A Travellerspoint blog

Bocas Del Toro, Panama

overcast -31 °C

After a 30 minutes boat ride we arrived at the main island in Bocas Del Toro. It was nice to arrive dry after a boat ride for once. The place was extremely touristy, but we were expecting the worst. So even though it was gringolandia central, we actually thought it was a pretty cool place. I mean hardly anything is authentic in Panama anyway, so at least being on an island with surf and party vibes made it a bit more fun. We decided to take the party hostel no 1 called Mondo Taitu. I was expecting much more party actually, though we went to bed like midnight, so the party probably started after we had gone to bed. They had a quite a fun bar downstairs, but other than that it was not really a social place. All the people we met were people not staying in the hostel or at least people that we could have met not staying in the hostel.
Both of us arrived in Bocas with a real party mood. After we finished whatever was left in the little rum bottle I bought in Panama City, we even went and bought a 1 liter bottle of rum, thinking that we would finish it pretty quickly. However, we clearly overestimated our party abilities after being so out of practice. The first few nights we were in bed before midnight and by the 3rd night out we had drunk perhaps ¼ of the bottle.

We went on some nice excursions during the days. After being screwed around by touts trying to sell snorkel trips, but not having any organized tour, thus not actually leaving, we ended up going to the other end of the main island. We weren’t expecting much but this beach was really amazing, completely remote without any buildings at all. Only palm trees and white sand as far as the eye could see. This beach was also famous for starfishes, and they could be seen everywhere in the crystal clear water. We took a few ones out of the water temporarily to snap a few Christmas greetings home to our families.

The next day we decided to pay a bit extra and go with a tour company that actually had a snorkel tour. Still we were a bit worried as we showed up and were the only ones in the boat, but soon it filled up. The snorkeling was great, or for us great at least, as this was the first time we could even snorkel at all. While some other people coming from the north were less impressed, Laura and I were the first ones in and last ones out at each snorkel spot. The tour also included a stop at Red Frog beach which was kind of…hhmm crap really. Awful beach, no good for swimming, and actually a pretty ugly beach. Not sure why it’s so famous, you even have to pay to access it, or why we had to stop there for 3 hours, leaving only 15 min to snorkel at the last place.

We had pre-arranged to be dropped off at Batistion, another island nearby that was still very undeveloped in terms of tourism. It got a real Rasta feeling over it, almost all being black and speaking this weird language, which is sort of a Jamaican mix up. We ran into a nice Swedish couple who we had a few beers with. The next day we walked along the remote beaches and ran into a few people that we had met at the snorkel tour.

When we came back to the main island on the 23rd of Dec, after only being away 1 night, it had gotten really busy. Most hostels were full and we took into a cheap hotel without atmosphere instead. By now we had started to get to know a few people here and there, and in the evening when we went for a walk we ran into a few people sitting drinking rum outside a hostel. We said to sit down for one beer, but there was this crazy, but super friendly Austrian guy that made sure that everyone including us was having a full glass of rum all the time. It didn’t take long until a few bottles of rum were emptied. We decided to go to a club seeing we had made it past our usual bedtime and were still awake. There we ran into more people we´ve met; actually I think pretty much everyone we had met on the island was there. We had a blast dancing around like crazy. I mean the music was pretty crap, but we were all in a party mood and had loads of fun anyway. We hadn’t been out dancing since Salta in Argentina, which was like 6 months ago.

An American girl got strongly attached to us for some reason, and she had made us promise to meet her the next day for lunch. Later in the afternoon we took a short boat trip over to a small nearby island called Isla Colon. There was nothing special in the guidebook so we were really surprised how cool it was. There were deserted wilderness beaches, some small mangrove swamps and nice views of people surfing off shore (looks crazy to see people surfing 500 meters out from land). It seems like the things that sounded the best in Lonely was the worst (Red Frog Beach) and the other way around.

