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Entries about beach

Christmas in Medellin

semi-overcast 20 °C



The last week has been a whirlwind of settings, adventures, thick and thin, and holiday cheer.

A week ago we were camping in idyllic Tayrona National Park, outside of Taganga, with picture perfect sunsets during the day and hurricane force winds blowing the tent over at night. We hiked out of the jungle in true adventurer fashion and rode motorcycle taxis back into to town, just in time to catch a 18-hour overnight bus to Medellin, a beautiful, modern, mile high city squeezed in between mountains. Near the main coffee growing region of the country and famous for it's transformation and nearly-perfect weather year round, Medellin is an amazing sight and a wonderful place to spend Christmas.

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We have shopped at the mall, taken a cable car up the mountain in a residential neighborhood, and toured the botanical garden.

But mostly we have just taken some time to enjoy food, drink, and the customs that we miss most from home.

Like cookie decorating!

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And loads of presents!

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And eating till we collapse in a food coma!

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Soon, we will head back to Cartagena for New Year's to remember, and seeing as how most of the locals head to the coast for their celebration, we will be in good company.

Posted by kevindhodges 15:01 Archived in Colombia Tagged beach camping holidays Comments (3)

Football Frenzy and Taganga Tranquility

Enjoying the best of Colombia

sunny 31 °C
View Blissfully Wanderlost on ebmarnp's travel map.

We are making slow progress towards Tayrona National Park, which has within it some of the most beautiful beaches of Colombia.

First, we had to make a two night stop in Barranquilla to pick up a package. We were fortunate enough to be invited by our hostel owner to a local football game the next evening.

It was the quarterfinals of the Colombian league championships. This was a match in which the local team, Junior, was expected to defeat the guests, Chico.

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This game had everything you would expect at a typical American sports game: a never ending supply of beer, fighter jets overhead, fights in the stands, the steady pulse of drums and horns, and thirty-five thousand throats demanding victory. The only difference: there was as much drama on the field as there was in the stands. Players were horrendously injured but miraculously, within minutes of being carried off the field by the Red Cross, back on their feet and ready to play.

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At the half, the crowd began to get ugly. Junior was down 0-2, until...click here

Fortunately, the game ended in victory for Junior, 2-2. We still aren't sure how a tie was a victory but that didn't stop us from celebrating the glorious defeat of Chico!

Onwards! Through Santa Marta and to Tanganga, a small fishing village outside of Tayrona National Park.

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This picturesque little town is slowly awakening to tourism as it is rapidly becoming a hot spot for diving.

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One of the main roads...

Fortunately, we found several secluded coves and beaches that are only enjoyed by the local fishermen.

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Possibly a new resort?
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We are both enjoying the clear green water, the dry air, the surrounding hills dotted with cacti, and a side to Colombia's Caribbean coast that we didn't expect.

Posted by ebmarnp 10:35 Archived in Colombia Tagged football beach Comments (3)

The Voyage of the Stahlratte

And Paradise Found

sunny 32 °C
View Blissfully Wanderlost on ebmarnp's travel map.

The last few days have been nothing but amazing for Kevin and I, and our travels on the Stahlratte (the Steel Rat in German) have certainly been a highlight of our journey so far.

We started out early on the 22nd from Panama City. We were picked up by a 4X4 in which we were packed like sardines with five other travelers. The next three hours, for me, were filled with a combination of nausea and fear as we were hurled up and down curving roads, through a mountain range, on a road that was often not paved but in the process of being washed away. The drive occurred during a torrential downpour during which the 4X4's one working windshield wiper struggled against the monsoon. I do believe visibility was down to five feet at one point but our dauntless driver continued to plunge us ahead at dizzying speeds. After three hours we were able to disembark from the roller coaster from hell, and were quickly herded onto dingys and driven to the Stahlratte.

Video to the ship here.

A brief history of the boat: Built in the Netherlands in 1903, the original purpose of this vessel was for fishing. Since then it has changed owners many times. In 1984 it was bought by a non-profit organization Verein zur Foerderung der Segelschiffahrt (Association of Advancement for Sailing Navigation) and made its home in Germany, although the ship hasn't been home in the last 18 years. Instead it makes several trips a year between Panama, Colombia, and Cuba. The captain, Ludvig, joked about his passport looking very suspicious.

