Side Trip City: Santa Marta, Cartagena, Casa en el Agua

Bein' real straightforward  on this blog post because it entails SO. MUCH. A jam-packed little portion of this month features islands, beaches, and betches, oh my! Let's begin, shall we?

This week I:

  • went to a really weird bar. And I'll show you why it's weird. I won't explain, won't go into detail about the furry walls, won't question how a 4D experience is possible...I'll just post the photos. 
  • High-tailed it outta Medellin to do some much-anticipated exploring. First, it was off to Santa Marta, where we were due to explore as soon as we got there, however, were distracted by a rooftop pool in 90 degree heat and some not-so-hot British dudes who were on vacation together yet lied and said that it was their friend's Bachelor party. They were a fun group, regardless of the fact that we saw one of them half naked wearing some sort of banana hammock, so we stayed in the pool, drank, and hung out all day until it was time for dinner. 
  • Visited Tayrona National Park, the hardest Park to visit ever. Just kidding. But we had a bit of a mix up with our tickets. Some of us ran out of time to buy the right entrance, so we bought ones to another entrance - mistake. These entrances are several miles apart. After bribing one of the teens who worked here to allow me to buy a ticket that went with the rest of our group, I was able to join the others. Two of us, however, weren't so lucky, and ended up on quite the adventure to the other entrance - hitchhiking and running out of money included. However, that's their story to tell, so I'll stop right there. The REST of us went into the park, hiked a little, and sat on rocks for a long time kind of just realizing how awesome life was. 
  • Reached our AirBnB or hostel or whatever it was IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FOREST and hiked to our rooms. Once inside, we all showered, got ready for dinner, and asked the nice man at the desk to order us in food (because we were in the middle of freakin' nowhere). The story continues when...
  • we went to an insane music festival in the middle of nowhere. The magic man at the desk somehow was able to get us tickets after him and Bryant rode on the back of his motorbike to town to 1. get cash money out to buy them and 2. actually go to the box office to purchase, because Colombia is very behind on the times and clearly not familiar with the internet. When that was done, they got back, we celebrated, started eating dinner, and then...rain. Pouring. Rain. Granted, the festival was on a beach - but we weren't. A 15 minute drive from our forest AirBnB was where this festival was; and don't forget about our mini hike OUT of the forest. So, what did we do? We said screw it, made ponchos out of trash bags, and got soaking wet while getting to this thing. And while at this thing. And coming back from this thing. And it was freaking AWESOME. 
  • got back, crashed, woke up, ate breakfast, and took a (very hot) van to Cartagena. From there, I said bye to my group that I was with and hello to another - Jeff, Sami, Morgan, Margit, and Bambi. Here for a few days before paradise, we celebrated a friend's birthday at dinner, went to some random clubs, stayed up too late, and generally caused debauchery. These are two photos that show just that.
  • got on a tiny boat to travel two hours into the ocean to stay on an island in the ocean with no wi-fi, actual showers, or worries. Casa En El Agua is kind of a must - this place is a floating island in the middle of Colombian waters that houses an amazing little hostel with everything you need except a signal. It's so relaxing, so fun, and one of the coolest places I've ever been. We only stayed one night due to time, and I'm kicking myself for it - stay two nights if you get the chance to go. It's incredible and I only took these three pictures, because, well, I was completely disconnected. BUT I did go on an awesome plankton tour, ate some lobster ceviche that was freshly caught off the side of the island, slept in a hammock, played cards with my friends until 4 am, used a very economical toilet, jumped 15 feet into the ocean (from a balcony) at 4:30 AM, and then angrily got back on the tiny boat the next day to get back to Cartagena, where I would then drag myself to the shitty airport lounge instead of exploring the town because I was so. damn. tired. But, as per usual, hashtag worth it.
  • got back on a plane to Medellin to continue our epic adventures - and finally be back in the same city for 2 weeks.

Side trips are so fun, but so, so tiring. Think of it like this: you take a vacation. But you still have to work. So you take your laptop and your cell phone and every other form of communication you have because, hello, you can't be disconnected. But you also want to see and do and experience everything you possibly can because, HELLO, this is Remote Year and when else will you be in a place like this with 50 of your best friends? This is a longer post I'm working on that will be done sooner rather than later hopefully - but, you get the picture. 

After getting back, I was really looking forward to hanging out in my apartment, catching up on freelance, and generally being a normal person again. Hint: it never goes like that, does it?

COMING UP: touristy Lauren takes on Medellin, learning graffiti from a famous graffiti artist, and LIMA (the city, not the bean). 


Professional writer, designer, and do-it-aller. Remote Year citizen/alum. Currently living in San Francisco and probably trying to avoid the terrifying amounts of pigeons.