in Vietnam. During my travels in 2011. Arriving in Saigon I took a bus to Mui Ne but seeing Vietnam from the inside of a coach was no fun at all. I'll be forever indebted to Eric, the owner of Mui Ne Hills Guest House. He lives and runs the guest house with his husband Long, a young and very attractive Vietnamese guy. They make a great couple and I understand that they now run three successful hostels in Mui Ne. ... read more
Kuba and I
Ex marines
Family lunch

South America » Colombia » Santa Marta January 16th 2015

I've been recommended a hostel called La Brisa Loca in Santa Marta by Jamie, a Colombian now living in Miami. The town, he told me, is a great place to explore from. He further explained that if La Brisa Loca is full there's another place across the road called 'Hostel California.' Now it was my turn to raise a eyebrow. "I've stayed there once" he said. "But don't worry. I checked out. There were no issues" La Brisa Loca hostel is up there with the best I've stayed in (the best bring Erratic Rock in Peurto Natales). I checked in for a couple of nights but ended up staying for six. Over a beer and football I started speaking to a 72yr old scouser called Les. An amazing character, full of stories of his travels. In ... read more
Two friends from Munich at the pool
Mountain/jungle view

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