Colombia was intimidating and challenging but oh so worth it all.
This was one of the only trips that I did not plan. I ended up going last minute with my boyfriend (now fiancé) and four other guys. Looking back, I can’t believe I thought it was okay to crash this boys trip, but I think they were all very glad I was with because I was the only one who spoke any Spanish. Colombia, or at least the are we were in, was not easy to navigate if you didn’t speak any Spanish. Although this would be potentially disastrous to some, I loved this! This is still one of my favorite countries because it challenged me so to use my Spanish skills and it was fun being somewhere that wasn’t so touristy.
We flew into Cartagena during the height of the Zika epidemic. So, our flights were insanely cheap at 0. We had grand plans of flying to Medellin or Bogota for a few days, but we really enjoyed the coast and ended up staying there for our nine day trip. Once we landed in Cartagena, we took the city bus to Santa Marta. From there, we found a guy to drive us the extra ways to Taganga, a small coastal village.
Taganga was such a dream. This is probably one of my favorite little villages and will always hold a special place in my heart. We stayed at the most charming little hostel called Casa Morninga. I honestly can not find this hostel on Hostel World, but I really hope it is still in business. The rooftop terrace was truly one of a kind.
Besides our amazing hostel, there was just such a sense of peace in this town. We ate at a little restaurant on the beach for nearly every meal. Our whole group decided to go scuba diving, one of my favorite hobbies. I wish we had been able to spend more time here, but there was more to see.
Tayrona National Park
We made a stop at Tayrona national park one day on our way to Palomino. This is kind of like an eco-park. We were able to rent some horses to ride into the park and hung out at a little inlet all day. There were concessions and lots of families here. The views were stunning.
Our next stop was the small surf town of Palomino. Unfortunately, the ocean was a little too ruff for us to actually surf, but we still had a great time. We met some random guys that drove us up into the rainforest and dropped us off near the river with some tubes. It was totally sketchy, but made for a great memory. We stayed at the Tiki Hut Hostel which was the most expensive place we stayed in in Colombia, but it was worth it.
We fully intended on staying the night in Minca, but we found that there wasn’t too much to do here. But please don’t skip it! There were beautiful views and it seemed to be a wonderful place to stay and really relax away from more touristy destinations. We watched the sunset here and then found someone to give us a ride back to Cartagena where we would finish our trip.
Certainly one of my favorite cities, Cartagena is an unexpectedly bright and vibrant colonial style city. There is a big wall that separates it from the ocean, carriages roaming the street, and a new burst of color around every corner. We stayed at Viajero Cartagena Hostel. This was an excellent hostel with great night life and dancing lessons!
While in Cartagena, we took a couple of day trips. One to Volcan de Lodo El Totumo. This is where you can bathe in a big mud bath. It was definitely a unique experience as you are guided into the mud baths by some local workers and they massage you as you float in the mud. Afterwards you are treated to a very thorough wash down.
Our other day trip was to Playa Blanca. The oceanfront right outside Cartagena isn’t the most ideal, so we sought out nicer beachfront. Playa Blanca has cabanas, restaurants, jet ski rentals, and much more. Definitely worth the trip!
The coast of Colombia was beautiful and full of adventure. I do hope to make it back one day and visit more of the country.