We have been offline for a few days after traveling to an eco-lodge in the middle of nowhere. From the airport in Santa Marta we took a taxi to Bonda, 40 minutes away. There we called Antonio, who met us with 2 other guys, all on motorcycles. They strapped our luggage to one motorcycle and put each of us behind the drivers of the other 2. They had helmets but we didn't. I kept a death grip on my driver for the next 20 minutes as we traveled over some really rocky ground to get to La Bonita. Along the way, the thought occurred to me that we possibly had been kidnapped. I kept my eyes shut 95% of the time until finally we stopped in front of a sign that announced we had arrived.
Then I realized that we had to cross the Mansanare River to get to the lodge. First our luggage went across using ropes. Then each of us followed on a swing. The terror of the motorcycle ride was quickly diminishing as I realized just what a paradise we had entered. The photo above doesn't begin to do it justice. Despite the fact that we have no Internet and the shower is only cold water, the 5-star dining and the price of $65 for our lodging and 3 meals a day make this a real bargain. Yesterday we cooled off in the spring-fed swimming pool. One of the owners is Swiss-Colombian; the other is French. They have a year-old baby girl and 2 wonderful dogs who go everywhere with us. We speak a mixture of French, Spanish, and English. Right now we are the only guests.
Since arriving, we have learned how to ford the river at various places (including the entrance) in order to explore. My walking sticks are my salvation as we walk to places like the cacao farm and the biology center. Today we are headed to a natural pool in the river.
Right now we are paying for $5 of Internet down the road. Soon we will cross back over the river to have lunch.
Tomorrow we will leave paradise to (hopefully) visit Aracataca (birthplace of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and setting for One Hundred Years of Solitude) and then figure out how to get to Cartagena.
As you can tell, this trip is loosely planned with a lot of room for spontaneity. There's always time for a siesta. It is really nice to experience true leisure!
My $5 Internet connection doesn't seem to be terribly swift downloading photos, so for now you simply have to imagine!
This is Gala, our "protector".
The fresh-water pool.
The "dining room" with its raked sand floor.
The hammock in front of our room.