Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Back in the USA

Walked into the house at about 5 am. What a day! We spent our last hour in Colombia by the pool. Angela was waiting for us when we finally got it together to go down and sign out of the hotel.

Everything went pretty smoothly until we hit Atlanta. Lots of bad weather. Our three hour layover turned into about a five hour layover. Some kind of tornado warnings and such. Happily our driver was waiting at Logan to take us home. It is always so painful coming back into this country.

Lots to do here, but I wanted to rap saying that this trip was amazing. So glad we didn't pack up and come home when trouble happened. A big thank you again to Paula and the whole IMPULSE team who kept us safe and did everything in their power to make our experience a good one. Also, we highly recommend the folks from Valley Adventours in Cali. And all the wonderful people of Colombia. Everyone was welcoming and friendly.

Fortunately, there were no serious accidents and the only piece of clothing we didn't wear were the rain jackets.

It was great, but it is so nice to be home.

Until next time......

Monday, March 19, 2018

Adios Colombia

Very quite in the hood last night. Slept great. Today is Women's Day in Colombia - a national holiday. They celebrate all women - not just mothers. Why don't we do that??  So it is quite this morning as well. We also don't expect too much traffic going to the airport. Angela  (I asked her why she doesn't get the day off - she laughed) is picking us up at 11:30 and we take off at 1:50 pm for Atlanta. Lose an hour because Colombia does not have DST. Go through customs in Atlanta which should take up a good chunk of our 3 hour layover. Back in Boston at 1 am and in bed by the latest 3 am if we are lucky!  

The cable finally got fixed and the roof is fixed. The  fence still needs mending but that's nothing to worry about. Thanks again to Diane and everyone who helped keep our home safe.

Going to breakfast then we start packing. Somehow the stuff is always bigger on the way home.  Have to put the jeans back on and the down jackets in the backpack. UGH!! I hope spring comes soon.

It is sad to finally say good-bye to this country. We've had so many experiences and adventures and have met so many wonderful people. On the other hand, five weeks has certainly been enough time to be away from home. It may be cold, but it will feel good to be snuggled in our house by the sea.

Next time....Back in the USA

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Hit the Wall & One More Salsa!!


Nowhere to go, no one to meet, and nothing to buy. What shall we do today?  Never did make it out of the room last night. Way too tired. Decided to walk the wall after all. But first, we had some business to do with Comcast.

I realize this is not related to Colombian travel but this is so outrageous I have to share. During the last storm, the Comcast cable got blown down from the pole across the street. That was six days ago. Our friend Diana has been trying to get them to repair the cable. We have even tried from here when our wifi was OK. The cable is still down. Geoff was able to have a text chat with them this morning. They said they would repair it today. But they have been saying that for the last week. They would gladly refund us $5 for our trouble. HA!! I quickly calculated that we pay $5.50 per day x 6 days is $33,  plus $5.50 for everyday more that it does not get fixed. "Ok, we'll refund you $25".  Are you kidding me??##!@@. A multi-billion dollar corporation is haggling over pennies. Stuck to our guns and they finally gave in to the $33 refund. I am sure it will get fixed today otherwise it might cost them another $5.50!  Totally outrageous. Enough ranting.

Moving on..had some breakfast and got out while it was still relatively cool. Took some local pictures along the way to the wall. More graffiti shots. As it happened, we were lucky to hop on at the beginning of the wall.  There are lots of ramps and stairs to get on and off along the way. We made our way around and ran into a woman from New York at the Cafe del Mar. Walked with her for a bit and then parted when we got to the Old City.  Geoff and I walked as far as the port -- there is a small section of wall on the other side, but we opted to get off where we were. Met this very nice man setting up for a wedding tonight. Talked with him a bit - I commented that his English was very good. He told us that he is a baseball player (pitcher) and was signed with the Houston Astros for a while. He got released and is working in Cartagena - originally from Venezula. He has 6 months more on his work permit. I told him to try out for the Red Sox. We said chao and wished him luck. I hope we see his name one day.

It is early Sunday, so the Old City was relatively quiet. Passed the monastery -- they were singing Hey Jude in spanish.  The cruise ship people were all lined up in their horse drawn carriages. Other than that not too many people. Stopped in to get water. Some of these stores are just nuts. While we were in one the other day, they broke out into what is relatively an "Attention K-Mart shoppers" announcement and then salsa music. Well, of course, I started to dance and they came by and gave us some candy. Had no idea what that was about.

