Trip Start Mar 10, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Friday, June 17, 2011

So we`re now in Colombia, home of drugs, kidnappings and coffee. Well that`s the reputation it has for most people... 10 years ago maybe. Now it`s quite safe as long as you don`t venture out into the jungle where the guerrillas still operate. We crossed the border by bus which wasn`t recommended by other travelers as its deemed to be unsafe, but we had no problems.  They didn`t even check our bags! We spent two days in Medellin, home of the famous drug lord Pablo Escobar. The town's really safe now, police roam everywhere.  We got searched on a couple occasions which is apparently "standard practice". Medellin was a nice city but it wasn`t long till we craved for the beach, so we caught a bus to Cartagena on the Caribbean coast.

Cartagena is a beautiful colonial town surrounded by stone city walls used to keep pirates out many years ago. It`s got a vibrant night life which seduced us into staying here for a few days. We went on a day trip to a "mud volcano" nearby, which is basically a natural mud bath at the top of a hill made of mud. The mud bath is apparently 2000 meters deep but as you step in it, you find it impossible to sink as the mud is so thick it keeps you a float. It was a weird but fun experience, everyone looked like monsters in the mud (see photos). Cartagena, although nice, didn`t have many nice beaches near by so we headed north up the coast to Taganga.

Taganga itself is just a small fishing village full of tourists, noisy bars and a not so very nice beach. But next door we have Tayrona National Park, home to Colombia's finest beaches. We went on a fishing trip on one of the days and in the evening the fisherman dropped us off at a beach in the national park. You could only get to this beach by boat which meant it wasn`t overcrowded with people. We spent a night in a hammock and got eaten alive by mosquitoes.  Don`t think I`ll be doing that again! We spent the next day lazing on the beach, where we spotted dolphins and found giant starfish (see photos).
We ended up staying in Taganga longer then we expected as we signed up to do our PADI certificate (Scuba diving). We were planning to do it in the Philippines but Taganga turned out to be one of the cheapest places in the world for PADI at only Ģ160. The course lasted 3 days and we got taught in the sea which is quite unusual as you normally have your first lessons in a swimming pool, but I preferred it that way. Scuba diving is amazing, I can`t wait till we get to the Philippines so we can do some more.

Our South American trip ends in Bogota the capital of Colombia. Our last night here couldnīt have been any more perfect. We met a group of local percussionists who invited us to their house, where we drank and danced late into the night to Latin American beats.

Our flight leaves tonight at 11pm. Our next stop is New York and then Hong Kong. It will be sad to leave South America behind, it was truly an amazing place which I hope to return to one day.
The trip isnīt over yet as weīve got the whole of South East Asia to look forward to. Iīll keep you posted...
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