Cartagena, Colombia is known for its picturesque sunsets, beautiful baroque churches, colorful crafts, and stunning colonial architecture. Its historic town is literally a walled city that was build to protect its citizens from pirate attacks over 400 years ago. What many don't know is that beyond those walls, lies a myriad of slums built on landfills in some of the most alarming living conditions.
One of these slums is La Boquilla; a quaint fishing village nestled on the mangrove swamps between the road north to Santa Marta and a massive development of lavish condos and hotels. It has recently transformed itself into an eco friendly fishing village, hosting tours through the Cueve Del Manglar; its protected eco-system.
As we drove along the desolated beach towards the bay, we passed shack after shack of hammocks and handcrafted grilling pits. Upon arrival we stepped into canoes carved out of scrap tree trunks painted in vibrant colors. As our tour guide pushed us through the tunnels of mangroves, we witnessed men fishing for the evening's dinner, the incredible bio-diversity and watched the sunset as we pulled in.
The children of the village were probably the most memorable of our trip. Not only do their smiles remain in our minds but their humble demeanor and welcoming characters created a desire to give back. We pulled out our mini Instax camera and began to take photos of the kids (that were so eager to pose) handing each one of them their own photo. The moment was cherished and has sparked a new project that will combine our love for travel, people, photography and giving back.
If you want something alternative to your holiday visit: