That is the motto of Taroa Adventures, an adventure and eco-tourism company based in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. They specialize in tailored trips and off the beaten path experiences. Focusing on a mix of natural exploration and cultural tourism, Taroa will take you where no other company in the region would and definitely to the places you’d be very unlikely to reach on your own.
One of Taroa’s passions is Colombia’s Caribbean coast, but they are not the type of tour company that will take you somewhere sunny and with white sands just to lounge away for the day. Well, they might, but your day with the local team will involve much more than that.
We joined them for the “Isla Baru Experience” day out, and this is a glimpse of what it all looked like:
We started very early in the morning, to make the most of the day. After a comfortable trip by 4×4 from Cartagena, we reached Isla Baru. While most tourists make it to this island via boat, only getting to the beaches and little else, we explored via land to begin with. This is what allowed us an insight on how people live on some parts of this island that, not being too far from Cartagena, is difficult to reach unless you have an appropriate vehicle.
On the Island, we walked around the town of Baru with a local guide, to understand how people go about their daily lives, make a living and even develop meaningful art. It often happens that when foreigners travel to tropical places they do so for the sake of a relaxing vacation. This means that, more often than not, you’ll stick to days at the beach, lounging by the pool, and getting to know very little about the surroundings or the people who live in those places that you make your very own paradise on earth for a little while. That is why when you meet local people and see them in their own context (not working at your resort!) you’ll leave with a much better (and realistic) understanding of local life.
After we had a chance to meet the people of Poblado Baru, we also spent some time enjoying the local natural wonders. We started off by the lagoons, jumping into the water from our own private deck – what a setting, what a luxury! We were so excited about this wonderful place that we even jumped into the water with a camera but without the waterproof housing – that means no underwater footage for you this time…
Amazing places can have this affect… they take you in fully, they make you forget about the rest of the world. For a day around Baru Island, our world was blue, sunny and peaceful. A boat trip around the lagoons formed along the Corales del Rosario y de San Bernardo Natural Park followed, with the opportunity to navigate amongst mangroves too. We even made a quick stop on an island where locals and foreigners were partying Caribbean style in their own yachts…
… and finally arrived to an almost deserted little island where a typical lunch with a view out to the Caribbean was served. The usual fried Mojarra fish that is often eaten in this area, along with coconut rice and plantains, never tasted this good! Specially when dessert was enjoyed along with a glass of red wine as our bodies were dipped in the warm waters of the Caribbean and it started raining mildly from above.
Taroa Adventures’ team is made of passionate people who love the Caribbean coast of Colombia as the home that it is for them. Olinto and Laura, our guides, felt like long term friends to us. This is not one of those tours where you feel rushed from point A to B, where you feel the pressure that you’ve got to see and do the most possible in one day. No, it’s like a day out with friends, sharing a passion for nature, for people and for cultural heritage.
The Caribbean is way more than beautiful beaches: let the awesome guys of Taroa Adventures take you beyond the obvious!