Medellin (photos) is now very near the top of our list of places that we would want to return to, possibly for an extended stay. It is a beautiful and enjoyable city. Is that surprising? Before starting this trip, most people were a little surprised when we told them that we would be visiting Colombia. The notion that Colombia is a dangerous place still lingers. And, to be sure, there are remote areas that are not recommended for travelers. However, this does not extend to most of the country and certainly not to Medellin. Pablo Escobar was the man responsible for the violence that made Medellin a dangerous city in the 1980’s. But he died in 1993 and today Medellin is one of the safest cities in South America.
Our guide-book says this about Santa Marta (photos): “The city’s glory days are long past, faded away under newer concrete buildings and a somewhat seedy reputation. That said, Santa Marta is not without its charms.” This town of 400,000 sits on the Caribbean coast near the border with Venezuela. It attracts Colombian families looking for a weekend beach escape. They come to Santa Marta and to El Rodadero just to the west. Santa Marta sits on a part of the coastline that juts out to the north giving it a west-facing beach.