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Carribean Coast of Colombia

Written by Raenelle on Thursday, September 25, 2008
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After our brief stay in Chalan, we headed towards the Carribean Sea and coastal Colombia to the small town of Tolu.  We soon found ourselves camping out with a local family on their large piece of land bordering the ocean on one side, and a large tannin-stained river on another side.

Helping handAs is often the case in small communities, the resident family consisted of extended family members, including the old grandfather, his three daughters, and their husbands and children.  All in all, there were 4 children that lived on the property (with other friends that stopped by at various times), aged 11, 10, 9, and 5.  The kids immediately took great interest in us, our truck, our rooftop tent, and our camping chairs!  We had constant company for the two days that we stayed with them, and I think it’s safe to say that a great time was had by all!

The first evening of camping resulted in a tropical storm (i.e. mild hurricane) blowing in from offshore!  It pelted us with rain and whipped the rooftop tent around in the wind for hours.  I thought we were going to blow away!  We finally called it quits, packed up the tent and slept in the mosquito-infested truck for the remainder of the night.  What an experience!

Our afternoons were spent swimming in the ocean with the kids, drinking (and eating) fresh coconuts and Tolu kids 3tropical fruit from the trees on the property, and generally just relaxing.  In the evenings, dinner was shared by all, always consisting of coconut rice, along with either fresh fish or chicken.  The kids showed us their school books and we talked about their subjects.  We also made animal-shaped shadows with our hands in the evening light.  On the second evening, Robin read one of Milayde’s books to her, and she corrected his Spanish pronunciation along the way.  Quite impressive seeing a 9-year old teaching an adult!

The kids leave for school early in the morning – they walk to the school down the road, and leave at around 6.45am.  School runs from 7.15am to 12.00pm in Tolu.  So, although it is an early start to the day, they are also finished early, thereby leaving the whole afternoon and evening available for swimming, playing and fun!

When we left the following morning, I was presented with a beautiful beaded necklace that is apparently typical of coastal Colombia in the Tolu area.  Our stay in Tolu is one that we will not soon forget.

Further Reading on South America 2008:
Comment by Omar
January 25, 2011 @ 9:09 pm

I am glad you had a good time in Tolu. I am from Barranquilla (next to Cartagena) and remember my childhood’s vacation with family at this location, people from Colombia’s north coast are friendly and always ready to give you a hand. I hope you can spend some longer time there next time. Cheers,


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