Sunday, October 28, 2018

Kon-Tiki Explorer - Santa Marta, Columbia

A month and a half ago Amy and I embarked on another ambitious trip, cruising from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Papeete, Tahiti. The thirty-four-day cruise named the "Kon-Tiki Explorer" follows the route of Thor Heyerdahl's famous expedition to sail from the west coast of South America to Polynesia.

Boarding the MS Massdam in Fort Lauderdale conjured some serious déjà vu because the ship is so similar to the MS Volendam, the cruise liner that we traveled on just before we were married. We had just enough time to settle into our stateroom, grab a celebratory drink, and watch as the ship left port and into the open sea. The voyage was officially underway!

After two days at sea, our first port of call was Santa Marta, Columbia. Santa Marta is one of Columbia's primary shipping ports. In recent years it has emerged as a tourist destination because it is smaller and less crowded than neighboring Barranquilla and Cartagena.

We had limited time in Santa Marta, so we joined a tour to Tyrona National Park. The national park hosts one of the most beautiful coastlines in Columbia. In addition, it's part of the ancestral home of the Tairona people, which have inhabited this area for millennia.

After spending much of the day at the park we walked into Santa Marta. We headed down the boardwalk and watched the boats in the harbor.

Anticipating a flood of tourists from the ship, many local merchants had set up tables in Bolivar Square. We found Kogi artisans who are direct descendants of the Tairona people. The women of the tribes are known for weaving traditional bags made with beautiful tapestries.

Before we knew it, the day was over and we were back on the ship heading to our next port of call, the San Blas Islands of Panama!

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