CEVICHE: EL PESCADO MAS BUENO DE AMERICA LATINA!

In Italy we eat carpaccio, in South America they eat Ceviche…  a traditional recipe that let you taste the real flavor of the fresh fish! The seafood is cooked in a citrus-marinated sauce originates in Peru. The origin is probably to be reconnected to Spanish escabeche, which is a vinegar-marinated dish.

Ceviche is simply fish "cooked" by marinating in the acid of citrus juice. This recipe is said to be traditionally Peruvian but in each country of South America you can find a ceviche. You can choose among different juice: high-quality white saltwater fish with lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice… and more: salt, hot peppers, onions, and cilantro basically.

Enjoy it in a hot day with a cold beer —or anytime you desire a fresh snack in your South American travels!

INGREDIENTS

1 pound white saltwater fish

1 glass of lime juice

1/2 glass of lemon juice

1/2 glass of orange juice

1 sweet onion (sliced very thinly)

1 chilipepper (e.g. habaneros)

cilantro (chopped)

Salt

STEPS:

First, start to cut the fish into small pieces, not too small… you need to taste the fish when you will bite it! Normally dice it in pieces up to 1-inch square. One rule: the larger you cut the pieces, the longer it will take to marinate.

Add salt, then cover it with all the juices you prepared! You can do it in a glass or plastic container with a lid. After one minute, add the sliced onions and the chili.

Leave the fish mixture in the fridge for at least 2,5 hours, better 3-4 hours (very large pieces of fish can take longer to fully marinate). Depends on how you feel about the freshness of the fish you bought, it is OK if the centers of the pieces are still raw-looking.​

To serve, put the mixture on a plate or in a bowl and put on the top the cilantro.

NOTES

Normally as whitefish you can choose among albacore, sole, snapper, halibut, or anything else you can find also in a sushi menu.  The High-quality of the fish is really important, for your healthy and for the best ceviche you can prepare!

Please, remember to remove the skin and bones from the fish, as well as the bloodline before cutting it up. You have also to cut all the bloodline, the dark red portion of the fillet to have a real ceviche.

Wit ceviche please take a cold beer and tortilla chips as an accompaniment. In Peru, you will most often find this ceviche dish served with potatoes, either sweet or white.

You can prepare the ceviche also with other types of fish, e.g. shrimps or atun… whatever you want!

read my other recipes!!

3 DAYS IN BARCELONA: A PERFECT LONG WEEKEND!

3 days are the perfect time to experience Barcelona at your first visit, you could see most of the city’s main tourist attractions and even get a little bit more! The city, widely considered one of Europe’s is one of the most vibrant cities in the world, with unique mix of culture,and energy. Here’s some tips on how to spend 3 days in Barcelona!

FIRST DAY:STARTING TO GO AROUND...

If you want start from the heart of Barcelona, you can have a great start with a walk on the Rambla and go to visit its most iconic market: the Boquería Market (La Rambla, 91). Today it has become a bit touristic but it’s still a must-visit in Barcelona. Better to go in the morning before it will be too crowd. You can you’re your breakfast there from one of the stalls and do some morning grocery shopping.

After your good breakfast, continue to the Paseo de Gracia, where you’ll find two of Barcelona architect Antoni Gaudí‘s most famous works. First, Casa Batlló: go inside to fully understand Gaudì prospective!

Following you will arrive to the nearby Casa Milá, Gaudí’s last work. Known as “La Pedrera” (“the quarry”), the interior is quite fascinating as well. The nice thing is to go on the spectacular rooftop terrace for some of the best views in Barcelona and take some pictures.

There, go around the neighborhood: Gracìa was a little village before being completely absorbed by the sprawling metropolis becoming part of Barcelona! Take your time to admire its picturesque, narrow streets and see where they take you.

You can end your day having some good Tapas there and after that see what the night will bring you!

SECOND DAY: SAGRADA FAMILIA Y PARC GUELL

The second day can start with the visit to the most beautiful church I ever see in my life: the Sagrada Familia, another Gaudí masterpiece. The building began to be constructed in 1882 and today is still uncompleted! Gaudì died before finishing this amazing pace of art and the legend says He was almost obsessed of it…. Actually He died in the meanwhile He was admiring the uncompleted construction mashed by a carriage and anybody recognized him in that moment. After few days people started to ask where He was, and finally they discovered He was dead….

