To get away from the bustle of Santa Marta (and the smell), I booked a night at Finca Carpe Diem in Bonda. I had originally planned to go to Minca, but after some research I realized that the good thing about Minca isn’t really the town itself, but the surrounding nature and farms. Carpe Diem was already in nature, so it was just what I was looking for.
I boarded a busseta headed to Bonda and disembarked after an hour at the base of a mountain, near the police station. Then, following the hostel’s directions, I hailed down a moto taxi to take me up the mountain to Carpe Diem. Not only was that my first time on a moto in Colombia, but my first time on a motorcycle ever. I loved it! I did fear for my life at times, because the road was extremely rocky, bumpy, and unpaved, but after 15 minutes I was at Carpe Diem. I kept wondering whether he was actually driving me to my hostel or just some random location in the woods, and realizing I was completely at his mercy if he did, but my fears didn’t stop me from enjoying the ride.
I checked in to Carpe Diem and then enjoyed a snack of toast and guacamole. Since you’re up in the mountains, with no restaurants or stores around, you really have no choice but to eat the food at the hostel. For the most part it was good, though a tad overpriced.
The location was absolutely astounding. It was surrounded by jungle and mountains on all sides. I followed the stairs to the second pool on top of the mountain, and was not disappointed. The view literally takes your breath away. If you’ve ever dreamed of sitting in a pool while gazing at the beautiful landscape of the Sierra Nevada mountains, than this is the place for you. I spent my whole first day staring at that view, and admiring the jungle sounds. You can hear drumming every afternoon from down below, but no one knows quite where it comes from. It all adds to the mystery of the jungle.
For dinner, I ate again at the hostel, enjoying a tasty shrimp and mango pasta. However, if you do get tired of the food at Carpe Diem, there is apparently a restaurant across the river. You have to walk up to the river, ring a bell, and they will send a swing over with a rope to take you there. I unfortunately didn’t get to check it out myself, but next time I definitely will!
The next day, I set out to an organic cacao farm not far from the hostel. After an easy 20 minute hike, I reached a cute little farm. I asked for the grande tour, which was 20,000 pesos. We started by walking through the farm, than picked a cocoa plant and got to try the fruit! After learning about the drying and roasting process, we de-shelled the beans and got to work on making chocolate! Adding only cinnamon and sugar, it was the best chocolate I’ve ever had. Then, using the fresh ground cacao and water, I got to try a chocolate face mask! While relaxing in my mask, my guide brought out a steaming fresh hot chocolate for me! What a way to enjoy chocolate, in every form! If you have a thing for chocolate (who doesn’t?!) than this is the place for you! They also sell their chocolate, so you can take some for the road.
After relaxing in chocolate heaven, I did a short hike to a natural jacuzzi. It was beautiful and relaxing, but not really a place you can get into the water. There are tons of guided waterfall hikes from Carpe Diem, and unguided ones you can explore, but after weeks of seeing falls in Acacías, the views of the mountain from that pool beckoned to me again. There also tours to their coffee farm, bee hives, and a few other fun ones. My only regret at Carpe Diem was not staying longer, but I definitely plan on returning soon! The finca is beautiful, with huts to sleep in, hammocks everywhere, and even more trees (they’ve planted over 10,000!). If you need to relax for a few days, or adventure around the mountains, this is the place for you.
I took my moto taxi back down the mountain, and set off for my last night in Santa Marta. Then I’m off for Chile!