Got back hot and sweaty.  Time for lunch at the pool. We have gotten into quite a routine
here. I'm going to miss it, especially going back to 30 degree weather. Brrrrrrr.  Lazed around for most of the afternoon.  Could not pass up a last massage - this one came with a mini facial. These gals are all so good and they all have different styles.  Plus it is so cheap. I had total of 4 hour massages and they all added up to about what one and half hours back home. Going to miss that as well. Geoff got the 15 minute freebie.  Talked with a young couple from Chicago. There are a lot of young couples here. Mostly they want nothing to do with us. The girls pose around the pool in their thongs and the guys take their pictures. Honestly, the girls don't even want to get wet -- which is ridiculous because it feels like its 100 degrees and humid. It is quite the show.

Time to get ready for La Vitrola. Decided to splurge and called a taxi. Got there right on
time. Told the security at the door that we have a reservation under Jose Fox. Ok - he opened the little door and we slipped through. At first they seated in the side room where you could see the musicians. Wrong. Asked our pal for a table by the music - no problemo. We got a much better table. We were one of the first people there so no problem moving us. It also afforded us a great vantage point to see everyone coming in. Geoff mentioned that he was told to wear long pants here. Apparently, men have to wear pants but women don't have to wear much of anything. Boy did we see some outfits. This is the place to see and be seen! Some tourists, some locals, and some shady businessmen.

That was all fun. And, I have to say the service was very good. The food however, left much to be desired. The highlight of my meal was the lichee martini - absolutely delicious! But the calamari was like rubber and although the rest of the food was edible, it was no big deal -- especially at those prices. The music was also a bit of let down. The old guys were ok but so low key -- maybe it picks up later. We didn't stick around the find out.

Looked around for our guy to slip him the tip, but he was nowhere to be found. Ducked out the door and went across the street to talk to the musicians who were on break. Geoff had noticed the old guy had a unique 8 string guitar. As we were talking to them, our pal appeared. Geoff handed him the tip and told him their calamari was overcooked. Don't think he cared much. What racket.

We leisurely strolled back through the Old City. Fidel's was jumping so we jumped right in!! A very cool guy in cycling gear welcomed us to join in the fun. Had a blast. Started out in the front of the room but eventually moved to the back where there was more action. Some guy was passing around shots of whiskey - to lubricate the joints I suspect. That one salsa lesson paid off for me - I danced with some of the guys. Geoff did his thing (not quite sure what that is) and was having a good time. They all got a big kick out of watching the two old gringos shake it up! We got lots of applause. Meanwhile, the rest of the tourists are outside this tiny place gawking. 

Left Fidel's and walked down to Havana. It was still over an hour before the band would start at 11:30. We didn't know if we could hold that long so we walked down to the plaza where all the hostel kids hang out drinking in the street. Had enough of that. Decided that we didn't want to wait up for Havana, so it was back to the hotel. 

What a wonderful evening we had for our last night. Took a dip in the pool to cool off before going down to bed...

Next time... Adios Colombia

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Aviary and more


First, another birthday wish to another of Geoff's brothers -- Happy Birthday Andy! And a Happy St. Pat's to all the Irish out there.

