Colombian Caribbean

After my time in Medellin, I decided to head north to the beaches instead of slowly getting sucked in to the amazing city of Medellin. It isn’t a bad thing, but everyone says Medellin is a Black Hole and you need to make sure you have a way out!

Flying into Santa Marta, I spent a brief night there before trekking an hour up to Mundo Nuevo, a hostel hidden in the mountains of Minca, a little ways away from Santa Marta.

Spending a brief day there was nice but, I needed to get back to the beach, this time to Tayrona National Park. Hiking to the beach was cool and camping in a National Park was fun but there were so many bugs. I was definitely ready to get back to the city after one night.

My time in Santa Marta came to a close and I took a shuttle to Cartagena, one of the major cities in Colombia. I met up with Sindy, a relative of a friend of my mom. She spoke next to no English, and I in-turn Spanish. We had a fun yet challenging time communication via hand motions and google translate. She showed me around the old town, introduced me to friends and family, and even invited me to stay at her apartment for a few nights.

Together Sindy and I went to various restaurants and areas in Cartagena, riding on the back of her motorbike. One night, we were talking via google translate and she mentioned how she wants to start a foundation to help local kids. My eyes lit up! I told her in the future I want to help kids in developing countries. She then told me she has a friend who runs a foundation that teaches kids in slums English. Asking if I wanted to go, I didn’t hesitate, absolutely!

The time at the foundation was brief but so amazing. The children were so loving and welcoming, asking me questions, admiring my hair, tattoo, drawing skills, and climbing on my back. Helping them practice their English helped me practice my Spanish and at the end of the time there, I didn’t want to leave.

The next day, Sindy, her sister María José, her cousin Olga, and I all took a beach trip. It was nice to have a day at the beach with some amazing people who took me in so fast.

The past week up in the Colombian Caribbean was such a great experience. Being able to have a local experience and guide is something everyone wants and it definitely made me fall in love with Colombia even more.

My time in Colombia has come to a close. I spent 2 days down in Cali, the Salsa capital of Colombia (dance not food). Over the few weeks in the amazing country of Colombia, I feel as if my Spanish has improved a decent amount. I say “Que?” a lot less now when an Uber driver or receptionist ask me questions.

I am grateful for the experiences I had in Colombia and as I told my parents, I wouldn’t come back until I ran out of money if I didn’t have an onward ticket.

Time for Ecuador!

Lauren

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