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No one moves fast in the Caribbean, it’s too hot. Barranquilla and the surrounding area rarely gets below 30⁰C (80s℉). This was our first lesson, as it took almost an hour to pick up our rental car. There were no problems, just an endless stream of information written on paper, xeroxed, typed into a computer, printed, signed and fingerprinted. We managed to get around Barranquilla on its ring road before rush hour took serious hold and made it to our new place in Tubará. 

The next day we took a long walk on the beach, did some beachcombing and headed for the store with a shopping list for the rest of our stay. With vague directions, we drove toward Cartagena and toured a bit of the region, ending up at a small grocery store in Juan de Acosta. Remarkably, we found everything on our list.

One of the local landmarks is The Sombrero, a restaurant, store, roadside stop.

We stopped at a woodworking stand where the owner showed us a wood sink basin he was carving. It yielded bright yellow sawdust. The wood is called Golden something for the color.

We saw a few birds and are still waiting for more of the local fauna to step out.

The beaches are highly varied. There are barely any waves on Playa Cano Dulce, the closest to our house. One arm of a long bay, Ensenada de Trebol, shields the beach. When we went out to the sea side of the Ensenada we found an astonishing beach full of driftwood. There are huge logs and twisted shapes of all kinds.

The next day we visited Playa Mendoza, where we found sand dollars.

What would it be like to live in this region? Getting used to the heat is the biggest hurdle. It makes most sense to go out in the morning and evening and stay home in the shade in the middle of the day. You wouldn’t need to worry about getting to the office and into the air-conditioning at work because no one commutes to Barranquilla from here. Our house this week is a “casa campestre,” part of a development of vacation homes. On Saturday and Sunday we can hear the voices of people on the beach. At night there is music. Weekdays we are alone apart from the caretakers. We had to summon someone to open the gate to the beach on Monday morning.

The people who live in this area full time are those who staff the beachside businesses, teach kite-surfing or build new villas for the weekenders, as development extends ever further along the coast between Baranquilla and Cartagena.

The pace of life suits us fine, as we visit beaches in the morning and late afternoon. We are at home for a dip in the pool, lunch and rest in the shade while it is hot.