Santa Marta

February 14
We depart after breakfast and drive four hours on a good highway to Santa Marta.  After checking into our hotel and eating lunch at a restaurant down the block, we depart at 3PM for an afternoon tour of the center and a look at evening’s glow on the Coast. 

Our guide, Diva, was very good; knew her stuff and very personable.  Perhaps the most interesting part was a lengthy discussion of the politics of Colombia in the past twenty years or so, in which the crooked government has been making deals with drug cartels and the paramilitary.  Diva is skeptical as to whether current peace talks will improve anything, but she remains a fiercely loyal Colombian, despite personal experiences that she and her family has had.  The discussion gives one a clear sense of how different the problems Colombia faces from those we face in the U.S. 

 This city was the first colonized place in South America in the 16th century. Since then, it has participated in the slave trade from Africa, was terrorized by pirates for many years, fell from prominence and is undergoing a revitalization plan, as nicer boutique hotels and restaurants start moving in. The first church in the Americas, a beautiful waterfront, quaint narrow and colorful streets and friendly locals make it a fine place to absorb the Caribbean spirit in a place that is far less known and less commercialized than Cartagena.  Sunday is a very quiet time, except near the beach, which is a bustle of activity. 

Rich, Barbara and I all around together, they do a bit of shopping and we stop for a drink, before returning to our hotel to clean up.  

The group eats well at a restaurant close to our hotel, the Casa del Piano, located a few blocks from the bay.

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