It was another early morning following a late evening before. Promptly at 7:30am we were met by our tour guide for the day, Olinto. Amanda booked this excursion for us and I frankly was so distracted by all the projects going on in Palm Springs that I really hadn’t done much homework so Ihad no idea what we were going to be doing. All I knew was that I needed a towel, swimsuit, sunglasses, and money. It sounded like a pretty good combination to me. I happily went along just like the good puppy I am.
The first pleasant surprise was that we were not part of a tour, we had Olinto all to ourselves…for the whole day. As we made our way out of town we stopped at a supermarket where we bought various liquids to sustain us for the day. We also visited an ATM (cajero automatico) to fortify our liquid assets. Then we’re off. Into what, I haven’t a clue. All I know is that we’re going to the island and village of Baru and that we’ll probably spend some time on a beach.
The ride out was pleasant. Olinto was fluent in English (another pleasant surprise) and we idly chatted to get to know each other better. Then the road ended. Well at least the pavement did. We continued anyway. At one point we were deposited onto a very narrow and rocky beach when the tide was in. However we continued through the surf for some distance after switching in four-wheel drive. Amanda squealed with delight. I sat quietly in the back contemplating the whiteness of my knuckles while I wondered if this particular section of the Caribbean was prone to rogue waves. (The return was much easier since the tide was lower. Here’s a little video to give you a sense of the experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMNOSWofzRE&feature=youtu.be )
We made it past that obstacle onto something that is called a “road” in these parts. It was rocky, bumpy, swampy, and rutted. It was clear that we were going someplace special since it was so difficult to reach. The color gradually returned to my knuckles.
We finally arrived at the Village of Baru and it was worth the effort. It is a sleepy, bucolic, backwater (literally) kind of place that has barely been touched by time other than the fact that Amanda was constantly amazed at the quality of the cellular service. We spent a couple hours there first having arepas (like an empanada) made from shrimp or octopus with eggs. They were hot and delicious. Very filling. We then sauntered around looking at the colorful houses, visiting local art schools, having candy made, and shopping for crafts from the locals. We did not encounter another tourist our entire time there. I absolutely LOVED it and I thank Olinto for his passion regarding this well preserved place. I only wish I was a better photographer.
After leaving Baru we’re back in the car but for just a few minutes to catch a boat to visit some beaches only accessible by water. The first one was a trip! It was small but festive. If there is such a thing as young hippies, this is where they go to the beach. We only spent ½ hour or so here then we’re back in the boat for the next beach. I liked this one a lot more. So calm and in a beautiful setting. Here we lazed away a couple hours and were served a lunch of grilled red snapper with rice and fried plantain at an actual table.
The ride back to Cartagena was a quiet one. We were all three tired and satisfied. I’m so happy that I got to visit Baru and the national park that surrounds it. I would highly recommend it if you’re ever in this part of the country. Olinto, and his Taroa Adventures is a great resource. You’ll even get a new friend out of the bargain.