Soocer in Colombia

(Warning…cool video below with a Hot Colombian Model…)

When we checked into our apartment, our property manager said we MUST go check out El Estadio. This “stadium” is actually more than a stadium. He described it as a complex that was built for some type of junior Olympic games that Medellin was trying to score for their city. Unfortunately because the “gangs were killing each other like crazy at the time,” Medellin was beat out by Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The guy kept going on and on about how cool this place was…”especially on Sunday.” I’ve learned when you go somewhere new, the nice people tell you everywhere to go and everything to do all at once…like I have a 100% perfect recall memory or something. So all I heard was blah, blah, blah…and that’s where the National Team play soccer at. Now that got my attention.

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View From Medellin Apartment

View from Medellin Apartment

This will be the view from the master bedroom every morning when I awake…for the next two weeks. I’m already getting used to pulling the window open, letting the breeze in and cracking a good book open for an hour or so of reading.

Obama in Centro!

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During our last night in Cartagena, we decided to head over to Centro for one last dinner.

We were headed to a place called Oh! La La. We sat down, looked at the menu and decided to jet…

It turned out to be a great decision because as we were walking a guy got our attention. This was normal because everyone wants you to eat at their restaurant. But when they speak English to me, they get my attention.

The guy: “Where are you from?”

Me: Oklahoma (if they know where OK is at, then I’ll talk to them, say you’re American and it’s like vultures attacking the wallet)

The guy: Ohhhhh, USA…well tonight you meet Obama and then he stuck out his hand. When I looked at him, I almost fell over laughing!

Check out the pictures….he said a few months ago some of our troops were in Centro and in Uniform and they all took pictures with him. Needless to say, he sold us on his restaurant which was great because we got 1 entree, 4 empanadas and 3 drinks for under $21…not bad…and the picture was priceless.

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Centro Cartagena, Colombia – The Main Attraction

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Centro, in my opinion, is the main reason to visit Cartagena. If you want beaches, there are several better options east over in the Islands. But of course, you only learn by doing. So even though our apartment in Boca Grande was steps from the beach, we fell in love with “Centro.”

Centro is only a $2-$3 cab ride from Boca Grande and well worth it. The city is called the walled city because it is surrounded by a wall. I’m not much of a sight-seer when I go places so I should probably know more about the wall. But what I do know is there are cannons lined along the wall so the wall was obviously for protection years ago.

Today, it makes for great pictures and a great walking space. It is very unique. I can’t say I’ve ever seen another walled city in my life.

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Weekend Trip To Taganga Colombia

Taganga View

During our visit to the Cartagena Mud Volcano, we met some Irish friends on the shuttle who told us that we had to go to Taganga, Colombia. So with a desire to ditch Cartagena for a weekend, we booked a shuttle and headed East.

The trip from Cartagena to Taganga is only 2-3 hours, but shuttles work quite differently here. They’re more like taxis. They go around and pick you up at your hotel, apartment, hostel, etc and drop you off in the city you’re going to at your exact hotel, apartment, hostel, etc. Plus they stop at bigger cities in between and do the same. Needless to say, a 3 hour trip can turn into 5-6 real easy.

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Nautilus Cabana in Taganga and Sleeping On a Cliff…

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During our weekend trip to Taganga, Colombia, we booked a diving trip with Nautilus Dive Center. Part of the package was a free stay in their Cabana. The sound of free got my ear so I think I missed the part about no running water, no electricity, no shower, no bed, no enclosed building…pretty much no nothing besides a hammock and an incredible view.

Even though I love traveling and beaches and new experiences, I typically like to end my day with a hot shower and a nice bed in a nice hotel with nice amenities. I’m no outdoors-man by no stretch. I think I camped once when I was younger. I don’t even know how to put a tent up…but again the hammocks and the free part sounded cool.

The thing is the boat drops you off there at noon, and comes back the next day around the same time to pick you up.

When you get there, there’s the feeling of excitement. The view is amazing. It is extremely remote. The weather is perfect. There’s no one to bother you with emails or phone calls. The beach is not crowded…

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Scuba Diving in Taganga Colombia

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We didn’t go to Taganga to dive but it turns out its one of the cheapest places to get your scuba diver’s certification…in the world!

We only planned on being in Taganga for two days. We just wanted to get out of the city for a few days and do nothing but relax on a beach that wasn’t crowded by tourist, locals and most of all…peddlers.

We got to our hotel, threw our bag in the room and headed to the beach. There we met an American from Arizona. She worked for a dive shop there called the Nautilus Dive Center. She asked us if we wanted to go diving. I’ve never been and have always thought it would be fun.

She took us in the shop and explained the package was for two dives around 20-40 feet. The package included everything we needed and a free stay in their cabana…which I wrote another post for that here.

Of course, everything sounded fun so I asked the important question…price. $65 dollars per person. I almost fell out of my chair. At that point it was a no-brainer. $65 for a diving experience and a place to stay for free.

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El Totumo – Mud Volcano Review – Cartagena, Colombia

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Mud Volcano

If you are booking a trip to Cartagena Colombia, the Mud Volcano Excursion must be on your to do list. This has been the most fun I’ve had in Cartagena.

First off, it’s not in Cartagena. It’s in Santa Catalina…about a 30 minute drive out of town. The road is a little bumpy but you get the chance to see some very beautiful, Colombian country side.

And like other touristy things you can do in Cartagena, the locals at the volcano are much more laid back when it comes to peddling items and trying to suck money/pesos out of you.

We booked through a hostel called Hostel Mamallena (fyi…if you’re a hostel traveler, this is a great one, I wish we would have came here on day 1. They have a lot of information about Cartagena in English and most of the staff speaks English).

The cost was 35,000 COP/ per person, about $17 US.

We showed up at the hostel at 8:25 and the shuttle was there at 8:39 am. The shuttle has to go around and pick others up before you head out. I think we were in the shuttle for an hour and a half to get out to the volcano.

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Shrimp Lunch In Cartagena Straight From The Source

Woke up this morning to the sight of fishermen outside of our apartment.

fishermen from apartment

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So we grabbed a camera and zipped down stairs to watch them. We saw they were selling their catches to the locals so Ana went over to inspect the goods and negotiate prices. We were cooking a stew today and thought shrimp would go perfect with that.

Ana negotiated a price of 20,000 COP a kilo or $10 USD for 2 pounds. We ran back upstairs and grabbed 10,000 pesos, a plastic bag and ice and came back down and purchased a little over a pound of just-caught shrimp for $5.

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Traveling To Chile

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I recently took a week long trip to Chile with two other friends.

We spent most of our time in Santiago, Chile and one day in Vina Del Mar.

Getting To Chile

Since Santiago is a major city in South America, getting to Chile is pretty easy…but takes a while. I flew through United Airlines and Copa Airlines. I booked my flight on Priceline.com for around $1,000 round trip from Oklahoma. I went through Houston, Panama and then to Santiago.

The flight to Panama was around 4 hours and the flight from Panama to Santiago is another 5-6 hours…like I said, it takes a while.

You can expect a full day of travel or an over night flight.

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