Playa Cristal

Fernando had told us that if we wanted to go to the best beach around here we had to go to Playa Cristal. You had to get a taxi to town about 15mins away called Taganga and then an hour by boat. We arrived, got our boat ticket and then sat down to wait for the boat to depart. Most backpackers stay at Taganga instead of Santa Marta but we were so lucky we didn’t. It’s a tiny little fishing village that has been overrun with tourists and the infrastructure hasn’t caught up. It’s dirty and smelly and not our up of tea. They soon piled 20 of us into a smallish wooden boat and off we went. Once we passed the bay things got a little rougher but the El Capitano was actually pretty good and we all arrived in one piece.
The beach was a lot busier than we expected but it is a long weekend here so can’t complain really. The water was crystal clear, hence the name of the beach and to our delight there was a little coral reef just off the shore that we could snorkel. 
We purchased our little cabana for the day and spent the rest of the day snorkeling and relaxing. There were hawkers selling everything from beer to fruit salads to fresh cerviche prepared in front of you to guys carry fresh fish around that you could pick and then they would go off and cook it for you. Needless to say our salami and cheese sandwiches didn’t sound so great. 
The boat trip back was a lot better and soon we were sitting down with Fernando sipping a gin and tonic and talking about all the problems in the world. We again ventured out to the square and discovered another little pedestrian side street lined with restaurants with great happy hours and there was a band as well. That band soon stopped but another just down the way had set up and soon were playing salsa tunes. It looked as if they shared the street and would alternate hours. Very clever.
We stumbled home, feeling a little sad that we have to leave Santa Marta tomorrow but happy that we have had the chance to experience the Colombian way. I am going to make a big call here and say Colombia is by far our favorite South American country. S

Our skipper above and his yellow boat below.

Taganga, the fishing port where we caught the boat.  Just struggling to keep up with the influx of tourists.

Ceviche on the beach.

Snorkelling just off the reef and the place was teaming with fish.

Us in our cabana.

The beach was a little busy but it certainly added to the entertainment.

Once again just wonderful water and beaches.

Taganga from the way back to Santa Marta.

Us, sipping rum and listening to music in an alleyway in Sanat Marta!

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