My last stop in Colombia was the capital city of Bogotá. It marked the end of 5,5 months of travelling in Latin America. I treated myself on a stay in a hotel instead of a hostel. The hotel was located near the historic center of La Candelaria. I took the opportunity of doing another South American graffiti tour and visited the Botero museum. From Cerro de Monserrate I had a view on the 1700-sq-km city, that still lies 2600m above sea level. In the evenings I preferred to have some last conversations in Spanish with Jesus, who worked the night-shifts in the hotel.
I had an amazing time in Central and South America where I got my passport stamped in eight different countries. I visited a lot of beautiful and spectacular places on the continent and I met many interesting backpackers from all around the world. I didn't get robbed or kidnapped but I was tired of being cautious all the time. I felt ready to go home and see my family and friends in the Netherlands.
I am grateful I was able to experience these months of backpacking and I will never forget them.
The end of the backpacking in Latin America was near and I was in need for some last beachetime before going home. I went back to Cartagena to take a flight to the Colombian Caribbean island of San Andres, just a few hundred kilometers from Nicaraguan mainland.
I stayed on the rocky west coast of the island for a week. I rented a bike to go around the island and to see the stormy white sand beaches on the east coast as well.
Finally I took the time to obtain my PADI Advanced Open Water certificate in scuba diving. This had been on my bucket list for a few years. On other occasions when I could do the PADI course I choose to do fun dives. But now it was time to tick the box. I had to do five special dives and I choose to do a wreck dive, a night dive and a photography dive next to the compulsory deep dive and the navigation dive. Especially the night dive was amazing with all the bioluminiscence brightening the sea in the dark.
I took a flight from San José (Costa Rica) to Cartagena in Colombia. The city is founded in 1533 and used to be the main Spanish port in the Caribbean. Cartagena's walled old town has beautiful squares and it didn't get boring to wander the cobbled streets.
I stayed in Getsemani, the outer walled town, with its vibrant streetlife and international restaurants. In the evenings I enjoyed my beers on the Plaza Trinidad among the locals. One of these nights I caught up with the Scottish couple I knew from Punta del Diablo (Uruguay) four months earlier.