Road Trip around the south of Spain (Part 1)

Road Trip around the south of Spain (Part 1)

I had been static for far too long since my return from S E Asia so when my friend suggested a road trip around the south of Spain I didn’t hesitate – I was in!

I decided not to research too much into any of the destinations on the road trip because I wanted to discover what Spain had to offer along the way.  I wanted to discover each new place for myself – apart from what I already knew and I wasn’t disappointed.  There were countless ‘Wow!’ moments as we travelled for just short of three weeks, so read on and find out just what a road trip around the south of Spain has to offer and maybe go ahead and plan your own adventure.

If you are the sort of person that does like to plan in advance, you can get your guide books at this link

road trip around the south of Spain - Alicante

the prom in Alicante


I began with a few days in Alicante. I travelled down by train to join my family who were renting a typical apartment building in the old part of the town just a stone’s throw from the Cathedral for a week.  With the original patterned tiled floors and tiny balconies hanging over the narrow lane I was in my element.

road trip around the south of Spain - Alicante

View of Alicante from Santa Barbara castle

In Alicante I had been expecting a typical tourist hot-spot but in fact Alicante (click on it’s name for more info) is so much more.  It manages to combine chic with contemporary and traditional with cutting-edge. It has a beautiful promenade running behind a port, the marina and some long golden sandy beaches.

road trip around the south of Spain - Alicante

the castle high above the town

There is the impressive Santa Barbara castle high up on a bluff of rock above the town which is well worth exploring.  It is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Spain and has played a major part in the city’s historical events from when it was built by the Arabs to when it was used as a prison during the Spanish Civil War.  You can get up to the top via a lift so there’s no need to tire yourself out in the heat.  There are several museums in the town and, according to my sister, the shopping is quite spectacular. The streets in the old quarter tumble down the side of the hill where cute and pretty buildings have been haphazardly thrown together and everywhere is a riot of balconies, window boxes, flowers and colour.

road trip around the south of Spain - Alicante

pretty streets climb the hillside

Alicante, in fact the whole of the south of Spain, excels at tapas and this road trip unintentionally began as it went on – as one huge food fest.

There are bars and restaurants everywhere and because Alicante is blessed with a special sort of a micro-climate, much of the eating and drinking takes place outdoors. Tables and chairs are set up in just about every plaza and side street. One thing that always impresses me is how the Spanish take the art of service – waiters and waitresses, bar staff and barristas so seriously. In this country it is a respected career choice rather than a temporary fill-in job for students.

road trip around the south of Spain - Alicante

eating al fresco in one of the many plazas

The town hall is open to the public and is well worth a poke about (free entry).  Anybody is free to wander around some of the rooms upstairs which retain their old chandeliers, portraits, tapestries and floor tiles and get a glimpse of a time gone by. The building itself is imposing with its large gold statue of Dali in the entrance and positioned just behind the beach road. Just smile at the receptionist and you should be allowed upstairs for a look.

My friend  drove down and joined my family and I for a few day before we all went our separate ways and our road trip around the south of Spain began in earnest.

Alicante to Cartagena

Our vehicle of choice was a workhorse named Betty (the Berlingo), our accommodation of choice was a tent bought especially for the occasion and our route was flexible.  It also soon became clear once we were actually bowling down the road and away from Alicante that we had no road map.  This could be interesting!


Road trip Spain - Alicante

I still get excited when I see flamingos

We passed lagoons packed with pink flamingos and then we drove through a dusty, lunar like landscape.  Despite the heat and the desert-like terrain this huge region of Spain is where much of the fruit and veg for Europe is grown – under enormous plastic tents.  These plastic shrouds dominate the landscape and are often, seemingly, miles from civilisation.

It’s really quite ugly but obviously quite necessary for both the economy but also to feed, not just the inhabitants of Spain but much of Europe too.

road trip Spain

Spain is VAST


We rocked up at our first port of call – Cartagena.  I wanted to visit this city because I had loved Cartagena in Colombia so much but there could be no comparison – apart from they are both large ports and there is an awful lot to see here.

road trip Spain - Cartagena

The ampitheatre and the port in Cartagena

Cartagena is very much a working city with a port. There is a well-preserved Roman ampi-theatre which we didn’t actually go into but we could see most of it from above but Debs and I did visit the very interesting Bomb Shelter museum.  During the Spanish Civil War the civilians of Cartagena hid out in tunnels and caves which were carved into the huge rock that dominates the city and these tunnels have now been opened up as a museum.

