Saturday January 18, 2020
A lazy morning was enjoyed dawdling over coffee at the Hipilandia Hostel in Leticia. We had breakfast, caught up up on work email and watched the antics of their two small children. Juan even shared the giant grapes Elliot provided. The post on our jungle adventure can be found here: The Colombian journey begins in the jungle. Leticia and the Amazon rain forest, here we come!
Latam airlines flights from Leticia to Bogota and then to Cartagena were uneventful and pleasant and we enjoyed the down time to just read. In Cartagena we walked out of the airport following signs to official taxis. I told the lady where our hostel was and she issued us a ticket with a price (13,900 pesos – approx $5.50 CAD, I thought was pretty reasonable for an airport taxi) We handed that to the driver and he battled the traffic and then the narrow streets of Getsemini and dropped us off. MUCH smoother than I expected! Espiritu Santos de Maos exceeded our expectations with a really nice loft type room, a huge bed, AC and our own bathroom
Being Saturday night there were lots of parties going on so I dug out the earplugs.
After a nice breakfast at the hostel we went exploring the Getsemini area. The graffiti walking tour didn’t pan out so we wandered a bit and made our way to The Castillo San Felipe de Barajas There we rented an electronic guide thingy and spent several hours exploring the castle and fort. The tunnels were really cool!
Once we’d returned the gadget, we headed back to the old city. Parched, hungry and very hot, we found a cafe and immediately ordered our favourite, lemonade sin azucar. It came as a slushie and so refreshing! We both enjoyed a huge salad.
Next we found the meeting spot for the free walking tour I’d signed us up for and spent the next two hours learning Colombian history and strolling the old city.
Dinner was a gelato. I got coffee flavoured. YUM!
Back at the hostel we picked up our laundry. Love that luxury! All our stinky jungle laundry washed, dried, folded and smelling MUCH better done for 15,000 pesos. (about $6 CAD)
Another cold shower and early to bed as it was a 21,000 step day in the hot sun.
Rincon del Mar.
Monday, January 20
Mel at the Dos Aguas Lodge in Rincon had messaged me a while ago asking if we’d be interested in sharing a ride with other guests coming from Cartagena and we agreed as the price wasn’t much more than public transit would be. It also took less time.
Daniel was there before the appointed 9 am. We picked up Mark and Rebekah who also happened to be Canadian, from Montreal. Go figure.
The roads were decent with a few stops for construction until Onofre. Then it changed to dirt road, pitted ashphalt, then hard sand. In Rincon, Daniel dropped us off and pointed in the general direction and we walked the beach to the hostel. Another pleasant surprise. Mel gave us the tour and explained the place, their contribution to the village and attempts to provide sustainable, eco friendly tourism. Guests are encouraged to take a garbage bag when walking the beach and pick up trash. Once we settled in, Anita and I did just that.
Back at the hostel we handed in our bag, went for a swim, then enjoyed a lemonade and some reading on the beach.
Later we found dinner in the village and relaxed “tranquillo” for the evening enjoying the warm breeze off the Caribbean sea with a nice cup of basil tea.
Over the next few days we spent a lot of time in the sea, walking the beach and relaxing. One night we signed up for a tour that took us to a lagoon full of bioluminescent plankton The ride there was rough and our driver seemed to thoroughly enjoy bouncing the small boat over the waves as we all got soaked. He paddled up a mangrove path and into the lagoon. There were other boats using motors but ours paddled as it’s an agreement he has with the Dos Aguas hostel. Motors harm the plankton.
We jumped out of the boat in the pitch dark which is a little freaky but one of the crew went in first so it looked safe enough. Movement in the water makes the plankton glow. It’s the coolest thing! Water running off my arms glittered. One woman said she felt like a unicorn. I suggested someone try farting to see if we could fart glitter. Unicorns do that you know 😉
The boat ride back was just as rough. The driver still ridiculously happy. It was warm though so no big deal.
Apparently we’re gluttons for punishment as the next day we got back in a boat. Again the driver (different fellow) laughed every time we got soaked. I’m sure they find it hilarious that tourists pay them to torture us like that. One of many times on this trip I wished I spoke Spanish.
We stopped for a snorkel at one point over a small reef where we saw lots of pretty fish. Then onto a few of the San Barnardo islands. One was the most densely populated island in the world. Crazy how many homes are packed on it!
Murcura island was the next stop and we spent our hour walking around and exploring. Next was Tintipan with it’s beautiful white, soft sandy beaches. They really wanted us to have lunch but we just wanted ice cream. A nice lady found a man with a cooler with some cones and 5 of us bought one from him. They were more than twice as much as in town but tasted great so we were happy.
We found a nice beach away from all the people and spent the next hour or so snorkelling.
The ride back to Rincon wasn’t as bad. We still got wet and the driver still found that hilarious.
There are several restaurants in town but they’re hard to identify as they all just look like people’s homes. The food was really good in the two we tried as well as at the hostel we stayed.
Dos Aguas Hostel is a great choice if you visit Rincon and you really should. They’re doing their best to be eco friendly and encourage guests to pick up garbage for a free drink. One fellow we met, Marc, took it as a mission and managed to fill 4 large bags before we left. He had another day so I wonder how much more he did.
The pictures I took don’t really represent the place. There were so many experiences I couldn’t, or didn’t want to photograph. Sometimes snapping pictures is intrusive. The main street in Rincon is sand. Some business and home owners rake it now and then and children run barefoot or ride their bikes up land down constantly. There’s the odd donkey or a man pushing a wheelbarrow, sometimes a motorcycle but rarely a car. Taking pictures just felt invasive so you’ll have to go yourself 😉
It was early the morning we left so we’d packed up the night before and quietly dressed and left the room. I went for one last walk on the beach before a granola, milk, coffee and tree tomato juice breakfast. We walked along the beach, over the rickety bridge and to the “parking lot” where we met Jose who took us to San Onefre. There we struggled to buy a bus ticket with our limited Spanish. The bus was only 45 minutes late 😉