Although Hostel Masaya in Santa Marta is absolutely lovely, by comparison Santa Marta itself is a bit run down at the edges. With a nice historical centre several busy plazas, a decent boardwalk along a not-so-lovely beach and a couple of pedestrian streets, Santa Marta is really a jumping off point for several other places.
After wandering around the city for several hours yesterday (granted it was Sunday and that’s not the day to impress, what with everything closed), I was ready to take the collectivo bus and head for Taganga, 15 minutes, and a $0.70 ride away.
Like Santa Marta, Taganga is HOT. But it’s also a beachy paradise, one the I think a lot of people get lost in. It’s not large by any means… it can be generously described as a village, but it is quite literally littered with dive shops, restaurants and hostels, making it a Mecca for those who think they should go for a couple of days, and end up staying for weeks.
My typical Colombian lunch of soup, fish, coconut rice, salad and fried plantain, washed down with a beer, came to 10,000COP…or about $5. Normally I don’t eat fish, but since it was basically caught this morning and cooked to order, I couldn’t very well resist. I just don’t get deboning, though. This sucker was a bony nightmare, and while I did my best, I’m sure the proprietor thought I’d left every morsel on the fish… well not the eyes, those were gone…. I did have a very hopeful cat at my feet the entire time.
Taganga is not especially, but it is tranquillo, and even I found it hard to pull myself off the beach, away from my Anguila beer and back on the bus back to gritty Santa Marta. My hair, usually fine and straight, worked itself into my version of dreadlocks after just a few hours…