Sapzurro – Day 2 : beach and sunburns

Today is beach day!

First, we took a not very nice breakfast. Clearly, the local pastries were not from this morning (nor yesterday’s, for that matter). We were quite surprised to see many people already (or still) drunk at 9am, sipping some beer as breakfast. Maybe it’s because of the fiesta, but it seemed more like habit.

Well, that didn’t bother us, at least we were alone at the beach to do some snorkeling (it’s really a weird word, don’t you think?). So, we spend part of the morning and early afternoon exploring the coast underwater. We saw lots of fishes and some corals! It had rained a lot last night, so visibility wasn’t great, but the corals are like less than 2m under water, which is amazing!

We also saw some nice fishes (well mostly small fries, but still very nice). We even swam in the middle of shoals of tiny fishes swimming in total sync. It actually took us some time to understand the big orange rocks were corals. Here they’re very orange, a bit round and very pumpkin looking (well, the giant pumpkin fare ones). Coming across them in the middle of some algae is quite startling at first!

As we’re so gringos (and also because the best hour for snorkeling is around noon), we managed to get some sunburns (I swear Mom, I put sunscreen on, but it wasn’t enough!). Well, the sunburns are not huge, and it’s a change from the traveler’s tan (you know, the one that stops at the T-shirt!).

Before lunch we sought out the boat “captain“ that brought us here yesterday, because he said he might be able to get us across to Panama tomorrow. He confirmed he could take us tomorrow around 1pm, but as he was quite drunk, we’ll still look for him in the morning to make sure he doesn’t forget!

The almuerzo here is quite expensive, around 17000 (compared to the 7000 in south Colombia). But we met a cool German couple at the restaurant. So, we spent the afternoon lazing on the beach while training our German (great, as if we’re not doing enough linguistical gymnastic these days…). Right now, it’s nightfall, so we hurry to write the blog and charge the computer and phones before the electricity runs out!

If everything goes according to plan (as it always goes, of course :p ), we should take a boat from Puerto Obaldia to the San Blas islands Tuesday and stay there a couple days before going to Panama City (the exact number of days depends on how much is costs, as we won’t see an ATM until we reach Panama City).

As we already don’t have lightning fast internet here, we probably won’t have one in Puerto Obaldia and for sure won’t have one in the San Blas islands. So don’t worry if the blog is dead for a couple days.

That’s all for today (for this post too we’ll upload the picture whenever we get some real internet 😉 ). See you later, alligator!

Sapzurro – Day 1 : borders and coconuts

EDITO : since the internet is so weak here, we’re posting both yesterday and today’s posts now, but their pictures will arrive later ! We would also like to remind those of you who want to stay up to date without checking everyday (and these days are irregular) that you can subscribe at the bottom of the page. We also advise you to add us to your contact list with so we won’t end up in the spam folder !

Today was the beginning of tropical paradise postcards moments.

Capurgana wasn’t as cool as we expected, we could neither get access to the internet nor withdraw any cash. We knew there wasn’t any ATM but had read that we could pay in some hotels with a card in exchange for cash, we thought we could finish preparing our trip to San Blas like this. Turns out we couldn’t, we even got rudely told off in the hotel we asked and found nothing else, so we changed most our pesos for dollars (for the border ahead) and planned with what we have.

In the end, it isn’t so bad, maybe we won’t spend 3 days in San Blas, but 2 should do it! Then we left our lovely but expensive hostel in the woods, took care of administrative formalities and took a boat to Sapzurro, 3 km away, on the other side of a small wood-covered peninsula. Since we had been disappointed in Capurgana, we didn’t expect much, and we were surprised: it is much prettier, quieter and nicer altogether. We left our bags in the Chilean’s hostel (that’s the name of the hostel, and his as well, everyone knows him around here) and left for La Miel, a bit further on the coast.

La Miel is THE beach around here, the place to be, with fine white sand in a bay with corals, coconut trees and pretty fish. There was also some loud music and a few people, but it was probably worth the hassle. The hassle is the 30-minutes walk in the forest to go up and down the 77 meters hill with stairs and go through the mini customs office at the top, because the beach and its hamlet are in Panama! So, we just showed our passports, the real stamp will be further, because La Miel is anyway unreachable from Panama without a boat so we wouldn’t have illegally immigrated anywhere.


