Gorgeous Guatape

We arrived at Guatape as usual starving! The closest restaurant looked busy so was an obvious choice for us. The view was amazing but the food didn’t really live up, the fish was so dry it resembled a flip flop. So after failing to start an auction amongst the tuc tuc drivers for a ride to our hostel we ended up paying for an overpriced journey in to the middle of nowhere to our hostel coincidently named Happy Buddha. The view was amazing from the hostel. Although we spent the rest of the evening staring at a tv screen rather than out the window, watching mind numbing cartoons hoping life would drain back in to us!

The hostel was overrun with loud drunk Colombians enjoying their holidays as we avoided eye contact too hungover to converse even with each other, and retired to bed early. After a lazy morning and a half decent breakfast we set off to find a rout to La piedra (the rock). On our way out of the hostel a car went to drive past us with two spare seats with our names definitely on them. The car was heading that way anyway so we jumped in and enjoyed our cheepest ride yet… free! 700 steps and a breathtaking view later and we headed in to the most colourful town yet in search for an Indian restaurant we had read about in the lonely planet.

After successfully following simple directions we indulged in some amazing curry’s! Followed by another free ride we got by simply being in the right place at the right time, and arrived back at the hostel! We were hoping to do some paddle boarding but found all the boards already rented out so instead we headed down to the lake so we could stare enviously at the paddle boarders hoping to make them feel awkward enough to give up the boards. Failing that we set off back to Medellin again on rout to Jardin.

Munchies in Medellin

So the first day in Medellin has been a success, deliriously tired we have spewed out our usual random shit chat to all our new roomies. Where we oversaw the making of pancakes, we did no labour and just picked flaws in their plans dictating our own methods to anyone who would listen, but as soon as the pancakes materialised and we realised we wouldn’t be included in the consuming we decided it was our time to leave. We set off on a mission to find you guessed it.. more food. During our journey a creepy guy plucked up conversation and invited us to a New Years party at Pablo Escobars mansion, we readily took his number and later it dawned on us that he only approached us as he clearly overheard our explicit chat beforehand. Now sufficiently distracted and still super sleep deprived we got lost for over 2 hours walking up and down hills with no real destination in mind but a busy looking street we had passed earlier. Finally we find some where to eat settling for some cheep sushi, a nice meal down but now miles from our hostel and with the full blown munchies we set off in search for churros. There always seems to be a guy pushing churros in your general direction except when you actually want them! We settled for some caramelised peanuts and a whole tub of ice cream which I had already ripped the top off and started consuming before we set foot outside supermarket. Back at the hostel Simon whipped up some piña coladas and we all traded slang words over a few bevy’s. The next day we got up at 7.30, what a lie in! And with the addition of ear plugs a brilliant nights sleep. After a few hours lazing about on the worlds most comfortable sofa FaceTiming home and listening to Daisy’s continuous moans about the WiFi, it was time to get out, and being the culturally adventurous people we are we headed to Starbucks for some caramel frappes! Amazing! Now loaded with enough coffee and sugar to power Palomino through a power cut, we strolled aimlessly around town without a destination in mind wondering if this is what retirement feels like! Until the predictable happened, we decided we were no longer full but not yet hungry meaning we were ready to indulge in another feeding. We stumbled across “Sumo” and ate some of the best ramen we have ever tried! With an intense delicious broth and beautiful tender chicken. What a find! We strolled back to the hostel and played the worlds longest game of scrabble and now with our creative juices flowing and having worked up an appetite we walked to the dangerously close 24hr supermarket to buy cheesecake and chocolate meanwhile discussing what our stripper names would be… Dangerous D and Teasing T or Delicious D and Tasty T. Having rambled our way through town only stopping to feed our ever growing appetites the day had flown us by.

