After 5-6 visits to the embassy of Colombia in Guayaquil, 2 weeks of waiting instead of the initally promised 4 days, changing 3 times the plane tickets as the visa was not ready (56 USD!), me and Rauno finally arrived in Barranquilla on the 8th of July.
Yet, in spite of the trouble with the visa my experience in Colombia was SUPER SUPER SUPER GREAT!! (Thank you Alberto and your family!! Muchos Gracias!!!)
When arriving in B’quilla Alberto was already awaiting for us in the airport with his dad and we took a car directly to Cartagena – one of the most touristic cities in Colombia I guess, a real jewel as they say!
And I understand why!! The most wonderful beaches I have ever seen (we took a one day cruise with Alberto’s family to the Island de Baru), super bueno ciudad de antigua (the old town), nice climate, friendly people, delicious food!!
Oh and it was good to meet up with Maris – she had already arrived a week ago from Costa Rica where she did a 6 months internship in a local NGO teaching English. Me, Maris and Alberto were in the same MC team in AIESEC in Estonia in 2003-2004, living and working together for one year. The other 3 team mates - Uku, Helena and Sifaan – couldn’t join this time, but we are planning to hold our team re-union in 2010 in Colombia as well ;). I know now I should take like 3 months for the next visit to Colombia – that's how much the country offers to discover!!
After Cartagena, we returned back to Barranquilla – Alberto’s home town. It’s another nice city on the North Coast of Colombia. And that’s where we enjoyed the true hospitality of Colombian people!! We stayed in Alberto’s house, and the saying they use „mi casa es to casa“ was soooooo much in place!! Thanks again to you, Alberto and Caro and your Mom and Dad for taking us around, feeding us with the best food ever and just being sooooo super nice!!!
Heheh staying at Alberto’s house was a nice practice for my espanol also :) as his parents’ don’s speak English...huh, I surely learned a few new words!!
On Thursday we took a little trip to Santa Marta – one more place for tourists that like la playas ;). Alberto and his family returned to B’quilla in the evening since Alberto was to leave to Estonia the next day, but me and Rauno stayed on in a little fishermen village just after Santa Marta, it’s called Taganga and it is a good place to get your scuba diving license should you want one. 3 day course was for about 400 000 pesos (2000 EEK). Additinal 2 days advanced course was also offered, and room for bargining the price is there as well. Rauno was gonna take the 3-day one, but I couldn’t since I had my flight back to Ecuador via Panama already on Saturday the 15th of July.
Friday nite party with Alberto’s friends Sergio and Carlos in the Bolivar’s house in Santa Marta – musica electronica!! – a few hours sleep, 2 hours bus strip back to Barranquilla, nice time with Alberto’s family (Alberto, when you left to Estonia, they really really missed you!!), and then off to Panama.
My experiences in Colombia were super!! I’d really like to recommend it to anyone who’s thinking of visiting Latin America, it surely is a country of the kind of „must visit“ ones!
True, there are things to watch out for, but...in contrary and one the positive note, the country as tons to offer and aren't the things more challenging just the most precious ones ;)