The feeling of finally setting foot in Colombia was the same as when we crossed over into Mexico, new and full of unknowns. The energy on the streets was contagious as color and music filled the air of Cartagena. The pulsing vibrant life here was quiet a change from the tiny port in Panama where we had just spent the previous week.
The first day on land was a little wheezy, as it still felt like we were on the ocean. As soon as we found a hostel we both crashed hard for the rest of the day. With the bikes stuck on the boat till monday, we had the weekend to explore the city. I typically hate cities and do everything possible to avoid them but something about Cartagena felt good. While walking the streets during the days searching for bike parts we found all kinds of alleys and tiny doors to explore. When night came life poured into the massive public squares with food vendors, dancers, performers and tons of people. We spent the nights consuming as much amazing street food as our bodies could handle and watching
On monday morning we headed to the port to unload the bikes from the sail boat. After our captain didn't show up where she told us to meet her we hired a launcha to head into the harbor looking for the sailboat. When we finally found her, she told us we had to go to aduana in the city first to get approval to take them ashore. More great news too late, thanks. We both bit our tongues knowing that she still had us by the balls until our bikes were safely ashore. We tracked down the Aduana office only for them to ask us how they could possibly import our bikes without seeing them. Exactly what we thought. Back to the harbor, we told the captain we were cleared to unload the bikes. We were not around when the bikes got loaded so we were pretty curious as to how we were going to get them off. With the help of the deck hand, who ruled, unlike the captain, we shimmied the bikes from the back of the boat up to the main mast. The launcha was pulled up aside the sailboat and we used the sail rigging to lift the bikes off deck and precariously lower them into the launcha. Jordan and I were both sweating bullets but everything went smooth. One at a time we shuttled the bikes ashore.
Being free of the sailboat was a glorious feeling, that experience was a trip. The bikes reluctantly fired up and it was back to the aduana office to actually get them cleared. The Colombian Aduana was incredibly friendly and soon enough we were off to the nearest car wash to rinse off a week’s worth of sea salt that was dissolving everything it could. The only thing left to do was find insurance. That was an incredible scavenger hunt. You can find insurance all over the place, but no one wants to sell you a policy that is less than 6 months. We knew that there were agents that would do it for 3 months from reading about other's trips and that savings was significant enough to send us on a wild goose chase. It seemed like everyone we talked to was sending us back and forth from one side of the city to the other. We were sweating our butts off in the heat running back and forth and Jordan looked like he had jumped in a pool at one point. Finally we caught and insanely lucky break while asking a random women directions to a building we were told we could find insurance in. Turns out she was an insurance agent and had us go to her office where it was all hooked up super quick.
In the morning after one last night of decadent street food we loaded up and headed north east towards Tayrona National park were we would spend a couple days on a friend of a friend's farm.