Arriving in Cartagena after the Ciudad Perdida felt like stepping in Manhattan! The city is divided between the walled old town inside the new part. We spent most of our times in the Old City. It was pretty weird as our first day there was a Sunday, we walked around appreciating the beautiful coloured houses, the quiet street, the music coming out of sleepy looking bars, and drying up in the sun after so much humidity. We loved it. Then it was Monday! the city transforms completely, every available inch of pavement or even the street it self is taken over by fruit vendors, mobile chargers vendors, plastic shoes vendors, blender vendors (they like their smoothies here), it's just crazy, there is people everywhere, taxis, cars honking, bicycles, it's just madness and yet I loved it even more.
We mainly walked around aimlessly to take in the vibe of the city, a quick visit to the fortress, a walk on the walls of the city and a quick visit to a very shady market that ended when people stared being more interested in us than conducting their business, Sam and I afetrall were the ONLY 2 white people around!
Afetr 3 days in the city we wanted to finally hit a beach and chill! Now the thing is, there are really not many nice beaches in the north of Colombia, which is really bizarre, also we were told by the world's most useless tourist agent that we must go to a travel agency to be able to book a hotel near a beach. So we did.
Mathieu, from Aventure Colombia, found us a 3 room hotel on the beach in Islas de Rosario, BRILLIANT! The Islas Rosario are an archipelago of 24 small islands, we went to Isla Grande, but it's not really big. The place was great we had a ocean view room, the rest of the hotel was desert, they cleaned the beach for us and we had our own small Caribbean paradise, unfortunately the weather was awful and we spent the whole of the first day in out North Face fleece looking longingly at the beach hoping for the sun to come out, it did the next day and we had 2 glorious day in the sun. The sea and the wind were quite rough but we didn't care, we had the sun. Things changed when they came to tell us that we could not get off the island until the sea had calmed down,mmmh slight problem, we had a flight to catch!
NO HAY BARCOS! they kept on saying, fine no boats, how do I get off the island?? they promised a launch would pick us up at 6 am the next morning, great. Unfortunately the next day the launch was actually a tiny wooden boat for 18 people, they fit 25! It's like a collectivo bus on water! Again we had the wet seats in the back, so off we go with bucketful of water splashing on us, we made our way back to Cartagena, Sam with nausea and me again with diarrhea, unable to move or do anything other than enduring the trip.
At some point, we were crossing a canal and the tide was so low, we risked getting stuck in mud, lots of men from other boats were frantically giving confusing indications as to which way we had to go to avoid getting stuck, the captain was confused, so was I, luckily two men left their boat WALKED to us with water at knee height, and pulled our boat in the water to a safe spot!! That was weird. Anyway we made it to Cartagena, managed to find a good Samaritan that made us shower in a hotel free of charge and got our flight back to Bogota.
PS the photo albums are not working bare with me!!