04.06.2016 - 13.06.2016
Our last full day in Minca was pretty great.
We went bird watching - which sounds super lame, but was actually pretty awesome. Firstly, at 5am when we got up, IT WAS COOL. Like I wanted to wear a cardigan, cool.
Secondly, we saw tucan. Two different types in fact.
And woodpeckers. They are hilarious! We saw these great big birds who make their nests to hang from trees - they look a bit like brown shopping bags.
Plenty of hummingbirds as well. Richard went a bit nuts in the photo taking department (maybe good as we have been so slack lately in taking any of anything), and now you can watch a hummingbird zoom around our camera screen in a series of photos...
Santa Marta in the distance
Woody woodpecker climbing the tree
By 9am it was starting to get hot again, and the birds had all but gone back to bed, so we headed back for some breakfast and more serious book reading / hammock time.
After a while we headed off to the Lazy Cat for milkshakes - and to try out the place we had heard so much about as "The best food anyone had eaten in months". The milkshakes were pretty good.
Later in the afternoon we decided to risk going for a short walk to a nearby swimming hole - and sure enough just as we arrived the thunder clapped loudly overheard and we thought we'd be drowned rats before we even got in the river! But alas, the rain stopped about 2 min later and we got our swim. The river was even cold enough to give goosebumps!
That night we had dinner at the Lazy Cat, and sadly Richard found a burger that can compete with "World's Worst Burger" as purchased in Palomino. Luckily my stirfry was delicious, and the first time I've had ginger in months!
Next day we were off back down to Santa Marta to get a bus to Cartagena. Some how the collectivo again ended up being our own private taxi - for the normal share taxi price. Lucky us, as we drove us all the way to the bus station, rather than us needing to get a second taxi!
Soon as we arrived, we were hussled onto the bus, that had lots of reassuring signs about air conditioning on board.
Those signs lied. Holy gods that bus ride was hot. It was made all the worse by the heat coming up through the floor from the engine, making the floor so hot you couldn't put your feet down even with shoes on!
Fun times for 5 hours. Including an extra fun hour where we sat in the halfway town waiting for the bus to refill.
Finally we made it to Cartagena, and it was still ridiculously hot. Luckily our hostel had A/C in the bedroom, so we quickly took up refuge until it was getting a bit darker outside, and maybe cooler?
In our evening stroll around the street, we happened to run into Jess and Josh - who we met on our first day in Buenos Aires, and have kept in touch with since. Each time previously we had been missing each other by like a day, so it was great to see them after all this time!
We arranged to go out for dinner with Jess & Josh, and Wanda & Josh. Post dinner, we wandered the streets with J&J, checking out all the local sites in the comfort of a balmy 31 degrees. I can see why everyone raves about Cartagena. Its really beautiful. But a place I think I can only enjoy at night.
The next day, being our only proper "day" in Cartagena, was mostly spent being a vampire, hiding from the sun. We were unfortunate enough to go for a walk in search of some snorkelling gear while it was 35 degrees. But otherwise we slowed into tortoise mode.
That night we had our flight to the tropical island of San Andres.
San Andres is actually near Nicaragua, but part of Colombia. We hadn't realised it but we arrived on a public holiday, meaning that the entire island was out in town that night having a great time - and we just thought it had an awesome vibe. We did think that the roads were pretty busy, so later google informed us that in fact, San Andres is the most densely populated area of Colombia, with 80-120 thousand people living in 36 square km of island.
Our week here was mostly spent on the beach, or in the bath temperature waters. Josh and Wanda were also out on the island, and so we made sure that we got down to their beach on the bus, and made good use of their hotel's sun loungers for a day or so. And equally, they came up to ours and made sure the cards table saw some action. It was a good week.
Our beach as the sun goes down (one of the only times we remembered to take the camera out..)
Chilling in our grandpa chairs outside our apartment
But the water was pretty nice
So was the beach, though a little busy
Richard and I went out diving twice. The first time was a bit of a dud. The divemaster really just didn't care, and we didn't even use half a tank each.
The second time Josh came too and we were with a different company, and it was great. Got out on a boat, saw a turtle, puffer fish, walking fish, barracuda, lion fish and all sorts!
While in San Andres Richard also got a year older. We celebrated with the more successful dive trip, and Wanda booked the 4 of us in for a meal at the best restaurant in town - holy moly it was good sea food! It was right on the water front, and had a resident sting ray. There was bubbly wine, and Wanda even managed to arrange for a birthday cake brownies and candles.
But sadly the island time came to an end, and we flew back to the mainland yesterday. Again we realised that we took almost no photos during our stay there.. ops!
Back in Cartagena, we wasted the day worrying about our GP interviews that were this afternoon - thank god they are over!
Again, we headed out for a night time exploration of the town, and still think its beautiful.
Tomorrow we are heading to the NW corner of Colombia, to begin our journey into central in about a week. It seems crazy that we have been in Colombia almost a month, and will end up only seeing about 1/3 of the country.