The Curch is built thanks to the tips and the entrances the tourists pay to visit it!

The interior is reminiscent of a magical fairytale forest, with its towering tree-like columns and glittering light produced by the stained glass windows. Tip: book your entrance before going to Barcelona, there is difficult to find free places!

After the visit you can relax yourself in the park and have lunch.. Maybe not closed to the church, there is more expensive.

A must-stop in Barcelona is the Park Guell. The famous architect originally intended to build an upper-class housing development. That vision never came to pass, but the public areas of the development were completed and turned into a whimsical park.

Closed to there you can visit also the Carmel Bunkers (Carrer de Marià Labèrnia) located to the north of Park Guell. It is an abandoned military structures left over from Spain’s Civil War in the 1930s might be Barcelona’s best-kept secret. It’s a spectacular place to watch the Barcelona sunset!

For the night you can go around the “Barrio Gotico”. There take some cervezas or cocktails and enjoy the Barcelona nightlife!

THIRD DAY: VISIT THE GOTHIC BARRIO AND CILL IN BARCELONETA

The last day, you can visit the storied Gothic Barrio that maybe you saw during the night the day before. With over 2,000 years of history lining its streets, there’s no shortage of things to see and do here. Step into the shoes of Gaudí or Picasso, relax in a picturesque plaza or get lost in the winding streets of the old Jewish Quarter. The Gothic Quarter is full of magic just waiting to be discovered.

You can also visit some museum, for example the one of the Spain’s most iconic artist, the Picasso Museum (Carrer Montcada, 15-23), or enjoy the Gaudí’s works at the Gaudí Exhibition Center (Pla de la Seu, 7). After that you can stop to the cathedral!

The long walking day can continue on the beach of Barceloneta, so relax take some sun and drink a good mojito there…..

In alternative you can go for a tour of the street art of Barcelona, in that case see my article: BARCELLONA: STREETART WALK – THE POBLENOU

You can do so many more things in Barcelona… this is just a part of them so be ready to go back to this amazing city!

 

 

 

SITGES: A QUITE TOWN OUTSIDE BARCELONA

I passed 5 days in Barcelona at th end of June and as I know the city and I was with a frind we decidd to stay in the city 2 days and pass the other ones outside of it, more in the nature and in a quite sea place. We decided to go to Sitges, a beautiful coastal town in Spain towards the south of Barcelona. The small town is full of exotic beaches and leisure promenades, and in summer it becomes a tourists’ paradise.

We stayed in a camping, “Camping Sitges” that is 2km from the center of the town. You can easily find it on the main road that leave the city towards “Vilanova I la Geltru”. The price were very good, it is cheap: e paid for 2 people and the camping tend for 2 nights 36€.

To start you day you can go in a bar in front of the beach or take your breakfast with you and sit down in the sand and enjoy it! The entire passage is flat and easy to walk on. As you stroll down it, you can take in the beautiful view of the beach as well as many other sights available in the city.

If you like to go by bike and not walk, “Bikes Sitges” is a bike rental available. You can rent the bike you want to and then go out on a ride- a good soothing ride through the streets of Sitges or hills near the city. This is recommended to all those who love ‘long’ drives or rides. I found a bike rent also in the camping we stayed, so you could rent also there your bike!

The town is really nice, one of the attractiveness is the Church of Sant Bartomeu & Santa Tecla, which is present near the place of a British invasion of Barcelona. It hosts an ossuary which is as old as the 1400s, making it an excellent spot for history lovers and from there you have a nice view on the beaches.

Among the beautiful beaches there are:

  • The Playa de Sant Sebastia: it has got some good cafes and bars near the sea front which make it ideal for an amazing beach day and end it up with a big mojito in your hands watching the sunset. It is not so crowded beach so you can dive into the water and have lunch quietly. It is quite near the main church too. it offers the best mixture of fun, leisure and affordability.
  • Playa del Hombre Muerto is a secluded beach at the end of the promenade in Sitges. It is a clothing optional beach. The beach is nice and clean and there are cafes to provide you with food and drinks. The only way you can reach the beach is by walking. Another amazing beach present in the city! It is an urban beach situated near the Sausalito beach, wider and less crowded.

