No trip is complete without a bump in the accomodations area and "Hotel Del Parque" was our first. Excellent location on a no vehicle street proved to be a challenge for our cabbie from the airport. We had shown the airport kiosk the hotels location and he promptly called out to the next taxi in line
. As we wind through the streets and end up on the waterfront in front of the "Park $$$$ Hotel" we show the driver the same address we showed the kiosk and this is not the "Parque $ Hotel" we are staying at. The trunk has popped open and grumpo jumps back in and speeds off, trunk lid keeping in time to the street boom boxes as we search for Calle 14. " keep your eye on our bags Marg" as we roll through town in first gear over speed bumps with one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake.
So the excellent location has a bar close by that ends up with someone passing out locked in the control room with his favourite Colombian salsa blaring until 4am and the hotel neighbour decides to water his three level garden above our room overnight until there is a pool of water on the floor with the sound of the roof leaks greeting us in the morning, big deal, no problemo. Adios Santa Marta.
A flight from Cucuta to Bogota connects us to the coastal city of Santa Marta, a quick two day stopover on our way to Toganga. This was enough to see the beautiful town cathedral, enjoy a stroll along the malecon, walk the Carrera 5 madhouse and listen to salsa to 4am. Santa Marta is a city in the process of beautifying itself and creating a sense of community in it's parks and plazas. Families are now comfortable gathering at night to socialize and cool off from the daily heat in the plaza that not to long ago was out of bounds at night. We had an excellent local goats cheese, fig and roasted garlic pizza to celebrate our anniversary and arrival on the coast.