I was SO excited and SO looking forward to going back to Playa Blanca with Matt. Playa Blanca is just off the coast of Cartagena on Isla Baru, and I first went in 2009. It was one of the most beautiful places I’d ever seen.
White sand, turquoise water. I slept in a hammock. I ate fresh fruit everyday from a woman who would crouch down beside me, take the big bowl of fruit off her head, and cut up enough for a beautiful fruit salad. I bathed in the sea and spent days and nights on the pristine beach. There was hardly another soul.
The beach has really changed.
Needless to say, it was pretty disappointing. The secluded paradise has turned into a super popular day trip destination for foreigners and Colombians alike.
And with that kind of popularity comes problems.
The beach was crowded with people and make-shift huts and so many horrible plastic chairs. Ugly “restaurants” sprouted endless lines of people waiting with ticket in hand to pick up their plate of included fried fish lunch.
And the water was a hazy turquoise. Hazy from the countless people people kicking up sand. I’m okay with that part.
But it was impossible to spend a moment in the water without dodging garbage. Usually, it was plastic bags or plastic labels from pop bottles and the like.
This time, I didn’t sleep in a hammock. I didn’t bathe in the sea. I didn’t eat fresh fruit from a woman on the beach. It wasn’t secluded, or peaceful. It will never, ever be pristine again. And I’ll never dream of going back.