Speaking of immigration, we got stamped out of Colombia in Capurgana, because that’s where the office is. But since it is really inconvenient, being 45 km away from Puerto Obaldia with the Panama immigration office, we are allowed 3 days to cross the border, which means we have to have been stamped in Panama before Tuesday. According to our passports, we are today, in the eye of the administration, in limbo (or in France).


Let’s go back to the beach. We swam, the water here is slightly below body temperature, so it’s refreshing but really easy to go in. We saw (without any gear) tiny colorful fishes, we cut our feet (nothing bad) and dried out in the sun! We drank coconut water straight from the source and encountered a very nice Colombian family on vacation.


On the way back, we observed many tiny orange and blue crabs, digging their homes in the sand on and around the trail, but also in gardens and under houses. It’s a shame they can’t be eaten, cause with their numbers, they would make quite a soup!

We ended the day’s adventures sitting on a wooden pier, looking at the waves and boats while the sun set and the harbor’s empty hall played loud tropical music, very cliché, very funny.

Tonight, we are eating pasta to fit the budget, and tomorrow we will snorkel because diving is expensive and we are poor these days, but we are very happy! X

Capurgana – Day 1 : boats and swimming

Tonight, we’re in Capurgana (go see the fucking map widget we’re always talking about!). To get there, we did our longest trip yet (aside from the transatlantic plane, evidently…).

Yesterday we took the night bus at 11pm in Santa Fe (or rather 11:30 pm including the delay), wo we arrived at Necocli in the early morning, around 6:30am. The bus was probably one of the best we’ve had yet. We might not have had the most wonderful sleep, but compared to what we’re used to travel in here, this one was big and comfy, with USB plugs for charging and even a good AC. Well, a too good AC, as it was probably set to the freezer option. But we had already encountered this problem before, so we came prepared: we had our jackets with us when we boarded (even though it was 25°C in Santa Fe!).

Necocli is a small coastal town, not particularly ugly but not very beautiful either. But it is where the lancha for Capurgana departs (another goes from Turbo, which saves you bus time, bus it’s much slower). So besides eating a small breakfast, buying the boat ticket and changing some dollars (for Panama), we mostly waited until it was time to go (theoretically 9:30am, but with delay 9:45).

Sunrise over Necocli’s port

We were the last ones to enter the lancha so we got lucky, we got the back seats. The front seats are way bumpier! In the lancha (which, by the way, is a small boat in which you can squeeze up to 70 people) we looked at the sea, but after a while it was boring so we mostly slept (the trip took over 1h30).

A bit of fresh salty air !

Once in Capurgana, we decided to start searching for our accommodation. That’s when we discovered a slight problem in our plan: this weekend it’s fiesta in town to honor some local specie of snails (can’t remember the name, do your own goddamn research!). So, it’s loud “music” everywhere (I’m open to many styles of music, but this ain’t music, it’s the usual shitty summer disco pop soup, but in Spanish!). Add to that the fact that Monday is vacation day for the Colombians (so hordes of them are coming on the coast this weekend), and you understand our problem regarding finding a place to stay for tonight.

Fortunately, we remembered the name of a hostel that was supposed to be a bit out of town. We we’re just on our way there when a local taxi (so a horse and a two-wheeled cart) proposed to take us there. We had the good idea to say yes, because the two-wheeled cart might be jumpy, but at least it kept us dry when we had to cross several rivers created by yesterday and last night’s heavy rains.

The hostel itself is quite charming, set in the middle of the jungle, far away from the loud music of the town. And there are lots of animals here! In a couple hours we managed to see many birds, some lizards, monkeys, iguanas and even a basilisc (sadly not the harry potter thing, but a funny little four legged animal 😉). We were in luck, the hostel had one room left (not the best room we’ve had, but sufficient for now and the surroundings are really cool).

