Loving Cartagena!!

Trip Start Sep 30, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Hostal Media Luna

Flag of Colombia  ,
Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We left Taganga for Cartagena Saturday at lunchtime. We caught the shuttle service with the hostel and got picked up at the door, saving us the hassle of having to go to Santa Marta and the bus station. It took a while to pick up all the other passengers at the hostels but by 17.30 we were in Cartagena. We had checked out the Media Luna hostel online but had no booking. Sarah the Australian girl and some of her friends decided to go for the same hostel, they were 5 and the dorms sleeps 6 so they got one for themselves and Ramón and I got two beds in another dorm. The hostel is great! There is a small swimming pool and a really nice courtyard with sun loungers. On the top floor there is a great rooftop terrace with sun all day long. That evening we all went for dinner together at a really local restaurant just around the corner and then very expensive cocktails at Café del Mar. A very fancy place right by the sea. Then we went back for a well deserved rest and our first night in a dorm room, we have been spoiling ourselves with double rooms until now. The beds were really comfy, it is just really hot in Cartagena and the fan in the ceiling didn't really do the job to cool down the room enough.

The next day Ramón wanted to take it easy so I went out with Sarah and the guys to have breakfast. Because of it being Sunday we had problems finding a place, in the end we came across a chain serving waffles and crepes, since there weren’t many options we stayed even though it was a bit over our budget. The rest of the day was spent exploring Cartagena, it is a really beautiful city. Very historical and with many colonial buildings and an old city wall. On the Monday we all went to a mud volcano, it is a volcano that spews out mud instead of lava and you can bathe in it. It is of course supposed to be very good for your skin and all that so we couldn’t miss it. Who doesn’t want to swim in mud??!! The volcano is actually 2300 metres deep but it is impossible to sink for some reason, I guess the mud is denser than the human body so you float. There are some guys working at the volcano and they are of course totally prepared for the tourists. One takes your camera ad for 1€ he takes photos of you while in the mud. Another one helps you in and then takes the opportunity to give you a mud massage, another euro. Finally you walk down to a lake to get washed off by some kind ladies, another euro. Anyway, the excursion was cheap and we even had lunch included on the way back. All in all, a fun experience and it was even better going with a group of people you know. In the afternoon we just chilled out by the pool and on the rooftop terrace, waiting for the BBQ and pool party that was planned at the hostel for that evening. We caught up with some more people we had met earlier in San Gil and had a great night chatting and having beers, forgetting all about having to get up early to go to the immigration office to extend our visas. We decided to go with the sailboat I had checked out before leaving for the trip, however our visas expire on Sunday and the boat doesn’t leave until Thursday next week. In the end it wasn’t really complicated, photocopies of the passports, a form, a "fake" flight ticket, pay the fee at the bank and get some passport photos. Then off we went with a fresh visa stamp for another 30 days in our passports. Tomorrow we want to go to Playa Blanca on Isla Barú which is supposed to be really beautiful and great to relax a few nights in little huts on the beach. This weekend they have local elections and to avoid problems they are prohibiting all alcohol sales all weekend. So this weekend will be quiet.

We will probably stay at Playa Grande until Saturday and then come back here until Thursday when we are taking the Gypsy Moth to Panama. On Wednesday we have to meet the owners of the boat to give them our passports, they sort out the departure stamp with immigration for all the passengers the day before we sail.
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