Crazy collectivos to Camarones

So with Palomino not having much more to offer than lazy days at the beach we decided to head to a flamingo lake we had heard about. So an early start and we set out solo rather than booking an over priced tour at probably 50p more. This being the most authentic Colombian experience yet and by that I mean cramped, sweaty and sketchy throughout. So a 20 minute trip in a locals bashed up car with a smashed windscreen, no hand break and a hanging off gear stick. Four in the back and three in the front. We arrived at the closest town with a cash point, where I’m pretty sure a woman tried to rob me and Daisy. After the usual unsuccessful hunt for suncream we flagged down a collectivo (the locals chosen method of transport) where we squished over 30 people in a cramped pick up style vehicle. With people hanging from the outside and on the floor, we were feeling like illegal immigrants crossing the boarder as we passed the police and the seven people hanging from the outside launched themselves in so as not to be spotted. After an hour of sharing sweat with the locals we were dropped off in Camarones, where we were instantly bombarded with people auctioning off their boat trips to us. We picked one and headed of on our mission to see flamingos. The sail boat we were sold turned out to be a small wooden boat with a large tarp tied to it to catch the wind. Resourceful! The voyage was super chilled and once again we kicked ourselves for being so unprepared in the snacks and beer department. We saw a flock of flamingos a lot smaller than any of us expected and quiet frankly a bit underwhelming. But none the less a nice experience. After a disappointing fish lunch that consisted of a tiny red snapper with more bones than meat, an overly fishy shrimp rice and chewy lobster we all doubled up to make three each to a bike and headed off back to Camarones to try and find a regular bus back to Palomino. But failing that and keeping to our spontaneous ways we flagged down what we thought was a simple collectivo. How wrong we were. The driver had no idea of pricing and seriously undercharged us, seemingly picking a number out of thin air. Thinking we had struck an amazing deal we all jumped in ready to endure another sweaty cramped trip. After 40 minuets of driving the driver asked if we minded if we did a quick detour to his house to drop something off. We innocently agreed and ended up driving through a ghetto looking area where the driver, an old man and a twelve year old boy pulled the vehicle apart pulling buts and buts of what appeared to be petrol from secret stashes all over the car and in the seats. They even syphoned over 60 litres from the car itself and removed a suspiciously heavy cool bag. It was in this moment we realised this was no collectivo but a man with a car on a dodgy deal who saw an opportunity in us gringos and picked us up as a decoy and got conveniently waved past every police stop. We naively laughed the whole way back as they drove 20 minuets out of their way and dropped us off exactly where we asked, and with cheeky smiles on their faces collected £2 from each naive gringo. We left feeling like we had just been paid to be accessory’s to the mafia. But a half price journey at £2 instead of £4 we were all winners! That evening we set off to 7 Mares for an early dinner guaranteeing ourselves a table. The fish burger was divine and the curry tasty. Walking back out at 9pm where every table was now full we felt a sense of accomplishment.

Powering palomino

Another day another tan line. This time an awkward neck burn caused by shit sun cream application. There is more skill involved in this apparently simple task than meets the eye. So our first evening here in palomino welcomed the first of a series of blackouts that have happened throughout our stay. Meaning no lights, phone reception or WiFi! So after walking through an apparent ghetto, looking for a better rout to town than through the woods we found a nice bar with a back up generator so we pitched up there to wait for our friends from back home. Hoping that they would be drawn in by the music and lights. We were in luck a few hours later we recognised their silhouettes and signalled them in. A nice dinner later with our very jet lagged companions where at least one person was starring off in to space at any given moment and we all retired to bed exhausted but optimistic for tubing the next day. Another early start and we waited on the beach for the others to arise. Then we all set off in the mid day sun with giant tubes balanced on our heads on an uphill sweaty trek. We expected some sort of rapid adventure but instead it was the most chilled lazy river ever, where we marvelled at the surrounding beauty for the first 10 minuets then spent the next hour with clenched bladders and complaining about the lack of food and beer. When the river finally washed up on the beach, six very hungry sunburn Brit’s rushed back to civilisation for some falafel wraps and beers. That evening we passed by a restaurant I been recommended “7 mares” it was completely empty and my so called comedian friends sarcastically joked about making a reservation. Karma hit us when after a few cocktails we tried to return for dinner to find every table full! So after a few walks up and down the street staring desperately in willing the people to eat faster and leave, we decided our bellies could wait no more and settled for pizza.

Pristine Parque Tayrona

The national park was something else, absolutely beautiful! After about half an hour of the guide doing what he does best and explaining in great detail the rout we should take to get to camp we picked the opposite direction and headed off (once again in search of a good view). We were successful and navigated through the jungle weaving our way through branches and Jurassic looking rocks to a beautiful viewpoint. After a quick photo shoot, we decided rather than head back on ourselves and get to camp the way that was explained we would take a shortcut along a beach. Every km or so there was a sign warning of alligators but we didn’t let that deter us and continued on until there was no more beach to walk on and we headed back in to the jungle. A not so quick detour up some very misleading never ending stairs, that 20 minutes later bought us back out near the beach where we started! We decided to ask for directions and headed off in what we hoped was the right way, so eventually 4 hours after we set out we arrive at camp overheated and ready to check in to our tent. A rushed over priced lunch and we headed to the beach feeling extremely proud that these bimbos had successfully navigated our first jungle without a hitch! That night we were tucked up in bed watching the Inbetweeners on our tiny phone screen at 8.30pm. Only to be rudely awakened in the middle of the night by what can only be described as what sounded like a broken down tractor, but was in fact out neighbouring tents competing for the snore awards! Another day another early start where we checked out of our tent avoiding eye contact with our now sworn enemy neighbours! The beach Cabo San Juan was up there with one of the most amazing I’ve ever seen! But was soon followed by a titanic like scramble to get on a boat back to Taganaga, where we fitted over 35 on a boat made for 26! The sea was rough and those at the front which included us were violently attacked by the waves, one guy tried to take a selfie over the side of the boat, lost his phone in the sea and proceeded to cry the entire way back. So wet, sunburnt, two hours late and feeling like we had just escaped a desert island we squelched our way back up to Nirvana for another night in Taganga.