I had had a tiny wound, in my leg on the day we went snorkeling. After that day the wound started to grow into something that looked like a big spot. Now after 3 days it was really massive, like a small volcano, and a 15cm area around the wound was very red and a bit swollen. We decided that perhaps I could squeeze it a bit as it looked so inflated. After a few pushes, loads of white stuff together with puss and blood started to come out. Both amazed and a bit chocked, I must have been squeezing for 15 minutes on that thing. So much stuff came out, never seen anything quite like it. However afterwards I could hardly stand on the leg. We went to get some stuff at the pharmacy to clean it, but by the evening it was so sore that was even having trouble limping around.

Anyways, being Christmas and all, the evening we went out again with most of the guys that we met last night. It seems that everyone in Bocas goes to one place at a time. There will be one bar that has happy hour between 19-20, then one free beer special at another bar between 20-21 etc and that’s usually where people will be. Tonight there was an English pub that had ladies night starting at 22pm. At ten to ten there were only the usual old men clientele drinking pints, but in 20 min, the place was completely full, so full that people spilled out on the porch and even out on the road. It was pretty obvious that the free girls’ night had turned into free for everyone night as the girls got drinks for the guys too. It was so chaotic with so many people, that people just brought in outside bottles of rum, mixing their own drinks in the bar. I bought one single beer in the pub during the whole evening and that was before 22pm, still I managed to get drunk enough to even pull off a 5 min dance session with my war injured leg.

The next day we got some serious advice from two complete strangers that came up to me, to go to the hospital and check up my leg. They both had some pretty horrible stories, one almost being killed by a small piece of coral and the other telling us about this insect that lays eggs inside your skin. Ok, I am stubborn with not going to the hospital, but don’t want to mess with the things you can get here. The hospital was chaos but the doctor was great. He told me that I had some infection, which was good news compared to insect eggs and coral poisoning. The bad news was that I now had to go 10 days on antibiotic. Even worse, I was told that I could not swim in the sea until it had healed up. Being on a party island with great surf and snorkel sort of limited me to things to do, but we rented some really funky bikes and cycled a lovely route passing deserted beaches and seeing some great surfing.

The night we met up with most of the people we had gotten to know for a Christmas dinner. Most were traveling for only a short time and their budget was quite different from ours. Still we decided to splurge that night (using Christmas money from Laura’s parents) and went for Surf and Turf i.e. steak and lobster. It really was so, so. Also most people had a bit of hangover and to be honest the conversations and other was not the best. It felt like the best nights had already been so not being able to drink on Christmas day wasn’t really a big issue. We also had to get up early to move on towards Costa Rica. Surprisingly we had had an great time in Bocas, meet loads of fun people. If you don’t expect any local culture, this place is actually pretty great.
This beach was amazing and finally we had a really sunny day

This beach was amazing and finally we had a really sunny day

Walking out on remote beach

Walking out on remote beach

Henrik pointing out the starfishes

Henrik pointing out the starfishes

Laura posing in front of some starfishes

Laura posing in front of some starfishes

Starfishes all around

Starfishes all around

Henrik with more starfishes

Henrik with more starfishes


Dolphines were playing around the boats

Dolphines were playing around the boats

Dolphines jumping around near the boat

Dolphines jumping around near the boat

Hostel Jaguar at Isla Batistion, Laura and The Jaguar on the porch

Hostel Jaguar at Isla Batistion, Laura and The Jaguar on the porch

A tiny red frog...not on the red frog beach though as they have almost died out due to some big hotel project there

A tiny red frog...not on the red frog beach though as they have almost died out due to some big hotel project there

Houses built on stilts in the water was very common in Bocas

Houses built on stilts in the water was very common in Bocas

Some crazy Chrismas display outside a house on Bocas

Some crazy Chrismas display outside a house on Bocas

Cyntia and Laura on a waterfront restuarant in Isla Colon

Cyntia and Laura on a waterfront restuarant in Isla Colon

Mangrove swamp on Isla Colon

Mangrove swamp on Isla Colon

Its not often we both can be in a picture, here posing in front of the mangrov

Its not often we both can be in a picture, here posing in front of the mangrov

A tree that had fallen in the sea, but then continue to grow from fallen position

A tree that had fallen in the sea, but then continue to grow from fallen position

