Welcome to Santa Marta, Columbia
This is a fairly new stop for cruise lines and you can tell. The coast is much more mountainous than Aruba but still full of scrub and cacti. We arrived at a working pier where there is a huge coal mining operation going on. Therefore, we were not allowed to walk to the city, but rather were bussed from the ship to the main gate.
Once there you are right in the main section of the city and right next to the beach. There were a couple of tours that some of our group went on, but because the tour guides lacked experience, there were some problems. Their English was not good and they seemed to leave half of their groups behind while they talked about the stop they were at.
One of our couples took a taxi and saw a lot of attractions and had a great time. We decided to do our own thing and walk around Santa Marta. I think we took some wrong turns as the areas we ended up in were definitely not touristy….
When we got back to the shopping area, we found that these items were the most represented: shoes, baby clothes and cell phones. I couldn’t figure out why I would want a cell phone from Columbia?? We did run into Juan Valdez and his donkey as you will see in the pictures and went to Columbia’s version of Starbucks – the Juan Valdez Cafe. It was about 100 degrees and the humidity was high so we ducked into such places as Exito – Columbia’s version of Walmart.
By the time we got back towards the water, we were pretty damp so we stopped at this little bar that was being renovated at the time, but the owner seemed to be pretty friendly even though he couldn’t speak English. He sure knew how to say 4 dollars in English. Not too bad for 2 beers. We tried the Aguila brand as shown in our pictures.
We noticed a lot of buildings being fixed, renovated and painted, so I hope that soon this will become a great stop on the Panama Canal Cruise. There is a lot of poverty in this area and tourism is a great way to increase revenues for such a nice port.
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