Before we begin today's adventure, I want to start with a bit of history about Cartagena. I was waiting for a city tour but I am afraid that will not happen either by bike or guide.  Here is a transcript from Discover Colombia:
Founded in 1533 by Pedro de Heredia, Cartagena de Indias was built on the site of an abandoned Amerindian village, known as Calamarí, located on a small island of the same name. Born into a noble family in Madrid, Heredia left Spain suddenly because of a personal conflict that led to a challenge by duel. Arriving first in Santo Domingo (capital of the present-day Dominican Republic), he later embarked to New Grenada, settling in Santa Marta, where he took up trading with the native inhabitants. After becoming governor, he established himself in the village of Calamarí and founded Cartagena. The little village quickly prospered, with the discovery of numerous treasures in the region, including those in the tombs of the Sinús, an Amerindian people who customarily buried the dead with all their possessions. However, in 1552, a fire reduced the village (whose buildings were made of wood at the time) to ashes, and Pedro de Heredia ordered that all structures be made of stone from that point onward. In a way, this directive enabled the city to preserve its lovely architectural heritage to this present day.
As the Spanish continued colonizing South America, they discovered and pillaged the fabulous riches of various Amerindian nations including the Incas. The port of Cartagena, well protected in a bay, benefited greatly from all of this plundering. Ships loaded with precious cargo arrived from Ecuador and Peru by way of the isthmus of Panama, and stopped at the city’s port to be loaded with other goods from the interior of the country, most of which were brought to the port on the Río Magdalena. Afterward, the ships would continue on their way to Cuba or Puerto Rico, where other merchandise was added to their precious cargo. Finally, fully loaded, they would sail to Spain, the mother country.
Another factor that enabled the city to develop rapidly was the slave trade. In fact, at the beginning of the 17th century, the King of Spain granted the colony a monopoly on this form of commerce. It is important to remember that at the time, the Spanish crown had forbidden the enslavement of Amerindians, but granted certain markets and key figures in its new colonies the right to deal in African slaves. Cartagena thus received the dreadful but highly coveted right to be an official slave-trading centre. At the time, Veracruz, Mexico was the only other centre of this kind.
All of these activities made it possible for prominent locals to amass enormous fortunes and build superb homes and mansions, which still accounts for some of the towns charm today. Thus, within a few years, Cartagena reached a level of prosperity that aroused the interest not only of other colonial powers, but also of the numerous pirates lurking in the Caribbean in search of riches.
Cartagena’s reputation as a flourishing city spread quickly, and the Jolly Mary (the black pirate flag with a skull and cross bones) was often seen approaching the city in search of booty. During the 16th century, Cartagena suffered five sieges by pirates. One of these occurred in 1543 and involved a French lieutenant general and pirate by the name of Robert Baal (aka Roberval). He launched a successful raid on the city and in a surprise attack, the pirate managed to extort 310 kilos of gold from the city while the governor was attending a banquet. This was only the beginning of a long list of attacks by pirates of all different nationalities on the city. They included Englishmen John Hawkins (in 1576) and Francis Drake (in 1586), as well as Frenchmen Jean-Bernard Desjeans and Jean Ducasse (in 1697).
Cartagena managed to fend off at least one attack, mounted by the admiral Edward Vernon sent by King George II of England, along with 15,000 troops, to overthrow the Spanish in 1741. However, the English attackers were in for a surprise since the small garrison, led by General Basco de Lezo, managed to drive them back to sea. This brave general continued to fight even after losing an arm, a leg and an eye in previous battles. With 2500 poorly trained men, General Basco de Lezo managed to fend off 25,000 English soldiers and their 186 ships. He lost his other leg and died soon after, but is now regarded as the savior of Cartagena.
Irritated by the loss of capital to the privateers, the Spanish crown finally decided to fortify the city and its surrounding area. The scale of the project soon converted Cartagena into one of the most well protected colonial cities in all of South America.
Among the numerous armed conflicts that have marked the city’s history, two major dates should be kept in mind. The first is 1741, the year of the famous Battle of Vernon and the second is 1811, when the city was the first to declare its independence from Spain. However, the city came back under Spanish rule in 1815 upon being recaptured by General Pablo Morillo. More than a third of the population perished in the fighting for a total of 6,000 people! Later, during the final war of independence led by Simón Bolívar, Cartagena was once again among the first to declare its independence and obtained its liberty once and for all in 1821. Moreover, Bolívar nicknamed the city Ciudad Heroica (the Heroic City) for its bravery and ability to defend itself.
Cartagena soon recovered and became an important trading and shipping centre again. Its prosperity attracted foreign immigrants, and many Jews, Italians, French, Turks, Lebanese and Syrians settled here.
Colombia entered the 20th century wracked by full-scale civil war, then again in 1948 when the struggle between Liberals and Conservatives broke out with La Violencia, a destructive period of civil strife. Cartagena was not immune from the political violence but economically it prospered, largely on the back of oil exports from its increasingly busy port. Platinum, coffee, sugar, tobacco and textiles were also important exports at the time. In 1974, Cartagena celebrated its pre-colonial past, erecting the Monumento a la India Catalina at the entrance to the Old Town in tribute to the Carib Indians. 
In recent decades, Cartagena has expanded dramatically and is now surrounded by vast suburbs and high-rise buildings. It is Colombia’s largest port and an important industrial center specializing in petrochemicals. Despite increasing urban sprawl, the walled Old Town has remained virtually unchanged. 
In August 2000, USA President Bill Clinton visited Cartagena for talks associated with his government’s 1.3 billion-dollar Plan Colombia aid package to help tackle drug trafficking and armed conflict. 
Hopefully sometime before we leave, we plan to walk the wall. Also hope to have time to visit a museum or two but not sure if there is enough time to do everything.