This 40 meter (130 foot) vessel with a crew of three took all 22 of us on board and not once did we feel crowded on the ship! I did have some worries about sharing one toilet with 24 other people, but my fears were misguided.

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We threaded our way through the San Blas Islands that evening. This is an archipelago comprised of378 islands and cays, of which only 49 are inhabited by the Kuna Indians. We were told by a resident that 52,000 natives inhabit the islands, making their houses look like barnacles clinging to rock:

Picture of homes

We traveled for three hours, during which Kevin and I scrambled up into the crow's nest and took an amazing video.

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Then, we arrived in paradise (aka, Coco Bandero).

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The next 24 hours were spent in a world you really only see on postcards and I never expected to see in my life. The water was completely clear up to a depth of 30 feet. The small islands contained brilliant white sand and soft shade from coconut palms. There were plenty of fish to swim and snorkle with. The waves were always gentle and the water was not too warm. Phosphorescence glittered in the water at night and the tide is non-existent. It's hard to describe how tranquil and gorgeous the setting was; I hope some of this is conveyed in the photos!

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We were treated to a bonfire on an island one night, midnight swimming with the starfish, excellent daily meals, and other jovial passengers who were thrilled to soak in the beauty of San Blas.

We both hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. We were thinking of family and friends on Thursday as we feasted on freshly grilled fish.

We had a wonderful surprise on our last day of sailing when we saw a small pod (6-7) of dolphins dancing on the Stahlratte's waves. The video is here.

Our four day tour came to an end, and on the last night we slept on deck where we gazed at endless stars and were rocked to sleep by the ship crashing through the ocean.

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We awakened the morning of the 25th to the skyline of Cartagena, Colombia.

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We will be here in Colombia for the next five weeks, but I think we left our hearts back on the San Blas Isles.

Posted by ebmarnp 04:53 Archived in Panama Tagged boat beach swimming Comments (5)

Kevin gets a haircut from Liz

And a beautiful beach...

semi-overcast 33 °C
View Blissfully Wanderlost on ebmarnp's travel map.

Lets start with the beach story first. It's far less extreme!

Two days ago we took a bus with an American couple and traveled south 15km to Marino Ballena National Park. In the map it is the green area adjacent to Uvita.

This is an absolutely gorgeous beach with silky sand and rolling, tranquil waves.
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We spent several hours there until we were chased away by the rain. It was a nice change from the large waves and strong currents here in Dominical.

Well, onto the moment I am sure you have been waiting for, Kevin's big haircut. We couldn't find a barber so we had to improvise. Kevin had been complaining for the last week that he felt like he was wearing a sheep on his head. The pictures tell the whole story:

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Video for your enjoyment here.

Kevin offered to cut my hair for me but I politely declined. I will keep my sheep on my head and if it gets too hot, I'm coming home!

Posted by ebmarnp 12:15 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged beach haircut Comments (6)

Dominicalito, Playa Hermosa, and other odds and ends

semi-overcast 26 °C

The days have slowed down considerably from the travel, rain, and international intrigue of the last few weeks. The occasional afternoon shower and the odd new guest at our hostel, Antorchas, marks the time.

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We did have the great good fortune to see some fellow New Hampshirites this week, both on the waterfall tour and in town the next day. They graciously offered to drive us south to visit a few other beaches: Dominicalito and Playa Hermosa.

Dominicalito, literally Little Dominical, seems to be used more by fishing boats than bathers and surfers:

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While Playa Hermosa is just that: a long beautiful beach full of large crashing waves that very few are brave enough (or stupid enough) to enter.
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I guess I was both. And so for a second time this week I cheated death by way of water!

Safely back in Dominical, we have taken to cooking interesting things with bananas, working out, and trying to touch strange tree roots.

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The banana fritters didn't last long enough for a picture to be taken. They were too damn good!

Posted by kevindhodges 14:10 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged beach Comments (2)

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