I got back to Barranquilla Saturday night after a fun and very relaxing vacation. Here’s a quick play-by-play of my trip:
Friday 3/26: Left for Cartagena in the late afternoon and arrived a little after 5pm. Went out dancing with Hillary and a friend of her sister’s from the states. We had fun, but the centro was filled with Western tourists so it wasn’t really our scene.
Saturday 3/27: Had lunch in Hillary’s neighborhood before heading to the mall for a little shopping. Tara came in from Barú and met us there. I had Yogen Fruz for the first time, which is frozen yogurt that is blended with the fruit of your choice right in front of you – DElicious. I’m kind of obsessed. (The franchise is international, so if you ever stumble across one, try it!!) We were all kind of tired, so we opted to stay in and cook dinner instead of going out.
Sunday 3/28: Spent most of the day in the centro with Hillary and Tara, checking out the shops and buying cheap jewelry on the street. I also bought a really cute green and white floral print dress for 25,000 – that’s 13 bucks! We met up with Courtney (our WT field director) for a yummy Colombian lunch, then she treated us to ice cream cones from our favorite chain, Crepes & Waffles. That night Tara and I went with Hillary to a former student’s birthday party (don’t worry, Hillary teaches at a university.) We ate typical costeño food, drank Costeñita beer, danced a bit, and had a really good time. We also spoke in Spanish the whole time, which was really good practice for me.
Monday 3/29: Deciding to take it easy before leaving for Tolú, we stayed around Hillary’s neighborhood and got mani-pedis. I usually don’t get manicures (though I love a good pedicure) but it was so cheap I went ahead and got both. That night we cooked a delicious dinner of coconut rice, curry, and passion fruit juice with chocolate pudding for dessert. YUM. We put on a movie afterward (Everybody’s Fine) that unfortunately turned out to be really depressing.
Tuesday 3/30: Woke up, packed, grabbed a quick breakfast, and headed to the bus terminal. After a rocky 3 hour ride, we arrived in Tolú, where we promptly hired 2 bicitaxis to bring us to our hostel. (A bicitaxi is just what it sounds like: a bicycle-taxi. Those and regular bicycles are the main form of transportation in Tolú.) We were really excited about our hostel’s rooftop lounge area, which included hammocks, cable tv and couches. We explored the town a bit and had dinner at a not-so-Mexican Mexican restaurant called Orale Guey.
Wednesday 3/31: Spent most of the day on a tour of the San Bernardo Islands. This included beach time and lunch on Isla Mucura, where the waves are gentle and the water crystal clear, as well as a tour of the ridiculous “aquarium” on Isla Palma (where we saw everything from turkeys to a massive water buffalo.) Later we strolled along the malecón, people-watching and listening to music, and ate street food.
Thursday 4/1: Took a bus to Coveñas to spend the day at the beach there. The water was really warm, like a bath, which was kind of weird, but I still enjoyed it. I spent most of my time reading a book while getting a nice tan on my legs. So relaxing. That night we decided to finally check out the nightlife. By this point Tolu was packed with tourists, but we barely saw foreigners, which was great. Instead the tourists came from other Colombian cities like Medellin and even as far away as Cali. The malecon at night was filled with people drinking, eating, dancing, playing instruments – it was great. So alive.
Friday 4/2: Surprise, surprise – another beach day! This time we took the advice of a local and headed to Puerto Vieja, which was closer than Coveñas. The beach was really nice, even if the water had a bit more waves than I usually like. We rented an umbrella and some chairs and barely moved until sunset.
On Saturday we headed home, though none of us really wanted to leave.
Top 5 Favorite Things About Tolú:
- Pimped out bicitaxis. I forgot to take a picture, but some of these things had giant speakers, flashing lights, even video. I’ve never seen anything like it.
- The artisans
- The boardwalk
- The greenery
- The laid-back vibe. It felt like a Caribbean island.