In the mid-afternoon we went to the beach near the hostel to bathe for a while and tan a bit. It’s a bit weird for us to tan at the beach after all these days spent in the Andes mountains. After this we essentially spent the rest of the afternoon in hammocks watching TV shows (we do need to rest a bit sometimes!). This evening we ate dinner at the hostel with a nice Columbian family here for the week-end.

The beach near the hostel

That’s all for tonight, more news in the next post.

P.S: In Capurgana there is no 24h electricity and finding an internet connection can be complicated, so of course at the hostel in the middle of the jungle we don’t have internet (but we do have electricity several hours a day, phew!). That’s why this article will be published whenever we can.

Santa Fe de Antioquia- Day 2 : wifi and lemonade

Today, we visited calmly. First of all, we spent the whole morning sending you all of last week’s posts, and we had to occupy the lobby of the next door luxury hotel because our shady hostel didn’t have a good enough internet connection. We also had to ferociously wrestle a five year old girl to access a phone to reserve our boat for tomorrow morning.

From the start, we had this plan to go to Cartagena, colonial city also named Carthagena de Indias, bearing some resemblance to Miami, very touristy, in the middle of the Colombian Caribbean coast. Around it are a few parks and reserves, but mostly the very big and famous beaches of Santa Martha and others, loved by the Colombian tourists (everyone we met recommended them). From there, we had planned to take a 5-day boat to Panama, 2 of them at sea and 3 roaming the San Blas archipelago, tiny islands inhabited by the Kuna Yala. We decided to change plans : Cartagena is at least 13 hours from Medellin in bus, sunbed-covered beaches don’t interest us a lot, and we already spent waaaay more time than intended in Colombia, because it is big, beautiful and diverse, but now we have to move !

Late tonight we will get on a bus to Necocli, in Uraba’s bay, and early tomorrow a lancha (which is a boat, and that’s all we know) to the small and inaccessible from land town of Capurgana (Google Maps is your friend). It looks like paradise, is very close to Panama’s border, and we will also encounter boats there to take us to San Blas in 4 days without the open-sea. Tonight is then our first nightbus, tomorrow first boat, and after that, we may not have a lot of internet access, because electricity doesn’t even run all day, so nothing is certain.

Plans aside, today we visited Santa Fé without leaving it, so we didn’t see the super old suspension bridge (5km away), but we saw very well the paved streets, magnificent shaded courtyards decorated with fountains and plants, churches every 3 streets. We can figure out easily why the Medellinean spend their week-ends here, but it also means prices are higher and plates smaller, which doesn’t prevent people from being really nice, laugh with us or at us, depending on the situation. Among nice experiences, the manageress of a high end restaurant bursting into laughter when we tell her that, in the end, it’s not really within our price range, and then escorts us out wishing us all the best. Also, the waitresses of a nice hotel taking very good care of us all afternoon, when we were using the couch, wifi and electricity, sipping lemonade (even if we can’t afford the night there doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy their homemade delicious beverages !)


Climate-wise, we are having kind of a shock : today, not only did it not rain, but we spent the day being between moderate and gravely hot. Short pants are out again (Colombian dudes made their approval very clear) and between 10AM and 2PM, the shaded-space is a valuable resource. It’s a big change for us, a nice one at some hours, less at others, but we are preparing for bigger ones when we arrive at the ocean.

Finally, big news confirmed by several sources, we don’t look that much like gringos, we could pass for locals, basically, the only thing missing is language ! Often, people are surprised when we ask to repeat slowly, because with our dark hair and tan (hiker tan)(for now), we could be Colombian travelers. Altogether, we enjoy it.

That’s all for tonight ! See you tomorrow by the sea, or not… X

Santa Fe de Antioquia – Day 1 : bus and vaccination

EDIT : And we are back ! After an amazing week spent in the Tierra Dulce Farm, where we didn’t have any internet connection, we’re back with a lot of new adventures to tell. So we just posted everything at once. To avoid missing any articles, scroll down to “Tierra Dulce – Day 1”.

After some really cool and chilled out 6 days in the farm, we’re traveling again. It was hard for us to leave such a wonderful place, but we also wanted to see new places.