The tunnels were excavated in 1937 and sheltered up to 5500 people during the repeated bombing raids by the Italian-German airforce which supported Franco.

Cartagena was the headquarters of the Republican fleet  who operated out of the port and this made it a target for the bombers. It was sobering to think of so many scared people crammed into the tunnels in the mountainside.

Road Trip Spain - Cartagena

Going up – the lift up to the castle

On top of the big rock in which the bomb shelters are carved is the Conception Castle which we also chose to visit and which was accessed via a rather modern lift in a tall metal tube which wobbled horribly when you walked over the metal walkway at the top.

The 13th century castle houses  an interpretation centre and various displays, and like the castle in Alicante it has spectacular views across the port.

road trip Spain - Cartagena

the intricate details of the balconies

I was especially delighted with the roads lined with the impressive merchant houses complete with intricate details and balconies.  In the late autumn sunshine, the streets were packed with people enjoying their Saturday tapas and drinks.  Much of the old town is surrounded by ancient walls and it turned out to be particularly difficult to get our bearings due to the geography of the city and the way that it jutted out into the water.

We hadn’t booked any accommodation for our trip, intending to stay on campsites or in hostels but Cartagena had none.  We tried to book a room at a small pension but rather suspected that it had been taken over as a residential home and nobody had bothered to take the sign down from outside.  A guy who had to be close to one hundred years of age was manning the reception desk.  He had absolutely no clue whether there was a room free for the night, the place smelt of over-boiled cabbage, there were armchairs arranged all around the reception room and an elderly lady exited the lift around the corner and hurled insults at the receptionist in a quavery voice.

road trip around the south of Spain

we bought the wrong sized tent, lol

Our road trip hadn’t got off to the best of starts but we did enjoy our brief visit here and we moved on in the late afternoon, trusting to fate that we would find somewhere to sleep that night.

Bolnuevo, Mazarron

We followed the coast road south as the sun was setting and we found a nice campsite that was right on a beautiful, long sandy beach. There was a bit of a stunned silence once we had pitched our tiny tent among the big mobile homes.  Our tiny tent had not been what we had expected at all – it turned out that it had been on the wrong shelf in the store! But we had no choice to make the best of things and embrace the challenge.

The Spanish family who were leaning on the low hedge were amazed that the two of us planned to sleep in such a tiny tent.  As were the Dutch couple on the other side and the Germans opposite.  We brazened it out – there would be no problem.

road trip Spain - Mazarron

The strange rock formations at Mazarron

The beach at Mazarron was backed with some strange mushroom shaped rock formations that reminded me of the desert in Jordan.  As it was late evening at the end of October it was mostly deserted but it was still warm.   We only planned to stop over here for one night so we put our new cooker to good use and ate sitting in the back of Betty the Berlingo while hordes of children dressed as ghosts and witches (it was Halloween) rampaged around the campsite.

Luckily it was dark when we finally attempted to get in and into our respective sleeping bags.  It certainly proved to be cosy – and somewhat of a challenge to get in and out of – especially with several glasses of wine on board.  We were very aware of how sound carries through canvas (or nylon) especially as we imagined the Spanish family, the Dutch couple and the Germans were waiting with bated breath to find out if we would actually fit.

We did fit eventually but it was something of a struggle accompanied by much smothered laughter as we finally settled down to our first night on our Spanish road trip.

Cabo de Gata National Park

After a decent night’s sleep and a lazy morning we continued south, driving through some of the wildest and most under-developed coastline in Spain.  We were in the Cabo de Gata National Park where developments are strictly controlled.  The arid desert-like landscape felt very alien and was made even more so by the lack of houses, people or in fact other cars passing through.  The road swooped across the desert and around cliffs, looping and switching back on itself as it fell towards the sea. This was a day mostly spent in the car with stops to picnic and to get into the travelling mindset.

San Jose

We found a large campsite a few miles outside the small beach town of San Jose where we pitched our petite tent.  We drove into San Jose and wandered around on the sunny evening.  This tiny little beach resort had an end of season feel as people grabbed the last of the sunshine.  Families stretched out their time on the beach and shops enticed people in.  Along the small prom some travellers and hippies sold bracelets and ornaments that they had made.

We sat outside a bar as darkness fell and enjoyed the sight of the Mediterranean Sea as it gently sploshed onto the sand.  A text popped up on Deb’s phone with another recommendation of a place that we could check out on our trip – so there and then we decided to veer from our sort-of planned route, and mapless we would drive in another direction.

