Last stop in South America
Trip Start Sep 23, 2010
366Trip End Jul 13, 2012
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Where I stayed
Woke up on and off and by 9am we gave in and sat and watched the scenery go by and ate our sandwiches and juice. We arrived into Cartagena at around midday and caught a taxi to the centre and to find a hostel. Now this is the first time this has happened, but we got to a toll booth and the driver asked us to pay for it! As we were too tired to argue about it we just paid and worried about it later. Luckily, the first hostal we tried had a nice double en-suite at a very good price so we checked in. Once we dumped our stuff, we headed into the centre to find a travel agent to book our flight to Los Angeles and then stored the tickets at the hostel. We then headed into the tourist office to get a map so that we could plan our next few days. On the way back we stopped at the supermarket to buy some supplies for dinner. Back at the hostel we cooked dinner and then went round the corner for ice cream
Got up at 8am, had some breakfast and got out early before the heat of the day drove us back. We headed into the walled city via a few lovely side streets and followed an American tour around the sites for a while. There were so many of them it took a while to get past them! We wandered round looking at the beautiful buildings, churches and government buildings surrounded by colourful houses with flower filled ballconies. By 11am it was already warming up so we headed back to the hostel via the supermarket for some things for lunch and dinner. After some lunch we chilled in the room for a few hours watching TV and listening to rain, then around 4pm we headed up the road for a haircut. Hair sorted we headed back to the hostel to cook dinner. We were planning to go to Crepes and Waffles for dessert but decided to leave it until tomorrow for a real splurge and bought a chocolate bar from a shop round the corner. We then spent the rest of the evening in our room watching the TV and then got off to bed as we'd have a busy day tomorrow.
Got up at 8am, had breakfast and was ready for our 8.30 collection that turned up at 9. By 10 we had all the passengers on board and we headed off to the Volcano Tolumo and arrived around 11. It has to be said that it is very touristy and within minutes of arrival we were being herded up the steps in our swim wear and plopped into the mud and given a light massage. It was amazing as the mud was so thick that you just floated on top and the guys moved us around very easily, floaty like. After half and hour or so, we got out of the mud and walked down to the lake to be washed off by the women. After paying for all "the extras" like the massage, camera guy and the washer woman, we got back on the bus and drove to the beach for lunch. After a quick dip in the sea we had lunch which was a typical almurzo with meat, rice and a small amount of salad and was quite tasty. We then headed back to the city and was dropped off near our hostel. We were going to have a rest, but decided to have a wander round the city walls for an hour or so and then went back for a shower and a rest. We decided to treat ourselves for dinner as it was going to be the last one in South Amercia and headed into the walled part of the city to Crepes and Waffles. We kept the meal light as we were saving ourselves for dessert, a delicious waffles and ice cream with cream and chocolate sauce. Yum! After stuffing ourselves, we had a last wander and then headed back to the hostel to finish packing
Alarm went off at 5.15am and we reluctantly got up and had some cereal for breakfast. We then checked out and caught a taxi to the airport. We had already checked in online which is supposed to make it quicker but it seemed to take longer than usual. Also we had prepaid the departure tax with our tickets and had to get a stamp from the departure tax office before we could proceed. So the lady checking us in went off asking questions here and there and once we got the relevant stamp gave us back our passports. She still had however our boarding passes and came round the counter to the front and got out some money and gave us back the equivalent amount to the departure tax in pesos. Rather confused we assumed that someone would ask us for the said amount to pay the departure tax. We then needed to exchange our Colombian pesos to dollars but the exchange office wasn't going to be open before we needed to be at the boarding gate. Luckily a small shop was just opening and would exchange our COP$308,000 for $162 US dollars but in 1 dollar bills! With a massive bulging wallet we headed through customs without any questions about the departure tax. So now we had another COP$130,000 that we needed to change but decided to wait until Panama just to make sure we didn't need to pay it somewhere.