LAST STOP, PALENQUE

After six days in the desert heat and five days by the sea, we made it to Palenque.  This Afro-Colombian village is an hour outside of Cartagena, Colombia's main coastal city. San Basilio de Palenque is a maroon community founded, or 'made official', in 1691 by slaves who escaped to what was then the jungle. This is a community like no other. It has maintained an original language, Palenquero, as well as its own rules, customs and music for over 300 years, in large part due to how isolated it was and still is.

Making the long journey is well worth it because when we arrive, the heat is hotter, the colours brighter, the people calmer, kinder, easier. When we start taking pictures, all the girls turn out and giggle shyly, including a six year old who was unknowingly a huge fan of Stella McCartney. Danilo, the unofficial tour guide for Palenque, who is deeply entrenched in its cultural history, told us that they all know how to pose, how to look cool, how to stand. When I asked what he meant, he replied, ‘The internet, hip hop - we're connected to everything.’

Published on Nataal.  Photography by Hana Knizova