Sitges is an cute city full of amazing beaches, with a rich cultural background and an immersive nightlife.

ROUTE TO WALK OUTSIDE THE CITY

As my friend and I love hiking we decided to ask for a nice route to do. Among the ones we saw on a brochure the tourist info gave us, some were not accessible without a car (for what they said… I have to complain because the touristic guides were not so informed on the transportation and the attractiveness outside the city) so finally we had to choose an excursion of 10 km for 3 hours. The itinerary was the following: from San Pedro de Ribes we walk through the castle, nice to visit to the Montgrós, and from there we came back. The type of exit: circulate; Difficulty: easy. The only issue was we started at 1 pm so the sun was very high… but it was our mistake!

CLAVIERE: THE LONGEST TIBETAN BRIDGE, A DAY OUT OF THE CITY

If you are in Turin and you want to pass a nice day out of the city, an hour far from the city you can walk on the longest Tibetan Bridge in the world. There are 3 bridges in total and one of them is suspended over the San Gervasio Gorge (Val di Susa) for almost 470 meters (1,540 feet). In some points, the gorges arrive at almost 100 meters (330 feet) deep.

Furthermore, the walkway has four ropes, 1440 steps and it is suspended at average, at 30 meters (100 feet) above the ground. The bridges go between the towns of Claviere and Cesana Torinese. From Cesana Torinese, you can see the Piccola Dora valley narrows that form a spectacular walk between the slopes of Sagnalong and Chamberton. You do not have to worry too much since you will be using a safety harness.

The bridges are open every weekend from in May and September ad every day from the first Saturday of July to the first Sunday of September. The minimum required height is 1m 20cm (3 feet 1 inch).

For more information website go to http://www.pontetibetanocesanaclaviere.com/

If you are a group of 10 people or more, you can book online or contact them via email or phone to book the passage (all in the footer).

Crossing the bridge may seem a little risky but the experience is surely worth! You don’t need to be afraid, the bridge is guaranteed to be safe and they will provide you secure harness. Are you looking for an adventure of a lifetime, something that will get your adrenaline pumping? Just go and try it!

After that you can pass the rest of the day in the grass all around the small town of Clavier relaxing and take a deep breath of fresh air. From there if you want, you can start with several walks of different length and difficulty. It is a perfect day out of the smog and sultriness of the big city!

YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO SO FAR.. TO FIND SOME PIECE FOR YOUR HEART!!

LA CIUDAD PERDIDA: TREKKING IN THE HEART OF SIERRA NEVADA

In the heart of the dense tropical jungle in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, is located "La Ciudad Perdida" (The Lost City). This is an ancient sanctuary, Teyuna that goes back to the VIII Century A.D. and it was rediscovered only in 1972 by a body of explorers.

La ciudad Perdida today is the most known archaeological site of Colombia, and considered a sacred place by the 3 ethnic groups that still live in the Sierra Nevada: the Kogi, the Wiwa and the Arhuaco.

The area is an indigenous jurisdiction, so the natives manage the visitors flow. The only way to visit La Ciudad Perdida is a trekking of 4/5 days that cost around 200 - 250 Euros depending on the selected packet.

 

The packages includes the breakfast, lunch and dinner for all the days, the guide and the transportation to and from there (you can ask to bring you in Santa Marta, Palomino or all the places between the 2 locations). The path starts from a height of about 800 meters to arrive at 1200 meters. The journey is not so simple especially if you find raining days. The best way to deal with it should be prepared and equipped.

The local agencies where you can book your trekking will pick you up early in the morning at the hostel where you are staying, and bring you up to the base camp of “El Mamey”, real starting point, where you will meet your guide (mandatory). The transfer takes place in jeep 4×4 and lasts about 3 hours.

It would be dishonest if I told you that the journey is simple, , you will meet some long ascents steep and the great warmth will affect your strength, so it is good to know this that in order to reach the Ciudad Perdida. Better to have a decent physical preparation. An advice is to not do the trekking during the era of the rains (March, April, May, September, October, November) precisely because it often rains and the ground becomes inevitably muddy and slippery.

