author: Jenny Jakobeit / translation: Chris Cooke, New Zealand
After a little indecision, we left Taganga. The 4th Minibus took us. (to much stuff for the first busses). I squeeze myself into the window seat, my legs laying on 3 piles of baggage. Next to me sits an amazingly beautiful Colombian woman in a pencil-skirt on her way to work. She looks clean and smells fresh, I wonder what she thinks of the scruffy, smelly backpacker sitting next to her.
Transferring in Santa Marta – the official departure point for the next taxi is a Tienda, a typical Colombian street shop. We negotiate with the cabbies, listen to the first price, offer him half and wait until he eventually agrees. We are leaving the dirty roads of Santa Marta for a tiny mountain-village, a village called Minca.
I definitely felt something special upon our arrival, but it would be a lie to say that at that point, I knew I would live in Minca. We had little to go on- a very basic hand-drawn map, and a travellers tip – a secret tip.
We start searching for the place and before long we find a path. It leads us down shady tunnels created by giant bamboo trees. The trail changes as we walk, bright, stony, wet, we pass by bamboo plants of every size until, half way there, we lose the path.
Immediately we receive help from a very friendly Colombian, maybe this is a very friendly village community or otherwise we will have to pay for it later. I don’t know it yet, but Luis will be my gardener in a couple of weeks.
We continue down a lovely path lined with wild flowers and coffee plants, on our left a little dam, to our right butterflies of all colours. The path ends up at a house hidden amongst the palms – a house where most of the rooms have no windows or doors.
As much nature as possible, with only a minimum of space devoted to the usual duties of the house. Ok, in the beginning it was quite strange to have a big open hole and no window in the bathroom, but have you ever watched the sun set slowly behind the mountains, while having a hot (!) shower, while a hummingbird joins you picking juice from the white and pink flowers. Me neither! – and just a hot shower is kind of special in Colombia.
And on top of this, there is a pool, filled daily with fresh water from the river, without (!) chlorine, which is useful in more ways than one. Its not just a pool, but also a refrigerator, and (most importantly) when the pool is emptied it provides half the electricity for the house.
That’s what we call eco-tourism, never seen that before. And best of all – this would be my new home!
Close to the house, I sit on the edge of a cliff on a hill, in front of me the canyons of the Sierra Nevada spread to the ocean – this must be one of the most peaceful places on earth. Now i know what I am looking for – I take a deep breath, this is the place which wants me to stay.
Nobody had ever slept under this roof, but nothing is a problem in Colombia! After a quick clean, a comfortable double mattress and mosquito net are found and the room is ready for renting. I love this place so much, there is nothing, you are laying in bed surrounded by nature- and the animals at night, but this story i will save for another time.
This place is so far away from being a hostel, for 3 months it’s possible to rent one room and two tents, but in reality here happens every day a normal Colombian daily life. – but what can i call „normal“? The short explanation is, I am living now in the house of a teacher and a doctor, which also includes a maid, one 12 year old permanent-stay student, one dog and a guinea pig – but there is so much more, which I will tell you in part 2 soon.