Santa Marta – El Rodadero Beach
RODADERO BEACH: Santa Marta is a little town on the North Atlantic Coast of Colombia. I took a flight from Medellin for about $28 on the local budget airline. Like a Spirit Airlines. Great deal. Beautiful City. However, I did not stay in the City. I stayed out on Rodadero beach. It is between the airport and the City. It gets a lot of tourists from Colombia. I did not see a ton of European or Americans. Lots of Colombians. My hotel was about 4 blocks from the beach.
They have a lot of fishing boats in the area. Good seafood. Mostly net fishing. There is also a boat tour out to some Islands for the day. There is a big hotel on the side of the mountain. The beach itself is your typical beach. Nothing super. The problem with most of these beaches is that dogs roam freely on the beach, which means one thing. You have to look where you walk. The usual assortment of people selling trinkets, drinks and massages. However, if you wanted to just chill and have a beer or two and read a good book it could be done.
The one thing which is common in most of these countries in S. American and the Dominican Republic for that matter is the fact that they do not ice down the fish. They walk around with the fish on a piece of board in the very hot sun. Sometimes the man would splash some water on the fish. I assume this is usually warm water. For this reason I would never purchase fish from these street vendors. I have seen the same thing in the DR with fish and lobsters. I would see young men selling lobsters on the highway by the beach. They would hold the lobsters on a string in the hot sun for hours. The lobsters would lose their color. I assume the meat have to be bad being in the sun for so many hours. As a fisherman myself, fish must be on ice for them not to get mushy and begin to spoil. I guess if you are accustomed to the meat being that way all your life its no big deal. I really do not purchase seafood from most of these local restaurants when I travel. I get sick too easily from the seafood. For example, I gave in and purchased that Snook and rice dinner above from a restaurant on the strip on Rodadero beach and I got as sick as a dog. It took about an hour after I was finished eating and was in the hotel and I began getting the worse stomach pains. I had to run to a pharmacy and get some medicine. It does looks so good and it tasted so good. I love Snook. I thought this restaurant looked acceptable and took a chance. Did not work out well. I will stick to not buying seafood when I travel.
One last thing. The police closes the beach at sunset. You are not allowed to be close to the water after dark. I am not sure of the reason, but I assume it is for security reasons.
SANTA MARTA: The City of Santa Marta is about 20 minutes by taxi from the hotel ($10,000 COP). $3.57 at $2,800 COP to $1. The City is actually pretty nice, especially by the bay. The middle of the City is busy as hell, as expected. It seems every small City in Colombia has a cathedral in the center. Santa Marta was no exception (see below).
A little walk out of the center of the City is the bay. Beautiful water. It also has an area to the right where all the fishing boats dock. To the left there is the marina and condos. There are a lot of bars and restaurants on the strip. Prices were not too bad. I had lunch in a nice restaurant in the middle of the City by a well known park. It was recommended by a friend from Santa Marta. Little pricey for Colombia, but the food was excellent. The main shopping area in the City has tons of small stores and an area on the main strip with thick traffic and a million different items for sale.