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Published: February 10th 2007
Well after two weeks on the continent of South America, now´s the time to fill you in on the Carribean Coast of Colombia...
So we flew into Cartagena from Panama City and spent 5 days in this cool colonial city. Lots of history; Cartagena was the most important port city in Spanish Empire to move the gold off this continent. As a result, it has built up some impressive architecture including large elaborate cathedreals, huge stone walls, and numerous forts and convents scattered around the area. Highlights in Cartegena would definately be walking around the old city ceter, which has beautiful colonial architecture. The fort, El Castillo de San Felipe was great too. It is an impressive fort overlooking the old city and has a elaborate network of tunnels that you can go exploring (quite erie and many are not lit - when you dont have a flashlight it is an interesting experience!). Conventa del la Popa is a convent located on a hill that overlooks the entire city and was also well worth the trip.
We had a really interesting experience one day on an adventure to Volcano Totumo, Columbia´s largest mud volcano for a
soak. A very unique expereince to say the least. The pictures do most of the describing for themselves, but imagine standing in a tub of thick cream. In the picture in the pool, we are standing straight up and down-the density of the mud doesn´t allow you to sink. It is a very strange feeling indeed!
From Cartegena we bussed it 6 hours up the coast to Santa Marta, Colombia´s oldest town but definately not the nicest. The Israeli travellers I met here told me the place looks just like Tel Aviv, which may explain their desire to stay in the surrounding area. Just north of the town is a little fishing village of Taganga which provided a nice day trip for some swimming and hiking and beautiful views. Another day we also went scuba diving and were treated to a large varity of corals, many different fish species and a couple small shipwrecks. Santa Marta was also our jumping off point for the Lost City trek.
After returning from the Lost City, we headed out to Parque Nacional Tayrona. A very beautful park consisting of many beaches strung out along a rugged coast line. You can stay
Dinner and a Cerveza
One of the many fishes ben has digested on this trip. Check out its teeth...
at a varity of primitive establishments that offer hammocks, tents of cabanas along a handful of beaches. There is no development and no roads so you have to hike into it. We spent 3 days exploring the beaches, rocky points and tropical jungle behind the beach. A word of advice to anyone who is planning on stopping here (highly reccomended): bring lots of water and food into the park, as the cost of food is double the price compared to the rest of Colombia. Ice cold beer is still a steal in my opinion at 2500 Pesos or the equivalent of $1.25 Cdn. This place definately warrents a return sometime - it is the ideal place to wind down to begin any South America trip. Very tranquillo.
As all travellers who have come before me have said, Colombian people come true to the word of being extremely friendly and helpful. Another thing I must add is the delicousnous (is that a word?) of their coffee and fruit juices (and they have the most variety of fruits in the world). You can buy coffee and/or frutas natruales virtually anywhere you look...mmmm.
Aight, so with this wrapped up we
are off on a little jaunt into Venezuala to find out for ourselves if what they say about the gas prices is true (something like 5 cents a litre?) We´ll find out and get back to you...
B & N
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