After about an hour of driving, we arrived at a viewpoint called “The Most Beautiful View in the World”.. again? Well, this one was indeed beautiful, as it was overlooking the Castara bay and its crystal clear waters. We found a lovely restaurant with great food and nice mango smoothies where we had a sunset drink and then dinner in the company of hummingbirds. Next day was our last on the island, and of the trip, so we decided to do what is best done in Tobago – spend it on the beach. It was a quiet little beach a short walk from our cottage, and we went snorkeling and swimming when Luc suddenly went “Turtle, turtle, turtle!!” I swam the fastest I could to where he was snorkeling.. and there it was, a smaller one but just as curious and not the least bothered by our presence. A beautiful hawksbill sea turtle. Luc dove down to take a photo of it, it circled us a couple of times and then graciously waved its flippers and swam away. Such a sweet way to end our holiday. Thank you, Tobago.
We went back to Charlotteville after our turtle success, packed the backpacks, and set off to explore the rest of the island. Tobago has a lot to offer apart from lovely little bays with dreamy beaches but we didn’t have anything in particular in mind, which is the great thing about there only being a few roads and one being in a car. We drove in direction towards Castara which would be our last stop before departure – and stopped on the way whenever we felt like it. (Usually to add something to the snack-bag) First stop were the Argyle waterfalls, an easy hike from a parking lot through a very nice tropical forest. We swam in the water and stood under the falls, and I was happy as I always get when it comes to waterfalls.
Second stop came further up the road, when we chose to take a detour to see what “Parlatuvier bay” could be. Parlatuvier is a village with a beautiful bay, and was completely quiet and empty when we got there – apart from little Malakai who was sitting by the road. Malakai showed us his school where the security guard, Django, explained how the four age-groups have classes in the same time during the day, separated only by low walls. He also explained that the name of the village comes from a French occupier named Vier, who was an important man one would have to talk to in order to get hold of something important or unusual. “It’s from French, speak to Vier” he said. “Basically, when we say Parlatuvier we mean that something is hard to get.” Malakai then asked an exciting question “Would you like to see some bats?” and we obviously wanted to see some bats – so Malakai took us to his uncle’s house, called the bathouse, where nobody lives anymore – apart from a bunch of bats that were flying around our heads as we stepped in. Random enough for a little roadtrip.
We landed in Port of Spain in Trinidad, and hopped on the first next plane to the little island of Tobago.. because that’s where the magic happens. Magic being quiet fishing villages, beautiful beaches and diving bliss.
I had no expectations at all about Tobago, I only knew I really wanted to go there for some reason.. probably because I knew so little about it – so how was it.. and what happened? First of all, we rented a car at the airport to get around the island, which we soon realized was the best decision ever as there was a lot to explore, and our other choices would have been very unreliable public transport and expensive taxis.. So we got away from the Western part of the Island, where mainly all-inclusive resorts and “elderly German tourists dancing to calypso” happen, to the Eastern part of the Island – where all those other nice things are. It was very quiet, almost as if it there was nobody there. We got a very nice little place with a seaview in Charlotteville and started exploring the most beautiful of beaches. And then we did some diving from a village nearby called Speyside.. and it was all really great. But there was something missing… Before I continue, I need to share this whole story about turtles that started even before this trip. Luc has a thing about turtles, he likes them. And while I instantly thought about the Zombie kid and “but aren’t they all slow and clumsy and dumb?” he went “you have to see them in the water!” So I completely embraced the idea of seeing a turtle in water, and it sort of became one of the big goals of the trip. But we didn’t see any turtles when snorkeling or diving in Colombia.. and I stopped hoping for it after our second dive in Speyside. Anyway, we decided to dive one last time before leaving the eastern part of Tobago in the end of our trip.. so we did, and it was the most colourful and lovely of my 9 dives so far – and.. there it was! A TURTLE!! And it was huge and beautiful and calm and not afraid at all – and amazing..! And I was so happy that I was smiling so hard my diving mask completely filled up with water. It was the best turtle in the world. The trip had officially reached perfection.. Tobago was awesome.
