Friday, September 4, 2015

Beach Trip: Santa Marta

I can't believe it has taken me nearly a month to blog about our second trip to the beach in Santa Marta. Just like with our trip to Cartagena, we took advantage of a three-day Colombian holiday weekend, tacked on an extra vacation day, and hopped a 45 minute flight to the Caribbean coast. Unfortunately, we can't drive to a lot of places in Colombia due to rules and regulations, so it's a good thing flights are cheap and quick.  

We left on a Friday morning and arrived by that afternoon.  S and I had booked a bungalow on the beach at a well-known and well-reviewed resort in the area, and we were excited to have our own little bungalow for three days.  So, I was a bit disappointed when we arrived and we were informed that our reservation had been lost and they were trying to locate something else for us.  That quickly led to "Oh, sir, we have upgraded your room due to our negligence, please follow me."  I was hesitant to even believe we were upgraded--after all, they could have been feeding us any lies to get us to stay--but we were pleasantly surprised when we opened the door to a beautiful one bedroom suite complete with kitchen, living room and balcony.  It wasn't a bungalow like we had hoped (it was in the actual hotel part of the resort on a high floor) but we definitely couldn't complain.  In fact, it ended up being perfect. We realized that after the sun went down, the mosquitoes came out with a vengeance and we could only imagine the number of mosquitoes we would be dealing with in a bungalow, tucked away in the jungle near the beach.  We were grateful for the higher floor away from the hungry little monsters. 

Once we were checked in, we did our usual routine.  We spent the afternoon at the pool where we treated ourselves to some lunch and ice cream, and later ordered room service for dinner.  We have become room service junkies while on vacation, but that's just because it's sooooo easy and still affordable.  I remember growing up we wouldn't even dare look at a room service menu on family vacations because it was way too expensive.  Luckily for us, we are living in our second country where it is both affordable and delicious.  

The rest of the weekend was spent going back and forth between the beach and the pool, but mostly the pool because we have a certain 4-year old who has finally  conquered his fear of swimming and has turned into a little fish.  In fact,  E and I spent one morning collecting sea shells and jumping in the waves before he passionately requested to go back to the pool so he could practice his swimming.  He started off the weekend holding on the the edge of the pool and swimming along with his face in the water, but by the end of the weekend, he was jumping into the deep end and swimming up to 15 feet to his daddy's waiting arms.  He was so proud of himself and of course mom and dad were proud too! So, not only will the Santa Marta trip go down as a great family vacation, but I will always remember it as the vacation where E learned to swim.  

D had fun floating around in the big pool too, but he mostly preferred the kiddie pool which was all of 1 foot deep and easy for him to splash around and walk in.  That kid is fearless, so we spent a lot of time trying to ensure he didn't jump face first into the water.  He;s getting swimming lessons next just because he clearly loves the water and if we don't get him to learn soon, I'm afraid he will do something dangerous.  

By Monday morning we hopped a flight back to Bogota but vowed to return again.  It was so beautiful and we need our beach fix, especially since it's a constant 65 degrees here with rain nearly everyday. We will be back!

The day of arrival.
The ladies at the front desk gave the boys matching hats.

The gigantic and super fun pool.  There was a water slide too.  

S and his boys
Hanging out on the balcony the next morning.

E enjoying a swing in the hammock...
right before mom and D piled in and the whole thing collapsed.
Lesson learned--don't put a pregnant lady and her two kids in a rusty looking hammock!

Breakfast at the rooftop restaurant of the hotel

Beautiful birds during breakfast

View from the restaurant

We spent the morning at the beach...

Until E decided he had enough and insisted on going to the pool

Early morning view of the beach before the sun burned off the haze

Me and my sweet boys

This is by far my favorite series of photos:
D was enjoying his own private photo shoot until his brother stepped in on the action.
Can you tell he was a little annoyed, lol?

Sunset view on our last night

Saying goodbye to the resort

The view from our gate at the airport.  Gorgeous.

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