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Wojciech's Travel log

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You can lose everything, but nobody will take away what you saw and what you experienced...

Log entries 61 - 70 of 1987 Page: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Oct 27, 2017 12:00 AM Taganga, not Taganka

Taganga, not Taganka Taganka is a quarter in Moscow, Russia known for the oustanding theatre and famous prison. But today I was travelling to Taganga, close to Santa Marta in Colombia.
Minibuses to Taganga are going along carrera 5 in Santa Marta every 10 minutes. You flag it, jump on and pay 1600 pesos to the driver. Nobody issues the tickets. Once out of the city the poor road is climbing the mountain giving you panoramic view of SM - stay at the right window! Then on the other side of the mountain you wiil see beautiful bay with a fishing village. It pays to shout "parada!" here so the minibus stops and you disembark for the great pictures. Then you can walk down to the village saving your energy. Taganga village is not clean. Streets are dusty, they do not have pavement, tired dogs are wondering around. But Taganga has many cheap hostels and a row of waterfront restaurants offering fresh fried fish. On the beach, which is definitely not white you will see twenty or more fishing boats. The skipers offer boat tours, but you must wait for the group. Very picturesque place!

Oct 26, 2017 12:00 AM I returned alive... :)

I returned alive... :) ....after 8- hours sweaty trek - probably the hardest in Tayrona National Park.
Tayrona lies where Sierra Nevada Mts are touching Caribbean Sea. Great scenery, nice beaches in the coves and big boulders like on La Digue or Virgin Gorda...
First you take minibus for 8000 pesos from Mercado Grande in Santa Marta to the main park gate in Zaino.
Park service awaits you - they are well organized in charging money, but that's all. No discounts for foreigners, for Colombians only... You pay for entry 44000 pesos - like 15 USD. Then 4 kms to the coast by road (extra 3000 for microbus - if you want) and you will reach Canaveral long beach. You have to come back to the jungle to continue to Arecifes (nice view point on the boulders but then the path goes back to the palm forest. One more beach and after 3 hours I reached the most picturesque place: Cabo San Juan.
It was just pleasant, flat walk in the heat. Now you have to return. Most of the people go the same way. Alternatively you can pay 50000 for the little boat to Santa Marta area. The most difficult is climb to Pueblito and go down to the side park gate in Calabaz.
That' s what I did. In the guidebooks the description is "walk through the tropical forest" And here is reality: first 1,5 hours I was climbing on the boulders to the pass. Category: difficult. Then, on the other side of the pass you will find tiny native village Pueblito. Water and tea available. Then you go up and down on the muddy, bad, poorly marked trail. On the fork below Pueblito no sign and I took right patha. This mistake cost me another hour of up an downs. Luckily I met a couple of other tourists - also lost and we went back to the left path. Shame on you, Tayrona National Park!
Finally we reached Calabaz on the main road in the dark at 6 pm... This was a real challenge!

Oct 25, 2017 12:00 AM Rum in papaya - that's it!

Rum in papaya - that's it! Do you remember my invention from the Philippines? The big, ripe papaya costs here in the market less than a dollar. The bottle of local rum costs like 5 dollars. So why not to enjoy? Just adjust the amount of the rum you put into papaya according to your individual taste... :)

Oct 24, 2017 12:00 AM Basic room in Santa Marta

Basic room in Santa Marta I stay in a basic room in Jackie's Hostal. The room is really basic: it has bed, little fan and an empty floor. No single nail in the wall to hang your shirt.... But I slept well - naked under the blowing fan. It is very hot and humid here!.
After included breakfast (eggs, toasts, juice an coffee) I took a long walk around the old city enjoying narrow streets, palms and flowers. The basilica of Santa Marta stands here in the main square and is worth to see.
They have here also free and very interesting museum explaining the history of the city. There is also well-guarded hall inside with the golden and silver artefacts found in the ruins of the ancient towns in the region. Recommended!
In the middle of the day street eateries are busy - I order arroz con pollo served warm in banana leaves and I liked it. Such a dish costs less then dollar!
On the Malecon - the waterfront promenade you will see the row of palms and the monument of the Spanish founder of the city - it is nice place to stroll in the evening. SantaMarta is great place, but very hot!

Oct 23, 2017 12:00 AM By bus to Santa Marta

By bus to Santa Marta Bells from nearby Giron's Cathedral woke me up already at 5.30 am. I took a cold shower and went to the panaderia (bakery) around the corner to buy my daily bread. Everything is close in this old, atmospheric town founded in 17th century by Spaniards. It is pleasure to stroll cobbled streets, to see everyday life of provincial Colombia.
Over the red roofs of one-floor houses I see the mountains with some clouds covering the summits.
It will be long day - I plan to go by bus to Santa Marta. They say it is 10- hours drive...
(later) There were only 12 passengers on our bus. The ride cost me 81 000 pesos. Again I was enjoying the views of the green mountains and later - almost flat pastures with herds of cows.
We reached Santa Marta at 8 pm - it was already dark. The taxi from bus terminal to centro historico costs 7000 pesos - it is official price, no bargain...