Henrik admirining the waves outside Isla Colon

Henrik admirining the waves outside Isla Colon

Laura sending Christmas greetings home to Spain

Laura sending Christmas greetings home to Spain

Henrik sending Christmas greetings home to Sweden

Henrik sending Christmas greetings home to Sweden

Christmas and leaving dinner

Christmas and leaving dinner

Posted by hmontonen 09:23 Archived in Panama Comments (0)

Panamá City and Boquete

Our mini plan finally landed on Panama City mini airport. We had been warned by our newfound friend from Faroe Islands all places that the procedures at the airport would take ages. This was an understatement. Our luggage was opened twice, laid out on the ground and sniffed by dogs. We had to go into two different offices, an interrogation with Migration and police checking. In addition, they would sort of mentally check you by surprising you with random questions in the airport and see if you freak out. So silly as no one in their right mind would smuggle drugs or guns this way when you can simply sail around the coast or walk across Darién gap with very small chances of being checked. Finally we were through and we were ready to catch a cab; while we were waiting to flag one down, we saw a guy we just met before taking the flight, he was inside a taxi already so we decided to jump in with him. Once we arrived at the hostel, the taxi driver was asking us to pay extra money; we argued back and rejected to give him more money from what he had already agreed with our friend. He kept on insisting and we walked off towards the hostel. He kept yelling at us, saying that he would call the police immediately. We paid no attention at the threat but after some minutes two policemen came (we could hear everything from the reception of the hostel). I had to go out and explain what had happened to them. Once again, I said we wouldn’t pay anything to that cheeky man. He kept on screaming, to the point that a gringo came from the house right next to the hostel and gave the man 5 dollars and said: “I’d pay anything for you to keep it quite; I am trying to relax at my place. Please take the money and leave”. And just like that, the conflict was not there anymore: the taxi driver stopped complaining and the two policemen left. Money buys more than we think; it can even buy someone’s principles…
Panamá City is a very hectic place: a chaotic and busy big metropolis: markets, people and shops everywhere. It is not definitely my cup of tea but it was good to be in a place somehow quite westernised. We even went to Mc Donald’s in a big shopping mall close by the bus station after visiting Panamá Chanel. After months of eating so basic, our stomachs were craving for new flavours.
The channel was really impressive to see: sometimes I forget how like I am of witnessing amazing places like this one. The magnitude of the construction is overwhelming, so it is the history about it and the politic issues behind two. We could see one big cargo boat going through the lock gates; and these ones closing and opening at different stages to level the water out in both oceans. The grandiosity of such a masterpiece really blows my mind.
We also wanted to go to a man made peninsula and cycled around the: we took a taxi there and wanted to rent one of those silly tricycles. However they said that it was a requirement to leave the passport as a deposit; we obviously had not brought our passport with us and said that we could leave money instead. They were sceptical and had to call the owner twice to discuss about it...after some minutes waiting in the place, they came and said sorry. And this is a place that was completely empty, no clients at all. We were offering to give money us a deposit for a tricycle and they stood on their feet and said no! Awesome. Some people do not want to make business: why do we bother them?
Anyways we finally went to another place and rented a silly tricycle that moved very slowly and went on a short ride: it was tacky but lots of fun!
After Panamá City we still hadn’t figured out where to go yet. Sara was leaving for David (second biggest city in Panamá) and we said we would decide at the bus station. We had thoughts of either going towards the pacific coast or towards David and Boquete and decided to take the second option. We took the overnight bus to David with Sara and got there very early in the morning. It was really sad saying good bye to Sara. After three weeks travelling together we had become really close and felt that it would feel really odd to not have her around.
We took a bus to Boquete from David. Boquete is a really nice place: a little bit chillier than the rest of Panamá, it is an ideal setting to go for hikes. We stayed in one of the best hostels so far (Mamallena Hostel): we got a pretty good deal: 10 bucks for a huge room, en suite bathroom and breakfast included (free pancakes). Not the cheapest but worth every penny.
We did one of the famous hikes through a national park: they said it would be a tough 10 hours hike back and forth. Turned out it took us only seven. We even started to think that we are becoming used to walk through mountains and were starting to be fitter and fitter. The walk was ok, nothing really special: the trek is named after the bird Quetzal. However, we did not get to see any. The views from the mirador, up on the top, were really impressive. You could see the cloud forest and the colours changing...
This was just few days before Christmas and you could already see the lights on the streets; it was a bit colder of what we were used, and for the first time we had the Christmas feeling back!
We also went to bath terms and visited a lovely private garden full of these phrases that would make you reflect about things in live. Definitely worth a visit!
Cargo boat approaching

