Semana Santa in Colombia

Semana Santa (aka Easter break) is the one week of the year that Colombians have to go holidaying. This of course results in prices sky-rocketing, transport being booked out months in advance, and previously tranquil places becoming overrun with tourists. But, seeing as it was also the only week that I would have off this semester, I had to aprovechar. Having been totally over-worked and stressed out since I got back to Bogotá this year, thanks to the demands of uni here, I couldn’t wait to get out of the city and relax!

I made my way up to the eastern part of Colombia’s Caribbean coast, a part of the country that I’d wanted to visit since I first got here over a year ago. The first day was pretty chilled, but by chance that first night I got my hands on a ticket for the Colombia vs. Bolivia World Cup qualifying match in Barranquilla. It was insane! Colombians go mad for their football, and a World Cup qualifying match only intensified that (especially since they say this year is Colombia’s best chance to get in). Winning 5-0 didn’t calm them, surprisingly.

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From there I went to Parque Tayrona, a national park situated on the coast. You have to spend about an hour or so walking through the forest to get to the good bits, but when you do it is totally worth it. Some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen, and all the more dramatic with the forest as its backdrop.

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Next was Cabo de la Vela. So very different to Tayrona, but just as good (if not better). Only a few hours away by bus, the landscape does a 180 and suddenly instead of lush rainforest you find yourself in the middle of the desert. Of course we’re still on the coast so we’re talking desert and beach here. Kind of magical.

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And that was it – my week was up and I headed back to the reality of Bogotá (with a quick stop in Riohacha where I so very nearly got all my stuff robbed – just another perk of living in this amazing country). I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to come to Colombia, and just that week alone has made the exchange experience totally worthwhile.

Ratna Pillai – Bogotá, Colombia

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