Exploring inland Colombia, Minca, Tayrona Park and Lost City

The sail to Colombia took us 2 days and 8 hours with moderate winds. Approaching the mainland in the night we saw some lightning over the high mountains, which thankfully didn’t move out to the sea. The wind picked up a little bit when we came close to Santa Marta. With all the light from the city it was not so hard to find the fuel dock in the night, where we were welcomed by two employees from the marina. The next morning we moved to our slip.
It felt great to be able to take a walk on land without having to use the dinghy and to have a proper hot shower again. There is even a gym right next to the marina, which features a very motivating view over the whole bay.
Some of our friends from Curaçao arrived shortly after us and we made a lot of new friends in the marina. Santa Marta is a buzzing city, at the same time chaotic and organized. Especially on the weekends the streets and squares are full of people and street vendors. But the shops are sorted quite neatly, all the motorbike shops in one street, one for electronics, one for print shops etc.
Groceries and eating out, as well as drinks are much more affordable than on the Caribbean islands. The kitchen is quite diverse and international and I was surprised to see many vegetarian restaurants

After a few weeks in Santa Marta we shared a taxi with our boat friends Silvi and Dirk up to Minca, a beautiful little village in the mountains. Our hotel was about 20 minutes up the mountain and from the patio we had a breathtaking view all the way to the coast. Unfortunately the view from inside our room was not a good as we had no window. We checked out the little waterfall just 5 min down the path, went on a hike and got a little bit lost. The next day we went on a birdwatching tour awfully early in the morning. Well, I went on the tour together with Silvi and Dirk, Lukas had too many blisters from the hike. One day after that all of us went on a 7 hour hike down to Bonda, a town close to Santa Marta. We took a small track called Paso del Mango, which went through foggy hills and rich rainforest, sometime it was hard to see the trail at all. We were happy to reach Bonda just before sunset and caught a taxi back to Santa Marta. Our hiking buddies called it a day after getting soaked by the rain and decided to stay at a finca on the way.

Back on the boat I finished a sewing project that seemed quite important for us, a connection between the dodger and the bimini, to give us more shade in the cockpit. The sun in Santa Marta is mercyless. It also gave us protection from the rain, which was good because by now the rainy season had started and it rained almost every day. The drains in the city are contructed very badly and after about 10 min of heavy rain most of the streets were flooded and getting home without soaking the shoes was impossible.

At the end of the rain season I went on a two day trip to the Tayrona National Park with Isabella from Pangea. The first day we were lucky with the weather, but in the night heavy rain and wind kept us awake and freezing in our hammocks on a rock by the seaside

Then there was Lukas birthday, which we celebrated together with our friends with a barbeque in the marina.
In Colombia you don’t need a special license for riding a motorcycle, so we rented one with the normal driving license and went to Minca again, where it became a little bit too adventurous when it started to pour like hell on a little path and it got very slippery and muddy. For the next day we choose an easier road and drove on the Troncal del Caribe along the coast to Baranquilla.

And shortly after, we went on a guided hike for four days through the rainforest to the Lost city, Ciudad Perdida. It is an abandoned settlement build in 800 AD high up in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta by the Tayronas. It was quite an adventure. With seven other people, one local guide and one translator we crossed the Buritaca river about two times per day and fought our way through narrow gauges that turned into knee-deep mud baths after each rain. –And it rained about every afternoon. We were quite happy we did the trip after the official end of rain season. The camps were basic, consisting of just a roof with some bunk beds with mosquito nets. The food was traditional and quite good. On the third day we reached the lost city and had to climb very steep and slippery stairs until we reached the plateau. It was an impressive site to explore and our guide gave us a good impression of how the Tayronas used to live there. The day before we also had the chance to see a more modern village of the Kogui tribe, which are decendants of the Tayrona.

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