Day 1: You can have lunch at “El Mamey”, and there the guide will do a briefing introduction on the trekking. The first day, you walk 7 km (3-4 hours depending on the step that brought) to reach the first camp, where you will spend the night in hammocks. You will pass some ascents, waterfalls and rushing brooks that characterize the landscape.

Furthermore, along the path, you will stop in small kiosks and the guide will offer you water and fruit.

Day 2: the second day starts at dawn, since you must walk for about 8 hours to reach the second camp, at the foot of the Ciudad Perdida, Teyuna or as they call the natives. During the walk you will meet even the indigenous community of Mutanzhi. At the end of a long day you can relax in the fresh water of the river that flows to the side of the camp.

Day 3: The great day. It starts at 5.30 a.m., and after breakfast, is the time of the Ciudad Perdida. Before you will start better for you because you will have more time alone on the top. To arrive at the top of the Sacred City, you will have to climb 1.200 stone steps, built by the ancients and the only way of access to the site. The climb is hard, and puts a strain on your psycho-physical skills, but once on the view is unbelievable and the effort is worth it.

After a thorough visit of the site on the late morning, you will start your way back. It will take at least 5-6 hours to reach the camp (Mumake). Remember to not charge you more than what is needed because you will do the trekking with all your equipment. You need clothes to change all the days especially if it rains…. Chocolate and few other things.

Day 4: the Fourth day will be in descent in the same path you did for arriving to the Ciudad Perdida. After you wet in the waters of fresh streams, you will reach the starting point, El Mamey. Here await you already transfers that late afternoon will lead you to your hostel.

For other articles on Colombia, click here!

VIÑALES: THE CIGARS FARMS AND THE “VALLE DEL SILENCIO”

Viñales is a perfect example of the rural Cuban life in a nutshell. It is very different from the close Havana or from the farer Cienfuegos or Trinidad. A quite place, low key, laid back. There are almost no historical buildings in the town although there are plenty of nice cafes and restaurants to pass the time and relax yourself. The laid-back atmosphere is in front of your eyes. During the evening you can lay in one of the roadside cafes and appreciate samples of rums and see the old colored of 1950’s vehicles you prefer.

Another resource of this land are the Cuban cigars that are known all over the world. Here you can see where they are grown. Anyway, the place is nice also because of the magnificent landscape.

Despite being one of the most visited destinations outside of the Havana/Varadero hub there are almost no hotels in Viñales. In the town the accommodation are almost all “Casa particular”, where local families convert their free rooms to nice chambers. You can also ask for the dinner included, typical one and maybe you will have it with the locals that hosted you! Nice experience….

So what is there to do in the Viñales? The real gems of Viñales are outside the town.

VALLE DEL SILENCIO

Valle de Silencio, al Mogote la Esmerelda: a name that may you think that some fairy tale novelist came up with some of the places in Viñales. Although it is no fantasyland, it is a trip to the past. This land is covered by tabacco fields, and green vegetation. It is nice to walk or ride an horse.

For tobacco, Viñales is one of the best area of Cuba. The world famous Cuban cigars come almost exclusively from the Viñales area and yet life here is not much different to the way it was 100 or even 200 years ago.

The perfect time to Spend is 2 days. To really soak in the smell of tobacco, you can also stay 4 days.

You can also climb here and visit some natural caves inside the rocks.

HIKE TO LOS AQUATICOS

High up on the mountain slopes, a small community of Aquaticos was founded in 1943 when the local people used the power of water instead of regular medicines, because they didn’t have access to them.  You can walk alone up to the mountain. “Although no signs mark the path, there are plenty of homesteads where you can ask the way. From the main road follow a dirt road for approximately 400m before branching left and heading cross-country. You should be able to pick out a blue house halfway up the mountain ahead of you. This is your goal. Once there, you can admire the view, procure grown-on-site coffee and chat to the amiable owners about the water cure.”

