We arrived in Cartagena at 1:30am on Tuesday morning (yep, that’s right), and after a couple hours of rest we headed out on a City Walking Tour. The tour was not the best walking tour we’ve done however it was a good way to get our bearings and see all this cute colonial town had to offer.
The streets were very clean and lined with expensive boutiques, delicious restaurants, and beautifully painted colonial and post colonial buildings. However, it was also still possible to find lunch for less than $4.
We spent 4 nights in Cartagena and during this time relaxed, explored the town and indulged in a delicious seafood feast at La Cevicheria (way out of our standard budget but delicious and totally worth it for a one off).
We also had a fun night out at “Media Luna,” the local Wednesday/Miercoles rooftop party place with a group from our hostel.
One of our favourite afternoons was spent watching the sunset from the old city walls. If you feel like a drink you can buy one at the ridiculously overpriced bar (Cafe Del Mar) on the wall, or a much cheeper tinny from one of the local men with eskies set up for your convenience right next door. Or even cheaper still, BYO from a local supermarket.
Nothing too crazy to report.. Next stop Capurgana and Sapzurro before heading to the San Blas Islands!
Monday night (June 15th) Sar finally arrived from Australia… I’ve been waiting months for her to get her butt over here. We met her at the Bogota Airport at 10pm, and headed back to our hostel for a rest after her 32 hour journey to us. The next day we hopped on a flight to Santa Marta, a city on the Caribbean coast in the north of the country.
We landed in Santa Marta and headed for our hostel, Masaya. This is an awesome hostel with 2 pools, super clean bathrooms and some super friendly staff. We had a couple of problems with not having lockers (in a room that had been broken into the night before) and a few unfriendly staff members, but for the most part it was a good place to stay. And their mojitos were unbeatable.
From Santa Marta we headed out on a day trip to Minca.
In Minca we visited a coffee plantation; La Vittoria, visited a waterfall with a small but fun rock jump and checked out a restaurant surrounded by loads of tiny hummingbirds.
The day was awesome and our only regret is that we didn’t spend a night in Minca.. nonetheless Palomino and Tayrona were calling.
The next day we jumped on a 2 or so hour bus from Santa Marta to Palomino. We arrived, turned towards the ocean, walked for 15 minutes or so and found The Dreamer Hostel. We checked in, dropped our belongings and dived in the pool. The hostel grounds are really nice, complete with a restaurant and bar.
The next day we hired tubes, jumped on the back of a couple of motorbikes and headed to the river with a few people from hostel. We unfortunately didn’t have our camera with us however it was awesome. Picture Jurassic Park (with less dinosaurs), a wide and very slow moving river, cervezas and some seriously strong sun. From town you pay a guy to take you to the river, walk up a path (quite steep but nothing unreasonable) jump in the river and float down for around 3 hours. Don’t get the wrong idea.. this isn’t extreme tubing, it’s much the same to being in the bath tub.. but with 10 people and more beer.. depending on what bath time is like at your house.
The next day we hopped on the bus bright 'n' early and headed for Tayrona National Park.
TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK
After driving at the entrance to Tayrona we paid our fees (roughly $20AUD) and begun the walk to Cabo San Juan, the 3rd beach campsite. It was totally worth it and took us less than an hour and a half.
The beach at Tayrona was the nicest we saw on the coast in Colombia (until we got to Capurgana and Sapzurro). We were lucky enough to stay in hammocks in the hut overlooking the water.
That afternoon we lazed around, read our books and enjoyed our surroundings. After a mostly good sleep in the hammocks we got up early and headed back to the entrance before jumping on a bus back to Santa Marta.
Next stop Cartagena!
Saturday morning the sun was shining and so we decided to go trek around the Cocora Valley.
We headed to the main square in town and jumped in a "collectivo" taxi jeep, that costs around 3500 pesos per person to the Cocora Valley. We jumped out of the car after about 30 minutes and started out on the valley loop trail.
The trail started following straight along a valley floor between fields of fat grazing cows, before zig zagging through thick lush rainforest and crossing over several streams via some cool, rickety suspension bridges. The trail began to wind uphill until eventually popping out above the thick rainforest towards the top of the valley.
Here the path turned into a gravel road and we continued on for another 10 minutes until we reached an awesome little spot looking over the valley and surrounded by the famous, giant Cocora Palms.
Here we ate our tasty packed lunch we had bought from the wonderful people at "Brunch" cafe in town that morning (which included delicious chicken salad rolls and peanut butter brownies), and basically slothed around in the sun taking in the scenery.
After we were done eating we continued on and finished the loop back to where the Jeep had dropped us off to grab a lift back to Salento. Whilst the walk wasn't flat and was a tad muddy in parts, it also wasn't too hard and only took us around 3 hours to complete including our little lunch break. This was such a beautiful day out, and we would really recommend it if you're in this part of the world.
G'day I'm Bec
I'm an Aussie who loves travelling, hiking, trail running and pretty much any activity you can do outdoors.
This blog may contain several affiliate links to products and services that I use and love. By clicking on these links, I might get a teeny tiny contribution towards my travel fund, at no extra cost to you!
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