New country – new continent! We arrived with the FerryXpress at the seaport in Cartagena, Colombia. So exciting to stand for the first time on the South American continent:-)
Cartagena – the walled city
Before the taxi dropped us off at our hostel we managed to pick up the Original Bill of Lading at the seaport marine (the most important document to get our car back). Immediately the next morning Ivan and Erdem started the process to release our vehicles. We loved to explore the different areas in the beautiful Cartagena, the Caribbean city with UNESCO World Heritage status. It was especially lively in the evening with cooler temps and with the beautiful Christmas lighting. We stayed for 3 nights at the Hostel The Roof. All in all the car shipping went well with the exception that Ivan’s mountaineering boots got stolen while the car was waiting to be loaded in Colon. Although we packed our stuff away and locked the back doors, the accessed the back of the car and went through our stuff and moved it around. Apparently somebody needed new boots?!
Watch this video about groups of local Cartaginians who gather in the park to demonstrate the local folklore dances. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEQZqXJPwqw
Volcán de lodo el Totumo
Instead of erupting with lava and ashes, this volcano spews forth mud. The crater is filled with lukewarm mud, which has the consistency of cream. You can climb into the crater and frolic around in a refreshing mud bath. You can’t sink in it…. you actually float and it’s hard to stay upright. The mud contains lots of minerals acclaimed for their therapeutic properties and feels good on the skin. Once we’ve finished, we went to wash the mud off in the lagoon. It was definitely the dirtiest bath but a lot of fun!
Minca & Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
We left the heat of the coast and reached a small mountain village called Minca, 600m high up in the Sierra Nevada. We spend some time at the Finca Sans Souci and went for a refreshing swim at the nearby Pozo Azul. We got GPS coordinates from Iguana 4×4 to explore some dirt roads above Minca in the Sierra Nevada. Amazing roads with spectacular views across the sierra to either to the coast but also the snow-capped peaks. This is also where we spent Christmas with Sarah & Erdem.
After this experience we definitely wanted to see more of the mountainous area in Colombia. The cost was very hot and very busy during the holidays. We were told that the beaches at Tayrona would be very crowded, so we decided to skip the Tayrona NP and La Guajira and headed south.