Daniel made us giant pancakes for breakfast and we all said goodbye. We thanked them a lot for their warm welcome (and they said we could come back whenever we wanted 🙂 )

Today’s main objective was to get the yellow fever vaccination in Medellin, otherwise we won’t be able to get into Panama (and also probably have problems at the Costa Rica border). Yes, we didn’t foresee this, because you don’t need the vaccination entering Panama from France, so there was no specific notice on the government’s website. But if you’re coming from Colombia, especially if you’ve been to the exposed areas (like us in the amazing jungle near Mocoa), you need to have the vaccination certificate to cross the border.

So, as old habits die hard, we took the bus ! After 3 something hours (for again only a few kilometers), we arrived in Medellin. We got there some (very) limited free wi-fi (enough for a few searches, though not enough to work on the blog). We then went to the clinic to get vaccinated (well, after half a fried chicken because we were starving!).

The vaccination is quick and easy, and the staff was very friendly. They are 2 options :

  • If you want the vaccine for free, you have to come 2 hours before the opening (which is a 7am) to get in line hopping you’ll get one of the 40 free vaccines a day.
  • Otherwise, you pay about 17 euros, and they do it immediately

We decided to pay because we didn’t want to  spend the night in Medellin just to wait a couple hours in the early morning. And that allowed us to go and explore a new city : Santa Fe de Antioquia.

As expected, the one and a half hour bus took over two and a half (some tunnel was partially closed…). So we arrived in Santa Fe at night, but as it’s not very big it was easy to get to the center.

Santa Fe by night

For now we haven’t much seen the city (we had quite a lot of work to post all the articles from the farm!). More news (and photos) of the city tomorrow!

Tierra Dulce – Day 6 : corn, cane and campfire

Today, last day at the farm ! The morning was calm, with books and watercolors after a breakfast of leftover crêpes.


The lunch was so cool that I’m going to give you the recipe, which is complicated to reproduce in Europe anyway.

  • Make a vegetable soup with potato, yucca, a small amount of blended onion-pepper-garlic. Leave to boil for a while.
  • In the meantime, peel and cut plantain, these huge green bananas that you can’t eat raw. You cut them in 8 and fry them a bit to make them mashable.
  • With the special local machine, you crush them to make mini-patacones (the normal patacones are from half of a banana so these are cute) and bathe it in beaten, salted and peppered eggs.
  • Fry the egged plantain again. It should bloat and turn golden. Then you throw it with the boiling soup !
  • During the last minutes, you wash a lettuce and get out the leftover curcuma rice.

It was delicious, and after this culinary moment, we will talk about poop again! Because in the afternoon, we helped spread dry straw with chickenshit in corn plants, while Daniel and Freddie were prepping holes for cane seeds tomorrow. Here, the fields are really steep, even we are only at 1400m, the soil is very clayey and since it rains a bit every day, it is gorged with water, very compact and hard to work. The other difficulty are the cows next door field. Recently, one of them entered a cornfield and ate everything (literally everything!). Today, they have to start over and even if the neighbors look nice, I wonder how relationships work here.

Finally, we played a bit a game called catch-a-hen. They were 5, eating yesterdays seeds after fleeing through a hole in the wired mesh, and they even went to pay a visit to the horses. Our old life from Toulouse seems very far away.

Tonight, we both walked to the local bar to buy beers and we will soon drink them around a big campfire near the house. It is our last evening at the farm and even if we are happy to go visit other places, we also felt very well here.

Kisses ! Tomorrow, when we have the internet back, we will send you a whole lot of news at once !

Tierra Dulce – Day 5 : garbage and seeds

The early bird catches the worm, as they say, and today we were the early birds (which was easy as we went to bed early yesterday). After some delicious arepas (we really need to buy corn flour back at home) and hot chocolate (now we know the recipe!), we started this morning’s task: recycling.

Daniel and Christina think (and we’re 100% with them) that all the trash that we leave lying around will be a problem for the next generations. Add to that the fact that there is no regular garbage collection here, and you understand why they never throw anything away. All food garbage is either composted or eaten by the piglets, and the rest of the garbage is piled up in the toolshed. As everything here is sold in a plastic bag, it’s the only way to really be zero waste.

