So the tour has now finished and it’s back to travelling alone. I quite enjoyed the overlanding concept. You certainly get to see more of a country than a tour that uses flights or night buses. Perhaps it maybe could have been improved by visiting Medellin or Bogota. I’m not sure why they were by-passed. I don’t think it was for safety reasons as most other Colombian tours visit one or both of these cities. Maybe it was for logistical or cost reasons. Both the guide and driver were great. I was slightly skeptical when I found out that neither had ever been to Colombia before. It would have perhaps been nice to have at least one Colombian to show us around from a different perspective but I thought Emma and Masumi did a great job. Everything was well organised and we managed to negotiate what could potentially be a difficult country without any issues. Having been on three organised tours in the past with some great companions, it was inevitable that there would eventually be a so-so group. Most people were fine and nothing drastic happened. However there was the occasional display of drama, narcissism and cliques. I’ll leave it at that as my mother once told me, if you’ve got nothing nice to say then don’t say anything!

Just outside of the Cartagena’s old town, atop a hill, is a castle. During the colonial days, gold was stored here to avoid it being robbed prior to being shipped to Spain. From the castle walls, a nice view of the city was provided. The contrast is evident between the colonial section and the modern strip of high-rise beachfront apartments that resembles somewhere like Benidorm. What was also apparent was there’s a distinctive rich-poor gap in this society. Colombia’s recent economic growth has created an expanding middle-class but significant numbers have been left behind financially. In between plush shopping malls and lavish homes are run-down areas and more modest housing.

There were still a few people left from the tour to go out for a meal with tonight. It was the last night for Bristol Tim, and Dan and his wife from Australia who were a really nice couple despite me not remembering her name. Apologies if they ever stumble upon this blog!

Colonial backstreets
Cartagena Castle
City view from the castle