Swimming in the Caribbean Sea yesterday was an incredible experience! A slight tan makes it easier to blend with the locals…. The warm clear water was refreshing and healing. Wanted to stay longer on the small, beautiful island of Gente de Mar (seafarers en Español), one of 30 islands that are part of Archipelago De Las Islas Del Rosario. The island beaches are more relaxing than the crowded ones in Cartagena.
The ecosystem of the Rosario Islands includes natural beach landscapes with crystal clear waters and coral formations. The coral reefs host a variety of sea fauna and flora, with abundant fish, corals, and plants. Of course the colorful reefs are popular with snorkelers and divers. I did a bit of snorkeling but spent most of the day swimming and kayaking around the quiet island.
Our boat rides to and from Cartagena took about an hour each way. We were traveling into the wind on the way back, so the fast boat was out of the water much of the trip – fun but a little wet. The group included about 20 people – mostly Colombians. I had fun talking to a lively German woman from Hanover in Saxony. She was visiting her daughter who lives in Bogota and was knowledgeable about the archipelago. There are a few local people living on Gente de Mar and working at the small unpretentious resort. I bought a beautiful handmade necklace made with local black coral by a Gente de Mar resident.
Our guides served a delicious traditional lunch while we enjoyed a gentle breeze and sea views. Traditional cuisine of the islands includes fresh fish with coconut rice, plantains, and salad. Everything served had delicate, lovely flavors.
The islands have an oceanarium where you can view sharks, sea turtles, cod, and dolphins in their natural environment. Our tour was quiet and more focused on areas where there weren’t many people. Gente de Mar has interesting sculptures and art work – some with a humorous twist. A Polish sculptor created statues of buxom women which appear along the beaches.
The Islands have a special government protection regulation as a natural park. Both public and private islands pay rent to the government. The Natural Park Corales Islas del Rosario has an area of about 5,000 sq. miles of water and ocean floor.
Feeling sad that my visit to Cartagena is coming to an end – tomorrow it’s on to Bogota. I’ll miss this special place. It took a week to learn my way around and become friends with some of the locals who live in Getsemani near the B&B where I’m staying. It’s definitely a place to visit again!