Before I went back to Bogotá there were two nearby places I did not want to leave without checking out: Taganga and Rodadero. What I find fascinating about them is how they sort of represent polar opposites; while Taganga is usually compared to a hippie haven, Rodadero is tailor made for the resort types. They’re both very popular and also part of the reason Santa Marta sees so many visitors, with a considerable amount choosing to stay there instead of the city proper.
When my short stay in Palomino came to an end it was time to return to Santa Marta. I’d been away for a couple of weeks and felt ready to get back to work. One thing I didn’t realise was that January is peak season in Colombia, proper peak season – like August in Southern Europe. To say I was surprised by how busy I found Santa Marta is an understatement. So much so I had to spend a week in a different hostel because República was full. Madness!
Here’s something you might find mildly interesting: I don’t think there is a single country I have visited where I haven’t heard a local mutter a variation of “…only in this country!” It happens all the time. Really. Truth is every country has its share of problems, some more than others, but the uniqueness of the complaints is often… well, not that unique!
Despite the rocky start, I quickly settled into a nice routine in Santa Marta. I strongly believe that you should never judge a place based on the first night you spend there, especially when things don’t go according to plan. It happens more often than you’d probably imagine and these days I flat out refuse to make rushed decisions until I’ve had a chance to sleep on them. Needless to say, more often than not, things do majorly improve the next day and Santa Marta was no exception.
When it came to picking a place to settle down for a few months to get some work done I had some ideas in mind. However, there was one important requirement: it had to be warm. Even though winters in Portugal are mild by European standards, the atrocious lack of insulation makes them a lot tougher to bear. Especially, in my case, after living in London for over a decade used to the toasty warmth of central heating all through the cold season!