Seeing Santa Marta & avoiding the heat.
Santa Marta Travel Blog› entry 7 of 27 › view all entries
June 8th, 2008 – by: gopackjo
Today I ventured out to see the sights in Santa Marta. My hotel is only three blocks from the waterfront, so that was the first place to go. There is a nice place to walk along the sea, and after the wide sidewalks for strolling there is a narrow beach that all of the locals were frolicking on. It didn’t seem to be all that dirty, but the fact that we were mere meters from the main harbor didn’t instill a lot of confidence.
There was a great view of a rocky island, called El Morro, which was very nice. But there were also five huge container ships waiting in the small bay ready to be loaded or unloaded. In any case this was not a big ‘tourist beach’ to be sure. I heard that there were two beaches of that sort nearby… el Rodadero to the south, and Taganga to the north.
Santa Marta is also the staging point for the trek into Ciudad Perdido (The Lost City). This is said to be a journey right out of Indiana Jones, and is a venture to the lost city of the Tayrona Indians. The Tayronas were the first substantial civilization that the Spaniards ran into upon discovering the new world, and I’m sure that you can guess what happened then. It was their discovery that first acquainted the conquistadors with Indian gold, and led to the legend of El Dorado, the city of gold. Shortly after, following 75 years of war, the Tayrona were gone without a trace.
Santa Marta is also the best point from which to visit the Parque Nacional Tayrona. The park is a 35km stretch of Caribbean coastline that contains numerous sandy beaches and hidden coves.
Truth be told, at 41 years old, and feeling every bit of the coast’s heat and humidity, I was not up for much of anything. A six day trek was certainly out of the question. And I’ve got plenty of beach time scheduled for later in the trip. So I stayed tethered to my hotel room like a wimp.
I saw a bar/restaurant the advertised free wi-fi along the beachfront’s main route, Carrera 1C. So I grabbed my laptop and headed out. Being Sunday it was, of course, closed. I asked about nearby internet options and was directed to a location about 10 blocks away. I took a hot stroll there and found that my laptop was not welcome. I did stay for an hour and enjoy the cool room and decent speed web service.
Most hotels in Latin America have a policy about air conditioning that goes like this. If you leave the room, please turn off the A/C. I am usually pretty good about it. And usually I am gone for a whole day, or multiple hours at a time. But here they really took it seriously.
I walked out to use the internet in the hotel for my free 30 minutes, and when I turned around to ask the guy a question, he was gone. He had already gone to my room to turn the thing off. I guess it wouldn’t have been so bad if the A/C unit had some kick to it, but this was a real weak one that took forever to cool back down.
I decided that, with the lack of things to see and do here, I would leave for Venezuela tomorrow. The trip will be a long one, and at the end of it I should be in the Andes with a bit of a cooler climate. That should put me one day ahead of my projected schedule, but I have no problem with that.
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