22.05.2013 - 29.05.2013
Day 80- Wednesday 22.5.13
Cartagena/ Santa Marta
We are packed up again for our bus to Santa Marta heading to Tyrona National Park. We get on the mini bus called Marsol bus that picks up people from hostels. We drive around Cartagena for about an hour before we actually get on the road. We notice that a guy we met in Mendoza is on the bus, how random! Our bus keeps pulling over and stopping and eventually the driver opens the bonnet and we stop for about half an hour while he tinkers with something. No one really knows what is going on. We then ask someone who speaks English and Spanish and he says we have to change buses. So we pull over again waiting for the new bus. There is another girl (Clara) going to the same hostel as us so we get chatting and say we will stick together to get to the hostel. The bus arrives and we all pile on, finally it seems like we are making progress.
We arrive in Santa Marta and drop someone off and then we seem to go to Taganga missing our hostel. We chat to Clara and again think that we are not getting to our hostel. We chat about our plans and decide to go to Tyrona together tomorrow.
We arrive at our hostel finally. A lovely place. Nip to the supermarket and back for dinner and sorting a plan with Clara. We hear a few bad stories about Tayrona National Park and good stories about this beach place just past it. So decide to head to Costeno beach in the morning instead.
Day 81- Thursday 23.5.13
Santa Marta/ Costeno beach
Sort out hostel back in Cartagena for night before our flight to Bogota on Monday. Pack up, leave our stuff at the hostel and take a day bag, head to the bus stop. A funny local bus,with sound system blaring, about an hour journey.
Get dropped off at the side of the road and head up a dirt track through a banana plantation. About a 20 min walk, we are hot and sweaty and a van drives by and gives us a lift for the last 5 mins, result! We meet Clara's friend Margot who has just arrived too.
Get shown to our hammocks that will be our home for the next 2 days. The place looks amazing, just a few huts on the beach and nothing else nearby.
We are in time for lunch which is great and then head to the beach - Laurence and I decide to go for a swim as it is so hot. The waves are pretty rough and can only manage to stand and paddle really, but refreshing. It is more for surfing than swimming. It starts to rain so we hang out in the dining area and learn how to play dominos from a guy called Kenny, who was from Haiti/ New York, who was really into alternative stuff like meditation and yoga. A very chilled out individual.
A guy called Santiago who works here has his birthday today so things are getting set up for that balloon blowing, banner hanging. We chill out till dinner. There are some lovely people staying tonight, I get chatting to a really nice German couple who are at the end of their travels and have about 2 weeks left. There are a few English lads, and a couple of Americans.
After dinner the party gets started with game of flip cup. Never played this before, we split in to two teams- Europe vs the rest of the world. There are 13 on each team. It is best of 3. Europe loses the first 2 and has to act like chickens and babies! We must focus and win the 3rd game as the forfeit is give a lap dance to someone on the oppose team. It is close but we win :-) Laurence gets a great lap dance off one of the owners of the hostel (a guy)- very funny. I luckily miss out on a lap dance as was not very keen on the idea. What a funny night.
Day 82- Friday 24.5.13
A really chilled out day, lazy morning, hanging out on the beach reading, all trying to finish our books. A totally relaxing day. Rain heads in about 4 so we all head to dining area again. New people have arrived, randomly a couple of people who were on the Pablo Escobar tour in Medellin. Adam lives in hackney, so we chat about home (Dalston and the kingsland road) which is very bizarre.
Nice evening of drinks and chatting.
Day 83- Saturday 25.5.13
Costeno Beach/ Santa Marta
OMG it is hot, hot, hot today!
We spend the morning on the beach. Loll and I in the shade in hammocks and Clara and Margot in the full on sunshine. Too hot for me! We don’t want to leave.
We check out about 12 and head to the road for the bus. It is too hot! By the time we have walked to the road, a 15 min walk, we are dripping. Luckily a bus turns up straight away, we hail it and it is going to Santa Marta. We arrive in Santa Marta and Margot gets off at the bus station because she is going to Taganga. The three of us wait until we see the big supermarket where we got on. After about 10 mins we start to worry and Loll pulls out his GPS on his phone. We have gone straight through Santa Marta and on the road out of it. The conductor says we need to get off and get a taxi back! We cross the road and hail another bus that we think says the same as where we got on originally. Some young lads get on and start speaking to us. We ask if the bus goes to big supermarket and point to the map we have. They say yes and will tell us when to get off. We approach a supermarket they tell us to get off, but it is not the supermarket we want! We get out and have to take a taxi back to the hostel!
