Tarazá – Caucasia – Planeta Rica

Hot, hot, hot! This could be the summary of the last two days. I left Tarazá on Tuesday, 15 August, at 6am, and followed the Rio Cauca. The road was without any major ascends – just some of 20-50m as a consequence of the landscape. There is not a lot of variation of the landscape. There is a lot of cattle farming, and once in a while a village. I stopped at some stage for breakfast, and at 11am I arrived in Caucasia (65km).

In Caucasia I first drank some natural juice with milk (a bit like a milkshake), and rested a bit before looking for a hotel. I finally found a reasonable hotel (Hotel Colonial) near the Rio Cauca in the centre of town.

After taking a shower I went for a small walk, and got a beer in a small bar at the shore of the river. The owner told me something about the economical problems of the region, with mining (often illegal) of gold and silver as important sources of income. She complained about the government, the police and the multinational mining companies. But it is a complex issue, and mining is causing major ecological damage (in Spanish): https://colombia2020.elespectador.com/territorio/mineria-y-contaminacion-de-rios-las-violencias-invisibles-en-el-bajo-cauca. At the same time, illegal mining is at times (sometimes? Often?) also linked to criminal gangs (in Spanish: https://www.las2orillas.co/brasilero-cavalcante-emporio-mineria-ilegal-choco-cauca-antioqueno/). This is not to say that legal mining by the multinationals is not causing environmental damage.

I did not really see any of this with my own eyes.

The next day I left again at 6am (as is now almost a habit) for the 65km to Planeta Rica. The road was now even more flat, but pretty straight, which meant the trucks passed at high speed (away from the big cities the majority of traffic are trucks, buses, and motorbikes – there are only very few private cars). There were also roadworks at places. As is now also almost a habit, I stopped to have breakfast, and I arrived to Planeta Rica at 11am. I found a reasonable hotel (Hotel Casa Estrella) in the centre of the village, and rested for a bit.

Planeta Rica is a village, or maybe more a junction (here the route to Monteria separates from the route to Sincelejo and Cartagena). There is little to do in Planeta Rica. I went for a walk and had some juice, and returned to the hotel to rest.