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Cartagena’s Many Faces

The old town of Cartagena is a maze of beautifully restored colonial houses, churches, plazas or convents turned into luxury hotels. A characteristic of these colonial houses is an overhanging wooden balcony covered by a tiled roof and one or more shady patios inside. All houses have underground reservoirs that were used to store rain water before modern piping arrived. Evenings are the best times to explore, when temperatures become pleasant and buildings are illuminated

Women selling fruits, Old Town of Cartagena

Even during peaks of “La Violencia”, Cartagena remained a major tourist destination, domestic tourists as well as international travel groups, especially cruises ship, continued visiting. In the last few years the numbers have risen dramatically. In 2008, one million visitors wandered the historic center making it Colombia’s tourist destination number one, by far. Continue Reading →

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Cartagena – The Walled City

But the historic center is only an itsy bitsy tiny part of this city with one million inhabitants. Convento de la Popa, on top of a 180 meter high hill, provides the best view of the layout of this city, and only then one comprehends. A first taste we got when we approached the center from the bus terminal. The bus ride took an hour in heavy traffic and we passed endless stretches of poor, neglected neighborhoods. This is where 75 % of the locals live, Cartagena?s less fortunate residents

The old town of Cartagena is a maze of beautifully restored colonial houses, churches, plazas or convents turned into luxury hotels

The old town of Cartagena is a maze of beautifully restored colonial houses, churches, plazas or convents turned into luxury hotels. A characteristic of these colonial houses is an overhanging wooden balcony covered by a tiled roof and one or more shady patios inside. All houses have underground reservoirs that were used to store rain water before modern piping arrived. Evenings are the best times to explore, when temperatures become pleasant and buildings are illuminated. Continue Reading →

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Tayrona National Park – On A “Puente”!

 

Scenic white sandy beaches, framed by palm trees leaning into the emerald green water, you could not ask for more. This has made Tayrona to one of Columbia?s top tourist destinations. Unfortunately, there has been such an increase in visitors in the last years that the park sometimes had to be closed down...

Scenic white sandy beaches, framed by palm trees leaning into the emerald green water, you could not ask for more. This has made Tayrona to one of Columbia’s top tourist destinations

Scenic white sandy beaches, framed by palm trees leaning into the emerald green water, you could not ask for more. This all Caribbean image has made Tayrona to one of Columbia’s top tourist destinations. Continue Reading →

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Things To Do In Taganga

Nice swimming pool & great restaurant at the Divanga Hostel ... But disappointing rooms

Nice swimming pool & great restaurant at the Divanga Hostel … But disappointing rooms

Scuba diving and Spanish lessons

Taganga is a good place to get a diving license or do a refresher, since there are some decent dive sites around there and prices are unbeatable. A two tank dive costs 36 Euro and a PADI Open Water Diver license a mere 200 Euro. Unfortunately, those extremely low prices obviously have led to a lack of investment in modern material and several people in the group, including both of us, encountered unpleasant technical problems during the dives. Continue Reading →

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Cabo De La Vela – A Place To Chill Out

Who has not been to one of the many ?Ends of the world?? Ushuaia claims that title as many other places, but here on the tip of La Guajira, at the northernmost point of South America, it feels absolutely real.

Who has not been to one of the many “Ends of the world”? Ushuaia claims that title as many other places, but here on the tip of La Guajira, at the northernmost point of South America, it feels absolutely real.

From Punta Gallinas, we headed southwest again. After a four hour rocky ride, we stopped for lunch in Cabo de la Vela, a fishing village that has become a popular destination for travelers to chill out. It is best described as two long parallel rows of wooden huts running along the ocean. Lots of simple cabanas for rent, restaurants, and even Internet has found its way here. Continue Reading →

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Deserted Beaches & Starry Nights In Punta Gallinas

The next morning we set out for Taroa Beach, which even outdid Bahia Hondita. High-towering dunes roll into long stretches of golden sandy beaches. Naturally we tumbled, ran and slid down the dunes. Climbing up was less fun though. It was just us, and nobody anywhere near us

The next morning we set out for Taroa Beach, which even outdid Bahia Hondita. High-towering dunes roll into long stretches of golden sandy beaches.

Who has not been to one of the many “Ends of the World”? Ushuaia claims that title as many other places, but here on the tip of La Guajira, at the northernmost point of South America, it feels absolutely real. Continue Reading →

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Sal Y Carbon – The Riches Of La Guajira

 

There, the salt is collected in artificially made pans. In the nearby plant it is cleaned from sand and then piled up in a huge pure white mountain, a majestic sight. It is finally scooped into bags of approx. 50 to 60 kilograms and then heaved onto trucks

Manaure, the biggest “Salinas” (salt fields) on La Guajira Peninsula

Before heading to Punta Gallinas, the very tip of the Guajira Peninsula and the northernmost point of South America, we turned north to the salt fields of Manaure, the biggest “Salinas” on the peninsula. There, the salt is collected in artificially made pans. In the nearby plant it is cleaned from sand and then piled up in a huge pure white mountain, a majestic sight. It is finally scooped into bags of approx. 50 to 60 kilograms and then heaved onto trucks. Continue Reading →

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La Guajira – Columbia’s Wild, Wild East

 

The small town of Uribia, only an hour?s drive from the border town of Maicao, is teeming with smuggled goods. Gasoline is the prime merchandise, easily available at every street corner for 35 cent a liter, cheap, but still ten times the price of what it costs in Venezuela

The small town of Uribia, only an hour?s drive from the border town of Maicao, is teeming with smuggled goods. Gasoline is the prime merchandise, easily available at every street corner for 35 cent a liter, cheap, but still ten times the price of what it costs in Venezuela

La Guajira’s reputation as a place beyond civilization is easily understood when looking at its past and modern history. A place where centuries ago pirates attacked Spanish ships loaded with precious cargo and strong-willed Wayuu never surrendered. Modern days see different kind of adventurers: large scale smuggling is so widespread, extensive and above all, so obvious that it is almost beyond belief. Continue Reading →

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Riohacha

We did not expect much, but were pleasantly surprised to discover a town with a breezy ?Malecon? lined with people selling Artesania and seafood restaurants. Even the beach is quite nice, anyway a lot nicer than the ones at such popular places like Taganga or Santa Marta

We were pleasantly surprised to discover a town with a breezy “Malecon” lined with people selling Artesania and seafood restaurants and a very nice beach

A Quiet Hub On The Way To La Guarija

After a short night in Barranquilla, we immediately continued by bus to Riohacha, a 4 hour ride straight east. This laid back little town serves as a gateway for those few tourists who head out to the desert-like Guajira Peninsula. Continue Reading →

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Barranquilla – A Depressing Arrival On The Caribbean Coast

 

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Depressing arrival in Barranquilla…

All those misinformed people, who still consider Columbia a scary and dangerous place to be or travel, would find their image justified in the town of Barranquilla. We arrived at midnight and the taxi to our hotel took us through kilometers and kilometers of deserted, spooky areas. Only a few ghostly figures were going through the garbage or sleeping on the concrete. Hotel Colonial Inn, though a bit faded, proved a safe heaven in this abyss, quiet, a modern aircon and we even had a fridge to cool down our water bottles. Continue Reading →

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