If you go:
This region is off the standard tourist trail, so you should have plenty of Colombian pesos on hand ($1 is equal to about 4,800 pesos), as credit cards aren’t widely accepted. Also have a translator app or a pocket dictionary with you if you don’t speak Spanish, though most tourism operators have someone on staff who speaks some English. Public transit is available, but it’s not especially easy to use or efficient, and rental cars would be tricky on some of the roads. I went with Guillermo Lamadrid’s reasonably priced ($285 from Cartagena to Rincón del Mar, Sincé and Galeras; an additional $75 to extend to Santa Cruz de Mompox) and unfailingly reliable Mar de Leva Tour, best contacted via WhatsApp (+57 311-666-5933) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Lodging: In Rincón del Mar, I booked one of the double rooms with a balcony at the beachfront, rustic-chic eco-resort Dos Aguas Lodge, where rates start at $85 a night. I found the lodge to be an excellent home base during the coastal portion of my itinerary. The local experiences offered on a chalkboard in the reception area encompassed all manner of temptation (among them, mangrove canoeing, forest hiking and biking, drumming and dancing, and stand-up paddleboarding), but the call of the perfectly placed hammocks was persuasive, too.
Restaurants: Rocio’s Place on Isla Tintipán serves up an exquisite version of the arepa de huevo, in addition to local seafood- and coconut-forward specialties, at seaside tables. You’ll need to take a boat from the mainland to get there. (I arranged my ride, which cost $17 round-trip, through the hotel.) Then — while you wait for your order at Rocio’s Place — consider taking a second, smaller boat to the neighboring Santa Cruz del Islote, reportedly the world’s most densely populated island. It’s worth the 10 or so minutes you’ll need to walk the entire town.
Inland, Restaurante Donde Mingo in Galeras serves up specialties that include mote, a decadently creamy yam-based soup; coconut-stewed chicken; and smoked duck.
Places to see: To set up a visit to the Casa de la Cultura or anything else in Sincé, contact Kelly Aguas Aldana (email@example.com). Galeras typically welcomes thousands of visitors during the Cuadros Vivos and carob festival, and while the hotel scene is sparse, local homes become guesthouses for the occasion. Reach out to Ruth Sara López (+57 313-585-2090) for more information. On a side note, you’ll…
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