We had a bit of a rough border crossing in to Ecuador, so from Quito we decided to fly up to Medellin in Colombia to give ourselves more time and avoid a few huge bus journeys.
When we got to Medellin, it was a surprise how modern Colombia is. We pretty much spent 2 days there hanging out in 2 huge American style shopping centres just up the road from our hostel – air con and western shops was too good to miss! We went to the cinema twice because they had movies in English with Spanish subtitles instead of being dubbed in Spanish.
From Medellin we had a mega dodgy overnight bus journey to Cartagena. The roads were crazy because of the bad weather the areas been having. They were totally potholed and had slipped in landslides, or had landslide land on them. Our driver didn’t seem bothered by any of it and still drove like a maniac! Not much sleep on that one! We found an awesome hostel in Cartagena – Media Luna – it had huge dorms, a swimming pool, bar and roof top terrace. We ended up staying longer than we planned here.
Cartagena old town is so pretty and surround by a wall on 3 sides and the ocean on the 4th. On our second day here we went to a mud volcano outside the city. It was probably the most random thing we’ve done on the whole trip. The volcano is about 25 m high and filled with warm, thick, mud. We climbed up the stairs to the top and the jumped in the mud. It was the weirdest sensation ever! There were a bunch of local guys already in there – helping the tourists move around and offering massages. The mud is so thick that you can barely move and you kind of float in it, with your feet not touching anything. Mental. One of the girls there with us said it was like being in a giant marshmallow – and that really is the only way to describe it!! We spent about 40 minutes wallowing in the mud…then attempted to climb out – quite difficult! Then we walked (looking like mud monsters) down to the river to wash off.
We then spent about a week in Taganga, and then a fews in Santa Marta, the town next door, mostly lying by the pool and catching up with folk we met previously. From Santa Marta we decided to fly down to Bogata, as the bus and flight prices were pretty similar and we couldn’t stomach another overnight journey on the Colombian roads.
In Bogota we had found a pretty decent hostel and spent a lot of time hiding from the rain in the tv room watching movies. On our last day there we caught a bus out to a nearby town to check out an underground salt cathedral we has been told about. The miners had built the cathedral within the mine so that they had a place to worship. The original cathedral was shut down in the late 90s as it became unstable, so they built a second one deeper within the mine. It was a really cool thing to see and worth the 2 hour bus journey from Bogota!