Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Santa Marta Impressions

Who would have guessed Mark and I would ever visit the country of Colombia, by boat? Well, here we are… a week in Santa Marta at the moment and a planned visit to Cartagena next. We treated ourselves to a week’s stay in Santa Marta Marina and it has been wonderful! Clean, air conditioned bathrooms, hot showers, a state-of-the-art washing machine, friendly staff and the ability to just hop off Irie and stroll to the historic town to go shopping, have a meal out or soak up the atmosphere. Price: $150 for the week (without electricity and water). Checking in was very easy, since Dino, the required agent, took care of all the paperwork in return for $54.

Our first 24 hours in Santa Marta were completely filled with talks to Dino and our good friends Axel and Liz, straightening out the boat, catching up on emails, trying to take a nap and excitement of being here. Our friends took us out to dinner along the waterfront at night and we truly enjoyed the well-prepared appetizers, tasty sangria and scrumptious steak (Mark) and salmon (me) dishes. The meal was truly a spoil and we would take advantage of the drinking and eating establishments close by for the rest of the week. Beers run for about $1, street food costs between $0.50 (bowl of rice with salt fish) to $4 (plate of chicken, fries and salad), and Lulo’s – Axel and Liz’ favorite restaurant – serves up fantastic arepas, juices and smoothies.

The week flew by, but we managed to combine errands (hey, who cares about laundry when the machine actually has hot water?), socializing and exploring. The weather has been very grey, hot and humid, but a nice shower at the end of every day made it bearable. Santa Marta is decorated with lit statues and figurines in every park, announcing that Christmas is near. Especially during the weekends, the town buzzes with excitement and liveliness when families, lovers and friends linger about the “boardwalk” or congregate near the many cozy squares. It all reminds us very much of Central America and the Dominican Republic. Nothing is new to us (except the currency; we carry tens of thousands of Colombian pesos with us every day!), but we are glad to be surrounded by these cultures and vibes again; it’s very different from the Eastern Caribbean and gives us the feeling of traveling again!

Making fun of one of Axel's many photography lenses.

Santa Marta at night; pedestrian street.

The town is in the spirit of Christmas.

Fantastic dinner with Axel and Liz at Ben and Joseph's.

Mark's scrumptious steak for $12.

Local sawing artist, making wooden souvenirs for love birds.

Island and lighthouse in Santa Marta Harbor.

Street vendor selling limes.

Urban beach in the industrial port of Santa Marta, with funny shade boxes.

Government building in the historic center.

One of the churches in Santa Marta.

Historic center.

Lulo's restaurant cafe.

Axel and Liz surprised us with a souvenir from the saw guy.

Mark at the meat market.

Donkey transporting rubble through the streets.

Dinner on Irie with fresh fruit and whipped cream for desert.

1 comment:

Axel said...

Hi guys! Thanks for coming here and for the good times together. So sad to see you leave. We've uploaded the photos of your departure here:

We hope to add many more Irie pictures to that folder in the future :-).

Have a safe trip!

Axel + Liz