Last week my husband and I visited Colombia. (Click for Important Disclosures about author)

Our journey brought us to Cartagena. It’s located right on the ocean, the breeze feels great when you can enjoy it. As soon as you walk a few blocks into the heart of downtown, buildings become more crowded, traffic picks up and it gets a lot hotter.
We saw much street art, enjoyed the architecture the sounds an smells, and had a night out on the town.

There are many stray animals in Cartagena, and as obvious tourists we were approached by many people to buy their goods, or have them play music for us. We made a point of being polite but firm saying no.

The only person I bought jewelry from was a lady that was obviously a good person. She has little pre-packed bags of dog food in her purse and stopped many times to take care of the strays. I asked her why she was feeding the dogs.
She smiled and whistled, and a small dog ran up to us. She picked her up and presented her dog. She said, that a few years back, she was heading home after a long day of sales. Someone followed her and was trying to steal her money. This little stray dog came to her rescue, so she took it home and made it her pet. She said she is so thankful to her little dog, tat she wants to take care of all the stray dogs she can. She admitted she didn’t have much money, but that it was important to do the right thing. Needless to say we bought some of her goods and gave her money for dog food. I’m so glad we got to meet her!

After a long night of dancing in Cartagena, we decided to leave the city behind and explore one of the national parks. Tayrona National Park is about a 5 hour drive away. Instead of renting our own car, we found a shuttle service that took us from Cartagena to Santa Marta and there we met a cab driver to take us the rest of the way. We stayed at beautiful Villa Maria.

The first day we went tubing. A great little adventure.
It started by waiving down a local bus at the main road. Our instructions said to get off at the speed bump and meet William to get our tubes. Let me clarify this now by saying, we didn’t know if this was supposed to be the first speed bump or a specific speed bump later on. We had never met William and had no idea what he looked like.

When we finally found him, we walked down to the river and enjoyed an easy trip all the way to the ocean! It was stunning! We saw a type of flamingo, monkeys, donkeys, birds and iguanas.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The next day we went into Tayrona National Park.
Now that we had mastered the local bus this seemed a lot easier.

We started with a 1 hour horseback ride to a hidden beach in the jungle. WOW!

We swam a lot, followed an iguana into a sea cave, enjoyed an amazing lunch and finally climbed back onto the horse and rode back. That was my favorite day in Colombia!

We enjoyed a leisure car ride back to Cartagena for our flight home.

I can highly recommend a trip to Colombia. But make sure to pack mosquito spray!  🙂

For more questions, please feel free to reach out:

**Please note that all photos are authors own, except where credited. As travel industry professional, I make a big investment in first hand experiences. I spend a lot of time to keep up with accreditation and stay up to date on current developments in the travel industry. This means attending conferences, seminars, site inspections fam trip and group trips. I have been able to have some of the experiences shown and described at a reduced cost or combed by the hotel, tour operator, cruise line or supplier. The feedback supplied is based on my personal experience, and based on my personal preferences, likes and dislikes. This first hand experience allows me to better serve you and match the experiences you are looking for. It also allows me to create travel tips for you, based on experiences I have and things I wish I knew before. Travel Supplier partners referenced in blog posts are part of Signature Travel Networks Preferred Portfolio or can be booked via a preferred supplier partner (at least at time of post creation).**