South America

Travel bust- Colombia’s Costa Norte

Hey there fellow cadets!

I’ve been on another hiatus the last couple of months. I have been busy turning a new decade, trying to sort the digital nomad from the states and visiting the western hemisphere. Currently, I am in Medellin, Colombia for a couple of weeks. I am spending a few weeks in Colombia, Ecuador and hopefuly Peru’s northern coast trying to avoid seasonal depression. I’ve also heard some great things from a lot of friends from both Europe and States. I was able to also buy a one way from Atlanta to Cartagena for 68 dollars on a Black Friday sale. There was no major goal of the trip besides start in Cartagena and try to make it to Guayaquil, Ecuador in 7 weeks. I did want to spend a couple weeks in Medellin playing pretend expat since I miss my expat life in Prague so much. I also wanted to spend a week or so on the Costa Norte before coming to Medellin which turned into a total shit show.

The Costa Norte is the part of Colombia on the Caribbean coast. Usually, it starts in Cartagena and extends all the way to the border with Venezuela. Many Gringas and Gringos just go to Cartagena, but many others go on to Santa Marta which is the gateway to Tayrona park, near charming coastal towns such as Palomino and other good stuff. After spending a couple days in Cartagena, I hopped on a bus to Santa Marta in hope of getting to go tubing in Palomino, see the beautiful desert beaches of Cabo De La Vela, and go camping in Tayrona park. I didn’t get to do any of this stuff, unfortunately, thanks to contacting some mystery disease. I noticed it after my second day in Santa Marta, I was starting to feel more tired than I was supposed to and an overall malaise feeling. I first tried to buy some painkillers to see if it would just wonder off. I decided to press on and go to Minca which was the only place I did not feel like death.

I recommend Minca if you are one of those European/North American hippy types. Although, even in Minca I was already starting to feel kinda lousy and missed out on doing a few hikes that I originally wanted to. I was also feeling rather irritable. There was a full moon party at this hostel. Often I can be a social butterfly and enjoy talking to other people, but somehow this visit I just wanted to lay in my bungalow and roll my eyes at everything.

The next days I started to feel worse, I kept shoving it off and saying “Oh I’ll be better.” I finally went to Palomino and reserved all those kick-ass activities that I mentioned early, but come the second day in Palomino. I couldn’t walk to the reception of where I was staying, let alone try to catch three buses to get to the northern tip of Colombia to hang out in the desert or even walk a few kilometers to sit my ass in an intertube for the rest of the day. I had a high fever, and my throat felt like it was on fire. I couldn’t eat or drink anything. I spent several days moaning and groaning in bed in the fetal position. I was able to get an antibiotic for strep and some decent painkillers sent to me. I had to do some googling and show the hostel reception guy what exactly it was I needed. He was a nice guy, but was a bit of a hippy and thought camomile tea and vitamin C pills were going to fix an infection that required the help from big pharma. I started to feel a bit better and was able to make it on a bus back to Santa Marta to catch my flight to Medellin. It took me almost a week after that to start to feel proper, but I did spend a lot more time curled up in bed watching the Ted Bundy tapes and the good place than I would have liked to so far on this trip. I am not entirely sure what was wrong. I think I had strep throat thrown with maybe some mystery virus. I didn’t have anything major, but I sure felt lousy.

Costa Norte, I am sorry we didn’t get to hit it off. I would have liked to have gotten to know you more. That is just part of life. You win some and you lose some. I have a knack for going to tropical paradises and having bad things happen to me. Two years ago, in Lombok Indonesia, I crashed a motorbike and sustained injuries that required surgery. Perhaps in the future, I should stick with what I’m good with such as charming, quirky mountain metropolises such as where I am now! Let’s hope things start to pan out better during the rest of my trip.

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