Isla Grande And The Aquamarine Blues
Isla Grande on Colombia's Caribbean Coast
After spending a few days in the hustle and bustle of Cartagena, Shelley and I planned to take a break on one of the nearby islands off the coast from the city. Isla Grande is one of twenty-seven small coral islands about twenty miles from the Port of Cartagena. We had booked a room in one of the small eco-hotels on the island as well as arranged transportation to get there. After some miscommunication and delay, we found ourselves in a twin-engined speed boat bouncing over the waves on our way to another adventure, this one being a lot more laid back and relaxing.
La Cocotera was the small locally run eco-hotel where we would spend three enjoyable and tranquil days "away from it all".
Look out for the coconuts! Besides rooms, La Cocotera also rents tents on their beautiful lawn.
One of the campers enjoying the tranquillity of La Cocoterra
The pier at La Cocotera hotel through an 18mm wide angle lens
All is well -- the beer delivery has just arrived from the mainland.
Since it was such a peaceful and quiet place, I made peaceful and quiet photos. This small growth of mangroves occupied a portion of the beach in front of the hotel. I was drawn to its shape and color as it clung to the sand with the vast horizon behind.
We explored the paths that led to the interior of the island. In one area, there was an extensive and healthy-looking mangrove forest.
One of the paths leading through the mangrove forest.
The local inhabitants on the island were primarily Afro-Colombians.
It was evident that the community was making efforts to protect the environment with a number of trash bins and poetic public announcement signs. This one roughly translates: "Iguanas leave beauty and love their clean trails and want to see everything in its place."
On the path to the nearby village, we stopped at this colorful bar for some refreshments.
Our host mixes his drinks with an artistic flare. My favorite throughout our trip was the limonada de coco, with or without the rum.
Composition in red
A lone papaya tree in front of one of the typical homesteads on Isla Grande
There were some interesting displays of public art created by residents of the island. I thought this one on the side of the artist's house to be one of the more imaginative.
This colorful mural was also an impressive example of the creative talent on the island.
And then there are the basic handiworks. I found the repurposing of an old metal passage door from a ship to be an interesting innovation.
There were no paved roads or motor vehicles on the island; the bicycle was the fastest way to get around.
Some interesting signage along the path that circles the island
Don't forget the fork and knife and dotting your I's.
In addition to staying overnight at any of several basic hostels and campgrounds, a number of tourists make day trips to the island. This is Playa Libre, where most of the day trippers hang out.
One of several private homes on the island
I was told that pop star Shakira, artist Fernando Botero as well as the late Drug Lord Pablo Escobar all had homes on the island.
As we explored the island, it was hard not to continue to gaze out at the aquamarine views along the way.
This was one of many abandoned buildings on the island. Some of them were to be resorts or private homes that apparently were shut down by the government for encroachment on National Park land.
While exploring the abandoned buildings, I was intrigued by the views through the frames of the remnants of the building's windows. What follows is a series of images I made with this concept in mind.
I met these two friendly young guys along one of the paths. They were very curious about where I came from and the camera I was carrying. They were very obliging to pose for this photo.
This was an experimental image made on a tripod using a long 5-second exposure. It was dusk, and a strong wind ripped the surface of the sea into a misty froth revealing a different mood to life on the island.
I thought I'd end this story with a wide-angle selfie of me and my beautiful wife and traveling companion Shelley in one of the lovely coconut palm groves on the enchanting Isla Grande.... Adios!
Keywords: aquamarine water, Caribbean, Caribbean Sea, Cartagena, Colombia, Island Life, National Park, tropical beach, tropical island
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