We’re in a minibus on the way to Santa Marta. We’re on a hunt for beaches to dwell on and this old colonial city promises just that. Felipe, our friend from Guatavita is also on the way, and it’s very likely that we’ll meet up, though where and when is yet to be established.
The plan is to spend three days here, another three in Taganga, a fishing village across the hill from the city, and then fly out from Santa Marta, back to Bogota and then to Sao Paulo, Brazil. On the way we find out that the minibus can take us all the way to Taganga, and adventurous (or lazy) travelers that we are, we decide to journey on for another ten arduous minutes to the fishing village.
We’ve heard a bit about Taganga. It promises to be a quiet little village with pristine beaches, good seafood, where relaxation is the order of the day. As we climb up the hill towards the village, we are pleased by the sight in front of us. The water is calm and pretty, the village a mere handful of buildings.
We check in at the Casa Felipe, a hostel owned by a French Michelin grade chef (we just can’t say no to a French gourmet meal). The place appears to be a backpacker’s haven, judging by the folks lying in the hammocks, and the occasional whiff of grass burning. Must be in the Lonely Planet.
A few hours soaking up the sun, a seafood platter at a kiosk, a coffee at the Bonsai cafe, a smoothie while lying on a hammock and before we know it, the sky is crimson, the sun about to set and the day coming to an end. The view from the roof of the building is stunning, the sun behind the bay turning everything red. This is awesome, we can do this for a while, and we’d probably extend our stay were it not for the limiting budget airlines, they allow no room for second thoughts.
The second day we get in touch with Felipe, who is on the way with some friends. We’re pretty excited to see him again after so long. Felipe arrives with his two friends, somewhat reminiscent of the three musketeers. Omar is a doctor with a knack for hang gliding and paragliding. Poncho is an engineer who’s been forced into a vacation by a recent lay off.
We suggest to the trio that they check into our little paradise and perhaps go for a swim, but the fellas have different plans in mind. We find out that this is merely a transit stop and that their itinerary is to head off to La Guajira, Colombia’s northernmost region, bordering Venezuela.
They promise to take us to virgin beaches, deserts, tropical forests, snow capped mountains, waterfalls, and all sorts of wild adventures which a Don Quixote like myself finds impossible to resist. My better half is a bit reluctant, we have it good already and if it ain’t broke there’s no need to fix it, but as another saying has it… when in Colombia, follow the Colombians. So we decide to tag along and in 20 minutes we’re bound for roads unknown. Omar, the driver, graciously takes us on a quick tour of Santa Marta (that way we can pin it on Facebook and proudly say that we’ve been there). 😉
Santa Marta is a nice enough town, but it is immediately evident that we’ve made the right choice and that we won’t miss out on much. Night descends and since we’re nowhere near our first destination, Lucas’ coconut plantation, the boys make a few calls and manage to find us accommodation. We end up at a collection of cabanas by the beach, and are promptly greeted by a nice looking rat in front of our hut. There is a power shortage in the area which is great because it makes for a nice night looking at the stars, making conversation, and sipping on some good old ron (rum in English).
Good times, good day, good night.