It's finally September and you are days away from a refreshing new experience in travel. Now all you have to worry about is what to bring!

Un poquito de español

For this last month, we're going to learn about Colombian slang and some special phrases you might hear. 
Bacano - Cool.
Chimba - Cool. 
Berraco/Berraca - Someone who is a hard worker, go getter, or a really cool person.
Parcero/Parcera - Bro/dude, girl/friend.
Quiubo - What's up? (Contraction of Qué Hubo.)
El parche - The friend group, the squad.
Rumbear - To party.
Sapo/sapa - A snitch. 
Paila! - Too bad!
Chiviado - Bootleg. 
Mono/mona - A person with fair skin and light hair. I've been called that many times!
Cansón/Cansona - Annoying

A la orden - At your service. You'll hear this a lot in shops or restaurants. 
No des papaya - Literally means don't give papaya. This is basically saying don't ask for it. 
Ponte las pilas - Directly translated, this means put on your batteries. It's basically saying be alert and smart. 
Cuadremos - This is saying "Square up", but it actually means to schedule something. 
Parar bola - To stand on a ball. But it actually means to pay attention. 


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Latin culture is known for incredible music and for the tradition of celebrating with dance. Salsa, merengue, bachata, reggaeton, cumbia- so many different dances and ways to express yourself. The latest that has taken the country by storm is champeta.
Champeta started in the Caribbean and Atlantic coast of Colombia in the 1960s. It is a fusion of African and Indigenous rhythms that rely on percussion, electric guitar, bass and synthesizers, which create an explosive sound that makes people just want to dance. At first it was seen as "vulgar" due to the classism and lack of appreciation the majority of people in major cities had for afro-colombian culture. But thankfully that has changed, and it is everywhere now and being celebrated. 
Yes, we will learn to dance champeta in Cartagena!
Wganda Kenya is a band that embodies the classic rhythms of champeta. 
Tribu Baharú is a group that is so full of energy and the spirit of champeta, you get happy just watching them perform!
"Bailando Champeta" is an example of a song that has gained a ton of mass exposure, and one of the first champeta songs that have gained commercial success. 

Last minute things:

Don't forget your reusable water bottle, sunscreen, a small, closed bag for going out, any medicine you might need, plastic sandals or flip flops that can get wet for the beach.
Check with your credit card to see if they charge you a foreign transaction fee, let them know you are traveling.

We recommend you bring a bit of cash, just in case you want to purchase alcoholic drinks, gifts, artisanal wares, clothing, jewelry, art, etc. Make sure you bring small bills (no $100 bills.)
One of my regrets coming back from Cartagena was not buying enough artisanal jewelry. It is so beautiful and inexpensive over there, so just a heads up! We will also be visiting a gallery in Getsemani with incredible art. 

If you are at a store that accepts credit cards, we recommend using your credit card. This is because the credit cards use the official exchange rate, which will give you the best deal. 

Most mornings will be kind of early (7, 8 ish.) We did this because we wanted to make sure we got as much done as possible while still keeping things relaxed. Cartagena in the early mornings is at it's most authentic, and it's not as insanely hot and humid early on. 

We have an amazing group of women and we are so happy you're coming!  As you prepare for the trip, remember why you signed up,  be honest and open with your fellow travelers, and allow yourself to be fully immersed in this experience! 

See you soon!