After three nights of being lulled to sleep by the rocking waves, I woke up to see our first bit of land – Colombia! To see Cartagena in the distance was exciting, albeit a bit saddening because it meant that our fabulous trip on board the Santana was coming to a close.
An hour and a half later, we docked in Cartagena. Immigration took forever – it wasn’t difficult by any means, just slow – but, at last, we said our goodbyes and were off to explore the famous Colombian town.
5FT Brief Review: Sailing from Panama to Colombia via the San Blas Islands on the Santana
- Safe, professional captain
- Comfortable beds
- Good food
- No early mornings or late nights
- Beautiful surroundings
- Snorkel gear and kayak on board
- Never felt rushed
- Changed departure point, which cost us an extra $67 USD
- Lack of privacy
- Small space
- You’re at the mercy of your group – if they’re up late, you’re up late
- Long wait once in Cartagena
Cartagena as a whole is an incredibly cute town that offers many shops and eateries both within the city walls and on the outskirts as well. It’s an interesting town, but both Philip and I felt like it was extremely overhyped; you really don’t need more than a day or two there.
If you want to go to Playa Blanca or Rosario (we didn’t), factor in a few more days. 5FT Tip: Do not stay at Makako Chill Hostel. Not only is it a complete dump and a ripoff, but I got a horrendous case of bed bugs there. When I showed them my bites so that they could be aware and get the room fumigated, they laughed and said that the cleaning lady was about to change the sheets. Uh, that’s not how you take care of bed bugs…