Although our program is based out of Barranquilla, Colombia, this weekend, like the last, was spent in Cartagena. Cartagena is a beautiful city full of colonial history. On our way there, we went to Volcan de Totumo, a volcano full of volcanic mud that we were able to get bathe in. It was a very odd experience since you are not able to touch the bottom because of how deep it is so your just floating in mud. I, being a terrible swimmer, was struggling to keep myself stable while floating in the mud but none the less it was really fun and I was glad that I was able to participate in this once in a lifetime experience.

After we got to Cartagena, we went on a tour of the city. Cartagena is special for both the export of emerald and the strong colonial history that exists there. On this tour we went to a museum about emeralds in Colombia as well as the Castile of San Filipe de Barajas, where the Spaniards were able to resist the British naval assault in the War of Jenkins’ Ear.

The following day we were finally able to do what I have been looking forward to since February, spend a day at the beach. We went to an island about a 45 minutes boat ride from the shore to an island called Isla del Sol, or Island of Sun. It was absolutely beautiful. The water was crystal clear, the food was delicious, and the drinks were strong! We stayed there for a few hours and enjoyed relaxing in the ocean and the pool and in between, receiving incredible massages from the island’s resort.

Later that night, some of the other participants in the program and I took a ride on a “chiva” which is basically a open air party bus. The bus was supposed to take us to a bar on the other side of town but after stopping at a liquor store on the way and partying on the bus for over 40 minutes, we were all so sweaty and tired that we all decided to just take a cab back to the hotel.

Our last day in Cartagena, some friends and I went to the historical part of town with buildings of little shops and vendors pouring out into the streets surrounded by a colonial era wall. It was very interesting to see the clash of history and modernity as cars and motorcycles would pass through the walls into the town center. I was able to buy way too much coffee and spend way too much money on souvenirs but if it will remind of the great time I had in Cartagena, it will have been worth it.