Caribbean beaches trump super-powered mosquitoes and bad dancing

I have a number of things to update you all on, and I’m not entirely sure where to start.  I’m suffering from sensory overload here in Cartagena, and as giddy as I am day-to-day, it’s making it difficult to piece together a narrative of the city or its people.  I don’t presume to think that I will be an expert in coastal Colombian society in two months, but I work pretty hard to develop an understanding of the places I visit (at least one that goes deeper than “hostels are fun” or “eating too many fried plantains makes you fat”).

To start off, here are a few housekeeping notes:

1.  I’ve added a new page/tab to the Soulshine Traveler site.  From Where I’ve Wandered, you can see an alphabetic list of the countries to which I’ve traveled since last October and all of the respective blog posts.  Pretty self-explanatory.

2.  I was recently notified that I made an error in my last post, A Colombian Quinceañera.  Man-in-horse-costume was not actually the winner of Colombia Tiene Talento, as I mistakenly wrote.  He was just a participant.  I misinterpreted the explanation at the party, possibly because I was so enamored by his performance (I’m actually not being sarcastic).

As for life here in Cartagena, I am, as you can probably tell, a very happy girl.  I am still struggling with Spanish grammar, and I still can’t dance salsa.  I think I’m having difficulties with both for the same reasons.  Now that I have received some instruction, I’m over-thinking everything, from when to use subjunctive to how to move my hips.  My self-doubt turns into acute self-awareness, and I turn into robot gringa, speaking in awkward spurts of Spanish and dancing like The Tin Man.

In other (weird) news, the mosquitoes here are stealthy, potent, and invisible to the naked eye.  How is it that I am the only person in my household covered in red welts?  Is it the extranjera blood?  And why have I never seen a single one of them after hundreds of bites?  They drink our blood, spread diseases, and wear invisibility cloaks.  Awesome.

Now before you reprimand me, know that I am aware of the cruelty of posting the following pictures, especially for my dear friends shivering in the Northeast.  When you feel yourself being overtaken by jealousy and resentment, please keep in mind that I am suffering from bad-salsa-dancer-complex, mosquito bites, and the occasional afternoon when it’s so hot I have no choice but to go to the beach.  It’s not all papaya here, people.

A visual tour of my day trip to Cocoliso island resort:

One of many private islands among the Islas del Rosario

Arriving at Cocoliso after an hour-long ferry ride

A view from the pool bar. I'll have a piña colada, please.

The water was so clear, I could see delicate yellow and silver fish swimming around my feet. After about two minutes, my fascination morphed into a panicky fear of barracudas, piranhas, sharks, and broken glass... None of which is actually in the water.

Snoozing tourists. Sorry gentlemen, I had to do it.

A small piece of advice for those interested in visiting Cocoliso by boat from Cartagena:  The trip to the island is beautiful and calm, but the return ride is dangerously choppy and takes twice as long.  When the captain tells you on the load speaker to take motion-sickness pills a half hour before boarding the boat to return, listen to him.  I saw at least three people lose their lunch on the way back.  I think they’d eaten fish.


  1. That acute self-awareness you are talking about… You are SO right. It so often stops things from just… flowing, if that makes sense. The pictures are beautiful and, um, I have to admit I was one of those people who lost their lunch coming back from Cocoliso… One of the rare times we’re grateful not to be traveling with each other?

  2. Kay

    Wow, beautiful!
    Do you know who lives on that private island?

    I’m learning the Salsa Dance just by watching Victor Cruz do his touchdown dance.
    Watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, I’m sure he’ll be doing it a few times 🙂
    Auntie Kay

    • Thanks Kay! I have no clue who lives there. A lot of very wealthy Latin Americans (and people from other parts of the world) have homes, and sometimes islands, here in Cartagena.

      Cruuuuuuuz! By the way, did you know that the Giants won the Super Bowl? 🙂

  3. God, I love Caribbean beach. I am just back from Mexico one couple of weeks ago. But to be honest, I don’t want to be back. The sea is so blue and mysterious. Your photos are so nice, remind me everything about the sea!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: