When my friend Allison visited at the beginning of January we spent about 12 days on the Atlantic Coast of Colombia visiting the city of Santa Marta and Parque Tayrona on our way do the trek to the Lost City (Ciudad Perdida). Since that trip I have been anxious to visit the Pacific Coast of Colombia, actually located much closer to Cali.
Over this three day weekend from school, Kelsi and I decided to take advantage of a great connection here with a guy named Julio, the uncle of one of my students. He runs his own ecotourism business and is one of the only people I know of who is really promoting this idea of getting out to explore the natural beauty Colombia. Remember when we went kayaking with him on the Rio Cauca last October? You can read about it here and see pictures here. We basically loved it so much that we are going back for a whole weekend of kayaking fun! I think by the time I get back to Minnesota this summer I will be a kayaking pro. Lake Calhoun to Lake of the Isles? No problem. ;)
Wake up tomorrow at 4:00 am.
Think about crying and just going back to bed. (Just kidding....sort of...)
Get my butt out of bed and head off to the meeting point, where we will ride with Julio in his large van for about 3 hours to the city of Buenaventura.
From Buenaventura we will take a 50 minute boat to Juanchaco, which is where I think we are staying for the two nights. Juanchaco faces Bahia Malaga, the site of our kayaking adventures.
We will take day trips in kayak around Bahia Malaga, to various small islands, inlets, waterfalls, and more - kayaking about 35 km in 3 days. We will also explore the neighboring coastal town of Ladrilleros on foot.
The Pacific Coast (According to Lonely Planet)
This is where the jungle meets the sea. It's a wild, untamed area, drenched in up to 10m of rain per year. The beaches, unlike those of the Caribbean, are fine, gray sand. There is only one road to the interior, from Buenaventura to Cali. The coastal population is mostly descended from African slaves who once worked here. There remain a few isolated villages of indigenous people. The isolation of the coast has allowed the people to preserve much of their culture - which means great traditional food, but also a lack of infrastructure. Buenaventura is Colombia's busiest port, with almost 60% of all exports passing through this city.