We left the bustling, noisy, overcrowded city of Cartagena to make our way 5 hours North up the coast to the small fishing village of Taganga. As we really have no plans in Colombia at all, we are staying here for 5 nights due to the fact it is the cheapest place to get your PADI diving certification in South America and as Leo is an avid diver, so this would be the perfect opportunity.
However, much like everywhere in Colombia so far - Taganga today has been hit with the over-development that a lot of Colombian towns have and we have found after reading and speaking to locals that in the past few years the village has gone from a near-obligatory backpacker stop to a rather depressing place where poverty is rife and much of what originally attracted visitors has disappeared. SUPERB...I cant wait to spend the next 5 days here. I really want to enjoy Colombia, but so far, I am just not feeling it.
Anyway, we may enjoy it as time continues, so moving swiftly ahead - we arrived around 3pm after using ‘Marsol’ bus company - this is a private bus service that cost us $23USD pp. To our surprise after only booking to Santa Marta, the driver dropped us directly into Taganga! First win of the day! If you are planning the same trip, there are a few local bus companies that do the same ride for $15USD pp which would take anywhere between 6-7 hours, stop often for pick up and drop offs and conclude in Santa Marta, a quick yet annoying taxi ride away from Taganga.
Yes, if we were being more budget conscious then we would have used public transport but between the heat and the fact I get so goddam motion sick, spending the extra $8USD pp isn’t a big deal and we are now in the second quarter of our trip so effectively in a new 3 month budget…or so I try and tell myself each time I panic about our spending.
We actually enjoyed the transfer, it has A/C , seats were comfy and the fact we were dropped in Taganaga was a massive help… even if it was mid arvo on a public holiday so the whole town was JAM PACKED and we couldn’t move, let alone start the 700m walk to our Hostel – ‘Manigua Taganga Hostel’. I booked this one through Booking.com as it has a beach vibe to it but essentially we are staying in a tree house for the next 5 x nights, which doesn’t have A/C but has a fan and overlooks the bay. For $40NZD we managed a double room, with private bathroom, breakfast and great view…oh and the bed is a swinging bed. Yeah, weird right, it’s like being in a massive cot. On the plus side, walking here from the bus stop will get your 145 minutes HIIT workout of the day in, carrying around 30kgs up hill in 33 degree heat!
I instantly wish we had A/C…it is again far too hot for my Scottish skin here and I look constantly wet. I hate that feeling but have to be grateful that the sun is shining. After checking in we were so hungry so we walked to ‘Babaganoush’ after hearing good reviews and checking it ou online. Overall the food was great, nothing special but was nice. The chef/owner is Dutch and he at least understands food and service so we had a much needed huge meal. I had a vegetarian dish and Leo had chicken, along with falafel to share to start and a brownie to finish, 2 lemon juices and an overall bill costing us $44NZD – very expensive for what it was. YIKES…never eat when you are too hungry!!
In the arvo we walked along the beach, were offered drugs numerous amounts of times and ended up getting Leo’s PADI course booked for the next few days, eating Queso Arepas (cheese toasties) and walking home with an ice cream. The PADI course is costing us 850,000COP or $400NZD which includes the certification, 6 dives and all the other mumble jumble that goes with it. After my Galapagos ear issue a few months ago, I can’t get my ears wet, let along dive so I am having a few days of being the digi-nomad I am, chilling and catching up on girly shows and sleep.
I cannot wait.
Hey! I'm Ally. I left the UK in 2011 to move overseas and ended up in New Zealand - my new home. This year we are taking a gap year to loop the world stopping in some AMAZING destinations - and I'm passionate about sharing these adventures with you!