We spent two days visiting communities near to Cartagena. One was a indigenous (Zenu) community, referred to as "el Cabildo", displaced because of violence from an area further south and the other was an afrodescendant community called Leticia. We (a couple with three children) had booked the trip beforehand and were taken in a small bus to the Cabildo where an indigenous host from the community gave an introduction and showed us around. We were able to speak to other community members such as the midwife/ healer and the captain. We were offered a fish-sancocho (a kind of soup with different types of potatoes and tubers. From here we went to Leticia by boat along the "Canal del Dique" a canal built in the delta of the Magdalena river. We were received again by members of the community, became acquainted and were shown the small community center where we would spend the night. In the evening we were taken on a tractor to the beach. This took about 45 minutes and many people from the community accompanied us. While we drove there under a sky full of stars, the elderly and illiterate village composer played his drum and sang the songs he had composed. We arrived at the beach where they lit a campfire and the music continued and everyone started to dance. It was absolutely fabulous. What made the night even more magical was the luminous plankton in the sea which would light up when wading through the water. The next day we made a beautiful trip though the mangroves in small canoes. We had mangoes and coconuts for refreshment and a good swim in the sea. All this was organized by our host from Leticia, Nelson who did a wonderful job. Back in Leticia we had a delicious meal and took a hike to the next community called Recreo. During these two days we were accompanied by Ana María and Nurys from the NGO Fundación para la Educación Multidimensional who are supporting the communities in their "Solidarity Tourism". I greatly recommend this form of traveling. It is a way of getting to know the authentic Cartagena and surroundings. Our trip was taylor-made but you can also take shorter trips. What makes it a wonderful form of tourism is that the fee charged goes directly to the community.
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