The following day we would be breaking away from the coast and heading inland and upwards


Details of our road trip around the south of Spain – part 1

Part 1: Alicante – Cartagena – Bolnuevo, Mazarron – San Jose

Accommodation Details

Bolnuevo – Camping ‘Playa de Mazarron. This large lively site was deathly silence from 10.30pm.  Shower blocks were clean and there were many of them, there was wifi available and pitches were divided up with shrubs and trees.  Best of all was its position with beach access and close proximity to bars and restaurants on the beach.

Jan Jose – Los Escullos Camping. This was another large campsite but more remote from the bars and restaurants in the nearest town – however, for families staying there, there was a good activity programme and it offered water sports

You can go straight to the other articles in the series by clicking on the following links:

This is one of my favourite images from this section of our #roadtripSpain.  Feel free to click and to share it (or any of the others) onto Pinterest etc etc

road trip Spain


La Pura Vida; Cartagena the Caribbean Jewel

La Pura Vida; Cartagena the Caribbean Jewel


OK – let’s backtrack in my story.

After Emy, Lio and I finally ran out of time cavorting on the Caribbean coast of Colombia and I survived my attempted mugging unscathed, I returned to Cartagena.  Originally I intended to just stay a couple of nights as I had already spent almost a week there previously.

The old town, Cartagena

The old town, Cartagena

My hostel of choice (the Mamallena) was full so we found another in the same street.  This one had a totally different vibe to the Mamallena – it was small and charming and run by a lovely family.  I opted for the cheapest dorm without air con, but it comprised just one set (or should that be pile) of bunk beds and I ended up having it all to myself for the majority of my stay.

It seemed that the French were in town that week andwhilst it was very sad to finally say goodbye to Lio after some big adventures I was still surrounded by those wicked French accents and gallic humour.

Backstreets of Cartagena

Backstreets of Cartagena

So why did I linger so long in Cartagena?

For the same reason that I lingered in Medellin and Amaga, Cuenca and Santa Marianita.  The people that I met.  And in Cartagena I got my mojo back.

The place has a laid back Caribbean vibe and it was too hot to go charging about.  The food is a bit different, the rum flows freely and the architecture is stunning.  The buildings and the people and the lifestyle reminded me very much of Cuba – hot steamy nights and life lived to thumping beats of salsa and rum.

A local fiesta

A local fiesta

As I was working at my laptop in the tiny little common area of the hostel a traveller from Poland (Luna) arrived one morning following her five day sail boat from Panama.  I greeted her and as I told her that the hostel was like a little family home there was one of those moments when you just know that you will click with someone.  And in Cartagena we all just kept clicking.

A couple from South Africa were travelling and were one reason that I didn’t move on – Dirk was an inspiration as he worked away on his laptop and I would often emulate him and work on mine.  Many times I wanted to give up and get out in the sunshine but it is a lot easier to work in an ‘office’ environment with others – even if that office constitutes a bean bag or the local coffee shop.  Sune, Dirk’s wife also worked too – she was volunteering in the hostel and when she wasn’t cleaning or cooking she was sketching or writing a book.

There was Don Pedro and his wife Celis, Quitto who had hidden talents as a tailor and a frazzled Fin who was sick and was holed up in one of the rooms.  There were the guys from Mexico and  Argentina and as I have already mentioned, a steady stream of French men, some amazing local dancers and the dashing Danny.  I met up again with another incredible Dani – we had originally been friends in Medellin.  She and her partner were Argentinian and were heading steadily north, he playing his drums and she making and selling beautiful sandals and bracelets.  Another beautiful couple, full of strength, love and generosity I was so happy sat on the street just being with them, doing my best to chat as they plied their wares or jammed with other musicians on a street corner or in a square.

Artisan selling Argentinians

Artisan selling Argentinians

Myself, Luna and Canela from the States hit it off and we formed our little gang of three in which we inspired, encouraged and supported each other.  We perched high up on the ancient city walls overlooking the sea and chatted long into the night as the warm breeze swept off the sea or we sat in a line on the doorstep of the hostel, emulating the prostitutes who sat on the doorsteps all along the road opposite.  We went into the clubs and pubs and danced until four am, taking lessons in reggaeton from local women – grinding and swirling sandwiched between them and then champeta lessons from the men.  We felt the rhythm of life swaying and moving with Danny on the roof terrace and another night we went along to Don Pedro’s birthday party where we salsa’d and shook our stuff in his home with his neighbours and family.