CUBAN CIGARS

Viñales is embraced by tobacco fields.  When I arrived, the tobacco had already been harvested, so the fields were a more brown compared with the lush green of the rest of the valley.  You can visit the farm with horseback tour or guided walk from Viñales that will include a visit to one of the tobacco farms, where you can see tobacco leaves drying in barns, and watch an expert roll some cigars.  You can also buy cigars there to take home, they will let you know what the regulations are regarding exporting the cigars.

THE MALASYIAN CURRY LAKSA

In Malaysia the eating never seems to stop, so you've got the opportunity to get to know quite a few dishes. The noodle soup laksa is one of Malaysia's iconic dishes—but it takes many names and even more forms. The main ones are asam Laksa and curry laksa.

Asam means "tamarind," and asam laksa is a tart, sour fish soup made from that fruit as well as shrimp paste and various aromatics, producing a thin broth.

Curry laksa is a much richer one whose broth has a coconut milk base, and it's poured over noodles and garnished with tofu puffs, shrimp, and egg. If you hear someone describe a dish as just "laksa," this is usually (but not always) what they're talking about.

In Penang, in the north of the country, you'll find more version of asam laksa, and it's likely to be a little more tart and spicy, thanks to their proximity to Thailand and affinity for those flavors!

I tried the best one in Penang in the food court around the city! If you want to know more, read my article about penang!

This recipe version is traditionally made with rice noodles, prawns, clams, tofu puffs and fish balls. It is not a dish of subtlety. It is a perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy elements, normally accompaniments with Vietnamese mint and fried Asian shallots.

Food court in Penang

Food court in Penang

curry laksa preparation

Kuala Lumpur street - curry laksa preparation

Kuala Lumpur street - curry laksa preparation

Kuala Lumpur street

Ingredients

60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil

1.5 litre of broth made with the prawns heads

2½ tsp grated palm sugar

450 g clams

12 large raw king prawns, shelled, cleaned, tails left intact

500 ml (2 cups) coconut milk

12 fish balls (see Note)

150 g tofu puffs (see note)

200 g (2½ cups) beansprouts

500 g fresh thin rice noodles

fried Asian shallots, ietnamese mint leave if you like, chilli sambal (optional) and lime wedges, to serve

Laksa paste

8 small dried red chillies

2 tbsp dried shrimp

5 red Asian shallots, chopped

1 tbsp finely chopped galangal (see Note)

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 large lemongrass slices

6 candlenuts chopped

1 tbsp belachan (dried shrimp paste)

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground turmeric

How to prepare the recipe step by step

First prepare the laksa paste: put chillies and shrimp in two separate bowls and water enough to cover both with boiling water. You need to leave for 20 minutes or until softened. After that drain well, then process with remaining ingredients in a food processor to a smooth paste.

Second the dish: heat oil in a large saucepan. Add laksa paste and cook for at least 2 minutes or until fragrant.

The next step is to add stock and sugar. Leave the time to combine the ingredients, and then bring to a simmer. Add the clams, return to a simmer and cook for 4 minutes. After that add prawns and cook for 1 minute or until all the ingredients are well cooked.

At this point you can add coconut milk, fish balls, tofu puffs and beansprouts. Stir gently and  bring almost to a simmer. Cook for other 2 minutes.

In the meanwhile, place noodles in a large bowl with enough boiling water to cover, then stand for 2 minutes or until heated through. After that you need to drain well. Divide noodles, then laksa mixture among bowls. Scatter over fried shallots and mint leaves. Spoon over chilli sambal, if desired, and serve with lime wedges.

GOA: NOT CONVENTIONAL INDIA

Goa is not a city …. It is a  part of the incredible India!

India is recognized as the largest democracy in the world. The Constitution came into force on 26 January 1950. The principles of equality, liberty, justice and fraternity are the roots of India. The people from any caste, creed, sex, religion, and region can vote and choose their representatives. In India, there is a federal form of government that means there is a government at the center and at the state.Therefore, Goa is part of all of this and is the smallest state.

The “country” changes fast but the magic still is there. You can go to India just for a month but you need more time  to live India and the incredible culture it has.

