The morning before my late afternoon flight back to Bogota, I took the local bus for the 15 minute ride to nearby Taganga, what was once a remote fishing village now turned “gringo haven” for backpackers and SCUBA diving enthusiasts. I had considered staying here instead of Santa Marta, but had to make the choice between the national park and diving, as I was simply running out of time.
I strolled the small waterfront street for a while, watching the dive boats come and go, enjoying a delicious fruit smoothie. It is very common to see juice stands all over Colombia. They serve any number of combinations of fruits blended with either water or milk, and ice. Colombia has three types of passion fruit alone. I sampled the fruit, Lulo, indigenous to the Colombia region. The sweet, tart fruit made a deliciously refreshing smoothie!
A fellow traveler at my hotel back in Santa Marta told me not to miss Playa Grande during my visit to Taganga, a beach accessible only by boat or as Lonely Planet calls it, the “cliff hugging footpath.” I found the trail, and their description was spot on. The narrow little path wound up and over the cliff edge, so precariously perched that I held on to the cliff wall as a false sense of security. Finally I reached the crest of the footpath and I could see that Playa Grande is worth the 20 minute hike over the hill! The views from the hillside were spectacular, with the beautiful horseshoe-shaped deep blue bay below, rimmed by expanse white sand beach, flanked on both sides by the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The rustic beach had nothing more than a few beach chairs and several thatched hut restaurants noted for their good seafood. Unfortunately, there was no time for lunch, as I had to get back to Santa Marta to catch my flight.
Now during the heat of the day, it was too hot to even think about the hike back up over the hill, so I took a small boat back to town, $1.50 for a 10 minute ride. Judging by the clarity of the water, it was easy to see the diving draw. Ah for just a few more days in Colombia…
Every fellow traveler I met along this journey had a minimum of 3 weeks to explore Colombia, so my mere 10 days could not do the vast, beautiful country justice. I hope to return one day and devour it at a much slower pace, always pondering the question, “Could I live here?” In a word? “Si!”