Cargo boat approaching

Opening the gates in the Canal

Opening the gates in the Canal

Cargo Boat moving along the Canal

Cargo Boat moving along the Canal

Cargo boat trough the Canal

Cargo boat trough the Canal

Canal de Panamá: gates

Canal de Panamá: gates

Tricycle tour in Panamá City

Tricycle tour in Panamá City

Quetzal trek, after crossing one of the rivers

Quetzal trek, after crossing one of the rivers

Hot springs in Boquete

Hot springs in Boquete

Making friends with a buffalo

Making friends with a buffalo

new 793

new 793

One of the swings in the Eco garden

One of the swings in the Eco garden

Eco computer

Eco computer

Eco TV

Eco TV

Circus swing!

Circus swing!

Las plantas también tienen problemas de vista

Las plantas también tienen problemas de vista

Posted by hmontonen 20:28 Archived in Panama Comments (0)

Crossing over Darien Gap

sunny 30 °C

The most common route to get to Panama is to take a sailing boat over to the north coast, fairly close to Ciudad de Panamá. However, when it came to weigh up the pros and cons of taking the boat we decided to take the half land route instead.
There were two main reasons for not sailing: first, I trend to get sea sick very easily; secondly, it was rather more expensive. There was also a very appealing thing to the fact of taking the second option: we were going to cross over the Darién Gap. Only on the coast side, which is quite protected and militarily guarded, but still part of the Darién, the so called no man’s land. It is still the place of the FARC and crossing it on the inland side is still considered an intentioned suicide…
Sara, our kiwi friend, was repeatedly doubted about either taking the sailing boat or coming with us but money finally tipped the scale and decided to join us in such an adventure. We first had to get to Turbo, from where we would overnight and take an early fast boat over to Capurganá. Even the journey up to Turbo was a long mission. We first took a bus to Montería, which resulted on changing over once along the way in a shitty small chicken bus, hot as hell and slower that a pro biker. We got to Montería really late but we were lucky to take the last jeep to Turbo. The seats on the far back were cheaper so… those we took. We felt like refugees hidden in the back seats covered by a black canvas. We even got stopped by police, on a random control. The looked at us a bit surprised: bloody gringos: cheap escape in our country. But it all went good and got to Turbo at midnight. The next day we were up very early to take the first “ferry”. This resulted to be a small fast boat without roof cover in the front part; we already knew that they normally try to leave the front seats for the gringos. I never had to wonder why they would do that, since we experience what it was like first hand.
We had packed all our big backpacks in garbage bags to protect them from the water; but soon we would realize that there was not much of a point of doing that. Our entire luggage got pretty wet after the 3.5 hours journey. We got wet too but that was not the main problem: the sea was choppy and rough and the front seats (meaning two benches on the side parts of the boat) were no place to seat. We even put the life vests on the benched in order to cushion our bottoms which were jumping up and down crazily from the waves. It was such a painful ride, but still quite fun…we could not stop laughing at the locals who were pleasantly seating down under the cover, almost falling sleep. Those bastards!
We got into Capurganá, or rather, half flooded Capurganá. It had been raining for months in the cost of Colombia. Although the wet season had come to an end a month earlier, La Niña phenomenon was causing all the heavy rains and, as a result, had enlarged the wet season. All the streets were flooded and in order to get to our hostel, we had to cross two streets, which had temporary become rivers…
Capurganá is such a laid back town: everything takes a while; there is no hurry for anything. It was nice to be in such a super relax atmosphere. We were only one hill from Panamá in such an unspoiled region. We in fact went up the hill, signed with Migration office as we wanted to go over to the first beach in Panamá , we heard the beach was much nicer than the one in the Colombian side. The setting was stunning but there is always something that reminds you that you are still in South America. While we were playing a kiwi strange game by the beach a bunch of soldiers came to board an army boat: this wasn’t the strange part, but that two of them were carrying a pig that was inside a bag: they were trying to keep the poor pig still but it was nearly impossible; and, on top of that, our poor veggie Sara suffering for the pig (so I did too) and contemplating the scene that was taking place in such a pretty cove beach.
The next day we decided to take a boat to Sapzurro and stay over a couple of nights or so. We ended up staying in a cute little cottage at a very good price in a family place. The owner was a woman on her thirties married to an 80 year old man, for money reasons (as she explained). At the beginning she seemed very nice but she ended up being a very controlling person, too suffocating to live with. The best part of it: we learn how to make coconut rice! It was delicious!
Sapzurro was a very authentic place: less touristy than Capurganá, the people were friendlier and careless about any gringo passing by. We did a jungle excursion back to Capurganá which was very nice and had a well deserved ice cream at the soccer pitch in town. The next day we were off to Puerto Obaldía to take the flight to Panamá City. The flight was also an experience: a very small and old plane that flew at a very low altitude over San Blás Islands: they looked amazing! After the short time flight, we had to wait 3 hours in the airport: one interview with migration, two police controls, our bags were checked twice, even with police dogs. It took ages all together but finally we were in Panamá City.

