We're flying on the highway, northbound to the Caribbean coast of Colombia, past the port-town of Barranquilla, towards Santa Marta. Although the temperatures are still scorching, in the low 30s, I can feel the humidity wash off of us as if they were wraps of stifling plastic blown away by the windblast of our racing motorcycles.
This feels good - breaking new ground after 3 months of re-riding through Central America. Although it was nice to actually see these countries properly instead of blasting through it the first time, there is nothing like riding into the unknown, the unexplored. I don't regret our boomerang tour, but re-tracing some of the same routes felt a bit stale, like drinking microwaved water.
Stopping for a scenic break on the road between Santa Marta and Taganga
Santa Marta is a fair-sized city, but Neda has us bypassing it and heading over the sea-side mountains to the tiny beach-resort town of Taganga. It'll be less hectic than the city, but still close enough to Santa Marta to run errands if we need to. The road between the two towns is twisty and winds high along the coastline to give a terrific view of the shore below.
Taganga coming into view, nestled in the cove of the green Carribean coastal mountains
Taganga is a paradise! The temperature is hot, and it doesn't seem to rain very much on the coast. There's very little humidity and most importantly - no mosquitoes! Perfect place to drop all our bags (and panniers and topcases) and just catch our breath. Neda finds us lodging at the Tayrona Dive Center, a huge complex that caters to scuba divers. Since it's off sea-season, we get the largest room in the building!
Even though we've only booked this place for four days I have a feeling we'll be staying here for a while...
Pretty much all we do all day
Also some of this as well...
Taganga is a two-street town, and during the day we walk along the shoreline to grab a bite to eat and check things out. On the weekends, tourists and residents from Santa Marta all flock here to catch a lancha (boat) to take them to the pretty beaches near Tayrona National Park, just around the corner. However, during the week, the place is basically deserted and it feels like we have the town all to ourselves!
A typical Taganga weekend
Bye bye, tourists! We live here now.
Street performers play for the weekend crowd
I think this is one of the indigenous Colombians. He looks like a hippy!
A bit of drama at the Tayrona Dive Center
There's a bunch of shacks and small houses next to the place we're staying, and there are always kids out in the yard playing and lighting firecrackers all hours of the day and night. One afternoon, our room becomes filled with smoke and we quickly realize that it's coming from outside!
I race downstairs to see that a fire has started in the dry grass on the front yard, not 50m away from our parked bikes. I tell Neda to be ready to move the motorcycles in case the flames spread, and I rush out to help the owner of the hotel, and the owner of the attached restaurant to form a water bucket line to help put the fire out.
The firemen arrived long after we put out the blaze. They just wet the grass to prevent a secondary fire from starting. But behind the hotel, I could hear the unmistakeable sound of a mother unleashing a huge ass-whooping on her kid, presumably the one who started the fire. An unmistakeable sound because it's one that I'm very familiar with from my own childhood...
That evening and the next day, our front yard was silent with the sound of no kids playing, and no firecrackers being lit...
The Taganga cove opens out into the west and every evening we are treated to a spectacular sunset,
each single one different from the ones before!
View of Taganga beach from the rooftop restaurant attached to our hotel
Tanganga being a resort town, there is no grocery store here and the restaurants and corner-stores flourish. Since we can't be eating out at restaurants every day, Neda runs into Santa Marta every few days to go grocery shopping. Meanwhile I pretend to work on the blog. I haven't put anything out in over a week, and I get a few concerned emails asking if we are okay. It always surprises me how many people keep up with us on the blog and it's a nice feeling having people watch out for us out there!
During one of her Santa Marta runs, a peculiar passenger hitches a ride to the city
I did accompany Neda to a couple of her Santa Marta trips and we spent the afternoon walking the Malecon. It was very busy and there were a lot of police patrolling the beaches. I like our quiet Taganga beach better...
Police officers and tourists mingle on the beaches of Santa Marta
That hippy guy we saw in Taganga must be important, there's a statue of him in Santa Marta!
Uniformed police officer walks by while we take a break on the Malecon in Santa Marta
Being a big fan of sleeping, I am super-envious of this crib...
Back in our hometown of Taganga, we catch another spectacular sunset
Scuba is a popular activity in the coasts surrounding Tanganga
The owner of the Tayrona Dive Center asked us if we wanted to book a scuba trip when we first checked in, but we declined because it was too costly. After a week staying at his place, and maybe to thank us for helping put out the fire, he offered us a spot on his boat the next weekend with his next batch of scuba customers. We're only going snorkeling, but it was a nice gesture and we're really looking forward to it! Yay!
What a beautiful way to spend your days
If there isn't another blog post, you'll know the trip is over and we're staying here forever.
Love, Neda and Gene.