Block parties, cumbia, and clubbing in Barranquilla

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I am convinced that Barranquilla is the party capital of Colombia, at least among cities on the coast. It’s famous for its Carnaval (sure, the one in Rio is more well known, but Barranquilla’s is second and nearly as elaborate), but I think they know how to party year-round. It’s also the hometown of one of my best friends back in New York, so of course I had to check it out. Continue reading

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Following Bourdain to La Cevicheria

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I’m a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain and his show No Reservations, so when I arrived in Cartagena I knew I wanted to visit one of the places he ate on his Colombia episode, a little spot in the Ciudad Amurallada (walled city) called La Cevicheria.

The place is tucked away on Calle Stuart, and I think I walked past it twice while looking for it. In my defense, it was a little early in the morning for lunch and no one was seated at the outdoor tables yet. But eventually I realized the little restaurant was in fact my destination, so I took a chair at the little sidewalk dining area under one of the umbrellas. Continue reading

Sunburn and a mud volcano

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My first full day in Cartagena, I started off early having gone to bed around 8 PM the night before. After scoring a map at the Tourism Office near the Puerto de Reloj, I just started walking around until I saw the famous wall that surrounds the old city and just walked right on up. The views from on top were just incredible — the beautiful, colorful colonial architecture of the town on one side of the wall and a huge stretch of deserted beach and water on the other. I just wandered along the top of the wall for maybe an hour until I reached the end, but when I went down to street level I was in a very unfamiliar area. There were almost no tourists there and it definitely seemed seedier, so I just turned around and went back up along the wall. In retrospect I’m sure it was completely safe and I wish I had stayed and explored more, but this was my first day of traveling alone so I was understandably a bit nervous and didn’t want to stray too far from familiar territory! If I return to Cartagena (and I certainly hope to), I’ll be sure to go back and investigate the area more.
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The Great Colombian Journal Hunt

I always meant to pack a journal to write in on my first solo trip, but it never happened. It may have been that my last week in New York was just so hectic I didn’t get a chance to buy one, or the fact that I came down with some kind of mutant head cold just days before setting off. In any case, it wasn’t until I was on the plane that I realized I hadn’t brought anything to write in, but at that point I wasn’t really concerned. This was the first trip of its kind for me, so who knew if I would have the time or inclination to write about my adventures as they were happening? I figured I could always just buy something once I landed in Cartagena.

This proved to be easier said than done, but in retrospect it was a blessing in disguise. It led to one of the stories I’ve told people over and over about how amazing the people you meet on the road can be.

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Here goes.

Okay, first post. The pressure’s on now.

I’ve been wanting to start a travel blog for years. Even before I started tramping around on my own, I knew it was something I wanted to do. My mother traveled extensively through South America during and after her time in the Peace Corps, and I grew up hearing her stories and wanting to follow in her footsteps. Later, when I was in college, I discovered travel bloggers like Craig from travelvice.com and Adventurous Kate who made me realize that independent, solo travel was totally attainable and maybe not so crazy after all! I vowed that after I finished college I would take a year or more to backpack Latin America on my own.

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