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Travel Adventure - Backpacking Latin America's Gringo Trail Backpacking Latin America starting in Cuba, then travelling from East to the west coast of Mexico before making our through Central and finishing in South America.

A longer stay in Santa Marta than expected

COLOMBIA | Monday, 10 August 2015 | Views [273]

It was a hot 4 hour bus ride to Santa Marta. The driver wasn't very good - brake happy and almost running in to bike riders. We arrived at Dreamer hostel which we emailed but were too late to respond so they called Drop Bear hostel for us and we got a taxi there. The hostel was quite big, in an old building which apparently used to be a house that belonged to the drug cartel. We got a private room which was huge and was nice to have our own space as we hadn't had that in a while. Pretty tired we were just hung out that afternoon in our room and by the pool. We went in to town to grab dinner. Santa Marta definitely didn't have the same beauty and charm as Cartegena. It actually seemed a little dodgy to me. When we walked down the Main Street where all the restaurants were it actually seemed to be kind of nice. We had dinner on the rooftop of a restaurant called Hemingway. Then walked down the street to find dessert. We bumped in to Patrick from the sail boat. He was at a restaurant his friend owns with a Swiss guy he met at his hostel so we sat down there and Matt and I shared yummy chocolate crepes. 

The next day we wanted to go to Tayrona National Park which has some beautiful beaches. By the time we got ourselves organised (I think we were enjoying our private room a little too much coz we had t had one in so long) it was about 10am and apparently it's a 2 hour walk to the beach once you get to the park entrance. We were wanting to get the overnight bus to Medellin that night which left around 6. We went to the bus stop which was down the road from our hostel. She said to just hop on the bus that said Tayrona on it. So many buses were coming past but none saying Tayrona. We eventually saw one.. it didn't stop. We decided to stand up coz we probably had to hail one down. None saying Tayrona came past. We were waiting for about 40min and by this time it was getting late to catch one and be back in time for our over night bus so we jumped in a taxi to another beach called Rodadero which was only about 20 mins away. When we got there it was a very touristy beach with lots of resorts and hotels on it. It had blackish sand and the beach was just packed with holiday goers. Oh well, it's a beach and it was hot so we could cool off. The water was quite refreshing, I went in a few times coz it was so hot laying in the sun. We then walked around trying to find food. There wasn't much around so got an ice cream to tie us over then got back in a cab to Santa Marta. Checked out Santa Marta beach (I didn't even realise there was a beach there) then got food at a cafe. The waitress was really nice and tried to speak English to us. She made a vegetarian crepe for me, which was huge! When we got back to the hostel we cooled off in the pool then started to research hostel to book for Medellin that night. The wifi was terrible so kept cutting out, so we'd jump on their computer which kept cutting out too. It seemed as though a lot of the hostels were booked out as apparently there was some huge flower festival on. We looked on airbnb and couch surfing too but had to be members to message people. It was proving difficult and we had to get on the bus soon. We made the last minute decision to skip Medellin and stay longer in Santa Marta, that way we could go to Tayrona National Park the next day, which is why we came to Santa Marta and there were cheap flights going straight to Bogota which worked out cheaper in the long run. So we then tried to book those flights through VivaColombia website. This was the most difficult website id ever booked flights through combined with the shit internet connection at the hostel, we spent hours trying to book the flights. Sometimes the page would just not click on to the next page and then it would say booking confirmed but the payment was denied. The girl who worked at the hostel said that sometimes it confirms your booking but then you have to go to the supermarket to pay for it. What? That's the strangest thing ever. So after we managed to book the Santa Marta to Bogota flight we needed a break so got some dinner at the hostel restaurant. We then relaxed on hammocks. Wifi seemed to be up again and Matt managed to booked the Bogota to Lima and Lima to Iquitos flights too! Yay! We can now go for bed. He did well. Matt has actually been really great this trip, researching and booking lots of hostels (more than me!) and help with planning our trip along the way. He's pretty much the keeper of the money coz he's better with numbers and conversion rates etc and asking for directions etc when we are lost, even with the major language barriers. Not to mention all the fun times we've been having haha. We definitely have the same ideas in mind of where we want to go, the type of places we want to visit and things we want to see and do, which makes it very easy. A great travel buddy :)

Tags: beach, cartel, hostel, rodadero, santa marta, tourist, town

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