Santa Marta, Colombia

Santa Marta is a charming beach town located just five hours from Cartagena. The main streets are constantly abuzz with vendors hawking cell phone cases, fresh limeade and yellow soccer jerseys; the side roads are narrow, old-fashioned and (thankfully) easy to navigate. Siesta time is taken seriously in Santa Marta—most businesses are closed from 12-2PM and restaurants shut down from 3-6PM—we quickly learned to run errands and eat lunch early in the day to avoid wandering through a ghost town with an empty stomach or an unworkable to-do list.

IMG_5960We stayed at a lovely hostel, Aluna, in the center of town. Everything was within walking distance and each day we took advantage of the closeness by strolling down to the boardwalk for sunset and dining at the various local eateries.

Doug’s voracious appetite, paired with his taste for fine dining, led us to continue our weeklong restaurant crawl through Santa Marta and beyond. We sampled numerous cuisines—some delicious, some barely edible—and probably each put on five pounds!

IMG_5976After one delectable waterfront dinner on a Friday we decided to walk through the main plaza and scope the weekend nightlife scene. All the young kids were hanging out in the square, dressed to the nines. At first we felt as if we’d crashed their prom, but once we broke through the adolescent crowds, we came across an antique alleyway bustling with live music and colorful restaurants, bordered with outdoor bistro sets. We sat at a creative table with legs made of old books and enjoyed the cultural songs of the local performers over a glass of wine. Couples danced to Latin rhythms under the dim bulbs strung up overhead and we savored the deliciously authentic ambiance.

We felt at home in Santa Marta, and it was close to several neighboring attractions so we were able to take day trips to places like Taganga and Tayrona. Twice we took taxis to Rodadero, another beach area nearby. In the daytime there we rented a small cabana space on the beach and got foot massages from ladies with buckets of sea water and a few missing teeth. We ordered shrimp ceviche made fresh in front of us by a weathered-looking man with a Styrofoam cooler full of seafood, lime and mayonnaise.

IMG_6092At night, we went to a beautiful restaurant, Burukuka, up on the side of the hill overlooking the town. The atmosphere was incredible as we sat on the patio and watched the skyscrapers twinkle up as the sky faded from orange to purple and we indulged ourselves with steak, lobster and martinis.

After eating and walking around the downtown area, we were getting sleepy and ready to head back to Aluna. As Kyle and Doug negotiated the price of a cab ride home, the driver of another taxi was so blatantly staring at me and Meghan he rammed straight into the back of the first car—we literally caused an accident! It was so awkward when everyone started freaking out, so we immediately sneaked away to avoid any involvement and laughed about the incident the whole way home..

Posted on by Erica Duncan in Colombia

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