Afro Colombian fruit seller

Afro Colombian fruit seller

We shared our dreams and worries and told each other that we were beautiful.  None of us wanted our time here to end and we would have deep and meaningful conversations or just sit in contented silence happy to just be.  We jumped on the local bus and went to a local beach where we were the only non- Colombians around.  We sat in Plaza de la Trinidad at two in the morning drinking rum and coke out of the plastic cups so thoughtfully supplied at the corner shop and one day we sat fully clothed in a rainstorm on the roof terrace for an hour not wanting to interrupt our conversation.

Putting the world to rights on the historic city walls

Putting the world to rights on the historic city walls

One night we had a cocktail party at the hostel and Dirk spent a couple of hours making coconut milk for the pina coladas from real coconuts which proved to be a lot harder than the recipes on the internet stated and another night we pulled mattresses onto the roof terrace and opened every door and window when the power cut out and the fans and aircon went off whislt the thermometer climbed above thirty four degrees.

Sweltering Cartagena

Sweltering Cartagena

Thanks to these incredible people that I met in Cartagena I FINALLY began to believe in myself.  After ten months on the road I knew that I had been right to give up my apartment and my posessions, my job and my car.  I was comfortable living in hostels and sharing dorms and food with strangers.  I was no longer afraid of the dark or crowds or twisty mountain roads.  I would get up and dance in a restaurant when invited and I could find my way back to my hostel all by myself at four in the morning through streets lined with prostitutes and sleeping drug addicts.  I could handle a conversation with a stranger or a bus driver in Spanish, I was more than happy visiting a museum or a restaurant alone and I was finally managing to live with events from my past life that I was unable to change.

Drowsy Cartagena in the midday sun

Drowsy Cartagena at siesta time

Cartagena the second time around was like living in a surreal bubble.  Friendships and conversations had an intensity and an urgency yet life was slow in the heat and humidity.  None of us felt any desire to move onwards and out of Cartagena but we knew that our visas wouldn’t last for ever.  We vowed to keep in touch and to be there for each other.


Feel life.  Understand life through feelings, through touching, biting, smelling, seeing.  Freedom and energy, limitless joy.  Through dance and the heartbeat.  The rhythm of life

Our teacher – he understands life through feelings , through touching, biting, smelling, seeing. He explains the world, the life through the original basic instinct to live…. to survive, to go forward and yet dance.

He cannot be the teacher of words.  But he was definitely our teacher of life, of dance, of liberty and acceptance:- Luna







No snappers in Cartagena?

No snappers in Cartagena?

I finally dragged myself away from Medellin and I hit the night bus for Cartagena.  After yet another twelve hour journey through twisty turny mountain roads I was deposited on the outskirts of Cartagena.  Stepping from the ice cold bus I immediately broke out into a sweat due to the intense searing heat and the humidity and I was to remain a hot, damp sweaty mess for the following five weeks.  I was so damp  that the metal clips on my bra got rusty!

Old town, Cartagena

If you remember the film Romancing the Stone you will know that it is about a writer called Joan Wilder who ends up having all sorts of adventures in Cartagena with Michael Douglas.  It became a bit of a family joke that I (Jane Wilder) may eventually end up in the dangerous Colombian countryside so I was keen to check out the area.

Parque Trinidad buzzes at night

I was intially disappointed to discover that no filming was acutally done in Colombia and that no snappers (alligators) are roaming around in catacombs under the old city walls.

gathering on the walls to watch the sunset

However,  Cartagena did not disappoint.  I had the best of times here and as is becoming a bit of a pattern, I ended up spending a lot more time around here than I originally intended.

To begin with I checked into the Mamallena hostel on Calle Media Luna.  This street is a hive of activity and in my mind is THE best place to be located if you stay in Cartagena.  These little streets throb.  Yes, they are noisy and dirty and very overwhelming but it is nitty gritty life acted out in front of you everywhere you look.  Just along the road by the park the prostitutes sit and watch the world go by, the beggars roam around in their rags searching through the rubbish and you will probably be offered all sorts of drugs, but don’t let any of this put you off.  Everybody is very friendly and just getting on with their own lives in their own way.