Kid on the streets of Capurgana

Kid on the streets of Capurgana

Street in Capurgana

Street in Capurgana

Kids posing for a photo in Capurgana

Kids posing for a photo in Capurgana

Unspoilt beaches in Panama

Unspoilt beaches in Panama

Sapzurro, Panama

Sapzurro, Panama

Up on a hill: Migration office to enter Panama. Luckily we cut Henrik's hair the next day

Up on a hill: Migration office to enter Panama. Luckily we cut Henrik's hair the next day

Paradise palm trees beach

Paradise palm trees beach

Deserted beach at the border crossing, on the panamanian side

Deserted beach at the border crossing, on the panamanian side

Baywatcher Henrik

Baywatcher Henrik

Pig on board in Panama

Pig on board in Panama

Posted by hmontonen 10:05 Archived in Colombia Comments (0)

Cartagena

sunny 33 °C

After recovering and drying up for a day back in Taganga, we set off towards the magical city of Cartagena. As per Colombian standard all bus trips must take twice as long to complete as stated in guidebooks and by the bus companies, so we arrived in the evening. After dumping our bags in a basic hostel we set off towards the old part of the old city. The place is really like a fairytale city. From experience I know that there are not many cities outside of Europe that can impress us. Perhaps Americans are impressed seeing building older than 50 years and I suppose that these are the people who write the guidebooks. However, Cartagena´s old town was really old even in European standards. Everything has been very well restored and very carefully preserved. Most houses had large balconies covered in flowers and with candles lit on the sides of the cobble streets, the fairytale ambiance was complete.
The old town was pretty lively too. There was one cool square where we saw loads of different Caribbean dance performances. It’s quite a crazy dance, a bit of belly dancing, mixed with African dance and some other crazy stuff. Looked like they were possessed or on some crazy drug. We ran into loads of people from the Cuidad Perdida trek. Quite a few people were out partying and we joined for a few beers, but decided to have an earlish night.

Sarah managed to catch up with us again and we went to do some touristy stuff together, like visiting the old fort and cruising the streets of the old town. We decided that we would go on a boat tour to visit some of the nearby islands. In the end we also decided to stay over on one of the places to able to have some chill time without having hordes of other tourist around. It turned out that this was a pretty smart move as we only had a very short time on the islands. Most of the part of the tour was actually on the boat, which could have been nice and relaxing, but this tour was some sort of Colombian version of a party cruise, except that people were not really drinking. There was this guy called Johnny White screaming in the microphone and when everyone was not singing along to some horrible song on max volume, they were playing some stupid games. The games they played were the sort of things that would be done on a party cruise on Ibiza, like striptease, guys being dressed up like girls etc. However, the weird thing was that no one participating was drunk. Just could not believe that guys around 17 years old would participate voluntarily doing this stuff. Silly crazy Colombians.

