Colombia was a whirlwind of places to visit. The last stop on our northern tour was a little town called Santa Veronica. You will not find this town on tour lists. Our hostel manager in Santa Marta had not even heard of it! We choose Santa Veronica because of its proximity to Xielo Skydive and for being known for kite-surfing. This little town has so much to offer; it has great people and allowed us leave the tourist districts!
And getting there was part of the adventure. We booked a MarSol bus from Santa Marta to Cartagena and asked if we could get dropped off in Santa Veronica. There are no regular shuttles through Santa Veronica, so it was this or a city bus. Our hostel owner in Santa Veronica told us to look for the “Sombrero Restaurant.”
A few hours into the drive, the shuttle stops and the driver yells back that we are at the Sombrero Restaurant. Yay, we made it!
But we were on the side of the highway, several KMs away from the hostel with no obvious means of transportation. We wander over to the restaurant and I ask in Spanish if they could call us a taxi. The server looks at me and says “no taxis, you are in Colombia now.” Well the big cities had taxis, but we quickly realized we were no longer in the tourist area. We asked about Touk Touks, but apparently none travel to the highway.
Well… Looking at our bewilderment and huge backpacks; the guy walked out, whistled to a group on motorbikes and waved them over. I told them our destination and showed them on my phone. They told us to get on the bikes. I started to wondered about the wisdom of jumping on a motorcycle with strangers, on the side of the road. Down the highway I could see a police check point, so I figured we were relatively safe.
I was in a long flower print dress, carrying a huge backpack, hanging onto our driver with a hand suitcase balancing across the handle bars of the motorcycle. What a sight we must have been, as we sped down the road into Santa Veronica.
We made a hard right onto a bumpy dirt road. We flew uphill past fenced houses before stopping in front of the hostel. I didn’t have small change, so offered the equivalent of $10 CAD to both guys and they argued me into giving them less because I overpaid!
We stayed at Casa Agua Vela Hostel and were greeted by three huge friendly dogs and a beautiful sunset. I knew I was going to like this place already! Check in was more relaxed and the atmosphere perfect.
Our hostel owner let us know this town is safe and we would be fine to walk around at night. We tried out a fried chicken restaurant down the road for dinner and enjoyed ice cream from a road side shop. This town is small and had no real grocery store, although you can buy some goods from the small walk-up shops.
We had a few meals at the chicken restaurant and enjoyed another dinner at a new restaurant that belonged to a friend of the hostel owners. This was a lovely little bar built into the front yard of a fenced house. The neighbor made the food (which was delicious) and passed it over the fence. The atmosphere was relaxed, the food great and the drinks well made. A beautiful night enjoyed under the stars.
While in Santa Veronica we took a day trip to a VERY small town that used a dry riverbed as their primary method of transportation. A short hike off the highway found us walking through this quaint little town. As it was near Christmas, we saw the creative way that locals decorated for the occasion. We met local women who made purses to take to neighboring towns to sell and spent some time swinging from a rope swing that the people who live there use. Another highlight of the trip was this town.
Santa Veronica itself was a vacation spot for locals, so you will find lots of people at the beach during the day. We enjoyed an afternoon of sea kayaking in some seriously large waves.
We really liked this town for its atmosphere, ability to meet locals and the fact that it was not tourist driven. There were no people trying to sell you things! I think this town was one of my favourite spots and I’m so glad we happened upon it.