Palomino, Colombia: Tubing and really not much else
After the shorten trip to Tayrona National Park, I made my way to Palomino which was about an hour or so on the public bus. All it's known for is tubing down the river and that's about it but we also just wanted to relax so that wasn't a big deal. There is only one main dirt road and along the way are just restaurants and hostels. By the time we left Tayrona it was getting dark and we were planning to stop by Costeno Beach on the way to buy tickets for the Estereo Beach Festival. When we got dropped off, we realized we didn't have enough cash to buy it. That's probably something we should have checked before heading out. So back on the bus we went. None of us had reservations in Palomino and I originally didn't think it was a big deal but turns out we probably should have done a bit more pre-planning since this was a hub for Colombians during this week, which meant everything was way overpriced and full. We walked to almost every hostel and the cheapest one we could find was for 40,000 at an okay hostel without a poor and terrible wifi. We just needed a place to sleep that night so I guess that will do.
My room had 3 other Colombians staying in there with their little pug. He was the cutest thing!! I forgot to snap a picture but he was all black with short stubby legs and running around and hiding in corners of the bed. He were traveling with him because they brought him his own dog food and water bowls. That first night we just made dinner then headed to bed. I was exhausted.
The next day we moved out and down the street to a nicer hostel with a pool. Being it was so freaking hot in Palomino and we just wanted to relax, having a pool was key. So that second day consisted of pretty much that. I went out of the little town for a cheaper lunch (soup + beef steak with plantains, salad, and rice for 9,000 COP) then napped in the hammocks had a pina colada that I had been craving for days. The only big excitement was when i had to leave to Costeno Beach to get our tickets. I wasn't sure if it was going to sell out and I had promised 2 other friends that I would buy theirs for them and we had 4 other people at the hostel we were going with so I just wanted to make sure everyone had tickets to go. I was a team player and bussed back to Costeno and got a motorbike in and out to just buy tickets. I think that whole ordeal took me over 2 hours but I guess I wasn't doing much else. After we all went out for a pizza dinner and yes I ate a whole pizza to myself... whoops! But hey it was a REALLY THIN THIN-CRUST PIZZA! So basically it was equivalent to only 2 slices... right? Not sure but it was damn good so no regrets. I was also cheap and only got a margarita pizza and covered it with pepper flakes. I couldn't finish my last slice (so fine, I didn't finish an ENTIRE pizza but close enough) and I gave to two of the guys to share and they were both dying. The pizza was way too spicy for them and they couldn't handle it. Perks of growing up Asian... hehe
Tubing + 6 Beers (okay I only drank 4 but the intention was there)
We were not going to budge on paying more than 15,000 COP. Everyone on the main street would only go down to 18,000 COP but I was not going to put up with that. I was stubborn and also tight on money so we walked passed all of them to leave the main area. There we were able to get a tub + motorbike for 15,000. Mission accomplished! It was about a 15 minute motorbike and about a 40 minute hike to the start of the river. You can technically keep on hiking to go even further in and have a longer time tubing but that tube was getting pretty heavy and it was too damn hot to keep on hiking. I was not about it so at the sight of the first opening, we jumped on in.
Since we didn't have a guide with us we had to work a bit harder to get out of the corners or when we were stuck in a rotating current. This wasn't an issue when I went tubing at El Rio because I just depended on the guide to push us. To be honest, I really think that changes your experience. Although It wasn't the end of the world having to get out of your tube to push yourself out, it would have been nicer to not have to do anything. If you were stuck, you just waited for someone to push you out. Especially if your main intention was just to chill on the tube and drink beer, a guide would have come in handy.
Merel and Marvin stuck together and I floated ahead. It's hard to control how fast or in what direction you're going. You just have to let the river take you. There was one part though were these kids were playing in. The other side was a slow rocky park so I made sure to head this way to not get stuck. One of the kid head on to my tube and wouldn't let go and then he swam under me and grabbed my butt. Like who is teaching him these things??? He was at most 8 years old! Ugh pervert.
The whole tubing took about 2.5 hours and we ended up at the beach. It was a pretty good relaxing half day activity. I ended up only drinking 4 beers but that was enough for me. I don't like beer to begin with so 4 cans was already above my limit. Not that I felt anything but I was so freaking full of liquid and peed in the river at least 3 times. Oops... If you go, make sure to bring extra sunblock! And if you have a cooler to keep your beers in, that would be even better. My beers got a bit warm towards the end and it wasn't good anymore.
An unfortunate Travel Story...
Before we left for tubing, a the reason why we left much later than planned, Merel started talking to this girl who was sitting on the couch crying. I didn't what happened at the time but she looked devastated, just broken. I didn't want to interrupt her because it looked like she was going through a really hard time. It turned out that...
The guy she met about 2 months ago in Panama had drowned... They were dating and had fallen in love because he told his mom about her. They were supposed to meet in Cartagena but she hadn't heard from him. He always replied to her messages so she thought it was weird that he hadn't since they were supposed to meet up that day. She then realized his Facebook was deactivated and she also got a call from Denmark, where she and he are from. All weird signs leading to not good news. Her best friend from home finally called her and told her what happened. He was swimming in the beach in Panama when an under current pulled him out into the deep sea and he drowned. It's such a devastating thing to happen while traveling and for her too. I feel so bad for her. Now she's planning his mom plan his funeral and write a journal of everything that he has been up to the past 2 months because she was the closest to him and knew exactly what he was doing.
The crazy thing is that he had drowned once before and was able to be brought back to life. This time he wasn't as lucky... My prayers go out to her and his family.