Goa's attractiveness lies in the beautiful beaches , each with its own appeal. You can visit 30 beaches strung out along the coastline and each of them is different. You have to take care in the months of October and November when the seabed is still settling after the monsoon. While Goa's reputation as one of the most liberal Indian states means that sunbathing in a bikini is entirely accepted, but remember that topless is illegal and wearing flimsy shorts or a bikini anywhere other than the beach is extremely disrespectful. When you will be there , please respect the culture and what it means for Indian people.

The northern beaches are generally considered to be the most dynamic, developed and tourist populated. Calangute and Baga, for example, are quite touristic but you have to know that these beaches lacks much authentic Indian charm. It depends on which experience you want to live in India.

One of the place I was is Anjuna beach, the original hippy hangout, that has changed dramatically since its original days but retains a touch of the unconventional.

 ù

In the northest part of Goa and you'll find peace again on the beaches of Mandrem, Asvem and Arambol – broad sweeps of fawn sand, backed by thickets of palm trees and casuarina pines.

In the south there is another nice place is Palolem. With postcard-perfect views, lazy beach life and a chilled-out nightlife this broad bay has little in common with the more commercialized northern beaches. For something even quieter, wander south to the next beach along, Patnem. Go to eat curry fish, it is an amazing typical dish!

How can  I know so much? I rent a moto and I was just flowing from a place to another in Goa territory.

Party like no where else

Goa is recognized as a party destination. It was began to be established when it was a Portuguese colony, providing a liberal bolt-hole in a conservative nation. Young Western backpackers began to mix all togheter in Goa and the state became a venue for all-night raves.

There are, the three-day "underground" trance parties. The best place to begin is at Vagator beach. After this you should ask for the jungle location where that evening's party will take place.

However, since the police have started to crack down on these unofficial all-night raves, mainstream club started to fill the gap.

In the middle of the day, the pace of life in Goa slows substantially.

Yoga in Goa

Yoga is a usual activity you will do in Goa, the smallest India state. Visiting several beaches I was looking always for a Yoga class and it is so easy there to find one. Just go around and find the best practice for you!

I used to do Yoga early in the morning, when the sun come up and gentle tell you that the day starts…

Do yoga in India is different than do it in Europe. All around you, remember that this is a philosophy, not just a practice. You need to focus with all your soul and your mind and feel as you are part of something bigger than you.. The nature and the world itself!

SIGIRIYA: THE “LION ROCK” OF SRI LANKA

Located in the heart of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya is an enchanting blend of natural landscape and human creativity: an original human work and sometimes surreal, celebrated by locals as "the eighth wonder of the world".

Sigiriya, known as the Lion Rock, is located in the central district of Sri Lanka. To explain better, it is a spectacular natural formation, dominated by a massive rocky column height almost 200 meters. The amazing aspect is that at the top of the rock there is a fortified palace built in ancient time by King Kasyapa (477 - 495 d.C.).

THE LEGEND

According to the legend, fearing the revenge of his brother, which killed the father and usurped the throne with the force, Kasyapa decided to build a fortified palace right on the rocky massif of Sigiriya, which was considered impregnable. To better protect Himself and his people, He decided to surround the rock by two large moats defense, which fulfilled of crocodiles.

He created a residence of exceptional splendor and decided to establish the capital of his kingdom exactly there on the top of the world. After 11 years, the betrayed brother managed to take the original throne and was crowned king in his own time. At that time, He decided to report the capital of the kingdom in its original location, Anuradapura, and transformed Sigiriya in a monastery.

The rock was embellished by the realization of hanging gardens, channels and fountains. A stairway of rock still leads from the base to the top of the mountain.

However, according to new studies conducted by the archaeologist Raja da Silva, the site of Sigiriya would not have been the mythical capital of a kingdom, but a center of monk’s followers of Mahayana Buddhism, while women portrayed in murals would be nothing more than the female divinities of Buddhist pantheon.

THE EXCURSION

The excursion in the archaeological complex turns out to be quite challenging but it worth the effort. First, you will cross the water gardens with swimming pools and marble tubs, you will continue for the rock garden. When you arrive to the most external ditch, it is necessary to deal with a difficult ascent of about 1200 steps to arrive to the top.

