Today (5/2/2018) was spent in the port of Santa Marta in Columbia. Santa Marta is Columbia’s oldest city and has a natural harbor. The discovery is credited to Rodrigo de Bastidas on July 29, 1525. The excursion I picked involved a quick drive around the city and into the interior for a short distance ending with a stop at a ranch named Quinta de San Pedro Alegandrino where Simon Bolivar passed away on December 17, 1830.
Being close to the Equator the day was hot and humid. Everyone appreciated the air conditioned bus and at the ranch we tried to stay in the shade when possible.
Santa Marta is largely a cargo port town that is only now starting to draw tourist traffic and cruise ships. Our drive around the city showed us the shops and homes and a couple of churches which we could not get out to explore. One was the Cathedral, the oldest church in Columbia, where the Bolivar remains were placed until Venezuela requested they be sent there in 1842 because of his importance to that country. No photo as I was on the wrong side of the bus for that shot and we did not stop to get out. Bus tours around cities are where I really appreciate upper decks with no windows; no such luck here.
We then drove out of the city and up a canyon and over to a newer city just being built up (Rodadero). A drive around there and back to Santa Marta. The most interesting thing about that drive was the hiking lane built along the side of the road (photo one below). It ran from Santa Marta to the top of the hill and looked like it will be extended down to Rodadero. Our guide told us it was for hiking and not bicycles and that at 5:00am or 5:00pm it is quite crowded with people. To add to the hiking there are stations along the way with exercise gear in them. It’s quite a setup and unusual in the world so far.
Our final destination before going back to the ship was the ranch. It is being developed as a park and is well kept up. The displays are few but interesting. An example is in photo two; a display of equipment and awards. There is a large memorial toward the center of the park and outside the door to the memorial sit two condor statues. I love ironic photos and photo three is one as a bird had made a nest at the base of one of the condor statues making it look like the statue was sitting on the nest. 🙂
The ranch is also a sort of eco-preserve and has a significant number of plants and animals living there. We saw many birds and two iguanas on our walk around. One of the iguanas is in photo four.
We got back to the ship in time for lunch and we all appreciated the air conditioning.
A sea day tomorrow and then the Panama Canal transit.