We are in Puerto Colombia, Colombia today. We made it out of the port in Cartagena about 2:00pm and rode north along the coast until we decided it was time to stop as it was raining and there were not too many places if we went much further. But, before moving on, I’ll add the previous couple of days to this writing.
On Saturday afternoon we decided that since the port was closed for the weekend, we would try and locate an insurance agency where we would purchase the mandatory motorcycle insurance. All the reports that we have reviewed indicated that it is a must to have the insurance and that there are often police waiting outside the port to stop and even impound vehicles not having the proper insurance, known as SOAT. It seems that everyone wants to sell a full years policy but there are some agents that will sell the three month minimum. We had received offers of a one year policy that ran from over $2,500 to as little as $250 depending on the options. Many previous riders had said that we could get the three month policy so that is what we decided to find. Never did we imagine that it would be so difficult to find an agency for the three month minimum policy. No one seems to know about it and the ride reports that suggest places don’t have exact locations or directions. One that seemed to have what we needed ended up to not exist when we took a taxi there. We did a lot of walking about and managed only to end up wet with sweat and tired. On Sunday we tried again by using suggestions from another ride report http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=17429599 , but while useful, it wasn’t exact. For some reason, the actual address isn’t advertised well. But, it is easy to find by going to the statue of some boots that are by a large old fort near the old walled city. It is across the street, southeast, from the fort named Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. You can see the office by looking south from the statue “Los Zapatos Viejos” on Calle 30. It is on the south side of Calle 30 between the Chevrolet dealer and the Renault dealer and streets Carrera 18A and Carrera 19. The agency is listed as Seguros sura and is a large modern office. They were very helpful and while we could have purchased a three month policy we choose a six month policy because we will be returning to Colombia on our ride back north. We ended up paying around $100 on Monday and were relieved to have our insurance. They are open M-F from 8 until about 5 with time off for lunch. I’ve written a lot about the office because it is difficult to find and a must to have.
Now more about our days and getting the bikes from the port.
Went to the port to see if bikes were in. Took some doing because you have to get a security badge and then go through security twice and then wait for someone to open a gate that takes finger print recognition to work(repeated the process every time we went to the port). Do it twice because you have to get out too. Bikes were there so we got papers and went downtown to customs office. Filled out papers, in duplicate because they don’t have a copy machine. Filled out papers again because they gave us the wrong papers. Went across the street to get copy of entry stamp in passport. Went back to customs office, and met with a few officials, and were told to be at port at 8:00 the next morning for inspection. Left and went to insurance office and purchased insurance. Went to port the next morning (Tuesday), paid port fees and met inspector. Had crates opened and removed bikes. Inspector glanced at place where VIN was stamped and said okay (no way he could see it because it was dark). Inspector said to meet him at customs office at 11:00 to get paperwork. Went downtown, filled out more forms and gave extra copies of titles and passports (we had brought extra copies from home) to officials. Got official entry certificate and headed back to port. Got escort to bikes, loaded them with things we had brought from home and rode to port gate. We had to stop at the gate so the port security could check all the paperwork. 50 feet outside of the gate the police and someone else stopped us to check it all out again. I really wanted them to ask for our insurance certificate but they let me down. Now I need for someone somewhere to ask for it. Number one thing to remember to do is stay calm and don’t try to push the workers. They all seemed to be genuinely friendly and tried to help. Finally we were on our way and headed north.
As we headed north we passed a mud volcano that we were going to wade into but decided not to visit because there was intermittent rain and we were finally moving and cooled off. We did stop and have lunch while we let some hard rain pass and then rode on. Somewhere between stopping and having lunch and getting to our hotel, I lost my IPhone so lesson learned is to stay organized with all ones gear. The country side was very green and lush, there were small villages of only a handful of people. Pigs and burrows grazed by the side of the road and we had to be watchful that they didn’t move into the road. I suspect the less cautious ones have already become road kill because none of the ones we say gave any indication that they wanted to wander into the road. We even passed a few carts pulled by burrows.
We have both been having trouble finding things and decided that what we needed was a day to repack and get our trip started more calmly so we decided to stay for an extra night at Puerto Colombia. Tomorrow morning we will head over to Santa Marta and Tayrona Park. We had intended to go further up north but after talking to some locals tonight and finding out that there is some unrest in the area, plus the road is just a coal haul road full of big trucks, we decided to change our routing and avoid the area. After tomorrow we should be heading south into the mountains and cooler weather.
Following are photos of Cartagena, the boot statue and the insurance office, uncrating the bikes and the place we’re staying.
Plenty of Taxies
Joe walks the streets near our hotel
New areas taken from the fort
Cannons to make it a proper fort.
Joe down one of the passagways that lead to the inside of the fort.
Inside the passageway
I don't know what they were for but there are little rooms, about 6 feet long, off the passageways
The fort from the boot statue
The Sura Office from the boot statue
From the fort. The insurance office is the one with the red roof between Chevrolet and Renault Dealers. The boots are in the lower left corner of the photo.
Finally the crates at the port.
Free at last
Ready to leave port
They let us park close and under the awning.
It looks nicer than it is. Probably was nice many years ago. It has a duplex unit here. Duplex and triplex units make up the place.
Breakfast on the beach, kind of. The place was virtually empty.
It was early. Probably 9:00am
Not sure why this statue is on the beach at a resort hotel in Colombia.