From Cartagena 7 of our group headed north up the coast of Colombia to the quiet beach town of Santa Marta, about a 4 hour shuttle from Cartagena. Upon arrival we sent out a search party to find us a hostel for our stay, since true backpackers don’t plan in advance. After 4 hostels on 5 different streets we finally found the Emerald Hostel, which was truly a gem.
Our first day we meandered around the city, checking out the beach and our options for the next couple of days. We decided to take a daytrip to Tayrona National Park, and spent the rest of the time enjoying Santa Marta. Tayrona is a park with a beautiful coastline where you can hike from beach to beach through jungle terrain. We were lucky enough to see monkeys swinging above us and play in the trees as well as numerous lizards, millipedes, and other insect life.
Santa Marta has a couple of nice cafes where we spent time planning our next few weeks of travel and enjoying the finest coffee of Colombia. Unfortunately, our first day of enjoying Santa Marta was a Sunday and virtually everything was closed on Sunday. Another challenge we encountered was that anything you try to do on slow internet can take hours more than expected.
Tomorrow we catch a flight to the cooler climate of Medellín, famous for the being the home of Pablo Escobar.