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Trip Report Mini-trip report on Colombia (Bogota & Cartagena)

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I just returned Mar 19 from 10 days in Colombia . . . marvelous trip. Since there’s hardly any info available, I thought I’d post a short report.

We are two ladies, early 60s, fair, blonde . . . we don’t blend in. We do speak some Spanish, which we definitely used and needed. We spent 6 days in Bogotá and 4 in Cartagena. Now that we’ve been, we could have seen everything we wanted in Bogotá in 2 or 2.5 days . . . 4 was perfect for Cartagena. Next time, we would also visit Medellín and/or the coffee plantations region.

We stayed at La Casona de la Patio Amarillo and paid $47.65 for rm. 205. It was actually two rooms plus bath (shower, no tub). The main room had 2 twin beds and a set of bunk beds, desk/chair, TV, phone, lockable closets. The secondary room had 1 twin bed, nightstand, lamp. The rate included taxes and breakfast. The hotel personnel were exceptionally nice and helpful and the hotel is located in a nice, safe, residential-type neighborhood about half way between the Centro and the Zona Rosa. About 3 blocks away is a huge grocery store, shopping center, lots of excellent restaurants, and the Flores stop for the TransMilenio (their rapid transit system).

The 3 most important sites that we saw were the Gold Museum, the Botero Museum, and La Casa de la Moneda (currency museum and more) . . . oh, and the teleférico up to Monserrate was fun, too.

We flew to Cartagena on Avianca, $248 round trip, 1 hr flight. There, we stayed at Luci’s, a private B&B that stays filled from word of mouth. Luci’s is in the San Diego area of the old town and the old town is “the” place to stay, walking distance to almost everything and again, very safe. Luci’s only has 9 rooms and they open onto a beautiful, plant-filled patio. The price is $38 per room (inc. breakfast/taxes) and our room (#2) had 3 twin beds, lockable truck, sit-down dressing table/stool, big bath w/shower. It does not have a/c, only fans. Believe me, we are from Texas where everything is air conditioned . . . if we say we didn’t need it, you can bank on the fact that we didn’t need it.

We took the 4-hr Chiva tour of the city . . . a chiva is an old US school bus that has had the doors/windows knocked out and the seats have been replaced with long, bench seating. The buses are brightly painted and we had both Spanish and English-speaking guides. This was fun and a good way to get an overview of the city.

One day, we took at water taxi to Bocachica and visted the Fort of San Fernando . . . that’s the fort where part of “Romancing the Stone” was filmed. We had massages there ($8.84/hr) and a great fish lunch on the beach.

Another day we took a trip to the Mud volcano for a mud bath . . . one of the funnest things we’ve ever done. The bath is about the size of a wrestling ring and is on top of the volcano mound, you have to climb up rickety stairs to get to the top. A guy will take your camera to record the moment! You then climb down into the pit where a massage guy is waiting. The mud is thick, warm, kinda oily. You can’t sink, you just float on a thick layer of chocolate pudding . . . and get a great (and professional) massage for an hour. When you get out, you walk down to the lagoon where a lady will scrub you clean. Don’t miss doing this . . . this turned out to be the highlight of our trip.

Cartagena is a beautiful city, something to see at every turn. We did go over to the Bocagrande area (their Zona Rosa) where all the big hotels area, it was not nearly as pretty and interesting as the old town. And, you would have to take a taxi everyplace you went.

I’ve typed up my log and would be happy to share if anyone is interested. Email me at behrens@unt.edu.

Buen viaje,
Sandy (in Denton)

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