Oct 22, 2017 12:00 AM Medellin to Bucaramanga by bus

Medellin to Bucaramanga by bus The North Bus Terminal in Medellin is a huge institution. I managed to change money there at the Western Union office. Then I found the office of the bus company offering a bus service to Bucaramanga. Ticket for 8- hours travel cost me 60000 pesos...
There are low cost airlines in Colombia, so why do I travel by bus? -To see more!
At the beginning the road was climbing the mountains almost to the level of the clouds. Then in innumerable serpentines we were descending to the level of the pastures and rolling hills. We crossed on iron bridge big Magdalena River. After 5 hours of driving green new green mountains appeared and between them - the dam and big artificial lake. Great views!
I decided not to stay in the big city of Bucaramanga, but leave the bus 7 kms earlier - in the colonial town ofGiron.
And here I am - in the stylish old mansion Nieves with a view of the white cathedral. Street guitarist is playing boleros under my wooden balcony. What else you need to be happy?

Oct 21, 2017 12:00 AM San Andres to Medellin

San Andres to Medellin Catamaran arrived on time and after 3,5 hour on the choppy sea I am back on San Andres trying to organize an excursion around the island. The lop road has 30 kms, so it is not walking distance. Later in the day I will fly to Medellin in continental Colombia.
(later) An old man called Lincoln gave me the little tour of the island in his junk car. Then I boarded LAN flight to Medellin. This city has spectacular location in the deep valley. Going from the distant (40 kms - 9500 pesos) by collectivo minibus it is worth to be at the right window for the views!
I found my Caribe hotel near North bus terminal and took the metro train (2300 pesos) to the center. Medellin is a huge City of many contrasts. You will be impressed by the sea of barrios covering the slopes of the mountains on the both sides. In the certer grey brick churches are closely surrounded by grey buildings from different periods. It if hard to say that it is nice city... Heavy rain in the late afternoon pushed me to go back.

Oct 20, 2017 12:00 AM East Coast & Catalina

East Coast & Catalina It was raining again in the night but hot sun was already shining when I started a wal along the east coast of Providencia. This part of the 17-km loop road is more flat and gives more sea views. Three Brothers little islands where frigates nest are also visible. In the settlements I saw old and new churches - among them run-down oldest Baptist church on the island. Now I also know that the only beach on the east coast is in Manchineel Bay - close to the southern end... It is very nice -with palms and white sand, but became very narrow during the high tide. So go there, if you like cozy places.... After few days islanders know me already "I saw you on the road" "You were filming on the rock!" It is so nice - I like their smiles... They usually speak 3 languages: English after their ancestors, Spanish and Criollo Ingles - a kind of broken English...
In the afternoon I went to the little sister island of Providencia - Santa Catalina to see remains of the little fort build there by Captain Morgan. Three old cannons are there and at the bottom there is a little, shady beach. It is worth to walk tiny path west (some 20 min) to reach the interesting rock formation called Morgans Head - it really looks like giant head!

Oct 19, 2017 12:00 AM Sweaty climbing to El Pico

Sweaty climbing to El Pico The highest peak on Old Providence island - The Peak or El Pico rises 360 m above the sea. At 8 am I catch near the hospital a minibus going to Bottom House, where traihead is located. Old driver charged 3000 pesos and was very curious: You want to climb alone and without the guide? Yes! Now I know, that it is not possible to lost the way, but it is not easy walk... They built on the trail few excellent wooden bridges and in the lower part also few small shelters but between this points the trail is not well maintained... First problem: you have to take with you plenty of water. It is climbing in the high temperature and humidity. After 30 minutes my shirt was completely wet of sweat... You need to drink. In the lower part trail goes up the little stream - you can wash thee face, but this is not drinking water! The path after night rain was muddy and slippery... Last 30 minutes on the muddy slope is very steep. It took me 2 hours to climb to the top for 360 degrees panoramic view of the island. I did it! Unfortunately the weather was not so clear to enjoy in full ant took best pictures. After an hour I started to walk down and... tropical rain catch me 20 min later. The path converted into the stream... No shelter up there... Can you imagine me an my wet and dirty clothes after such a walk? But what a experience on this remote island! :)

Oct 18, 2017 12:00 AM Providencia - exploring Western Coast

Providencia - exploring Western Coast There is a loop road around the island, local transport (minibuses) are erratic so On the first day I tried to hitchhikke. Oh, no! Motocycles are going up and down but they ask for money... You - the stranger are here to be milked! The tarrif is 5000 pesos from the pier to South West Bay od Bottom House. If you want a taxi (there are few) they ask four times more. So I started to explore west coast hy foot! At the beginning I visited free island museum located in the old, wooden Catholic church - very interesting! In the next village I was in the school, invited to look how they work and meet the kids (see picture). They are just lovely! Then I walked alond the coast beach to beach under the palms and breadfruit trees. It was around 4 pm when I reched probably the nicest beach on the island in South West Bay...

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