Media Luna Street

There is the famous Club Havana salsa club on the corner of the street although the night that I got in there it was standing room only and no dancing was physically possible.  There are countless bars, restaurants and clubs here and the walled city is just a couple of blocks away, so as I said, it is the perfect location

just hanging around

After spending almost a week here during which I visited the castle and I spent a night in a hammock on the idylic beach at Playa Blanca, a face from the past (a Frenchman that I had previously met in Medellin) turned up at my hostel.  After a brief chat and discovering that we were both heading up to Santa Marta a few days later,  me and Lio decided to team up and travel together.

the idyllic Playa Blanca beach

My time on the Carribean coast all began quite normally but it soon escalated into a time of craziness which spun me way outside of my comfort zone and ended up with me having half of my hair cut off!

You can read about that crazy time in a future post but I did survive and after nearly two weeks on the coast in which I was the victim of a failed robbery,  I got invited to an ayahuasca ceremony and I almost got arrested on a beach I ended up back in Cartagena again.

I only intended to stay for four days this time because I had seen most of the city, but as usual I ‘got stuck’.  I don’t know what it is about Colombia but I keep sticking.

Oh, I do know what it is about Colombia.  It is the people that I have been meeting – Colombians and travellers alike – who have been marching into my life and forcing me to re-evaluate myself – and dare I say this – to actually begin to like myself!

these guys were wild in the old town



Mamallena Shuttle Bus & Playa Blanca, Cartagena

Mamallena Shuttle Bus & Playa Blanca, Cartagena

Chips of coral looking for all the world like bleached bones litter the creamy white sand. Powdery as chalk dust, the beach stretches along into the horizon flanked on the one side with the translucent sea green Caribbean sea, the other lost in a muddle of straw topped cabanas and hammocks.

Playa Blanca

my bed for the night

The launches that were packed with day trippers finally left the beach at three in the afternoon leaving Playa Blanca and the Isla Barύ to those who were staying overnight. I had arrived in Cartagena two days previously and I had decided to treat myself to a bit of R & R as a treat for all of my hard work leading up to the re-launch of my website.

Playa Blanca

Playa Blanca after the day trippers have left

Now, I am sat with pen and paper at a small table in the dark looking out to sea at one of the time little ‘hostels’ that line the beach. The warm ocean gently laps around my toes á la Shirley Valentine and the sky is lit up with a thousand stars. Reggae music drifts along the beach and candles stuck into plastic bottles cast a soft orange glow across the small groups of people who are sat chatting quietly over their evening meals of extremely freshly caught fish.

Playa Blanca

early morning at Playa Blanca

I don’t like boats and I hate small boats with a vengeance so when I found out that my hostel in Cartagena, the Mamallena was offering a shuttle bus transfer to this idyllic beach I jumped at the chance to give it a go.

Instead of a small boat across the open water which apparently can become quite choppy in the afternoons I was picked up outside my hostel in an air-conditioned minibus and myself and the eleven other passengers were whizzed along the smooth road which connects Playa Blanca to Cartagena in less than an hour.

The bus costs 35,000 Pesos (50,000 return) and unlike the boat it goes directly to the beach and it also means that you don’t have to pay the additional landing tax. The return element is valid for more than the one day too which is a good deal compared to the boats. The boats land on the beach, the shuttle bus stops at the back of the beach. You just need to walk down a short flight of rocky sandy steps and you are there, although I would suggest, just like Stuart at the Mamallena suggested, that you immediately turn to your right and walk ten minutes to the softer sand, rock free sea and less beach touts.

Playa Blanca

the perfect beach

As you walk along the beach it gets quieter but to be honest nowhere is really noisy or busy apart from the very first bit immediately in front of the little stallholders. Food and drink is a bit pricier as the fish is fresh and landed that day or other food has to be transported in, but it was not as hefty as I had expected. And my piece of fish was beautifully cooked over an open wood fire at the back of the hostel.

After two days and a night swaying sleepily in one of the hammocks for just 10,000 pesos (£3) I really didn’t want to leave Playa Blanca but I dragged myself away from the beach and took the shuttle bus back to the Mamallena hostel.

On my return I had been allocated to another dorm which was lighter and more spacious than my first room but noisier in the night. I sleep badly anyway so it didn’t matter to me. The hostel does all that it can to minimise noise within the building and it is very quiet inside the courtyard at night.  It is not a party hostel but it is situated in party street but it is so very friendly.  I met several people who relocated to it from other, less friendly hostels in Cartagena.

