Paradise or Hell?

We had a half a day free before we move on to Refugio Matuy (a natural reserve on 5 km of wild, unspoiled beach which houses six cabanas with hammocks and no electricity) so we decided to take a trip to a nearby waterfall. My dad opted to stay at the hostel. He has really grown fond of the pool and hammocks.

My mom and I were anxious to get to Mutuy and have some relaxation time on the beach but I was also curious to check out the waterfall. It was a wonderful hike – 45 minutes through the jungle with Saige on my back. We had to cross five rivers by walking through them over slippery rocks. We really felt adventurous again (especially my mom). We passed some local dwellings – houses made out of palm leaf – and even a woman selling homemade cheese arepas (corn patties) fresh off the grill. They were delicious! My mom tried to deter us from eating them by pointing out all the possible local diseases but we decided that these were cooked and the ingredients were pretty basic so they most likely did not hold much danger. Just in case, we did not give any to Saige.

The waterfall itself was not as great as we expected. It was actually quite high and beautiful but the beauty of the nature was interrupted by about a hundred and fifty locals swimming, yelling,  and drinking. There were also about forty loud teenagers there on a school field trip. Not quite the tranquil nature experience we had hoped for! Everything in Colombia is interesting to me however. If this were back in the States, I would be thoroughly annoyed but here I decided to use it as an opportunity to observe costenos. The people from the Andes (where we live in Bogota) all say that the people from the coast are friendly, gregarious, and loud. Experience lived up to stereotype.

After a refreshing swim in cool waterfall waters, we headed back to the hostel fun lunch and then were driven about an hour along the coast to El Mutuy. We were really excited even as the water turned rougher and the sky turned gray, ready for a downpour. I was really looking forward to this experience of living off the grid – no electricity, evening by candlelight, hammocks, beach, nothing to do but relax. We haven’t done this since we backpacked in Southeast Asia fifteen years ago.

I was however a little worried about how my parents would do in such basic surroundings. My fears were exacerbated when we arrived. It was raining. The sea was very turbulent and it was hard to imagine swimming in it. And there was nothing to do! At all! This would be heavenly if we were here as a couple but with three kids in tow?!? My dream of paradise was starting to seem like it might not be such a paradise. Hopefully tomorrow the sun will come out and it will all be better.

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