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Saturday, 14 June 2014

Capurgana / Sapzurro, Colombia & La Miel, Panama


As we arrived in Turbo we were greeted by rain. Once we claimed our bags we wondered down the dimly lit road towards the quay. There were only a few people there but more than I would have expected given it was 4:30am. We met a Swiss guy en-route so we sat and waited for the ticket office to open. An hour and a half later it opened. We bought 3 tickets, which each cost 55,000 pesos (£17) one way to Capurgana. We were told the boat would leave at 8:30. In reality, it was 10am. As we were going through we knew we had to pay an excess luggage charge. However, the guy tried to take more money from us. After a lot of squabbling and holding up the boat, we got the right change and left Turbo. Everything online says how bad it is and although it's not a brilliant place and I wouldn't want to stay there more than a day; the fisherman and market atmosphere were good to spectate. 

The boat itself had maybe 40 people on it and was basically a speed boat. Waves? No problem. This just bombed its way through them, which meant a very bumpy journey all the to Capurgana (a 2.5 hour journey!).

From the research I had done previously, Hostal Capurgana seemed to be the best one. For 15,000 pesos we had a dorm. We were the only ones in there so it was fine. Internet sucked here though, which is why my blog posts are running behind schedule. We went straight to the beach to see what was going on. Capurgana is really nice. It's main beach isn't too big but not too small. We lit a Cohiba with a beer and sat on the sand. Due to the area of the world, it's highly likely that it will rain. The sky was overcast but it's fine; we're on the Caribbean! After a few hours at the beach we headed back as I need to book a flight from Puerto Obaldia in Panama, which is just the other side of the border to Panama City for a few days time. I did this through the hostel and was fairly straight forward although the girl there looked annoyed that you asked her to do something. Typical South Americans. The flight cost $125. We had a late lunch at a cheap place down the road: the classic soup, fish/chicken/beef with rice and chips, and a (papaya) juice drink. I also met a couple of Australian siblings travelling together, Bianca and Dean, at the hostel as they were trying to book a similar flight.

We had a burger for dinner, which was nice but a little pricey (15,000 pesos) relative to other things. We grabbed a couple of beers and went back to the beach to chill. There isn't really a party scene here, which is fine so we went to bed by 11pm.


We woke up fairly early at 9am. Today we are heading to Sapzurro, which is in the next bay up, on the border with Panama. We took a boat for 7,000 pesos each over there from Capurgana. We arrived in a much smaller place with a lot less people and activity compared to Capurgana. It was much nicer in my opinion. A big open bay that had a few boats sat by the edge. We found our hostel, El Chileno, which although basic was actually a great change. They had mango, avocado and coconut trees of which we could eat as many as we wanted for free. We dumped our bags and went to a "restaurant" up the road, mainly because the owner, Santianna, was pretty hot. I say restaurant but it was more of a shop at the front and restaurant for 2 people out the back. Nonetheless, we wanted fish but had to settle for a burger as she had nothing else. She asked us if we wanted to have dinner there and we said yes - fish tonight! 

Post-lunch we walked into Panama. It took about 30 minutes up and down a hillside. We gave our names and passport numbers to the Panamanian migration guy before crossing over. Dylan didn't have his passport so just gave ID. Once down, we found a spot on La Miel beach and relaxed for 15 minutes before taking a dip in the ocean. The water here was really warm and turquoise. Awesome. We spent another couple of hours here. Sand crabs ran over my foot scaring the crap out of me as I was asleep - but they were fantastically camouflaged. Dylan slept as usual. Lots of inspects here so we had our fair share of bites. 

Once we got back to the hostel, we wanted to go to the Sapzurro beach but bumped into a group from our boat from Turbo. They were going to Cascada La Diana - a waterfall 15 minutes into the jungle. It's something we would have never found so tagged along. Laura was from Colombia and she was a tour guide for her friends (although she is actually a tour guide usually). We got in the pool surrounding the waterfall and swam underneath. We spent about 30 minutes here before Dylan and I headed back to the beach. Not long after the 3 came back and joined us. Due to coral we had to swim out about 30 meters to swim comfortably. Another surreal moment as we lay there bobbing around in the Caribbean overlooking yachts, the lush green jungle and empty beaches.

We then headed back to the hostel, which was only 5 minutes away. However, Laura got a coconut down as we were going to make cocoloco's - rum and coconut milk - later. Laura made some guacamole with the avocados and fresh lemons. We bought a bottle of Abuelo rum for 20,000 pesos, so only 4,000 pesos (£1.25) each. We needed more coconuts so I decided to go up the palm tree. I got two bad boys by spinning them until they dropped. With a machete we chopped them down to the nut and found the milk. An old guy, Fernando, who was an Argentinian farmer on holiday, showed us how to cut them. There aren't many times you get your own coconuts and cut them up, and then add rum! 

Dylan and I had our dinner booked for 8 so had to leave for 45 minutes. The dinner was excellent - fish, rice, banana chips (I can't remember the name), avocado, with a mango juice and cake-based desert. We then returned to the hostel. Only Laura and I wanted the rum so we carried on until the end of the bottle - by the end I was drinking it neat. Still it was decent. 


Today we left Sapzurro back to Capurgana as Dylan had no more cash and needed to use his card to get cash back (no ATM here). We dropped our bags off at the hostel and went to the beach after a quick meal. We stayed there most of the day, although there wasn't much sun for the best part. Locals were having a dance-off on the beach too, which was hilarious to watch. We then decided to look around the small town a bit more. We found an old lady selling empanadas. We both had two. The sauce got stuck whilst I was pouring it. After squeezing it fairly hard the inevitable happened and it exploded all over my face, towel and Tshirt. I smelt like chilli. We were intending on having a shower and going out for a few beers that evening on the beach, however we never quite got there. After we showered we took a nap for 30 minutes. I ended up sleeping for 14 hours and Dylan had 12. The most amount of sleep I had had in years and a new record for being asleep by 7pm!


It's now our last proper day in Colombia so we decided to have a little lay-in and head back to the beach after having a bit of brunch. We opted for the standard 2 course meal; soup and a main, plus a drink. Today was the hottest day we've had so far at the coast. The sun itself is really intense and it doesn't take much to feel the burn! The tan is coming along nicely too and I no longer look like I'm wearing a Tshirt when my Tshirt is off! In order to exit Colombia I needed the exit stamp, which is found pretty much opposite the hostel. I was in and out in 2 minutes. We then chilled at the beach again but in the shade with a beer. The evening, like most of the last week, was relaxed and quiet. We met up with Bianca and Dean again too for dinner. We played Monopoly Deal to waste away the evening. Tomorrow we're off to Panama so we were in bed by 10:30. 

NB: My favourite picture of each place can be found on my Instagram account: @Instatyce 

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