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Published: April 4th 2009
Day 715 (14.03.09)
Not far up the coast from Taganga is the Parque Nacional Tayrona and we'd been told that it was a must on our travels in Colombia.
Having packed a few things into a day pack we had to decide on the best method of getting to the park.
There were three options available to us. We could take a minibus to Santa Marta, another bus to the park entrance and then a jeep to the path for the 2 hour walk to the beach we planned to stay at. We could take a cab all the way from Taganga to the start of the walk or we could get a boat straight from Taganga to the beach. We considered the boat option but Vic gets a bit seasick and the journey is supposed to be really rough. We also heard that this way you don't pay the park entrance fee and we wanted to make sure we helped to support the National Park by paying our way. All three options would come to about the same price in the end so we grabbed a cab that would take us, with Vic and a guy called Pedro
from her hostel, to the start of the trek in.
After paying our park entrance fee the taxi driver dropped us at the trailhead and donning our packs we started the walk through the jungle to the beaches. It was pretty hot but the path was easy going and before long we reached the first beach where camping is possible, Arricefes. The beach was beautiful and pretty much deserted but the sea is particularly rough at this point and swimming is not possible, we'd also been told to walk the extra distance to Cabo St Juan as the beach was even better.
We walked along the sands, past some stunning little coves and through the jungle entertained along the way by lots of amazing coloured lizards including a bright green one, a few with brown and white striped bodies and bright blue tails and several rainbow coloured ones with bright turquoise heads. We heard almost constant rustling as they skittered through the undergrowth when they heard us approaching.
The walk from where we got dropped and the beach at Cabo is about 2 hours but is well worth the effort. The clear turquoise waters of two curved
palm fringed bays are split by a pale golden sand spit which is headed by a small island of huge rounded boulders. Sat atop this island was a little wooden rotunda and this would be our home for the night. In Tayrona you can either opt to stay in a tent (yours or one of theirs) or in a hammock. Compared to acommodation prices in hostels in Colombia it's fairly pricey for a piece of cloth and some rope but we reasoned it was worth it for this little piece of paradise.
Hammocks strung up in preparation for the evening we settled in to enjoy the beach and the gorgeous sea. After a lazy afternoon of reading and swimming in the sun Mark decided that he really wanted to get a coconut down from one of the plentiful palm trees around us. It didn't take long before he'd aquired one by throwing an old coconut repeatedly into the tree to knock it down and he was soon sat back on the beach armed with just a blunt penknife to find his way in. Some time later we all sat around sharing the spoils and getting covered in coconut juice.
There is a restaurant at the camp at Cabo that's not too expensive but you'd spend a fair bit if you ate three meals a day there. On advice from other travellers we'd brought in some food with us for breakfast and lunches and opted to buy dinner each day from the restaurant. As we were ordering our food we bumped into Liam and Nat who we'd adventured with in San Gil and also a couple of others who'd been on our rafting trip, Heather and Volcan. We made a large group as we ate our dinner and chatted the evening away.
After a day out in the open and with not much going on at the camp in the evenings we had an early night. We sat for a while on the balcony of our little hut and stargazed as we watched the moon rise in the sky. Climbing into our hammocks with plenty of layers of clothes on we listened to the waves crashing on the rocks encircling our room as we swayed in the breeze waiting to drop off to sleep.
It turned out to be no easy feat as we struggled with the
cold all night and were glad when morning came. The next night we'd leave our romanitc but freezing little spot to sleep behind the beach under another little shelter which was far less exposed to the coastal winds.
Day 716 (15.03.09)
We spent the day doing much as we'd done the previous afternoon, relaxing, reading, swimming and having coconut adventures. Tayrona is made up of lots of beaches and coves along the coast so we also wandered a little to the next beach along but decided Cabo really was the nicest!
Our second night in the hammocks in the other shelter was much warmer and we slept a treat snuggled into our little cocoons!
Day 717 (16.03.09)
We wished we'd had more time to spend here but today it was sadly time to leave. We left fairly early with Vic, Nat and Liam to give us time to do a little of the walk while it was cooler. As we walked along the paths we saw plenty more lizards but were also lucky enough to see a toucan high above us in the trees - Our first wild toucan!
As the sun became hotter
and brightened what had been an overcast start to the day we stopped at a pretty little bay to do a little more relaxing and swimming - life's a beach hey?!
We finished the walk back to the trail's start point and caught the jeep out to the main road where we arrived in perfect time to jump straight onto the bus to Santa Marta. A cab later and we were finally back in Taganga where we'd spend the night before heading out in the morning. Our time in the stunning surroundings of Tayrona had been amazing.
Planning a dinner cooked up at Vics hostel we met up there to find some of her other hostel buddies planning a night of fresh lobster. 20,000 pesos (about 6 quid) each and we had a feast of lobster, salads, veg, rice, potatoes and several rum and cokes. The lobster was absolutely fantastic - what an end to our time in Taganga!
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