A little over an hour outside of Cartagena are the beautiful beaches of Barú. As I’ve mentioned before, Fabian’s family is not into tourist attractions. We were on the hunt for little rundown villages and they were plentiful here. We followed the directions of Google Maps passed a few tiny communities and a beach where vendors (who thought we were lost) chased us in their motorcycles in the hopes of leading us to their oceanfront eatery. Then the road ended.
The GPS led us straight to the ocean but we hadn’t yet arrived to our destination. Luckily Katya was able to talk to some locals who advised us to just drive along the beach and that there would be a road on the other side. At first we were skeptical since we were sure our rental was not a 4×4, but after about five minutes of debating we decided we weren’t done for the day, we wanted to keep going.
This was the best decision we could have ever made, because on the other side of that beach was exactly what we were looking for.
It was full of small run down shacks, the entire village looked abandoned but as we drove in further we saw it was very much full of life. We got many strange looks at first, since the people living their weren’t really used to modern cars driving through. Everyone in the area’s mode of transportation was either an old looking Jeep, motorcycle, or a donkey.
Once we found the perfect spot, a giant patch of dirt, that seemed to serve as a town square… it was time to fly the drone (a DJI Phantom 3). It was then that all the village’s children came running out of their small, colorful homes to see what was happening. They were completely mesmerized. I mean, I hadn’t seen a drone before meeting Fabian so I couldn’t imagine what these kids could’ve thought about it.
(I got a few candid shots of my own during the flight.)
It was enthralling for us to see how much fun the kids were having, the excitement on their faces as they chased the drone. They also liked standing right under it so they could feel the wind coming from the propellors on such a hot day. It was getting to be time for lunch so we packed up and headed to the beach where those vendors were trying to get us to go earlier.
The set up was nice, we got our own shaded canopy and the best view of the ocean imaginable. Though, for the most part we weren’t really paying much attention to the ocean, but instead people watching. For anyone who may be planning to visit this area, just know, that the beach is crawling with merchants selling everything from jewelry, hats, fruit, and even massages. The massage ladies are the only ones that really put up a fight though, as they lathered their hands in coconut oil and rubbed our shoulders, telling us that we felt “tense.”
A young man served us, he looked like he could still be in his teenage years. We got to choose our own fish from a fresh platter he brought out to us. They didn’t look much different when they came out cooked either. It was my first time eating a fish that still had all the bones in it… oh, and a head. That was a new experience all on its own. All the fish I’ve had here in Colombia so far is delicious, but especially when we were in this area, it doesn’t get any fresher than that.
When we got back to the hotel that evening, Charles realized that all the footage of the children in Barú hadn’t been saved. He was determined to go back! And so we did, but this time with a game plan. Instead of stopping for a “sitdown” type of lunch we bought empanadas and other authentic treats from the grocery store before heading out. We stopped to enjoy them along the beach, which was really nice.
Once we got back into the village we parked in the same spot and one of the boys we had seen the day prior came running up yelling to his friends “See, I told you they’d come back,” in Spanish, of course. I’m so glad we did go back, Fabian got some really amazing shots the second time around:
They also really loved watching the tablet Charles has on the drone’s remote control. As you can see from the pictures below, they were surrounding him and then started climbing all over the car, since they’ve probably never seen one like it.
This time we came prepared to say goodbye to all the kids, we brought them some lollipops which we passed out. They’re called Bon Bon Bum and they’re basically the South American version of Blow Pops.
I know I’ll always remember these kids, and look back on these photos for years to come. It makes me wonder, if when they’re older, they’ll still think of the family that came through with the mysterious flying robot that weekend. Maybe someday we can go back and visit our little friends again.