We arrived back in Santa Marta on Saturday January 16th at 9 PM packed like two mules, carrying a huge suitcase, an even bigger box and two carry-ons. We had 15 kg over the allowed weight limit in our suitcases and box! Luckily we checked in early and no questions were asked or fees were assessed. We had a hard time finding a taxi who could fit the box. The box was finally put in the trunck of a cab and tied with ropes to prevent it from falling off since the trunk could not be closed. Unfortunately we forgot to take pictures….
Sunday, January 17th, the marina was filled with 33 sailing boats from the world ARC (Around the world Ralley) and it was clear that the marina did its best to please them! The bathrooms and showers were cleaned more often, the garbage was now collected in bins, we all received a free copy of the Columbian Cruising Guide…. We got up early and immediately started to clean the boat. The water that came off the boat was black! It took us a full day to get back organised and have the refrigerator filled but it felt good to be back :-).
Monday, January 18th, we started planning our time left at Santa Marta. We decided we would leave the marina around the 27th since we had paid up till then. We still wanted to visit Bogota and Pereira (coffee region also part of UNESCO world heritage).
Wednesday, January 20th, the sailboats from the ARC did not leave today because there was too much wind to leave the harbour, about 30 KTS. We spent the aperitive with Andy and Gina Hilton from “Into the Blue”. They were one of the vessels participating in the ARC. They ARC started at Saint Lucia the 6th of January and 10 days later they were at Santa Marta, it took us 3 months….They will sail around the world in 16 months and thus only spend a couple days in each location. You get a taste of many things but everything is rushed. They were with their 3 children and two girlfriends on board so in total 7, sailing for 16 months together ! That will definitely be a challenge ! They were all pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of the Columbian people. After the 16 months they will definitely be able to say where they want to spend more time and sail at a more leisurely pace. We were happy we could leave the next day to Bogota and explore more of Columbia.
Thursday, January 21st, leaving Santa Marta at 7 AM to catch a bus to go to the airport of Barranquilla. When we got there our plane was delayed because of the bad air quality above Bogota airport. It was already 3 PM when we arrived at the hotel. We immediately left for the city centre, walking… it was only 5 KM… only we forgot we were now at an altitude of 2600m! My heart was not really cooperating, it was only much later we realized that the altitude was making us really tired. Bogota is the 3rd highest capital in South America, after La Paz and Quito.
At first, we were not so impressed by the city and were disappointed. The next day though we could appreciate the city better. There are 8 Mio. columbians living in Bogota! The second day we visited the Gold Museum, the Botero Museum and the National Museum.
By the time we got out of the National museum we were both beat from walking around the city…. The TransMilenio was packed and on top of it we took the wrong one. When we finally got near our hotel we ate chicken wings for dinner and watched two episodes of Homeland season 5.
Saturday, January 23rd we went to Zipaquira (49KM north of Bogota) by bus. The main attraction in this small town is the Salt Cathedral which is a catholic church built in the tunnels of a salt mine at 200 meters underground.
Although it is all very impressive I found it on the border of being “kitsch”.
Happy to have spent a day away from the hustle and bustle of the city we returned back to Bogota by 6 PM. Our faces were sunburned being so high and close to the equator ….
Sunday, January 24th, we had to get up early because we travelled by bus to Pereira (Zona Cafetera) about 357 KM. We left with the bus at 7.30 AM and finally arrived in Pereira at 4PM! Already happy we were not returning by bus but by plane ! The Finca hotel we stayed at (Finca Ilusion) was a winner !
Monday, January 25th, breakfast at Finca Ilusion.
I could sit for hours and just watch all the different birds coming for breakfast, but at 8 AM we were picked up to have a mountain bike tour in the Santuario de fauna y flora Otun Quimbaya.
In the afternoon we visited Don Manolo’s coffee plantation. It was really a great day. The family at the coffee plantation was so friendly and so dedicated to their product.
Tuesday, January 26th, a full day of travelling to get back to Santa Marta, with 2 delayed flights and an accident on the road from Barranquilla to Santa Marta, it was 8 PM by the time we got to the boat.
During all that travelling I read two books from Gabriel Garcia Marquez :
Memories of my Melancholy whores and No one writes to the Colonel. I enjoyed both very much but it is a style of writing that not everybody appreciates.
Friday, January 29th, we are finally leaving Santa Marta, direction Panama. We will not have internet for the coming weeks but you can follow us by clicking on the menu “Where are we” We have food to last for the coming month 🙂