My friend Lyda and I decided as a good way to say goodbye to each other would be to travel to Santa Marta and Minca. We only had a few days, so we made the best of it.
Santa Marta has really beautiful surrounding areas, which makes the town itself not seem that appealing. Our first night we met Joey, an awesome dude from California who is just ending a ten month trip. We instantly became friends and travel buddies for the extended weekend.
We spent a day at a beach called Bahía Concha, which was an amazing quiet bay with cooler water. We spent the day hanging out, eating mysterious plates of fish, and talking about cool travel stories. I was unfortunate enough to leave the beach with a massive sunburn, but on the bright side it was the cheapest souvenir available.
The next day we hired Rafa, a guy from Ibagué to take us to Minca, a smaller town more inland. Rafa, who dressed straight out of a Miami Vice, was really knowledgable of the area and was a great help. We arrived to our eco-hostel in good time and wasted no time getting ready to hike to Pozo Azul.
Lyda, Joey and I hiked from our hostel to a spot called Pozo Azul, which had a waterfall and natural pools to swim in. The hike was easy, but took us some time. We had heard the place had hot springs. When we got there, we saw kids and adults shivering while getting out. We quickly realised that the hot springs were a lie.
I was stoked to sport my newly earned sunburn in front of everyone, even more excited to feel cold water on it. Joey and I decided to go in, and Lyda said “nope” and stayed out.
It was as cold as we thought at first, but we got over it and it became refreshing. Although the river is quite popular, it wasn’t even close to being crowded. It was relaxing, but we knew the rain was coming in.
We wanted to go to a coffee finca nearby, but we were going to run out of time. Luckily there were some mototaxis. We agreed on the price after a few minutes and then they got ready. Lyda went with the older rider, the only one who had an extra helmet, and Joey hopped on the back of his mototaxi. I looked over and saw some kid just sitting there on a motorbike. At first I thought the kid was just hanging out and that he was going to start the bike or something while my driver showed up.
Nope. He was my driver.
Yes, a 15 year old kid in shorts and crocs was going to take me up the muddy trail on balding treads. Joey’s rider was a bit older and at first glance seemed more mature. I was wrong. My initial thought on my rider was, “he’s new, he will probably ride slow, especially since it’s starting to rain and I’m on the back.”
I put myself in his shoes for a second (not literally because I hate crocs). If I were fifteen years old and taking some lobster-coloured tourist up a mountain, would I ride slow and impress him with how responsible I am? No. I would try to scare him and try to impress my friend.
And that’s exactly what he did.
I am no stranger to speed, but this was a new experience. My rider and Joey’s rider were racing up the muddy road as fast as they could. I kept my cool, but I had zero faith in this kid. Joey and his rider were up ahead of us. They flew around the corners, nearly colliding with a truck coming down. My rider and I slid out on the mud multiple times but we caught our balance as the rain really started to come down.
I couldn’t tell if I was impressed with the kid’s confidence in taking a non-dirt bike with bald treads up a muddy road or the shocked by the kid’s stupidity in taking a non-dirt bike with bald treads up a muddy road.
Magically, we got to the finca unscathed.
Joey’s only words to me were “Yup, terrifying.”
The free coffee at the finca was good, and we even got to try some of the beers from a nearby microbrewery. It had been a long time since I had tasted a proper IPA. Returning back to the hostel was a much smoother ride. Although the forty minute ride through the rain and mud was a bit too risky, it was worth the adventure.
This trip was the last time I was going to be with my best friend Lyda in Colombia for a while, so this short blog post is dedicated to her. Thank you for making these last 8 months amazing. Good look with your future endevours, dude.