Romancing the Stone in Cartagena and beyond

Trip Start Mar 29, 2010
Trip End Sep 01, 2010

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Monday, May 17, 2010

Phew! After a 6 day jaunt on the ocean we could finally throw our sea sickness patches to the wind and step on to solid ground in Cartagena, Colombia! Ahhhh Colombia! Home of cocaine, kidnapping and gorilla groups! Or so you think. On the contrary, Colombia has got to be one of the most beautiful places we have ever been to. It is home to the friendliest people we have met so far and also it is the safest we have felt the whole trip!

If you have seen the movie "Romancing the Stone", you have heard about Cartagena! Cartagena is a city on the north east coast of Colombia. It has a colonial old city and a modern part that is surrounded by long white sand beaches and thousands of sun loving locals. The six of us made our way into the old city and set up shop in a hostel room with 3 bunk beds! Cozy! The old city in Cartagena was amazing. Carey went as far as saying "I think this is the best place I have ever been to"! Now that is a bold statement! We spent our days wondering around the cobble-stoned streets, admiring the architecture and seeing the sights, while we spent our nights on the rooftop terrace of our hostel and sampling the beverages at the local bars and discos! We celebrated Carey's b-day in style in one of the many squares in the old town and were entertained by various street performers. The funniest being the guy with the very believable horse costume that would charge at the tables and scare the shit out of you if you weren't paying attention!

From Cartagena, we took the bus out to the not so sleepy fishing village of Taganga. Taganga was an interesting place because it had about a zillion hostels on dirt roads and hundreds of hippies + travelers, mixed with clubs playing the loudest music possible until late into the much for the sleepy fishing village we were expecting! We only had one day here before our trek into Tayrona National Park. We spent the day floating around on tubes, beer in hand trying to cool ourselves off from the intense heat! Not so bad..haha. Oh ya, Dave felt something nudge his leg while propelling the tube for Shannon and I, we later found out that we were in the area where the small sharks hang out...real cool! (So Carey was the smart one who wouldn't let any part of her body touch the water assuming the hilarious plank position while on the tube ;-) At night we ventured out to the local disco and ended off the night by sitting by the beach under the stars.

The next morning we made the 3 hour hike through the jungle through Tayrona National Park to Cabo Beach, passing monkeys, crabs, iguanas, gigantic industrious ants and the biggest bumble bee we have ever seen (cue Lauren screaming and running around in circles). When we finally got to the beach, we thought we had stepped out onto a movie set. It was the nicest beach any of us had ever seen. Cabo beach has two half moon shaped bays separated by huge rocks and lined with jungle palm trees and white sand. Really really really nice...and hot as hell! Walking up upon the beach was like stumbling upon the ``others`` in the show Lost, or some kind of jungle commune. There were tents everywhere, hammocks, people playing soccer and frolicking in the ocean. So we joined in on the frolicking and sun tanning in this jungle beach dream from the movies. All was well in paradise until we got into our tents the first night. We immediately regretted the decision of tent over hammock when we got into the damp, sweltering sleep deprivation chambers. The next night we slept in the hammocks arriba (on top of the giant rock looking over the ocean) Now, this was the life....until a huge tropical storm hit us at about 5 am! We all came to the conclusion that there is no real paradise, you can be in the most beautiful place..but if it`s not the intense heat and salt that gets to you, it`s the sand fleas or mosquitoes or giant tropical storms from mother nature and swoop in and remind you who is boss

After two days of roughing it in paradise, we headed out of the jungle and had to say a very quick and sad goodbye to our friends who had to catch their flight to Bogota! We were so sad to see them go and wished they could all just quit their jobs and come along with us for the rest of our adventure...damn reality, it always gets in the way! After we parted ways, Dave and I just chilled out in Taganga and planned our next steps. We decided on Medellin..home to the most beautiful girls, with the biggest boobs (apparently plastic surgery is cheep in Colombia) ...I wonder who influenced that decision ;-)

To boob continued...

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