There were a lot of things I wanted to see in the North of Colombia. I had been given tips by many people who had visited the region, both foreigners and Colombians. Cartagena de Indias of course, but also the island of Baru, the beach of Capurgana, the Tayrona Park, the Lost City, Palomino, the Totumo volcano and its mud baths,…
When I arrived in Cartagena, I directly booked the hostel for three nights. Then I went into the common bedroom and started a conversation with one of the ladies with whom I was sharing the place. The usual stuff:
– Where are you from?
– French speaking or Dutch speaking?
– Both. But mostly French.
– Moi, je suis Française.
We quickly switched to our mother tongue and decided to go for a walk around the old city.
Dorine was traveling to a place I hadn’t heard of until that moment but that sounded as attractive and interesting, if not more, than all the rest I had heard of: La Guajira. She had booked an excursion that would take her through the desert to Punta Gallinas, the northernmost point of the country and, therefore, of the whole South American sub-continent. She suggested I join her.
I took a few hours to think it over. I had already booked and paid the hostel for three days – I now know it is not the best thing to do – and she was leaving on the following morning. But I could maybe try to find an arrangement, if I was coming back later on, as was my intention. Having company to travel with would be nice and, although we had only just met, I enjoyed chatting with Dorine, who is a young legal expert in humanitarian rights. She was a lot of fun, so I decided to trust my gut feeling and just go for it. On the next day, I left with her and Alex, another French guy who was staying at the same hostel, towards Santa Marta. From there, we went to the Tayrona Park, which was also on my list.