Cracking time off during Easter

Well it’s been a while since I’ve written a post on here. We have been drowned in school work however so I have my excuses. 34 of my students had to take an English level evaluation exam, and I had the joy and responsibility of organizing the whole thing while at the same time trying to calm down my kids who thought that if they fail the exam, their life is essentially over. In the end none of them did horrifically bad and I got praised for my attempt to explain the exam in Spanish, so everyone was happy.

Let’s jump cut to the best part of March which was that Semana Santa, or Holy Week was upon us and the impatiently anticipated and necessary time off had finally arrived! After saying goodbye to my students and co-workers and wishing everyone a good Easter, I boarded a bus that after a rocking 17 hour ride would drop me off in Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast in the north of Colombia.

Let the holiday time begin!

Even though I had only a week off, I managed to explore a decent amount of the north. My first few days were spent in Santa Marta, an incredibly humid, hot but lovely and lively city. During the day it was nice to stroll around the city center, admiring the remains of old colonial architecture mixed with modern graffiti art, which I’ve noticed is all over Colombia, and the evening walks in the marina and port area offered amazing views of the sunset and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range that surrounds the city.

 

Panoramic view of the bay of Santa Marta
 
Gonna do a little Lonely Planet here and recommend staying at The Drop Bear Hostel if you’re ever in Santa Marta. Not only does it have a pool and two happy hours, the hostel is established in a 70’s mansion which used to belong to a drug cartel and rumor has it even Pablo Escobar himself used to come for a visit here. 

If you feel like you need a change of scenery, Taganga, a small fishing village is just a short local bus ride away. When I went there, the beaches were packed with both tourists and local (as all places were during Semana Santa really so no point complaining) so it was abit overwhelming but at the same time people watching has never been better.

 

The crowd
 
After two days in Santa Marta I packed my bag and, with the company of Meghan and Sabrina, two really lovely American and Swiss girls, headed to Parque Tayrona, a massive national park surrounded by jungle and rocky wild beaches. Our journey was of course interrupted by our bus breaking down which resulted in a little wait by the side of the road, but eventually we made it.

 

Standard bus malfunction
 
From the park entrance its a good 2.5 hour trek throught the jungle to one of the many beaches that you can camp for the night. If you have your own tent you can essentially pitch it anywhere, but they also provide hammocks if you fancy living the Jungle Book life. When we got to Cabo San Juan beach I immediatelly understood why some people camp here for weeks. The scenery was amazing. Swimming, snorkeling and hiking are there to fill your day, or you can just lay on the beach listening to the waves crash, with palm trees above you daydreaming your life away.

I found home

Our group had slightly changed, Sabrina said goodbye and me and Meghan bumped into Chris and Corey, two Americans who she met a few days before. Lovely boys who are trying to make a really nice project happen, check out their idea on here.

After a few nights enjoying the hammock life on the beach, our time in Tayrona had come to an end and we once again found ourselves at the Drop Bear in Santa Marta just in time for happy hour. We all knew a fun night was ahead of us when Meghan had tequila before 5pm and I, following the strick rules of drinking Jenga, had the bartender do a body shot off me. Safe to say that the memories from that point are a bit fuzzy.
Half alive the next morning I made my way to Minca, a tiny town in the  Sierra Nevada mountains. The town is roughly 600m above sea level and is known for coffee plantations and gorgeous hiking trails. Oscar’s Place was my home for the night and offered a spectacular view from the hammock shack.

 

Not a bad view to fall asleep to
 
And with that my week long vacation had come to an end. One final 17 hour bus ride and I was back home in Ibagué, completely in denial about having to start work next week. Oh well…

That’s the end for now, until next time and happy Easter to all😊

More photos to come on here aswell, I’m slowly getting to know how to use my camera😄 

Laters!

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