Marlon and Angela showed up for our trip to the aviary. We passed the open market - which is like the old Quincy market of Cartagena. Spotted this Shalom truck and said stop the car!. Apparently, there is a temple somewhere and the owner of the truck had it painted. Passing through some small villages, even the one where Marlon grew up, to get to the aviary. This place was done really nicely. No one was there which was good. Some of the birds are free range and others are enclosed. Lots to see and lots of photo-ops. This is a private park and it took about 10 years to build, opening three years ago. 

Had a great time but the drive back was painful. The cruise ships were in town and apparently they stop traffic one way to let everyone get back to the boat! We were held up a long time - till me, Geoff & Marlon decided to get out and walk over a bridge and meet Angela on the other side. Just had to get out of the car.

Back safely having lunch at the pool again deciding on what to do next. Marlon told us to go to the Havana Club tonight if we wanted to salsa. We might drop in but I don't think it gets going till 11:30 or so. It is right down the street from us.

Left the pool at about 4:30 and we hit the streets. The temperature cooled off some by then. We went back to visit our hat guy -- got one more request. He was very happy to see us.  After searching for what we thought was the right size hat, he said "get the tape measure". That made us laugh, that he remembered that. So we got out the measure and hopefully found the right hat. There were a lot of good-byes a few photos and we were off to the next stop. Walked through the streets picking up our small gifts for friends and family and those who were kind enough to help during the storm. Everything checked, time to go to the wall.

Walked up the wall to Cafe del Mar for sunset. This is the equivalent of Mallory Dock in Key West. Everyone is there. Although since we have been here, the sunsets have been blocked out by either smog or clouds. Walked around the wall for a bit and headed back down in search of dinner.

A friend of mine wrote and suggested a very good restaurant that was right down the street. It wasn't open yet and the guy hanging outside the door said that they were booked solid. Oh well, too bad. Then he said "uno momento" - told us to follow him inside and another man came out with a large book. We told him we had only two nights left in his city and this place came highly recommended. He showed us the book -- yes they were filled up solid. However, if we came back tomorrow at 7:30 and said we were Jose Fox, we would get in. And if we were happy with the meal, he would appreciate a tip. That sounded like the equivalent of "Joe sent me". Ok, we said "see you at 7:30".  The guy reminded Geoff that he needed to wear long pants tomorrow night.  Geoff said later, you think I'll pass for Jose Fox? I have to say that I was very impressed with the atmosphere of the place - plus there is live music at 8pm. Will let you know how it turns out.

That was all pretty funny but we still needed to get dinner. Geoff had read a review about another restaurant, La Cevichira that was supposed to be good. So we headed over there. The streets were very crowded being Saturday night. We passed by the Chocolate Museum and the guy outside recognized us and said hello. OK, we have been here too long when the shop keeps remember you. Got to the restaurant. There was an available table outside on the street. Took one look at the menu and shook our heads. Apparently, Anthony Bordain has eaten here and that's all it took to raise the prices sky high-saving ourselves for tomorrow night. Vacated our table and kept on walking. Stopped by various restaurants and found nothing appealing. After a while, we decided to just head back to our hood and eat somewhere there. Popped into a place two door down from our hotel and had one of the best dinners we have had since we have been here. Grilled octopus with Colombian mashed potatoes with salsa and Geoff got the fish tacos. It is was a mom and pop place and we were sitting next to mom and pop - didn't speak a word of English but we managed to communicate. Their daughter worked there and did most of the translating. Had a wonderful relaxing time and even got a dessert on the house! Momma's homemade brownies with ice cream. 

Fully sated, we are back in our room contemplating whether to go to Havana Club or not. The daughter told us that the place is full of tourists now since it became popular. Not sure we're up for that. Might go back to Fidel's if we don't fall asleep - after all it is 9 pm. 

Next time... One more day

Friday, March 16, 2018

Moving Day


Last night never got any better. We both kind of freaked out trying to sleep in that loft. So we camped out in the living room all night. Oh, did I happen to mention the mirrors? For some reason there were mirrors in the oddest places. The shower was surrounded by floor to ceiling mirrors. I am a 66 year old woman. I do not need mirrors in the shower of ANY size. Then there was the floor to ceiling mirror that sat opposite the toilet. I don't need to tell you how attractive that can be. Of course, there wasn't enough light anywhere if you actually needed a mirror to see something! Then the power went out in the middle of the night. The a/c turned off - you can't open any windows. I thought we were going to suffocate!