Get back, pop to supermarket, have a much needed shower- I literally stink! Chill for the evening. Dinner with Clara.
In bed in our 10 bed dorm, no air con, which was a bit of a mistake. It is soooo hot today.
Day 84- Sunday 26.5.13
Santa Marta/ Cartagena
We chill in the morning and say our goodbyes to Clara it has been lovely meeting her and we have both thoroughly enjoyed the last few days. She is heading back home tomorrow after 5 months travel. We get our Marsol bus back to Cartagena. The Journey is marginally quicker than the way there. We are staying more in old town this time as we had had enough of the area we stayed in before. We arrive at our hostel to be shown to the dorm which has bunk beds which are 3 beds high! As we are the last to arrive today- Laurence and I are in the top bunks! Don’t know how we are going to get in them let alone out! It is quite a small hostel but there are some lovely people, sit in the lounge for a chat before we head out to dinner. We wander round town but as it is Sunday there is not a lot open again, we manage to find a small cool looking café to have dinner and head back to the hostel. Apparently there is an airport in Santa Marta- if we had known this we could have flown direct from Santa Marta to Bogota, but didn’t know where we would be at time of booking.
Day 85- Monday 27.5.13
Up early to pack. We have to take our sleeping bags on as a big hand luggage bag. We arrive at the airport no problem. An easy flight with no issues. We arrive in Bogota and get a taxi to the hostel. The hostel is an amazing colonial house in La Candelaria area. We sort out some much needed laundry and take it round the corner. Joshua from the hostel advises us to write a list of everything that goes into wash as somethings have gone missing, which we do.
We then head out to dinner and end up in a café round the corner from the hostel ad an early bed.
Day 86- Tuesday 28.5.13
My camera has started playing up after getting some sand in it on the beach. I am worries it will break at the worst moment in the middle of the Galapagos or something, so we head out to see if we can find any camera shops with good deals. There are a few but we decide to wait and look at reviews on line before we buy. We then go to the Museo del Oro (Gold Museum) it is vast and has so much information in it. It is very interesting but Laurence and I are flagging and go for a late lunch.
We go to pick up our laundry, looks like everything is there. Take it back to the hostel and check off our list. We have everything plus a random pair of trousers, which we have to take back to the laundrette. The lady is very pleased we have returned them. At least we got all our stuff back!
We have arranged to meet Adrian tonight who is also now in Bogota. We meet in Bolivar square and find somewhere to go for a drink. We find the Bogota Beer Company (BBC) and have some local beers. It is nice to catch up and hear what he has been up to- we exchange stories. We are all going to the salt cathedral tomorrow so we decide to meet up and go together. We find a rather random pizza place for dinner and head back to our hostels.
Day 87- Wednesday 29.5.13
We are up and out early as it is a long journey to The Salt cathedral in Zipaquira. We meet Adrian at the bus stop that will take us to the where we catch a bus out of town. The journey to Zipaquira takes about 2 hours. We arrive in a nice little town with no signs to the cathedral. After asking about 5 different people we head in the direction of the hill and where we need to go. We walk up a hill to the main park, there are hardly any people here. We go to the ticket office. After discussing what ticket type to get we go to the main entrance. We were all expecting a cathedral carved out of salt or something like that, it is actually a salt mine where cathedrals have been made underground.
We wait for our tour to start to enter the mine. It is very interesting but just not what any of us was expecting, after a couple of hours walking round we decide we have seen enough and look for some lunch in town. We then jump back on the bus to Bogota for our last meal together.
We meet Adrian at his hostel, we have looked up a restaurant nearby to go to so try and find this, It is closed! So wander round looking for a place for dinner. We find a nice hotel/ restaurant and have a nice meal. It feels strange again to say goodbye to Adrian who is heading home to the UK and we are heading back to Ecuador to meet Nikki and Andy.
We have had an amazing time in Colombia and already want to come back soon for a 2 week holiday for all the things we have missed out :-) something to look forward to once we are back in the UK!