So when my husband and I set off on an indefinite overland adventure starting in Colombia, I had trouble letting go of the detailed planning at first. Our first three weeks were carefully planned - 6 days in Bogota, 6 days in Salento, and 7 days in Medellin.A Change of Plans
But when we got to the Caribbean coast, something strange happened. We were sitting in Mamallena hostel in Cartagena, and noticed an advertisement for a new location that they just opened in Rincon del Mar. "What if we went there?", I mused to my husband.We did about 1 hour of research and found out that:1) Almost nobody travels southwest down the coast to Rincon del Mar.2) Part of the journey there would require us to ride on the back of a motorcycle taxi while balancing our backpacks.3) There is a grouping of picture perfect and little known islands an hour by boat from Rincon called the San Bernardo Islands. You can only make the journey if the seas are calm enough for the small lanchas to pass through the open waters.For the first time in my life, I decided to make an impulsive travel decision. And to add to that, we were heading to a very undeveloped area with little to no information. This must be what an adventure feels like!How to Visit this Remote Paradise
Palomino - Bolivar
Three nights in Cartagena was not enough. On our last night, it was as if the city queued a movie-worthy rainstorm as we walked the cobblestones streets in search of dinner. The streets quickly emptied, but all the café doors still stood open and restaurateurs huddled under their overhangs offering us shelter from the rain and a tasty meal to boot. The rain stifled the sounds of the vibrant latino beats that usually echo through the narrow streets. My flowy dress clung to my wet skin as I snuggled in close to Jeff under our umbrella. (Whoa, got carried away there, maybe I should write a romance novel?) We ended in a tiny Italian eatery and had made-to-order ceviche and seafood drowning in risotto. They don’t make wine in Colombia, so only the best restaurants in the big cities offer a nice wine list. Alas, we settled for a bottle of Barefoot pinot grigio. We left our paradise in Cartagena and headed north toward the superb beaches on the Caribbean Coast. Unfortunately, we ended up in they tiny village of Palomino after dark. Never good for an unfamiliar and rural place. As soon as we got off the bus, several young local men approached us on their motorbikes offering to take us to our accommodation. I am extremely scared of being on a motorbike since my crash in Indonesia. I loathe them. They insisted that La Sirena was quite far and down a dark footpath, so I sucked it up… Jeff told my driver to be very careful and go slow because I was scared. So he got on the back of one and I on another. They usually put your backpack between the two of you and the driver or rest it on the handlebars sort of between their legs in case you’re wondering. My driver was very gentle and I’m so glad we went with them, because even though they were leading us down a dark, unknown, dangerous pathway to god knows where, I think it would have been scarier walking there by ourselves. We arrived safely and to warm welcomes from Carolina, the “manager and cook” and to travelers who were congregated in the outdoor eating area. Lorenz and Yuan from Luxemborg and France, respectively, and Julie from Germany.
Rincón - Sucre
There are only a handful of guesthouses in this mostly un-touristed and tiny fishing village. I highly recommend staying in Mamallena Hostel, Rincon del Mar. The manager was friendly and helpful, the rooms are basic but comfortable, and the price is great. Plus the hostel is directly in front of the water, with it's own common hangout area on the beach.This town was one place I have felt truly out of my comfort zone. Locals are not used to tourists so it feels very different from other tourist destinations. It was amazing to see a little village operating as it would have decades ago, not catering to the whims of travelers. However, once you make an effort with locals, they’re friendly to you as well. The kids run around all day, ask you your name curiously, and play games on the beach.