End of the Colombian Camino

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. Continue reading

Parked in Parque Tayrona

I awoke very early to run errands and get all my stuff together for what I hoped would be an overnight visit to Parque Tayrona. According to the Lonely Planet, there was food available in the park, but I figured I had better take some provisions, just in case. Being Sunday morning, there wasn´t much to choose from except salchichas (vienna sausages) and mixed nuts and raisins from the minimart. Continue reading

Sunsets of Santa Marta

Another nice bus ride with a window seat from Cartagena to Santa Marta through Barranquilla, where I met three nice backpacking girls in the bus station, fresh out of college from San Diego, all fluent in Spanish. I traded them the cost of a cab ride from the bus station to the Centro in exchange for their translating skills. At a buck per person, they thought the taxi was too expensive and were planning to take the bus. Given my challenge of navigational Spanish, I definitely got the best end of the deal. Continue reading

Playa Blanca es Muy Bonita!

The most popular day trip out of Cartagena is an hour away by boat to the island of Playa Blanca…emphasis on “most popular!” It was a mob scene with what had to be 300 people crowded at the dock waiting for their number to be called, herded through the loading pen and wedged into the small boats so tightly there was no chance of hitting a wave and bouncing out. Continue reading

Mellow Metropolitan Medellin

The mere mention of Medellin brings up images of Pablo Escobar’s infamous drug cartel hit men gunning down policemen in the streets and reigning king over the hillside barrios. I did lots of research before deciding to make this stop. Once considered the most dangerous city in the world, the murder rate dropped in 2009 to it’s lowest point in 30 years. Now on the incline again, I figured I had better go before the upswing trend continues! Besides, if it was safe enough for Anthony Bourdain, I figure it was safe enough for me. Continue reading

Bogota First Impressions

Follow along on my whirlwind tour through Colombia where the tourism slogan is “Colombia — The only risk is you won’t want to leave!”

It is a beautifully rich country full of lush green mountain vistas, gorgeous white beaches, a proud and friendly culture, and plenty of creole-Caribbean style cuisine with lots of fresh seafood and tropical fruits.

First Stop:  Bogota

At 60 degrees, foggy and a bit rainy, it is much colder in Bogota than I had anticipated due to the high elevation.  I packed mostly for the tropics, which meant mostly summer clothes, so I spent the entire 3 days in the same warmer clothes from the plane ride. Continue reading