Descending on the lowlands of Colombia’s Caribbean coast you enter another world. Steamy, colourful and lively, the entire area pulses to the rhythms of the omnipresent vallenato. Costeños may be looked down on by their more sombre countrymen, intimating that they lack the same sophistication and work ethic, but they certainly know how to enjoy themselves.
Aside from drinking and dancing, there is also fine architecture and an impressive literary legacy, particularly in Cartagena, the emerald in the crown of Colombia. This stunning colonial city bursts with colour and history, and offers fine food, a lively nightlife and some sparkling coral islands within easy reach.
South from Cartagena is Mompós, a colonial town where the clocks stopped somewhere back in the early 20th century and which puts on one of the best Easter festivals in the world. Up the Gulf of Urabá, on the way to Panama are the villages of Acandí, Capurganá and Sapzurro, unreachable by road and boasting a wild shoreline of coral reefs and the virgin jungles of the Darién.
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