I LOVE the beach and I love the heat. My choice of Miami for a college education shows where my priorities lie (well at least back in high school) So I was really really looking forward to the beautiful beaches of Santa Marta, Columbia at the very top facing the Caribbean.
A one hour flight from Medellin on Viva Columbia and I landed in the middle of the heat in Santa Marta.
Viva Columbia is a low-cost carrier in Columbia with incredibly affordable prices. The one way flight cost me 79,000 Pesos ($25) but the only catch is that you can only bring 6kg of luggage on flight so you want to pay for the additional 20,000 Pesos ($6) online beforehand to secure up to 20kg of extra luggage. Yeah I know it doesn’t sound like much, but in S. America, $1 goes a long way so you get really careful about how to spend them.
The heat hit me really hard at the airport. No AC and only a fan, and immediately I felt like melting ice cream.
The hostel I stayed at was off the city and at the beach of Playa de Ritmo. right on the beach and awesome location, but the only thing (and the BIGGEST issue) was that they did not have AC. Now I may sound like a high maintenance princess for saying that but really, it’s a life or death situation here. No AC could ruin the whole trip.
The rooms were equipped with fans, but what’s the point when the fan is only shooting you how air over and over again? The room had the windows open to let the little hope of night breeze in but what it really let in was the mosquitoes attracted to the fresh blood. So my stay there was not the relaxing resort by the beach I had expected, but rather fighting with sneaky mosquitoes in a pool of my own sweat.
I realised that when I say I love beaches and the heat! I mean, I love the beaches and heat with a near by escape to good AC. Lesson learned. From here on, AC in hostel will become a top priority in booking.
Santa Marta was a little beach town, maybe a much smaller and less developed version of Miami?! The buildings felt very Miami style. But let me just bring this up again because I can’t say it enough, It was very hot and humid, almost suicidal to walk around during the day so Ot kind of kept me from enjoying the city much.
So how about the water? Well it wasn’t the crystal clear and white sandy beaches of the Caribbean I had imagined but rather dark blue with some tourquise in the sun. Yes, nice but excuse my lack of enthusiasm here, perhaps my eyes have gotten used to the incredibly clear waters after being in the untouched beauty of the beaches in Galapagos. Oops!
The only places people can take refuge from the heat on the beach were little huts and tents for shade (which I was too hot to take photos of) so pretty much it was dangerous to lay out or walk around there too. I was surprised how little people there were, and how quite it seemed, but l learned later that the locals come out to the beach AFTER sun down.
See? Locals know how to enjoy the beach. Only tourists try to go to the beach during the day I guess.
Seeing the beach in the sunset and the locals with their family and friends really enjoy the water was lovely. Drinking beer, playing games in the water, playing soccer. I really loved how the people enjoyed the given enviorment and seemed to enjoy their lives here.
Me, now able to enjoy the beach at sunset.
The beach got really busy with vendors of every kind. Beer, souvenirs, massages, hair braids. I applaud the effort really, but it was really hard to have a conversation without being interrupted every minute.
One of the lovely encounters I had in Santa Marta was a karate teacher from Venezuela. He had visited Japan a number of times for his training and we shared fun stories of Japan, even sang his well learned Karaoke songs in Japanese! I had not met any Venezuelans on the trip so he talked to me about the economic and political chaos that is happening in his country and how many are fleeing outside because there is no things to buy, only in ridiculously inflated by hundreds of percent prices in the black market. Its such a pity because it did sound like a lovely country with amazing nature and resources. Maybe I’ll try to go visit him while he is there.
Hot but fun day in Santa Marta.
Afraid to do anything in this heat, but next is to Tayrona Park for the jungle and beaches!