Mamallena hostel

the shady courtyard at Mamallena hostel

The rooms are clustered around a long narrow central courtyard shaded by trees and have colourful artwork on the walls but best of all, the dorms and the private rooms have air con. Believe me, you will need it here at night. The hostel has a resident dog and a couple of cats and while in the heat they mostly lazed around, the star of the show has to be the parrot Tori. A green parrot just one year old she entertains all the guests with her antics and her singing and her non stop chatter, while she demands attention and hops around in the trees in the courtyard.

Stuart from Tasmania owns the hostel and with a nice bar, decent food, a pancake breakfast included and the mellow atmosphere the Mamallena is a great place from which to explore Cartagena. Situated just a couple of blocks from the walled city in the Getsamane district, the streets outside offer nightlife and day life in the form of clubs, bars, restaurants and people watching.

Mamallena shuttle bus and Playa Blanca

Cartagena swelters in the heat

Medellin had been hot and sunny but Cartagena takes things a steamy stage further. I can honestly say that the only other place that I have been which is just as hot and humid so far has been India during the monsoon season and the sea at Playa Blanca has been the warmest sea that I have ever been in – and also one of the clearest.

So, what about Cartagena?

Well, Romancing the Stone was not filmed here. I haven’t seen any crocodiles but the old walled city is stunning. It oozes colonial architecture with its balconies and courtyards, flowers tumble from terraces and there is colour everywhere. The old walls guard the city and are incredibly well preserved and dotted with tiny cafes, restaurants and gift shops. Did I say that it is hot? I picked up a ‘free for tips’ city tour (more about that in another post) and I went into the ice cold interior of one of the emerald shops. I had no intention of buying but the jewellery was stunning and made of stones sourced in Colombia and I listened attentively while the assistant brought out many more plates of expensive jewels until my core temperature had dropped to a more manageable level. I popped in and out of the cathedral and some of the churches and I thought about going into the Naval Museum and the Inquisition Museum, but I will save them for another visit.

Mamallena shuttle bus and Playa Blanca

within the city walls

I escaped from the heat and I lunched in a really cute little restaurant called El Balcon which was situated in the old town and one evening I joined the crowds and I went up onto the walls looking out to sea for the sunset, rubbing shoulders with people who were paying 10 mil for a bottle of beer while I paid a little man with a cool box just 2 mil for a can of beer.  We watched the same sunset but my experience was 8 mil cheaper.

Mamallena shuttle bus and Playa Blanca

its too hot to cut hair indoors

I ate out with Mor (from Israel) and Tina (from the Philipines) at a little Mexican restaurant around the corner from our hostel and I joined hordes of other travellers, backpackers and locals one evening in Parque Trinidad.  This square is jam packed at night with the travellers who are not searching out the loud clubs but want to sit and chill, drum or strum guitars gently and juggle.  Served well by the men with their cool boxes, the men with their flasks of extremely decent coffee for about 18p and snack sellers this is the place to be, although I did spend a sweaty evening watching a great salsa band in Club Havana

Mamallena shuttle bus and Playa Blanca

lost in the tunnels underneath the castle

I joined forces with Carlos another guest at the hostel (and who owns his own hostel in Brazil) and we walked up to the fort which is just a fifteen minute walk from the Mamallena.  I didn’t know that Cartagena had a castle let alone such a big one. It was a bit pricey to get in (17,000 pesos/£5.30) but for an extra 10,000 pesos we shared one of the little audio tour handset things and joined together by the umbilical cord of the headphones we wandered around. We were in there for over two hours, climbing staircases, peering over walls and getting just a little bit lost in the underground tunnel system.

Mamallena shuttle bus and Playa Blanca

street coffee, Cartagena style

As a sideline to the Mamallena hostel Stuart has Mamallena Tours and Travel through which you can book trips to the mud volcanos, buses to Santa Marta or Tayrona, boats to Panama and you can also book a trek to the Lost City. I am still weighing up the pros and cons of doing that four or five day trek so watch this site to find out if I eventually went for it, but also check out the link to see what else is on offer from this company.

And then one evening, Lio visited out hostel with some mates.  We had already met whilst staying at a hostel in Medellin and we decided that as we both planned to go on to Santa Marta next we would meet up and travel together a couple of days l

Note:- Whilst I received a complimentary Shuttle Bus transfer to Playa Blanca from the Mamallena Hostel this did not influence my opinion or review in any way.  I have portrayed an honest picture of my stay

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