Taganga and into Tayrona National Park

Published: March 22nd 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

A 5hr shuttle ride took us through Santa Marta and into the horse shoe bay of Taganga. The Lonely Planet describes the place as ‘a small fishing village that doesn’t know what’s hit it’ and I tend to agree on this occasion. The town is tiny and there are only a few streets with the main one being along the front next to the beach and the sea. Taganga is a backpacker place mainly and is in a great location to go to the Tayrona National Park and is also a popular place to do your PADI diving course because of the low cost which is similar to the Bay Islands in Honduras, Bocas del Toro in Panama and Koh Tao in Thailand which are among the cheapest in the world. When you’re in Taganga you are either in your hostel or at the beach mainly when not eating and with the weather being as hot as it is there isn’t much else you feel like doing. After arriving and checking into the Bayview hostel (which has a swimming pool) we looked into how to go to the Tayrona Park and also what there is to do when you’re there. Codie and Emma were also interested in going and arrived in Taganga a few hours after us so we met up at the beach and decided what we fancied doing. The first decision was that were heading out in the night and the 2ndwas that the day after we would go to the park together and make our way to a few of the beaches probably spending at least 1 night in the park. In the evening we played some pool at the hostel...Boys v Girls which me and Karl came out winners (just) and a few funny moments along the way with a few air shots from Emma ha! We then went towards the main club which is called El Mirador, when we got there via the beach and a few steps the first thing that strikes you is the view you have of the bay with the club being open air on a terrace overlooking all of Taganga. The place was heaving and full of people having a good time and banging music which included the popular Michel Telo song "Ai Se Eu Te Pego" which has been played soo many times the past few months its incredible….we tried do a bit of the dance to it but all had contrasting opinions on how it goes, eventful scenes for any others watching! We then left after an hour or so as the places shuts at 1am due to law then everyone hang’s out on the beach and waits to hear about any after parties. We did hear of one so checked it out to find around 5 others there so we decided to head home as the enthusiasm had left us to find another.

The following day was spent on the beach and preparing for the park visit. In the park the main accommodation offered is either hammocks if they are available or tents, so we all agreed we would prefer the hammocks and decided to take some warm clothing for the evening. With the park being close and many people going there from Taganga the hostels let you leave your big bags and valuables there and you just take a small bag with a few things you need. With the park being based around amazing beaches board shorts were the main item of clothing along with a towel and my camera with a few other items of clothing for the night. We got picked up early on the Sunday morning at 7am and made our way to the park, it was a 2hr drive and as we got closer to the park it began to rain…we were all thinking the same thing with their only being beaches…’what are we supposed to do in the rain?’. We paid our 35,000 peso entry fee and got dropped off at El Zanio and began our trek to the furthest beach on the common trail and also the most popular El Cabo. From El Zanio it is around a 2hour walk through a bit of a forest and also along other beaches, we chose to go to this one first so the main walking is out of the way and we can make our way back via the other beaches. It did take 2hours as predicted and we passed through some very picturesque places along the way. When we arrived in El Cabo we tried to get ourselves some hammocks but found out there was none left so we had to settle for 2 two man tents for the cost of a dorm room in a hostel. After saying I don’t want to camp again following the Torres del Paine experience I found myself spending a night sharing a tent once again. In the afternoon we went to the beach which is right on our doorstep there and took in the amazing views…..what makes the park special is the rocks that are founds here, they are incredibly smooth and some look fake from a distance giving a unique look to each bay. Luckily the rain had now stopped but it was still a bit overcast but we lied on the beach anyway along with many others for the rest of the day. The sun broke through a few times and as soon as it did you could feel yourself burning instantly. The El Cabo site has 1 small shop and a restaurant which is only open certain hours in the day, everything in the park is pricey as you would expect and ‘a lot of dinero’ which me and Emma found funny to say for some reason ha! You don’t mind too much when you pay a bit for decent food but it’s a bit annoying when it’s the only option and the food isn’t very good which was the case here. With all of us not really preparing very well on the entertainment side i.e. not having any cards or games to play we took the collective decision to have an early night and get up for sunrise. After cramming ourselves into our tents I soon found out the additional clothes won’t be needed as it was sweltering inside with all the zips done up to prevent any unwanted creatures from getting in. Also after there being no party going on all of a sudden later on in the night one sprung from nowhere and started booming from the restaurant…we were all pretty tired now after attempting to sleep for a while so didn’t get involved. None of us really got a good nights sleep but round 4:30am Karl got up to go to the toilet…on his return I turned onto my side and felt something crawl on my shoulder and I shook it off immediately…I didn’t have a clue what it was so told Karl to give me his ipod to shine some light, as I did I saw this pretty big spider in the corner of the tent right by where I had my head for the past 7 or so hours, it was about the size of my palm and was furry. Karl was saying ‘make sure you kill it’ so I told him to give me his shoe and I slammed the spider with it 4 times as hard as I could (after 2 it was probably dead) just to make sure then just looked at it for while taking in the fact that this thing had been near my head all night and probably crawling over me at some point. The next move was just to sweep it under the mat for now and deal with it properly later….the only thing was that I was now wondering what else was in there the same as Karl so we spent a fair while looking for any other unwanted visitors, even after the check I didn’t fancy trying to sleep there again so I got up and sat by the beach waiting for sunrise with my iPod in. As soon as it began to get lighter I got my towel and laid on the beach attempting to sleep, I believe I was successful for about an hour looking homeless at the same time. Codie informed me she went for a swim and I looked peaceful and asleep so she didn’t wake me. When the time came for the sun rise it definitely wasn’t what I was hoping for, with clouds covering the sky and only a dim glare coming through there was no sign of the sun showing itself.

During the day we all made the decision to go back to Taganga later on the same day with the weather not being great and the sleeping conditions not ideal. We took a walk around El Cabo taking pictures and also a few other beaches near before beginning our walk back to El Zanio. As we began to walk the sky began to clear slightly and the sun came out typically….we walked a few minutes to the next beach called Piscina and stopped for a freshly squeezed orange juice and a quick swim. Piscina is a really nice bay around half the size of El Cabo and has a nice cozy feel. We then continued on to Arrecifes and Cañaveral and admired the view again with the large boulders on show before walking back to the start. We bumped into John and also Birgit who were both on the sailboat with us...they were just entering the park and starting their trek to El Cabo...we gave them advice to try their best to get a hmmock each ha. We then got a taxi between the 4 of us back to Taganga which took half the time of the shuttle. When we got back we went out for some nice food to make up for the not so nice food in the park then chilled around the pool in the hostel.

Now to choose whats up next...

Additional photos below
Photos: 30, Displayed: 29


Tot: 0.186s; Tpl: 0.026s; cc: 12; qc: 33; dbt: 0.0378s; 33; m:apollo w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 6.6mb