First taste of Colombia in Santa Marta, Minca and Tayrona National Park

Santa Marta, Colombia
Day 13-17 of our South America trip (Read from the start!)

How we arrived:
After the boat trip, we had to spend one night in a hostel called Mamallena Cartagena as we waited to get our passports back. With passports in hand, we got a morning bus to Santa Marta. It was advertised as a 4 hour direct service, but took 6.5 hours including a taxi to the hostel, The Dreamer Hostel (rant to come).

Quick overview:
After a fairly long journey from Cartagena we decided to take it easy for the first afternoon, chilling by the pool (chill man) and then going to bed early. The “chilling” turned into a 24 hr “chill fest” as we were still recovering from the boat trip and the hostel was too comfortable to leave.

Coffee bean stages
Coffee bean stages

Feeling pretty lazy, we woke up early the next day to head on a day trip to Minca where we visited a coffee plantation and some waterfalls. It was a cool trip going up passed 2,000 feet in a 4×4 Jeep. Finally, we drank some great Colombian coffee. It’s surprisingly terrible in most places in Colombia as they export the good stuff!

The next day we went to Tayrona National Park and trekked to a beach called Cabo de San Juan, where we stayed overnight in hammocks. Sounds cool in theory, but in practice, it was not 🙂 The trek was fun but hot as we walked through what looked like a scene from Jurassic Park. We rented hammocks in a hut on top of this large rock in the sea. It was all well and good until a storm came around 10PM, turning serenity into cold-and-wetity. To make matters worse, we were joined by a large family of mice who kept us company (and up) all night. Heaven.

Unfortunately we didn’t get time to do the Lost City Trek before heading back to Cartagena for Christmas. Maybe next time 😉 Also, we only drove through the City of Santa Marta but to be honest, it looks like we didn’t miss too much.

Accommodation:
We stayed at The Dreamer Hostel for three nights in a private room with shared bathroom. Really really cool hostel with a great pool and well positioned to do different tours and activities. It was also right beside Heather’s favorite spot..the mall. Sigh. Then one night in a mice infested hammock. All about the experience, right?!

Rory’s rant:
Direct bus journeys in Colombia apparently don’t mean direct, they actually mean pick up everyone who wants a lift on the side of the road and 100 pitstops in random places along the way. Oh and also leave you nowhere near your intended destination for shits and giggles. Grrr.

Heather’s highlight:
My highlight was the coffee tour in Minca and the town of Minca itself. The drive up the mountain was crazy and the driver was blasting music in this old jeep, but worth the fear to explore the plantation and the waterfalls. I heard it’s also a good spot to stay for 1 or 2 nights if you have time so next time I would make more time so we could stay a night or two.

Read our blog from day one of our South America trip

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