Santa Marta: A Coastal Paradise
This week, I journeyed to Santa Marta, a Caribbean city on the coast of Colombia. The biggest difference between Santa Marta and Medellin is that Santa Marta is surrounded by beautiful beaches.
Although Medellin is a wonderful city, its location in the interior of Colombia means that it has very few natural bodies of water. This week, I traveled to the coastal city of Santa Marta to feel the ocean breeze and take in the sun! I found that Santa Marta boasts a number of cultural as well as geographical differences from Medellin. Even though Santa Marta and Medellin are both in Colombia, the regions are very distinct!
UTC/GMT -5 hours
How far did I travel this week?
I traveled 839 kilometers from Medellin to Santa Marta. Although that sounds like a long time traveling, the trip only takes an hour by plane! Have you learned how to convert kilometers to miles? 1 kilometer is approximately .62 miles. Can you do the math?
How far have I traveled on my journey so far?
I have now travelled to various cities in Colombia and still have many more left to visit!
How did I get around this week?
This week, I mostly got around by bus and by foot. I also got around by carpooling with locals in the city. One day during my trip, I used a moto-taxi to get around the city. A moto-taxi, as you might have guessed, is a motorcycle that is used as a taxi. After hiking up a hill in a town outside of Santa Marta, I took a moto-taxi to get back down. This means I had to hop on the back of a motorcycle and hold on to the driver as we made our way down the big trail! Can you imagine using a motorcycle as a taxi? Although it was fun to go down the bumpy trail in a motorcycle, I don’t think it was very safe! I didn’t even have a helmet! Whenever you ride a taxi, it is extremely important that you’re equipped with a helmet.
What was the most interesting place I visited this week?
The most interesting place I visited was a town called Minca. Minca is a town that is located on a mountain range called the Sierra Nevada. Unlike Santa Marta, Minca has a cool climate because of its location on the mountain range. Minca is known for its natural beauty. Surrounded by rivers, waterfalls, endless hiking trails, and lots of greenery, Minca is a paradise for both its residents and visitors. In fact, the town is so enchanting that many foreigners have moved to live permanently in Minca.
The town has a strong foreigner community. When I stayed in Minca, I stayed in a log cabin owned by a couple from England. There were a number of people from all over the world staying in the same cabin! I met people from Germany, the United States, Spain, Argentina, Chile and Australia. People from Minca are proud to be from such a beautiful place and share it with the rest of the world!
Other travel news:
Santa Marta is a pretty busy city. Although it has less than 500,000 inhabitants, the city is very alive during the day. All week long, people stand on the street selling fruit, sunglasses, clothing, books, music, candy and fresh juice. The city is so vibrant and colorful that it’s easy to spend an entire day sitting in the plaza, watching the residents go about their daily tasks. On the first day I arrived, I sat in the plaza, ate a giant portion of papaya and mango, and watched kids skateboard past me. This beachside city is the perfect place to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
Weather Tally (enter the # of days for each weather type):
What is the air temperature right now?
The temperature in Santa Marta at 7:00 AM is 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Later on in the day, it will reach 80.
How was the weather this week?
The weather this week was perfect! It was in the 80’s almost every day of the week. By the beach, it felt even hotter.
What animals did I see this week?
I saw many interesting bugs! I saw worms the length of my forearm, a frog with bright yellow stripes, a fat turkey, horses, lizards and a small fox.
What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week?
The coolest thing I saw in nature this week was a waterfall called the Lost Waterfall in Minca. On the way to the waterfall, we got caught in the rain. The trail became very slippery and I fell at least three times! However, the trip to the waterfall was worth it. The waterfall was beautiful, and very peaceful.
Other Nature News:
On the way to the Lost Waterfall, we passed by a fruit finca. As Spanish speakers, I believe that you know the meaning of the word finca! The finca boasted a variety of different plants and trees that grow fruit. As we passed each plantation, we collected fruit. When we came across the owner of the finca, he gave us even more fresh fruit to take along with us! Needless to say, by the time we reached the waterfall, our bags were filled with bananas, passion fruit, avocados, oranges and mangos. As someone who absolutely loves fruit, I was thrilled!
What languages are spoken here?
Spanish is spoken in Santa Marta.
What type of money is used here?
Just like in Medellin, the Colombian peso is used here. However, prices are generally a bit cheaper in Santa Marta. For example, while a bus fare costs 1,600 pesos in Medellin, it only costs 1,200 pesos in Santa Marta. Can you do the conversion to figure out the difference between these prices in dollars?
How much does a bottle of water cost?
Water is sold in bags and can be as cheap as 16 US cents!
What was the best meal this week?
I had two great meals this week, and both of them were for breakfast. The first great meal I had was a giant raspberry pancake that was given to me right after I completed a long hike in Minca. The second meal was a tamal of chicken and meat. Although tamales vary from country to country, my tamal was made out of dough and rice, and was filled with meat, vegetables and a boiled quail egg. To complete my breakfast, I drank a black coffee made with panela, or brown sugar. It was the perfect way to start my day!
What music did I listen to this week?
This week I listened to many people play the guitar! In the cabin where I stayed, a group of people began to play the guitar and sing. They sang everything from folk songs in English to Spanish rock songs! I also listened to bands play music on the beach. These bands play a genre of music called vallenatos. Vallenatos are folk songs that come from the coastal region of Colombia. They feature strong male vocals, drums, and most importantly, an accordion!
What activity was the most fun this week?
The most fun activity of the week was riding a motorboat to the beach. To get from one beach to another, you have to hop onto a motorboat. Although the ride is only a few minutes long, it’s fun to feel the wind against your face and watch the landscape fly by as you zoom over the water!
What did I read this week?
This week I continued reading a book called Como Agua Para Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. It is a novel about a couple from Mexico during the country’s revolution.
Other news from this week: (short story about what happened this week)
After the boat ride to the beach, I decided to grab lunch. I ordered a typical lunch with fish. To my surprise, I was brought an entire fish! I could even see the fish’s eyes! As I ate my fish with rice and plantains, I sat by the ocean and enjoyed the afternoon sun. Can you think of a better way to spend a Friday afternoon?