Goodbye Colombia, Hello 24 Hour Bus To Caracas.
Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
435Trip End Dec 31, 2018
In Cartagena we made a big decision.
For weeks we have been vacillating about whether to even go to Venezuela. So many travelers we have met and talked to, who seem quite adventurous, have left Venezuela off their itinerary.Should we be leaving it off too?
"Too dangerous" they all say.
“You'll get mugged” others say.
“You’ll be express kidnapped” (kidnapping until they empty your bank accounts via ATM’s)
“But we have always wanted to see Angel Falls the highest waterfall in the world” we say
“Don’t do it!”
We emailed a Venezuelan tour agency, Osprey Expeditions (Lonely Planet suggested) and requested them to work up an itinerary that looked after us from the moment we arrived at the Caracas airport, until we left for our next destination, but the sticking point was the price of airfares to Caracas - $1,000. The express bus would take us from Cartagena in Colombia, over the border, and onto Caracas in Venezuela for $200, without changing buses. After some internet and Lonely Planet research we decided we were up for the big adventure of the 24 hour bus trip – and to save ourselves $800!
So in Cartagena we made the big decision.
Buy that bus ticket and just do it!
Our first morning in Cartagena was spent finding the tourism information office, so they could direct us to where we could buy our bus ticket. Once it was purchased a weight was off our mind – now we could get on with seeing the sights of Cartagena
And see the sights we did! - Particularly Independence Day celebrations. The whole place was alive and buzzing with excitement as a huge parade of colorfully dressed children danced their way right past our hostel. The parade took 2 hours to pass, it was so long. The next day the celebrations became edgier though, as it was the adults turn. After a morning of sightseeing and attending to some housekeeping matters (we both got out hiking boots repaired and Avan’s backpack) we sensed a real mood change on the streets, as gangs of youths dressed in shorts and body paint and waving sticks shook money tins at foreigners looking of coins. Blue paint was being thrown at people and cars, and youths with cans of spray foam were looking for some people to harass. A time for prudence we decided. With only few short trips out to get some food, and to get some printing done at an internet café across the road, we stayed decidedly” in” and away from the trouble.
Footnote: Port, Fortresses and Group of Monuments, Cartagena are UNESCO World Heritage listed.