I can't say enough how bizarre that room was. But it is over now and we are out of there. In fact we have been out since about 9:00 this morning. At first light, we were up and devising a plan to escape. Fortunately, the power came back and we got on wifi to research hotels. It's pretty overwhelming because there are so many areas. Entered our criteria in a search engine -- wifi, pool, a/c, hot water, etc. The tricky part was that we needed the room immediately for three nights.  

BINGO! Two hotels popped up.  One right down the street from where we were.  Ate breakfast (we paid for it), and told Carlos we were out to find another hotel. Be back shortly. Walked down to Casa Canabal. "Do you have a room for three nights" "Yes".  We looked at the room, which is bright, has a real shower with hot water, and even a coffee machine - plus free all day coffee in the lobby. Walked up to the pool area - which is right up from our room -- bueno!  We'll take it!

Got back to Casa Lola to negotiate getting our money back for the next three nights. No problem - but theyite would refund it to the agency. Paula in turn, and to her credit, immediately sent the refund to our paypal account. The difference between the "superior suite" at Casa Lola and a standard double in Casa Canabal saved us $350 for the three nights. And as far as we are concerned, this is a far superior hotel. Settled up with Carlos and took our bags down the street. No muss, no fuss! Another welcome cocktail and another 15 minute gratis massage. We are ecstatic!!  

The room was ready in the morning so we were able to just move right in. We dropped our bags and headed out on the great hat hunt. We are hoping to bring back some Colombian hats for those who wanted one. Well all sizes are not equal!  After much debate with a local hat guy, we searched other shops -- no luck.  We decided to buy a tape measure at a ribbon store. Went back to the hat guy and started measuring. I bought a hat and we did the best we could with the others. With that assignment done, it was back to the hotel and up to the pool. We ordered lunch poolside and just marveled in how lucky we were to find this place.Hung out in the pool after lunch talking with a lovely older (our age) couple from Argentina.

We had a 3:30 bike city tour appointment that we needed to get ready for, so we packed up and left around 3ish. Finally found the place, and discovered another couple from LA who had also made a reservation. They had been waiting a while. We all waited together until we were sitting ducks for the beggars/vendors on the street. We all gave up and said oh well! So no cycle tour today. Took our time walking through 
the streets and stopped to take in some of the local action. 
Popped into the Chocolate Museum, which is pretty much a store. Stopped to get some molecular gelato that they make right in front of you with nitrogen. Pretty "cool".

Got back to the hotel and heard from the bike folks. They were sorry something came up. Offered us a really free tour (this tour was free but you had to rent bikes for $10) for tomorrow. We are going to the aviary tomorrow - so no can do. Maybe Sunday -- have not heard back. No biggie.  We are good on our own.

It is Happy Hour at the pool again and I am thinking of collecting the free massage.  Dinner is at a restaurant that the Argentina couple recommended. 

Went to La Tinaja as recommended. We had a great meal and a wonderful time talking with one of the waiters who was practicing his English. From the restaurant we headed to the Clock Tower Plaza de Coches for some salsa. Dairo, from Punta Faro, said we should go to Donde Fidel, and so we did.  It is a tiny place that is really a bar and spontaneous salsa breaks out. Geoff and I tentatively joined in at first, and then we were part of the crowd. Great fun! Can't wait to go back tomorrow night!  What a wonderful day we had.

So all in all .... Life is good!

Next time.... The Aviary

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Leaving Paradise


It was quite cloudy and blustery this morning. There were 16 of us going back to Cartagena. We said our good-byes to Martin and Dairo. Going to miss those guys. Thanks to Paula from Impulse Agency we did eventually get 30% back from the other reservation. At least it was better than nothing, and we really enjoyed ourselves, which, in the end, is all that matters.

It was a very choppy two hour ride. Somewhere just before the mid-point, a gal up front asked to stop the boat. I assumed she was sick. Geoff had another opinion -- bano! The captain stopped the boat, the people at the back reshuffled their seats to clear the back, and we all sat in the middle of the ocean waiting for this poor girl to take a pee (or whatever) out the back of the boat. You have to believe she was in dire need. It was all a bit bizarre, but I was pleased to see that the captain handled the whole affair quite nicely. As soon as she was settled back in the boat, we were off again over the crashing waves.