At some point on the beach in Taganga, while talking about going either east or west, we decided that we probably had enough time to somehow make it all the way to Trinidad and Tobago, passing through Barquisimeto in Venezuela where my old Barcelona roomie Daneff lives. So we did! And Daneff and I instantly reconnected in our talks, and danced to reggaeton, and filled the tank of her car with 40 litres of gasoline for 0,04€. We all went to her apartment on the beach where we cooked and had a proper talk and hangout session, and the next day we went to the beautiful beaches in the Morrocoy National Park and enjoyed the crystal clear water. Daneff also helped us get very cheap flight tickets by paying with Venezuelan currency which has reached an extreme low, so Luc and I passed through the island of Margarita on our way to Trinidad and Tobago, and spent two days there, doing pretty much nothing. “Si no le contestoo!”
Cabo San Juan is a beautiful beach in the Tayrona National Park.. and it’s a one hour, very bumpy boat ride away from Taganga. When we were in Playa del Amor, we towed an upside-down turned boat that had carried 12 passengers on their way to on of the beaches there.. they lost all of their belongings in the waves and were picked up by our captain while we were diving. So no, the memory of that, plus the big waves and the speed were not the right ingredients for a pleasant boat ride.. it was painful, uncomfortable and quite scary.. but then again – it took us to a palm tree filled paradise. And back.
Let me start by saying that I had never dived before this trip. It was first of all never a priority or of big interest to me and I must admit I found it a bit scary. Luc, on the other hand, is very much an avid diver, so I was easily convinced that this was the right moment to learn, and that I couldn’t be more safe and have more fun than with two certified instructors in the water. So we looked for dive centers when we got to Taganga, and found Calipso – the only dive center allowed to dive in the Tayrona Natural Reserve becaue of its Eco engagement and coral restauration programmes. We decided to go for a three day diving safari which included diving for Luc and a NAUI Scuba Diver certification course for me. On the last day we got to dive together, which was great fun. The beach was a quiet little beach called Playa del Amor, at night time there was no other source of light other than the moon, and it was at its fullest when we were there. We slept in hammocks, had three meals per day prepared by a great man called Toto, and practiced diving.
I had been introduced to an entirely new world where one can move in all directions and where time flies by much faster than on the surface. I also spent these three days without a mobile network connection and with my mobile turned off. Survived all of it, very happy and amazed.
So here we go again, continuing the photo-series from the one month Colombia, Venezuela and Trinidad & Tobago trip.
We took a minibus from Cartagena that took us all the way to Taganga, and found ourselves in a genuine hippie hideout. I love those places.. self proclaimed hippies can sometimes be a pain to have deep conversations with as they often turn to lizards, crystals and evil mind reading iPhones – but they are utterly friendly, calm and creative. So we stayed a couple of days, danced on the beach, ate fried fish and made sure I got a tan. We made friends with a couple of people in the little town, amongst them a street artist who calls himself “Papa Frita” and balances things on top of his head. Things don’t have to be much more complicated than that, right?
I was very happy when we got to Cartagena – it was warm, colourful, walkable and super sunny! We hopped on a flight in Medellín as domestic flights to the coast were far cheaper than the buses. It was comfortable getting there so fast, and we found a great place to stay in the middle of the old city – so we could just walk around, eat well, and explore.
Speaking of food, Camilo’s friends introduced us to a Peruvian starter called ‘causa‘, which along with various kinds of ceviche became somewhat of a craving and standard choice of ours during the entire trip. It. was. so. good.
We decided to rent a car to get out of Medellín and visit the mountains where the majority of Colombian coffee is grown. We grabbed a last bite at that great vegetarian place and headed south to La Zona Cafetera to explore the little town of Salento and its surroundings. You’ve seen some of these photos already, but these are in far better resolution. And we prefer that, don’t we? Yay!
We hopped on a 10 hour bus from Bogotá to Medellín on Friday night, and spent quite a while of Saturday morning looking for a place to stay – Medellín is a party place, thus packed with people on weekends. We met up with my friend Camilo from that sparkling New Year’s in Warsaw two years ago, and he took us out for shopping, Mojitos and music, and for lunch and hangout with his friends the next day. Medellín was much warmer than Bogotá, and much more tropical. It was a beautiful city where we found a great Vegetarian restaurant (where they had a sad plastic giraffe) and where most people seemed to be running around in their cute little workout outfits..
On our last day in Medellín, we made our way to Piedra del Puñol a bit outside of the city, which wasn’t necessarily a great choice as it was the last day of the holiday, so on our way back we found out that all the buses were fully booked and not even able to get there. So we hopped on a random bus that was passing by instead, and that worked just fine. It always does.
The “Best view in the World” wasn’t that mindblowing either, but it was definitely a fun daytrip.