Up early and looking forward to our trip to Santa Marta. We had a coffee downstairs and Skyped with Fero’s brother, Lubo & Elena, while we waited for the MarSol shuttle to pick us up. The puerta a puerta (door to door) service is excellent and not much more than taking a regular bus – safer too!
The MarSol van showed right on time at 10:00am and was already full, Fero had a single seat to himself and I rode in the front with the driver. A choice seat, you say, well………..it was roomy up there but I then had a front & centre view of the traffic and the Colombian driving. Scared me a wee bit, but our driver was very good, although he did change the DVD, and search for his papers while speeding along the 2-lane highway. A little unnerving!
The drive was somewhat uneventful, the scenery here is very dry and certainly not as interesting as in the Andes. We stopped half-way for ‘a 5 minute’ break (which lasted 20 😄 Colombian time) for gas, bathroom break, and it seems a driver hot dog stop. From this point, the driver changed the seating a bit and I was able to sit in a single seat behind Fero which was much more comfortable.
By 2:30pm or so, we were pulling up to our hotel in Bello Horizonte, one of the Beach areas near Santa Marta. We were booked at the Santorini Boutique, and although the name sounds lovely, it did not live up to its name. The room they had for us was in the back, with no window, let alone a balcony, and was unacceptable. We went next door to the Santorini Hotel and were able to get a nicer room for a lot more money. The room is large with a king bed (yay) and has a huge balcony with a view, and a mini-bar – much better. Our adventure days of hosteling & backpacking are over and the first place reminded us of those times. We are now classified as Gucci backpackers who want comfort and amenities for a reasonable price. The hotel has 3 pools, one of which is on the top floor, and has a lovely seating area and restaurant. Although listed as a 4*hotel, it is more like a 3* star and over priced. I guess that’s the price to pay for high season in a beach resort!
Settled in, we checked out the pools, beach club and then walked to the grocery store for essential ‘supplies’, wine, beer, water & fruit. We enjoyed the sunset from the pool and then retired early. We are certainly catching up on our sleep here!!
Today, we made use of the beach club and reserved ourselves a ‘Carpa’ with chairs and then took a walk down the beach while the sun was still low in the sky. It was still overwhelmingly hot and I quickly returned to the shade of the carpa and ordered a limonada natural.
Fero joined me shortly after and we spent the day alternating between the sun and the shade and did our best to avoid the beach vendors. We had hoped there would be fewer vendors here, however they seem to be just as persistent. We went into the beach restaurant for peace and quiet and ordered lunch. Not sure if it was our particular waiter or this is the way it is in the resort area, however it took forever to get our salads (yes no cooking required) and we vowed not to come here again. Not really the optimal start to an 8 day stay – mmmmmmm may decide to move on elsewhere, we’ll see.
Following lunch we went back to the hotel and settled ourselves at the rooftop pool – ahhhhhhh much better. The pool is so refreshing and much more relaxing! We spent the balance of the afternoon here until the sun disappeared. An enjoyable afternoon.
Feeling a little more settled, we went directly to the roof top pool area and choose choice spots next to the pool, and in a breezy area. It was all well and good until the sun came around full force – oyyyyyy it is intense! A cool refreshing dip in the pool helped and around 1:00pm or so we headed to the room for a cool break.
The balance of the day was spent relaxing at the pool or in our lovely air conditioned room. All in all a nice relaxing day.
So happy we have this large balcony (I call it our very expensive balcony☺️) to use , it gives the room an outdoor, airy feeling, and so nice to enjoy breakfast on it.
I went up to the pool and started reading a book on IBooks, how decadent! Time to read and relax. I lasted until the 12noon sun came with such intensity, I cowered into a comfy sofa in the lounge area. I continued reading while sipping on my fave, a limonada natural – life’s good!
Later in the afternoon I did go back to sitting in the sun interspersed with cool, refreshing dips in the pool – my whole body let out an ahhhhhhhhh with each dip.
We brought in dinner which we enjoyed from our beautiful balcony. We are really enjoying this relaxing time!