Would you sign up for a week long cruise that wasn’t in your dominant language? Intimidating. Yes. A huge lesson in getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. Absolutely. This leap of faith was a wake up call to myself to embrace the unknown.
I love learning about all South American cultures and can get by with Spanish, but I honestly haven’t improved much over the years since I use it so infrequently. But I love cruising and when you find a $60 RT direct flight deal to Cartagena, Colombia, South America, you push that purchase button. 🇨🇴 🚢 ✈️ 🏝 🤿 🌅
My dear friend Diana helped me find a local guide in her home country and my adventure began. First stop was outside town and a must do in my opinion. Vulcan de Tutomo – vat of mud – was a short, steep climb where you emersed yourself in mud head to toe while a local rubbed all over your body for 25 mins. OMG. It was a strangely delightful experience like you were rolling around in chocolate pudding. After this crazy experience, you had to walk down to the lake to wash off…. naked! What??!! Ummm nope. After my initial panic, I went for it. Even with the locals turning their backs while onshore only 50 feet away, it was very liberating to start this new journey off with a totally out of character moment. Onward!
We drove through the old, colorful city of Cartagena and all the beautiful courtyards. I walked the historical fort and memorials. A fantastic day. Boarding the ship was a little less efficient than my US experiences and no AC in the port buildings, but nothing beats stepping onto a cruise to begin a new journey.
We visited the ABC islands – Aruba, Bonaire & Curaçao. On every Caribbean trip, I try to squeeze in a diving excursion and Aruba was my choice this time around. We did a 2 tank dive to a colorful reef and an awesome wreck 90 feet down. And we had an additional stop in Panama, my first time exploring this country besides just passing through the locks here over 10 years prior on the inaugural Disney cruising crossing.
Undoubtedly my favorite times on a cruise are the spectacular & unobstructed sunsets on the horizon, as well as the impeccable stargazing. I just can’t get enough. Seriously.
I rarely read for pleasure anymore, but sunbathing on the top deck with a drink in hand is a perfect triple threat.
So I hope if you ever find the opportunity to cruise to far off lands, you go for it and never look back. Maybe add in a mud bath too!