#AllinModerationTravels – Santa Marta, Colombia

{Taganga, Colombia }

The second oldest city in South America, and the third largest port city in Colombia; Santa Marta was by far my favourite place to visit on our adventure. The history, the people, the lack of tourists – albeit a hub of tourism – the buildings, the food, the birthday celebration, all added to my love for this city. If there is one city on the trip I would return to and one city I could see myself living in, it would be Santa Marta.

Our time in Santa Marta began with a 4 hour private transfer from Cartagena. We traveled on a newly constructed highway along the Caribbean coast, through small fishing villages and Barranquilla (hometown of Shakira and Sofia Vegara). We arrived at our boutique hotel, Santa Maria del Mar, on the outskirts of Santa Marta. We had lunch, took a swim in the pool, and relaxed on our lovely patio for the rest of the day. Our night was met with a massive tropical storm that kept knocking our power out, and left us confined to our hotel room. Nothing like not knowing where you are in the world, not speaking the language well, and having to order pizza! It worked though. Our first night in Santa Marta was complete with a “deluxe” pizza, and an overly expensive bottle of Argentinian red. 

Day 2 began with a lovely breakfast at the hotel, followed by a tour around Santa Marta. We started with a macchiato at Juan Valdez (Colombian Starbucks), followed by a visit to the Casa de la Aduana, and Museo del Oro. We were able to see an aerial view of the Ciudad Perdida, where we would be spending 5 days the week later. We walked along the port, and found ourselves at La Canoa – an incredible Francocolombian café in the middle of the city. To die for coffee, even better sandwiches, fresh seafood, out of this world desserts. If visiting Santa Marta – this place is a MUST. Not a question. A MUST. I’m still dreaming of that sandwich. 

After lunch we continued to walk around the city – finding ourselves at a MASSIVE white-washed cathedral – Catedral de Santa Marta, some small little markets, and finally at our cab stop to head back to the hotel. For dinner we ventured up to Burukuka – a swanky restaurant perched on a cliff over-looking the Rodadero bay. Steaks and wine, followed by Aguardiente on the patio – this was my birthday dinner. Or so I thought….

Day 3 – my 30th birthday! Began with a Beer-garita on the patio, a little breakfast, a walk on the beach, and a trip to Taganga – a small fishing village / backpacker haven approximately 20 minutes from our hotel. We ate some lunch and had a few cervezas at an open air restaurant on the beach – PLENTY to choose from – took some photos of the scenery – and had some delicious coffee, Aguardiente, and my birthday cake (!) at a cute little place called Cafe Bonsai. An incredible place to see, Taganga was, but only for the short amount of time we spent there – I couldn’t see myself staying there unfortunately. I was pretty well turned off when I witnessed a homeless man wash himself and empty his waste in the ocean at the beach, and a dog come and slurp up the neon-coloured remnants. Not for me… 

We came back to our hotel to find the staff had decorated our room with balloons and banners wishing me a Happy Birthday! (Feliz Cumpleaños!), and were told to be ready for 7pm for a surprise. Our travel guide (guru) had planned a lovely catered dinner on the beach! What a great way to spend my 30th birthday! 

The rest of the evening was spent preparing for our 5-day trek to the Ciudad Perdida. We packed, we popped Malaria pills, and we went to be early with a slight bit of nervousness looming over our heads for what we were about to get ourselves into. The ADVENTURE was on the horizon….

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{ Our beach-front paradise }

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{ Not a terrible pool to have handstand competitions in! }

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{ Our little beach }

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{ Your all-inclusive’s done Colombian style }

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{ 9 am Beer-garita time done 30th birthday style! }

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{ Caribbean sunset }

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{ Catedral de Santa Marta – this thing was MASSIVE – at least 3 city blocks worth… }

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{ Lunch at La Canoa – chicken panini, shrimp bruschetta, and some mighty find Gin & Tonics and Cuba Libres }

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{ Proper Profiteroles for dessert! }

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{ A Colombian kitty in Taganga }

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{ Coming into Taganga, Colombia }

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{ My decorated room! }

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{ My surprise birthday dinner on the beach! }

XO

Ally

 

 

 

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