Santa Marta and Taganga

Trip Start Sep 30, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Aluna Casa y Café

Flag of Colombia  ,
Monday, October 17, 2011

Finally we reached the coast!! From San gil we got a "direct" bus to Santa Marta, we have now learnt that there are no direct buses in Colombia. After a lot of doubt about how many hours it would take, we ended up spending 15 hours door to door. The bus was probably the most comfortable until now, we were suprised it didnīt stop for any food break though, this might be normal with the overnight buses, I donīt know. We thought we would be brought all the way to Santa Marta but no, in Cienaga, a few kilometres from Santa Marta we had to get off because the big bus continued to Cartagena. They did have a small minibus waiting to take us to Santa Marta though, however it was already nealy full and it was tricky to fit all the backpackers with their backpacks. The busetas (minibuses) doesnīt have any space for luggage unfortunately so you just stuff them anywhere. Then the main road to Santa Marta was flooded or something and we had to go through all these little bumpy flooded muddy backroads. Just what you are up for after a 15 hours overnight bus. Finally we made it to the terminal and got a taxi the last few kilometres, we had decided to go to the Aluna hostel. They still had private doubles available so we booked in for two nights.
We thought it could be nice with a swim so headed down to the beach- what a disappointment! It was very very dirty and not inviting at all. still there were plenty of people swimming. We decided not to. We walked along the beachfront for a bit to take in the feel of the town and decided to jump on a buseta for another part of Santa Marta called El Rodadero where the beach was supposed to be better. El Rodadero beach was slightly better but still fairly dirty, Ramón decided to swim with the locals while I stayed dry with the little backpack and cameras. After the beach experience we thought we would get some food, all places were either really busy or not very interesting so we got on the buseta back to Santa Marta. Unfortunately between it being a Sunday and bank holiday weekend we literally could not find a single restaurant open, it was after lunchtime already. Off we went to the supermarket since we wanted to get some stuff for breakfast for the next day anyway. We are really surprised about the prices in the supermarkets, they are just the same as in Europe which doesnīt make any sense at all. So really there is not much saving in cooking at the hostel instead of going out to eat. The only saving would be the breakfast if you donīt have it included in the accommodation. The evening was spent getting information about Tayrona National Park and deciding if we should go to Taganga and check out the beach and the diving or go directly to the National Park the next day.

We decided that we had deserved a day at the beach so off we went this morning to Taganga, we had heard about a beach called Playa Grande, about 20 mins walk away from Taganga. The beach in Taganga was nothing to go crazy about either, they donīt seem to look after their beaches very well. Firstly we stopped by the Aquantis Diving offices to ask about the diving course, we had some doubts because of the weather. The visibility is not great because of the rain at the moment. But what can you expect when it is rainy season. We got a good feeling anyway and decided to think about it during the day and decide for sure before heading back to Santa Marta that evening. They told us to be careful walking to Playa Grande, there have been some robberies on the trail leading to the beach since it goes straight up over the mountain. A little worried we walked towards the trail and saw a tourist police office, we decided to ask them as well. They said the same, however they said that there is some security posted halfways and since it was bank holiday and many people going there shouldnīt be any problem. We decided to chance it. If we hadnīt had both cameras with us we wouldnīt have been worried but we didnīt want to loose both cameras, especially since we hadnīt downloaded the last photos yet.
Anway, we were fine and were happy to finally find a clean beach with nice but a little muddy water. I think the water conditions are not the best because of the rainy season. We got some sun chairs and sat down to enjoy, for about 15 mins and then a huge black cloud came along. Great!! The day was spent waiting to see if the rain would stop or not, we still swam, the water was warmer than the rain so we thought we might as well swim if we were going to get wet from the rain anyway. There were plenty of restaurants cooking up lunchmenus with freshly fried fish. We tried a different type of fish each one and it was really nice! By the time we had eaten the rain still hadnīt stopped so we decided to walk back to Taganga while it was just drizzling a little.
Still not completely convinced about the whole diving thing because of the weather, we finally did sign up for the course starting tomorrow. We have to be at the office anytime between 08.00- 16.00 to watch a 3 hour video to explain the basics. I can do the course in English and Ramón in Spanish and we still get to dive together, so I think weīll do it that way. Tomorrow we will checkout from Aluna in Santa Marta and get a hostel in Taganga so we are close to the office. Tomorrow we only do the theory video and then we have 3 days of diving, Wednesday in a confined area and then Thursday and Friday in the open water. Friday afternoon we sit an exam. They have a copy of the theory book here in the hostel and last night I started looking through it, I think I will have another look tonight until I get my own tomorrow.
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annette brondin on

Good luck with the diving!! And beware of big fish- the confined area sounds a great idea to a coward like myself!!

emelie78 on

No more diving! I chicked out.... I guess I am just too scared of the water.... I really tried several times but I just didn´t like the feeling of all that water above my head. Luckily the diving school are really honest and I can just pay for the one day I was in the water and not the whole course. I will just stick to snorkelling, enough water adventure for me!! :)

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