Mangroves, oysters, and street food nirvana

There is a lot to do in tolu, Colombia. One thing we would not do here though is go to the beach, even though it is a beach town.

That's becasue the beaches here are full of trash. And that's the problem with all of the small towns in Colombia, there is so much trash polluting the beautiful natural resources of this country. Local tourists who visit these little places like Minca and tolu completely trash the place. Food containers, broken liquor bottles, dirty diapers. They just leave it all behind without a care. My friends at home will know what its like to have tourists trash the beaches. Just have a look at the beach by the pier or one of the barrier islands after a holiday weekend, both are totally trashed by visiting tourists.
We don't mind that we didn't go the beach here, we can certainly do that at home. Today we went to La Boca De La Cienega, which is a nature preserve just a short collectivo ride from tolu. It is a brackish river with five kinds of mangroves and a beautiful ecosystem.
When you get off the collectivo there are canoe guides waiting to take tourists on a two hour canoe ride.

You can rent a giant hat for a dollar which I highly recommend not for it's style but for the sun protection!

The ride itself is very relaxing and quiet.

I took the pictures while everyone else helped the guide paddle the canoe.

Oysters grow on the roots of the mangrove trees and harvesting and tasting a few is a part of the deal.

We paddled over to the mangroves and the guide pried a few right off the roots. He piled them up on the seat and we kept going until we came to this little floating snack bar.

We docked, had a coke, and watched the guide prepare the fresh raw oysters.

I felt pretty sure I was going to be poisoned by eating this raw thing, something I wouldn't even eat at home. But we all decided it would be the first and last time we had the opportunity to do something like this. So we each took one, the boys ate theirs gladly and wished there were more.

Maya took a while to get up the nerve to slurp the thing down, but she finally did.

It's been ten hours since we ate the things and I think if we were going to be sick it would have happened by now. I hope I am right because sitting on the toilet is not how I want to spend my last 48 hours in Colombia.
So the rest of the trip was spent paddling through tunnels made in the mangroves.

Nice way to spend the morning! No motors and no music, just peace and quiet. A rare treat in this country. Afterwards we waited by the roadside for a collectivo to come by.

But at least the view was beautiful.

Back in tolu we had a little fresh fish at a seaside place.

The best part of the day was discovering street food nirvana. I am pretty experienced at street food in my opinion, we eat it every day. But the empanadas and the fried chicken were getting seriously old. Then I came upon this delight.

So this guy takes a giant smashed plantain and tops it with sautéed chicken, cheese, shoestring potatoes, and four kinds of sauce. For under 3 bucks it's the best thing all around! Jack opted for a hamburger and said it was the best one he has had in all of Colombia.

Meanwhile a virtual parade of Colombian tourists are coming by on their triple seater bicitaxis.

Each one of these vehicles is equipped with a set of speakers powered by a car battery and they all play different gut vibrating music. The kids really wanted to go on one but Luis refused saying he didn't want everyone staring at us...like it was an unusual thing to do. The kids made a deal that if I would buy them some candy then they would shut up about the ride. I went for the deal.
We are leaving in the morning for cartegena, our very last stop before the flight home.

1 comment:

  1. So sad about the beaches there. We are actually really lucky here in Wilmington that the beaches are so clean and beautiful. Believe me, coming from the "Jersey Shore", Wrightsville Beach is absolutely pristine! You'll have to get to WB when you return. But it looks like you had a lovely last couple of days.