Colombia was nothing like I was expecting it to be. From the first step off the plane I knew that we were not in the states anymore! You can really see how traditional the country is and how different it is from resort towns in the Caribbean. Making our way through customs and immigration took at least an hour there were so many people coming into the county. Once we got through all that we made our way outside and to the taxi service to get to our hotel. After we got checked in and freshened up, we took our first stroll into the city of Bocagrande. Literally as soon as we stepped outside and turned the corner we had vendors trying to sell us any and everything! After getting through all the vendors, we found a cute little restaurant across the street from us to eat at. I’ve taken 2 semesters of Spanish before going on the trip so ordering food and communicating with the waitress was not a problem. In that little restaurant is where we tried an official Colombian drink… Limonada de Coco ( coconut lemonade ) and that became my favorite drink for the rest of the days spent in Colombia. Sitting at the restaurant, you can see the locals of Colombia living their everyday life. Finally we were done eating and it was time to check out the beach! Remember I told you all the beach I was expecting to see?! Well this beach was more like VA beach in the states, the water was not crystal blue and the sand was not white. Even still the beach was and is beautiful, especially when the sunsets! On the beach there are so many vendors trying to sell you things or give you massages and if you don’t want any of it kindly say to them “No quiero nada gracias!” Keep in mind this is their job and I know getting hounded my vendors is sometimes annoying, but that is how they provide for their family.
We spend the next day in Ciudad Viejo which is also known as Centro in Colombia and in the states we call it The Walled City. There is where all the colorful buildings are and where most of the tourists are. Inside of the old city there are many many little shops to get food or souvenirs and SN: Colombia is the cheapest place I’ve been to. Also inside the old city is where you can find the ladies carrying the fruit baskets on their heads dressed in traditional Colombian dresses and colors. Of course you can take pictures with them, but remember that is their job so they do charge you for taking a picture with them. Most of them just tell you to pay whatever you think is good, when we took our picture I paid the women 10 mill pesos. Inside the old city I had the best ice cream I had ever had, but I had to eat it super fast because the heat in Colombia is no joke, my ice cream started melting within 5 minutes!
The next couple days were spent in Bocagrande simply just walking around exploring and spending time at the pool. All the people there are very nice and they were all very patient with me and my Spanish and that really meant a lot to me! Everyone took the time to understand me when I used the wrong word for something and they were more than happy to correct me. Never in a million years did I think my Spanish was good enough to have to communicate solely in Spanish, but after being forced to do it I realized my Spanish is a lot better than I thought, I even had 2 locals tell me that it was good! Spending time just roaming around the city really made us feel like we were living like the locals. SN: Bocagrande is not really a place where a lot of tourists are and the tourist that are there are tourist from South America.
Our next stop was Isla del Sol one of the many islands located in Cartagena. We took a boat there that took about 30 minutes, which was great because we got to site see while making the trip there. The islands are where you find the blue water! Isla del Sol is a beautiful little island that also has a hotel located on the property and directly next to it is a village filled with locals! There we were able to relax while soaking in the sun, they also provided us with a traditional Colombian lunch. It would be the first time I had ever eaten fish in my life, but hey I guess the best place to do it is there right?! The lunch was amazing and now I love fish and fried yuca…. Thank you Colombia for that!
As our time in Colombia was coming to and end I made it appoint to get a tattoo before leaving! I got 2 tattoos from a local tattoo artist, they were both travel inspired tattoos.
Even though Colombia was not what I was expecting I grew to love it there. I love how traditional the country is, I love all the food, all the shops and of course all the people there. They welcomed up with open arms and even though my Spanish was/is not the best they still put up with us for a week!! Thank you sooo much Colombia you did not disappoint! I hope to see you again in the near future. Como dicen en Colombia, CHAO (: