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Enroute to Santa Marta, Colombia Trip Journal

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Chris' (Previous) Daily Journal

January 15, 2010, day at sea
(enroute to Santa Marta, Colombia, 5:00PM)

The ship left Key West promptly at 6pm yesterday and we’re now headed for Colombia, where we will visit Santa Marta.

The famous Key West sunset was non-existent, due to the overcast skies. So, here’s the question: Why is Key West’s sunset considered to be such a fantastic view, when all of the sunsets in California are just that? And, in northern Florida on Amelia Island, for example, the island presents the most beautiful sunsets over the Amelia River. We’ve seen many fabulous sunsets all over the world, so obviously, someone from Key West (why back when) was a genius promoter!

Our route takes us along the coast of Cuba, then we’ll turn south and travel between Cuba and Haiti. The winds are very strong today and the Captain announced they are using the stabilizers, but he said we will still experience some pitching. Some of the swells are about 8 feet. The stabilizers are obviously working, as we haven’t experienced any problems with the ship movement. The temperature is great – 79 degrees at 1:30pm.

Although Colombia has a reputation as the world’s largest producer of cocaine (70% of the world's supply is from here) and much violence and civil unrest, it is only part of the story about the fourth-largest country in South America. Colombia also produces 60% of the world's emeralds. Colombia is quite unique as it has both a Pacific and an Atlantic coast. Adding to its landscape, are three mountain ranges spreading from the southern border with Ecuador to the north. The Amazon jungle is in the southern part of Colombia.

We are going to visit Santa Marta, which is the capital of the Magdalena province and is located on the Caribbean coast. Santa Marta is considered to be one of the most pleasant cities in Colombia. One of the best beaches in the country is here – the El Rodadero beach.

Fortunately, at this time, Colombia is not requiring visas for travel into the country.

We are going to immerse ourselves in the history and culture and the wide range of attractions in Santa Marta. We’ll be posting more after our visit.

On-board today, there are all kinds of activities to keep people busy – ranging from trivia contests, movies, cooking demonstrations, church services, fitness classes, shore excursions overviews, various speakers and on and on and on. No one could possibly be bored. There’s also a wonderful library – one of the largest I’ve seen on any ship. We have been able to find a lot of good information in the travel section of the library.

John spent the morning working on Key West photos for worldatlas.com and then began researching for more in-depth information about Colombia to add to that country page. The days go by very quickly for us.

I'm studying some key words in Spanish, so we can at least know what to order to eat! Thankfully, Spanish and Italian have some similar words, and although not fluent in Italian, we know enough of the language to "get by".

The ajico (soup with chicken, potatoes and vegetables) sounds like the best menu item to order for me. John may enjoy the bandeja paisa (ground beef, sausages, beans, rice and plantains). We both like the “eating adventure”.

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About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on June 16, 2020.