Edit Blog Post
Published: April 5th 2016
Note to self - Do not go to a National Park during a South American holiday week where no one has to go to work. I went to Parque Tayrona in hopes of hanging out on the beautiful beaches for 2 days or so by renting a hammock and setting up camp. In the morning I went to the grocery store and loaded up on fruits, water, and sandwich material which were to be my supplies for the trip. I then walked to the bus terminal and waited for the bus to arrive for transport to Parque Tayrona. There were quite a few of us waiting around and when the bus pulled in it was total chaos. There are no lines down here nor any concept of first come first serve. It is every man for himself to secure one of the limited seats. Me being about a foot taller than most Colombians I was easily able to force my way on board. More than a few were left behind. I knew this was probably a sign of things to come.
Once at the park I paid my entrance fee of 35,000 COP ($18) and was told I would not
be able to camp or get a hammock due to the number of people already in the park. Not to be defeated I pushed on and took the jeep that drives you the 2 miles or so to the trailhead at a cost of 2,000 COP or just over a $1. Basically the park is set up so that once at the trailhead you are able to hike the area to the several beaches throughout the park. The first two beaches are too dangerous to swim as their are strong currents and undertows. A sign warns you of the dangers and even states 100 people have died trying to swim. The waves did not look that bad, but I figured I had better heed the warnings rather than test it.
About five minutes into my hike I knew right away that this would now be a daytrip instead of a 2 day camp out. The amount of people was incredible. Everyone and their brother was here. Massive amounts of Colombian families all enjoying the holiday and camping throughout the park. You can't tell from the pictures I've chosen to use, but trust me. No way was I staying the
night here with all these people. Not to be deterred and laden with food supplies for two days I hiked to the farthest beach Cabo San Juan del Guia just to check it out. It was a really nice spot - minus the people - and if I had better timing usually the place is deserted. So I ate two cans of tuna, a half loaf of bread, two bananas and an orange to help lighten my load and headed back.
On the way back to the park gates I met a really nice Colombian girl Tatiana. She was studying veterinary medicine in Monteria. I was happy to have the company for the walk and it was nice to have a conversation with someone. We decided to skip the jeep ride and walk the entire distance having a chat. Something my feet today are not so happy about as long distances in flip flops is not the best. Back at the entrance their were about 100 people waiting for a bus back to Santa Marta. Discouraged, tired, and out of options I decided on several Aguilas and Aguardiente. I felt I would never get back to town. About an
hour and a half later and the bar $20 richer (which is actually hard to do alone) a bus pulled right up to me in my red plastic chair outside some random bar on the wrong side of the road and said "Santa Marta?" I was the first person on and was entertained watching the mob push and claw to get a spot on the bus. Gotta take your victories when you can and this was to be my victory for the day. Not bad.
I'm sure Parque Tayrona is really a nice place to be for a few days except this specific week and I'm a tad disappointed I did not get to experience the tranquility that it is famed for. I have plenty of beaches coming my way though so I can't complain to much. I'm now going to arrange for a night bus to San Gil father south. Should be about a 10 hour ride. Fun stuff. I feel my pace will pick up a bit now and I should finally make it to the Amazon and eventually Brazil (assuming I get a Visa) in the next 8 days or so, we'll see.
Tot: 2.271s; Tpl: 0.116s; cc: 12; qc: 28; dbt: 0.0427s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.3mb