Enough of the Colombian Coastal Heat, I’m heading to the mountains…

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View of Taganga and spectacular coastal running

I have spent the last 3 months in the tropics at sea level, and I’m ready for some chillier weather.  It’s time to trade in the snorkel gear and speargun for an ixe axe and running shoes.  Tomorrow, I’ll hop on a motorcycle taxi to the bus station, and catch the next available bus to the interior, not sure where exactly.

I’ve spent this last week in Santa Marta, a scenic area of the Caribbean coast of Colombia, exploring smaller fishing villages such as Taganga, and a small hilltown by the name of Minca, which is known for its biodiversity and cascading rivers.  Taganga, once a sleepy and remote town, has truly been gringofied.  With lots of dreadlocks, drugs, and jewelry vendors now dominating the beachfront, it’s about as Colombian as Wildwood, New Jersey.

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Tourists and Rustafarians have taken over Taganga

Minca, on the other hand, was quaint, less touristy, and beautiful.  I went to this town with the hopes of scouting out a potential climb of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the highest peaks of Colombia.  At 5775 meters Pico and just 42 km from the sea, Cristobal Colon is the highest coastal mountain in the world, and the 5th most prominent.  I first learned about these mountains when one of my former Geography students at Oregon St. gave a presentation on the geobiography of Colombia.  I’ve been wanting to come here and explore this range ever since.

santamartaThe Highest peaks of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Pico Cristobal Colon, 5775 m (not my photo, wish I had this view!)

Opting out of a 15 dollar cab, I set out on foot for the remote Tairona town of San Lorenzo, a steamy 1500 meter ascent up a dirt road.  Sadly, as I started to make progress, the clouds set in, and there would be no views  of my future climb.  With weather.com forecast of thunderstorms for the next 10 days, I will save these peaks for another day, a great excuse to return to this beautiful landscape.

As the clouds rolled in, these would be the only views of the Sierra Nevada

As the clouds rolled in, these would be the only views of the Sierra Nevada

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