Santa Marta / Palomino
¡Hola! I am writing from the border to nothing… well, close.
I am currently spending some time in Palomino, a small village on the coast north of Santa Marta. It took around 2h on a bus to get here which is mainly due to the state of the roads and busses. Getting on and off the busses requires waving or screaming at the bus driver. The alternative to busses here are little moto-taxis, mostly young men with motorcycles or tuktuks that drive you through dirt roads without helmet, with one hand on their phone and sometimes the other hand on a dog, chicken or their shopping. The taxis of Bogotá suddenly felt quite safe. But, even though there seem to be no rules, the people watch out for each other. Accidents are mostly caused by tourists that don´t know the unspoken rules of these roads.
I had enough of Santa Marta itself after only two days. It´s loud and buzzing small alleys were filled with tourists and I was looking for a bit more calm and quiet. On my way to Palomino I stopped at a hostel in the jungle. It was quite a hike up a mountain but the small and steep path ended in paradise. A bed on an open platform, looking out past trees and plants over a valley. Being woken up by birds and the sunrise, jumping in the pool and eating fruits for breakfast was exactly what I needed. Two week old puppies added to the magic. I love dogs.
From there I made my way to Palomino. A beautiful place between jungle and ocean where locals, travelers and hippies live in huts and houses of bamboo and palm trees. Fresh water comes in tanks and electricity is unreliable but it does feel quite comfortable. That is mainly due to beautiful weather, amazing food and the fact that it´s a very safe place. I was told that a shadow government, something like a local mafia, brutally enforces their law. Travelers bring money and growth and criminals jeoperdizing that are given an ultimatum: Either you leave or you die tomorrow. It is brutal but it´s effects are undeniable. The area is developing quickly, there are many hostels, bars and parties (fast in the Colombian sense, which is still relatively slow. Understandable in this heat though).
I am staying with Aras, a turkish psytrance DJ, in his tree house at the moment (how cool is that?). He is amazing. I met a bunch of people through him and we are strolling down beaches and exploring the area together. In between I have to open my laptop every now and then to work on coming projects. I will stay a few more days and then head further north, further away from paved roads to explore some of the supposedly greatest beaches of Colombia, on the edge of the desert.
To be continued… (Translated from a little travel-diary I made for my family)