Goodbye Colombia, goodbye South America


  • Medellin – Cartagena
  • Mud volcano
  • Leave the continent of South America

A very rude 5am awakening marked the start of our day to travel towards Cartagena once more; this time marking the end of our time in Colombia and my time in South America totally. Just as before, stepping off the plane caused my glasses to steam up a la opening the oven door. We were once again back in the hottest place on planet earth, I’m sure!

After checking in and grabbing a fab breakfast and milkshake, we returned to the hostel to book on to the mud volcano tour that afternoon. At 2pm, we were picked up and taken what should have been an hour away. This quickly (or slowly) became 2.5 hours of standstill traffic but we did eventually arrive. The “volcano” wasn’t exactly as expected but still looked great fun.

We stripped down to swimwear and climbed the hill. The guys from the village helped us in and lie down since the mud pretty much dictated our movements so we needed all the help we could get and we’re passed from person to person on essentially a mud conveyor belt! And then the furthest free guy would grab us and give us a mud massage. And might I add they were fabulous, and just £1 equivalent!

Once the mud began to dry on us, it was then time to head down to the river and get washed by one of the local women. They whipped off our bikinis and scrubbed at our hair until our bodies were silky smooth and the mud vanished!

We grabbed an arepa and slice of water melon and then paid all those who had helped us at this natural spa then hopped back on the bus to return to the city. It took half the time but we were still over 45 minutes late to the meeting we had about our boat to the San Blas islands. Luckily this was being held at our hostel and everyone was still there upon our return. The group seemed lovely, although boy heavy, and got us very excited about the five days of sailing we had to come.

After showering and some street food for dinner (i.e. The world’s best BBQ), we returned to the patio for drinks with what seemed like the entire hostel! It was a Saturday night afterall. We met so many nice people that night and head out on mass to the nearby strip. It was hot everywhere and despite the aircon in the clubs, nothing could prevent our sweat! Consequently we called it a night fairly early because we felt so gross but it had been fun nonetheless.

We weren’t feeling too ropey the next morning and made it to breakfast for pancakes and a low down on the previous night’s shenanigans. Lucy and I decided we needed to find somewhere with water to spend the day. We tried the hostel opposite who were asking for 20,000 pesos in exchange for pool use that wasn’t even that nice. Instead, the beach seemed like a much better option. 

Cartagena’s old town and city wall leads out towards the beaches so we took a stroll for about 30 minutes in search for the sand and sea. When we arrived we might as well have already taken a dip but at least we were there! And we’d had a beautiful walk too.

This beach was most definitely for the locals and we stood out like sore thumbs as the only white girls in the vicinity. We paid for a tent for some shade and then set up camp. It was such a pleasant day of tanning aside from one teeny tiny incident occurring around lunchtime. Whilst Lucy silently swam, I was innocently sunbathing and then heard a lot of commotion. I watched a group of teenage guys run past followed by a guy running with a knife in his hand. The mothers around me were moving their children away and I’d been separated from Lucy by the situation! When in Colombia, eh?! We’re still here!

We spent the day people watching and fell in love with this beautiful Colombian family. About 3pm we called it a day and hopped in a cab back to save the sweatiness once more. Our afternoon was spent chilling out and waiting for it to get dark so that we could exercise. So at 6.30pm, we donned our running kit and head off! A circuit session up on the historic city wall of Cartagena! Even accompanied with a police visit who thought we were prostitutes whilst stretching out our butts!

We showered up and head to the plaza for a street food dinner. The biggest plate of plantain, chorizo, salad and cheese you e ever seen but super tasty too. And then we had mojito ice creams to finish off our night and hopped in to bed nice and early.

Our last day in South America was spent doing some admin, like exchanging money and sorting things out for the boat. We wondered around a little bit and then head to meet Lucy’s friend Andem as his hostel had a pool. We cooked off, took a swim and then fell asleep up on the rooftop terrace. Nothing very exciting but a chilled one. We followed this with packing, arepas (one of a million we’d had in Colombia) and a shower before it was time to leave Cartagena, Colombia and South America and sail off to Panama for five days.

So, 198 days in to ‘life from a bag’ and I’m still hot and sweaty but I’m super excited for island hopping and what Central America has to offer me. Let’s go!

Gabby x


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