Colonial Colombia: Santa Marta and Taganga
Traveling north of Cartagena along the Colombian coast you reach two towns, Santa Marta and Taganga, jewels of the Caribbean coast. We went one way by Marsol, van transport and back by public bus. Because George is fluent in Spanish from his years in the Peace Corps, I am not sure how hard it would be to travel with no language skills, but we found Colombians to be very friendly and helpful. Many were thrilled to meet Americans traveling in their country.
From the Lonely Planet Colombia, we learned that, "Santa Marta is South America's oldest surviving city and the second most important colonial city on Colombia's Caribbean coast." It is experiencing a revival and many of the parks and plazas are being refurbished; we heard there are plans for an upscale marina.
We enjoyed the children playing and people strolling in Parque Santander
and Plaza de Bolivar. The Gold museum in the library was an interesting small exhibit. We did not see El Rodedero, but that is the beach where upscale Colombians hang out!
In December 17, 1830, Simon Bolivar died in Santa Marta; a claim to fame for this town! Another great claim is the fantastic hostel, La Brisa Loca. Not only a great place to stay full of friendly staff who have a tremendous amounts of information to share, but they also organized to gift giving to 60 local children on December 23, for the holiday. It was wonderful to see the smiling children enjoy soda and sweets while receiving personal gifts. Next door, we found the best Mexican restaurant, Agave Azul on Calle 14 - make reservations, they are both popular! This area is the stepping off point for the famous hike to Ciudad Perdida (the Lost City) and for Parque Nacional Natural (PNN) Tayrona.Continued on the next page