We spent the last week of our time in South America in Colombia!
On Tuesday, October 31 we flew from Guayaquil, Ecuador to Bogotá, Colombia to Medellín, Colombia. Unfortunately our flights were delayed and we didn’t get to Medellín until late in the evening. We took an Uber (which we learned later is technically “illegal” in Colombia) from the airport about 45 minutes to our hostel. For those going to Medellín, stay at the hostel we stayed at! It’s in the best part of the city called El Poblado and has free yoga and cultural classes each day.
Despite arriving late on Halloween, we were still able to make it to the bar in our hostel to celebrate. We had some Colombian beer (Club Colombia) and a burger and salad. Many people were dressed up and dancing to live music!
November 1 was our only full day in the city, so we decided to take advantage. We went to the two most famous (and delicious) coffee cafes in the city – Pergamino Cafe and Hija mía Coffe.
After our mini coffee tour, we visited Parque El Poblado before heading to lunch at Verdeo.
We had an early lunch so we could make it to our 4 hour walking tour (which we highly recommend) on time.
Our guide was a local and she focused a lot on showing us some of the most culturally important places in the city. The tour was one of our favorites in all of South America because the guide was so intriguing and exposed us to the positive and negative parts of Medellín, while making us feel safe.
After our walking tour, we had an amazing dinner in El Poblado at a restaurant called oci.mde. We sat at the bar, became friends with the bar tender, and had incredible food and drinks!
On November 2 we flew to Cartagena to meet our friends for the weekend!! We had planned the trip over the past few months and couldn’t believe the weekend had finally arrived!
When we arrived at the AirBnB in Getsmani, Lizzy, Hallie, and Shane were already there. We met our chef, Nelson, and got in our bathing suits to relax by the pool while we waited for the others to arrive!
Once everyone settled into the AirBnB, we had beers on the roof and then got ready for dinner. Before going to our reservation at Don Juan, we decided to check out the cocktail bar next door called Alquimico. The bar was very swanky and had many fancy drinks. There was also a rooftop, but unfortunately we weren’t allowed up because there was a private event.
Our dinner at Don Juan was amazing! For those going there, definitely order the steak and the fish tacos!
After dinner we walked to Café Havana to listen and dance to some salsa!
On Friday, November 3 we decided to walk around the town and do some touristy things. First we went to Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas. Along the way we started profusely sweating, joked about how our touristy walk wasn’t going to last very long, and bargained to get some Colombian sombreros.
After making it to the top of the castle, we decided to walk to the Old City. The streets were beautiful – Spanish colonial architecture crawling with vines and flowers.
While in the Old City, our crew split up. Some went to a rooftop bar, others went back to the AirBnB to jump in the pool, and the two of us went to the grocery store. Luckily Nelson wrote us a shopping list so we knew exactly what to get so he could cook us a typical, Colombian dinner the following evening.
We spent the rest of Friday just relaxing and hanging on the roof.
For dinner, we went to Vera Cucina Italiana. It was recommended by a few of our friends, but they had a much different experience than we did. Sure the food was good, but it took over an hour for our drinks to come and the restaurant was very empty and quiet. We definitely don’t recommend it for those heading to Cartagena – there’s no need to have Italian food at a touristy hotel when you’re in Colombia!!
Saturday, November 5 was a big day. We woke up at 9am to get picked up by a van to take us to our private boat cruise of the Rosario Islands (for those interested, book your boat through Boats4u)!! The day was hands down the best and most fun day of the trip! Our captain and crew took us to Isla Grande, Isla Cholón, and Playa Blanca.
At Isla Grande we jumped out of the boat to swim in the clear water and we also ordered lobsters from the local fishermen!!
Next we sailed to Isla Cholón to join a huge boat party and have lunch!
Our last stop was Playa Blanca. It was much more low key than Isla Cholón, so we decided to get cabanas, beers, and massages!
We then took the boat back to the port and asked our van driver to drop us at Cafe Del Mar for the sunset!
When we got back to the AirBnB after drinks at Cafe Del Mar, Nelson had dinner prepared for us. We had fish, coconut rice, and avocado salad.
We spent our last evening bar hopping in Getsmani.
Sadly on Sunday, November 5 we all parted ways. We got in a van to take us about four hours to Santa Marta. Santa Marta is a city on the Caribbean Sea in the northern Colombian department of Magdalena. It’s a very popular vacation spot for Colombians because it is the gateway for trips into the Tayrona National Natural Park.
When we arrived to the city and checked into our hostel, we decided to grab an early dinner and go to bed early. The weekend was so fun, but extremely tiring and we were excited to relax 😁.
Monday, November 6 was our only full day in Santa Marta so we decided to take advantage and go to the beaches that everyone raves about. First, we took a cab to Taganga where we bargained with a few companies to get a boat to take us to Playa de Bahia Concha.
Once at the beach, we found a cabana and ordered some local fish from the one restaurant on the beach.
At around 5pm, we took the boat back and then took a cab back to Santa Marta. Thanks to a friend’s recommendation, we went to Lulo Cafe Bar where we had the best arepas ever!
November 7 was our last day in Colombia. We spent the morning walking around the city and finding a bunch of tasty coffee shops. Our favorite spot was called Ikaro Cafe ☕️.
We spent the afternoon at the famous, boutique hotel in town.
At around 4pm we said goodbye to Santa Marta as we prepared ourselves for a few flights and long layovers back to Boston.