The island we stayed on was really nice though. It was back to living a very basic life again. We slept in hammocks, only had candles for light and had to cook everything on a wooden fire. After the tour groups had left the beach, we pretty much had the place for ourselves. Unfortunately the snorkeling was really bad as there was no visibility, but we had fun messing around in the water. We even managed to make a human tower, with me in the bottom, Sarah sitting on my shoulders and Laura sitting on Sarah´s shoulders. Off course we have no photo proof, but I am pretty sure that we could have made it into any circus with this move. After a relaxing time, it was unfortunately back on the boat, where Johnny White again was still doing his thing. He ended the return trip with a disappointing not even half striptease, but some quite impressing Michael Jackson move.

Back in Cartagena we went to see a few bands at a small festival in town, otherwise, not much more things happened in Cartagena, except one crazy event. Sarah, Laura and I were going for dinner and were as usual being bothered by people asking if we wanted to buy cocaine. It gets a bit trying saying no all the time. Laura told one guy pestering me to basically leave us alone and he just completely snapped, screaming at Laura about her not respecting him etc. We did not really think more of it, but later in the evening when we went to a local shop the guy came up to me saying stuff like, “this is Colombia, I can have your friend (meaning Laura) killed, she disrespects me etc”. The guy was obviously a complete nutcase, but when we saw him standing outside our hostel later in the evening, looking at us in an attempt to intimidate us, we decided to call the police. I have to give it to them, they took it really seriously, and walked around with us trying to ID the guy. Laura remember that he had a piece of his ear missing, so the police looked around, and later came back with a photo taken on a mobile which we confirmed was the guy. The police told us that the guy would be spending a night in jail and they would make sure that he does not bother us ever again, whatever this means. While it was good how the police had handled it and reassured us, we still felt that it was time to move on. Cartagena is really an amazing place, but they really need to sort out the dodgy area where all the hostels are.

Henrik posing at a corner in old town

Henrik posing at a corner in old town

Balconies in old town

Balconies in old town

These traditional dressed women did not want to be in any photos, but Henrik managed to sneak up so I could snap this photo

These traditional dressed women did not want to be in any photos, but Henrik managed to sneak up so I could snap this photo

Laura kissing a bull

Laura kissing a bull

Laura and Sarah in front of the mighty fort...after playing tourguide I knew that this thing was like 60 meters high and consisted of 6 different walls, pretty good defence eay

Laura and Sarah in front of the mighty fort...after playing tourguide I knew that this thing was like 60 meters high and consisted of 6 different walls, pretty good defence eay

Cheapskates as we are, we only rented one audiguide and whoever had it then had to play tourguide and explain what we were looking at

Cheapskates as we are, we only rented one audiguide and whoever had it then had to play tourguide and explain what we were looking at

Pretty impressive walls on this old fort

Pretty impressive walls on this old fort

Laura and Sarah posing on a cute street in old town

Laura and Sarah posing on a cute street in old town

A horse caridge, a man selling Panama hats, and a traditionally dressed woman selling fresh fruit, could this picture be more Cartagenian

A horse caridge, a man selling Panama hats, and a traditionally dressed woman selling fresh fruit, could this picture be more Cartagenian

Sarah finally got to use this usual mobil call service that were offered on every street corner...must say that it was pretty handy if you are cought without a phone or battery

Sarah finally got to use this usual mobil call service that were offered on every street corner...must say that it was pretty handy if you are cought without a phone or battery

Street preformers showing off some crazy dance moves

Street preformers showing off some crazy dance moves

African Carribean dance group shaking their money maker

African Carribean dance group shaking their money maker

We had the beach to ourselves after the tourist boats left

We had the beach to ourselves after the tourist boats left

Lonely tree still standing on the beach

Lonely tree still standing on the beach

Laura posing up on the beach

Laura posing up on the beach

Posted by hmontonen 10:47 Archived in Colombia Comments (0)