So kids, let’s talk about how garbage from today is gonna be your problem tomorrow!

But of course, once the garbage starts to pile up too high, they sort them depending on their future use. The plastic bags for milk (yes, here milk is almost always sold in plastic bags!) will be used to sow future plantations. Most of the other garbage is pushed into plastic bottles to reduce the global garbage volume (you’d be amazed at how much stuff you can fit in a soda bottle!). These bottles will eventually be used in as construction bricks for their future home. Same goes for the glass bottles.

After a morning’s work (for 3 people), we had managed to fit about 140L of garbage in a couple of bottles. So, we kind of felt we earned the great almuerzo we all cooked together. Daniel and Christina keep saying the cooking they do is quick and simple, but cooking does take a couple hours every day and everything we’ve eaten so far was delicious. After lunch we promised to cook some crêpes for dinner (we’re French after all 😉), so we made some dough.

Doesn’t seem much for initially 140L of garbage!

This afternoon we sowed some beans and other seeds around the hen enclosure. In the late afternoon one of the mares managed to escape and not only did she trample a couple plantations, she went crazy and went through the hen enclosure, bringing part of the enclosure down with her!

Once we managed to calm her down, as well as the two other horses which had used the distraction to also escape, we did a quick repair to the enclosure. Then we chased a dozen chickens that had taken advantage of the hole in the enclosure to search for better worms nearby (and eat some of the recently sowed seeds).

Well, the seeds did seem yummy, at least for a hen…

As we sowed a lot of seeds in a huge quantity of horse shit, we think there will still be a lot of plants growing around the enclosure. But it did take a lot of time and energy to catch all these animals before dark!

And tonight, as promised, is crêpe night. I’m writing these lines in the kitchen, where the crêpes are currently being flipped over in a pan without handle (we didn’t foresee that no pan would have handles when we promised to do crêpes!). For now we’re managing with a tablecloth (yes, we’ll post a picture if a crêpe ends up on the floor :p).

That’s all for today. More adventures in the next episode!

P.S: sorry, you won’t get the photo, all the crêpes were delicious (well, we’re not really sorry about that 😉).

Tierra Dulce – Day 4 : glitter !

Today is sunday, no work ! We got up a bit later than usual, which means arount 8:00, because the days are really short otherwise. Breakfast was particularly late, generous and long, everyone was half-sleepy, it really felt like a sunday morning. The day was at the same time really long and really short, since we spent a lot of time lazing around, reading in the sun or watching TV shows (we left with a stockpile of them for these occasions).

We kinda like the landscapes around here…

At some point, Christina offered to go to the river. It was a short walk with the dogs, you just have to cross a field and arrive at the rocky bed of a clear stream. We dipped our feet, the weather was lovely , but we were surprised to find… gold ! Actually, it is just mica, she told us, but there is some gold too, and a few years ago, big companies brought big machines to dig big holes, clearing a bit of forest at the same time. They took the gold and left, but when we saw all these flakes in the water, we supposed it really is complicated to sort for them to leave that much ! Anyway it was really pretty and a nice stroll.


Around 3 pm we all felt hungry and Daniel proposed we went to the village to eat, so as to be even more lazy. We walked to the main road (dirt road, step over a stream or 2, cross 2 precarious bridges and a normal one, you’re there !) and a bit more to the local pub. It is the house where they had the party last night (we assume some people still hadn’t left). Some people come just to exchange news, vehicules, cigarettes… The bus arrived later than we thought, but when we arrived in town, the weather was still nice.

With the patchy free-wifi of the main square, we managed to send a small message to our parents to reassure them, we answered the tiresome mail from social security, insurance and whatnot, and ate a really classic meal. After a little bit of shopping, we thought to go back, but the storm started. Again, brutal, loud and everything. While waiting for it to calm down, we researched our next destinations (but we won’t tell you anything for now) and have some coffee on the main square (here, the umbrellas are for sun AND rain, and it is good stuff !)

Cup of coffee in Alejandria

Finally, we were so tired of doing nothing that we went to bed very early (there was a french pun here, sorry)