Got into port around 11:30 and our driver was there to greet us. It was a short ride to the hotel. Our room wasn't ready for another hour so we dropped our bags and headed out. There are two bike shops down on Boca Grande that I wanted to check out for bike shirts. I supposed I could've called, but we felt it would be nice to take a walk. No luck at either shop. The only Colombian shirt they had was extremely small. Walked back on the beach street and checked out what kind of action we were missing. Not much. Not impressed with the beach here at all. 

The sun decided to come out and it got really hot. Right next door to the Hyatt Hotel is a 4 story mall. We popped in for some a/c -- also used the banos, which were extremely clean. This mall would rival any in Miami. We went up one level walked the length of if through the air conditioning and out the other end. That was as much mall as we could handle. Stopped to have a bite to eat before going back to the hotel. 

Even though it was hot, it sure felt good to be walking again. Plus we are at sea level and everything is flat -- except our room! Finally got checked into our "suite". Well I was a bit overwhelmed.  The bed is up in a loft and there is a very precarious stairway -- nighttime bathroom runs are going to have to be at a minimum. I can't even explain the shower! Of course, I tried to change rooms but not much was available -- we can downgrade to the only lesser room they had open, but no refund from our superior room. We looked at the room and it was tiny - not paying big bucks for that.

There is a nice pool area up on the roof which we tried out this afternoon. The hotel gives one person a free 15 minute massage. Sure enough the massage therapist comes by -- Geoff was the winner since I just had a massage last night. He got the kinks worked out of his legs. Back down in the room, we are still trying to figure this place out.

OK - this room is definitely a death trap -- maybe the whole hotel, we're not sure yet. We were getting ready for dinner and almost didn't make it. Starting with the shower, which is so slippery and there's a step up and then a step down and the hot water -- well not so much -- tepid at best. First I scratch my shoulder on the lovely rocks that surround the shower which sits in the middle of the bottom floor, and then Geoff comes downstairs bleeding from his head from an
encounter with the random driftwood that makes up the bed headboard -- the designer of this place must be a real masochist. Downstairs we go, with Geoff still bleeding from his forehead. Carlos at the front desk is totally freaked out - I'm giving him a piece of my mind of what I think of their "superior suite". Finally the massage therapist/nurse comes along with a bandaid, patched up the forehead. Carlos takes a picture of Geoff's head to show the manager and we were on our way to dinner.

We went to a restaurant that was recommended the last time we were in Cartagena but we never went. It was recommended again today by the reception guy. Not too far to walk. The plaza down the block was jumping. Lots of street food, music, kids playing, all while church is in session - crazy.  Got to the restaurant -- was no big deal compared to the food we have been eating during this trip.  We are batting 1,000 today! I knew we should have never left Paradise.

We got back to the hotel and Carlos is all over us. He talked with the manager and they will give us a free dinner plus tomorrow they will look into getting us another room and refund the difference in room cost. We'll see what happens. Meanwhile, we are both walking around this place very gingerly.  Wish us luck!

Next time... City bike tour

Wednesday, March 14, 2018



Said lots of good-byes at breakfast today. Our Canadian friends were leaving for Tayrona along with several other people who boarded the 9 am boat back to the mainland. Tomorrow will be our turn but not just yet!

Found out there was an actual free boat tour of the neighboring area starting at 10am. Didn't have much else to do, so we donned life jackets and hopped in the boat. Fortunately, there was a young woman with us from Colombia but also spoke some English. She helped translate from our boat guide. The tour turned out to be pretty interesting. There are several hostels that just sit right there in the middle of the water. One of the homes is owned by  some famous Latin pop star. Other private homes are owned by some pretty wealthy folks. It is very expensive to keep a home out here. We cruised by Santa Cruz and back over to Isla Mucura, passing the public beach and fishing village that we visited on our bike ride. Also got a glimpse of the other two resorts from the ocean view. Ours is by far the nicest.

Back at the dock by 11. Not much to do today but hang out.  Moved from various spots of relaxation throughout the afternoon and wound up back on the beach. Chatted with a lovely young couple from Edinburgh. And then it was happy hour again!! Had a cocktail and then back to the room to pack. It is a bit breezier today than it has been.  I hope the it calms down for the two hour boat ride tomorrow.

Well, I'm off to my 7pm massage appointment. A great way to end a great stay at our lovely retreat. I have to say that although we are sorry to leave, it really is time. We are looking forward to exploring Cartagena. 

Next time.... Leaving Paradise