In the middle of the path can be sighted a pair of huge paws of a lion, that once formed the entering of the upper building. Probably the complete structure of the Lion Rock was much more extended at that time and included the head and body. The whole structure reached presumably 14 meters of height.

Today you can still admire frescoes that decorate the surfaces of the rock. Originally, the frescoes occupy a surface of 140 meters length and 40 meters of height. According to the legend the frescoes included at least 500 women painted.

After visiting the rock, you can also see from the top that there is another rock not so far from there. The best thing to do is to reach also this rock, climb it and see the spectacular panorama from there. You can admire Sigiriya in from of you but not from the ground, from another perspective.

Whatever its origin, if you are willing to make a little effort, once arrived at the top of the feeling is extraordinary. Here you breathe stories and legends. Moreover, from here you can enjoy a breathtaking view.

If you want to know more about sri Lanka, see this link!

 

PLAYA BLANCA: THE CARIBBEAN CORNER OF CARTAGENA

Playa Blanca is the closest beach on which to spend some days far from the noise of the normal life. It is on in Baru, closed to Cartagena. It was originally a peninsula, but it was separated from the city during the construction of the Canal del Dique, and is now an island.

The life in Baru is easy, about 20,000 native people live there who make their living from fishing, tourism, and the sale of handicrafts on the beach. In recent years, the growth of hotels, eco hotels, and hostels has continued to increase, as has the demand from visitors in search of one of the best beaches near Cartagena.

Baru has many beautiful beaches, but only a few of them are open to the public, including Playa Blanca (the most popular. Other playas are Playa Bobo, Punta Iguana, Puerto Naito). The others, sadly, are either private beaches, or they belong to hotel complexes. Playa Blanca is perfect if you want a simple experience. For what I saw, no big hotel buildings till now, just small huts and a lot of hammocks … For me a paradise!

HOW TO GET TO PLAYA BLANCA BY LAND

You can arrive to playa Blanca easily, There are many ways to reach this land. You can go on your own by taking a bus that leaves from the statue of the India Catalina in the centre of Cartagena and goes to the town of Pasacaballos. From here, you can take a motorcycle taxi that will take you directly to Playa Blanca for about COP$10.000 (3 Euros). If you are only planning to stay at Playa Blanca for the day, you can coordinate your return trip back to Cartagena with the drivers that brought you in.

Another option can be to go by a shuttle bus. You can book it and it will picks you up in your accommodation in Cartagena and takes you to Playa Blanca.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT PLAYA BLANCA

Before Playa Blanca was connected by a bridge to the Pasacaballos small town it was an undiscovered place of pristine, untouched beaches (5 years ago). Now, the area has turned into a very popular destination in Cartagena with a wide variety of accommodation with prices that start at just 4 Euros a night. The place is still really nice and not full of huge hotel buildings.

One of the negative aspects of Playa Blanca are the beach vendors. They will continue to address tourists trying to sell stuff. But it depends on how much effort you will put in find the right place for you. I walked over all the beach to find a good hut without a lot of people, at a good price and with free beach in front of it, so no lots of people that wanted to sell things!

The truth is that those people are only looking to make money for their families and they see visitors as an opportunity to bring food into their homes by doing honest work. I’m not justifying their behaviour, as in some cases they really are annoying, but I believe that saying a simple and convincing “No Thank-you” is enough to keep them away. Or sometimes you can just speak bit with them and they will appreciate it even if you will not buy anything.

A very practical advice is to ignore the oyster vendors. The vendors will come over to you saying that the first one is free, however, this is a lie. Nothing is free, and if you actually want to eat them, you should establish a price for how many you want to eat first. If not, you’re likely to return to Cartagena with empty pockets.

The local women are usually responsible for giving massages on the beach, and they will also try to persuade you and charge you excessive prices. Some treatment as for the oysters. They tell you that they will give you a “free trial” of their work. Again, this is a way to trick you.

In Playa Blanca you could buy lots of Tours, to reach the others iland, to go snorkeling or other activities you preferred. The prices are not high and you can also bargain, so all on you!!

Playa Blanca was perfect for me. The white sand and warm, sky blue sea provide the perfect Caribbean image that that I had the previous year in Cuba.