Tayrona Park, Colombia

overcast 30 °C

It was really cool haning out in Taganga now as we knew so many people. After a day or so, Sarah came over to our hostel. We talked a bit about the plans and decided that we would go to Tyrona National park together. After hiking in the rain and mud for 5 days we were looking forward to chill on some unspoiled sunny beaches. However, we were in for a surprise. We were let of in the middle of the park and had to walk to get to the beach. The path was however even more muddy then the path to The lost City. We were so glad that we had left our big backpacks back in Taganga. We ran into a cool chill guy from Greece who joined us. The park was amazing though, sort of jungle mixed with beach areas. We just made it to a camp before the sun went down.

There were no hostels in the park only basic camps where you could either sleep in tents or hammocks. We made a deal with the place we stayed at and could use the kitchen, otherwise everything in the park was so expensive. We met people paying 20 dollars for a hammock and 10 dollars for a basic meal. We had one day of pretty good weather when we went walking and swimming in completely deserted wilderness beaches. The sand was completely white and cocanut trees were leaning out from the beach. We would walk around bearfoot in mud up halfway to our knees, pick cocanuts that we would have as dessert. It was raining quite a lot, but it was still so much fun living this basic lifestyle.
One amazing thing about Colombia is that you can still ran into native people living traditional lifestyles. I mean in other places its more that they are there to pose up for tourist. However, in Colombia you would walk and all the suddantely see a hut with a family dressed up in sacks, bearfoot, a hunting bow, and almost no knowledge of Spanish. Most of the time they would actually hide from tourist rather than try to sell stuff or pose for pictures as in other countries. We ran into this family that had the tiniest puppy. It was so skinny that the bones were sticking out everywhere. I mean it was really dying of starvation. Sarah mixed up some milk and we gave some bread. It eat so much and afterwards it had its stomach all swollen up. The weird thing was that afterwards it went back to the native family and the woman picked it up looked at us really upset and made some sort of spell or something to drive out the evil western spirits that we had put into the dog.
We decided to walk to an even more remote beach where no tourist went. After a long trek we arrived late in the evening. There were one other couple there, otherwise it was only us three. They gave us some hammocks to sleep in that were pretty basic. We did not get moskito net and only a thin blanket after begging a bit. They warned us during dinner that there were mules that liked eating paper around the camp. We went back only to discover that one mule was eating though Laura´s bags. Sarah was laughing so hard, while we ran out in the rain and mudd, chasing the mule down trying to get it to drop Laura´s things. I even hit it three times really hard before it finally let go of her book. Things were pretty muddy and wet, but at least she a was really lucky that nothing of value was broken and that all her university papers were not in the belly of a mule.

In the night the rain continued and the wind picked up, sending showers of water over us. We were all freezing and so uncomfortable. On top of that we discoved that the bloody mules were coming back trying to steal paper from us even though we had put our backpacks next to our hammocks. In the end I was putting some books up on a lamp in the ceiling and had to create a sort of fort with chairs that protected my things. Laura swore that she would kill the mules in the morning. When we got up we saw that they had eaten our ciggarets and other clearly non-eatable things. At least we rest a sure that they would be suffering from severe stomach pain. All in all Tyrona park was definitely not a few days relaxing on the beach, but rather a few more days of trekking similar to the Lost city. However, we have had a great time living very basic and off the gringo trail.

Our local wilderness beach

Our local wilderness beach

Laura posing up on a deserted beach

Laura posing up on a deserted beach

It was quite a nice view from the hammocks in this bungalow, but 25 dollars for a hammock was a bit pricy for our budget

It was quite a nice view from the hammocks in this bungalow, but 25 dollars for a hammock was a bit pricy for our budget

Sarah enjoying a coconut

Sarah enjoying a coconut

Henrik practicing his balance on a palm tree

Henrik practicing his balance on a palm tree

Posted by hmontonen 10:00 Archived in Colombia Comments (0)

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