Colombian Coast Suggestions
January 26, 2012 2:22 PM   Subscribe

Awesome fun things to do along the Carribean Coast in Colombia (other than Cuidad Perdida hike)?

So my boyfriend and I are spending two weeks in Colombia in late February/early March. We'll have 2 days in Bogotá at the beginning and then fly to Santa Marta for the rest of the trip. I looked into the Cuidad Perdida hike, but I think it will eat too much time (6 days is a lot, when you only have 11, and my boyfriend is not as into *long* hikes as I am) so I'm looking for some shorter (1 or 2 days) hiking options and just other things to do. Considering taking a bus to Cartagena for a bit, and definitely want some time in Tayrona National Park. Do Mefites familiar with that part of the world have any suggestions for excursions and activities accessible from Santa Marta?

The only caveat is that we woudn't want to spend more than 2 hours on a bus to travel inbetween places.

Also, while I'm less sure of the safety/accessability of this option, given the current situation in some parts of Colombia, we both have our motorcycle licenses and would happily travel around the coast by rented motorbike and/or scooter is that were a plausible possibility. I couldn't find any accounts of people doing this, however.

Any other random suggestions about travelling there are welcome, too. :-)
posted by Kurichina to Travel & Transportation around Colombia (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I sent this along to my sister (not a Mefite). She just got back to the States after living in Baranquilla for several months. She says that she would advise against the motorbike option. I assume it's somewhat of a safety issue since she followed that advice with the following commet: "Also, I like how she mentions that they have their licenses. Pretty sure that would matter not at all down there."

I don't know how close you'll be to any mud volcanos, but Non-Mefite Sister says it's one of the most fun places she visited during her time in Colombia. She also recommends visiting Cartagena if you're looking to explore another metropolitan area. She says: "Cartagena definitely has a romantic vibe. Seems like it'd be an awesome couples destination."

Also, if you make friends with any Colombians, get one of them to tell you about Vick's Vapo-Rub.
posted by yogurtisgenocide at 2:55 PM on January 26, 2012

Best answer: Yes, do go for a swim in a mud volcano -- really fun!
posted by AwkwardPause at 2:58 PM on January 26, 2012

Response by poster: Also, I like how she mentions that they have their licenses.

I included it to indicate that we know how to drive motorbikes, not that I expect that we wouldn't need an international driver's license to rent them in Colombia. On the other hand, if there isn't a reasonable possibility of renting, there's no use going through the hassle of getting a IDL either....

Also: Vapo-Rub? Innocent non-sequitor or an attempt to get me to make an ass out of myself when I'm down there?
posted by Kurichina at 3:32 PM on January 26, 2012

I think she was entertained by the idea that Colombians would care about licenses of any kind. I sort of get the impression that they wouldn't require international licenses to rent a motorcycle, implying that the roads may be populated with unlicensed drivers. Driving a motorcycle, therefore, could be fairly dangerous.

From what I understand, many people in Colombia treat Vick's Vapo-Rub as a cure-all. Everything from respiratory ailments to sore muscles and broken bones can be treated with the stuff. Also, "Vick's Vapo-Rub" sounds pretty funny when said with a Colombian accent. I was definitely not trying to get you to make an ass of yourself, just pointing out an interesting cultural difference.
posted by yogurtisgenocide at 3:42 PM on January 26, 2012

Cartagena is worth a visit. They have excellent and very cheap diving. You book in Cartagena, then 2 hours on a ship to a tiny island with a wooden house on it. And then it is diving the whole day. Incredible. If you want I can try to find the name of the school I used.

Young people head to Tatanga. It is OK, a little bit overrate. They have a lot of diving there too but my experience near Cartagena was way better.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 3:54 PM on January 26, 2012

Best answer: Tayrona is a must do, I would allow at least 2 nights to give you a full day there. I wrote a post about it after my visit 2 years ago - prices may have gone up a little but will give you an idea.

As for Cartagena, it's nice but I would not stay more than 2 nights. It's definitely a beautiful old town but for me somewhat ruined by the massive over-commercialisation of it all. Virtually impossible to sit anyway without being pestered every 2 minutes to buy something. Drove me up the wall, YMMV!

Also, bear in mind that Santa Marta to Cartagena is around 5 hours on a bus. Difficult to break up without a stop in Barranquilla, which unless it's Carnaval, is to be avoided.
posted by jontyjago at 5:31 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I was definitely not trying to get you to make an ass of yourself, just pointing out an interesting cultural difference.

Thanks for the clarifications. The vagueness of "get one of them to tell you about ...." sounded a lot like another time someone got me to accidently say something offensive in a different cultural context.
posted by Kurichina at 10:17 AM on January 30, 2012

Response by poster: Just as a follow up, we had a great time in Tayrona park (and the Dreamer hostel rec in jontyjago's blog post proved spot on). :-) Thanks everyone for the info!
posted by Kurichina at 1:26 PM on March 15, 2012

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