The challenge: Visit Aracataca, the author’s hometown
One hundred years of Solitude, published in 1967, quickly became one of the most iconic novels of the 20th century. The masterpiece written by Nobel prize laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez enchants the reader with pinches of what is known as ‘magical realism’. Rumor has it Garcia Marquez was inspired by his hometown, Aracataca, when describing the mystical village of Macondo.
You can find Aracataca by the Magdalena River in the province of Magdalena, near the Caribbean coast. Nestled among the banana plantations, the small town drips with Caribbean heat and scenic beauty. Locals, maps and bus drivers will tell you its real name is Aracataca, even though the magic of Macondo awaits around every corner!
The only noted attractions in town are the house where Gabo was born and the church where he was baptized. Nevertheless, the dirty, narrow streets still exude the spirit of the novel. The well-curated Casa Museo Gabriel Garcia Marquez is located in a reconstruction of the house where Garcia Marquez was born in 1927; the original house was sold by the family and knocked down years ago. However, the buildings have been carefully restored to resemble their original state.
Today Aracataca remains a small town on the side of the only highway connecting Santa Marta, Bucaramanga and Bogota. The easiest way to get there is to follow the coastline, either from Santa Marta or Barranquilla, then turn towards the banana plantations. What should be an hour-and-a-half-long trip turns into a three-hour journey thanks to heavy traffic and the chaotic nature of Colombian driving. Make sure to fill up your fuel tank and bring lots of water, snacks and patience! Entrance to the house-museum is free of charge and the address is Carrera 6 No. 5-46. You can visit it Tuesday through Sunday from 8 am – 1 pm and 2–5 pm.