is a small fisherman village located about 4 hours north of Cartagena, or about 20 minutes north of Santa Marta. Though it is small, it attracts many tourists, as it is the base point for the beautiful National Park Tayrona, which is one of the most famous parks of Colombia. The village surprisingly also offers a lot of diving services the nearby waters, and claims to offer the cheapest rates for diving in South America. Haven't checked it though...
We had great luck in finding a very good family cozy hostel (La Casa de Las Dos Ruedas), located right on the beach. We had a big room with 5 beds, AC and a private bath. Ah, and a well equipped kitchen, all for ourselves. It was so cozy and comfortable, quiet and private, that we ended up staying there 6 nights!
Our staying there was long enough to even create a daily routine and for the kids to make friends with many of the town's kids: Most mornings we have dedicated to home-schooling and internet. Then, we went to the beach. The kids were in and out of the water either swimming with their goggles or playing football
or catch or something similar with some of the local kids from the village who were very excited to see (for the first time ever) Israeli kids, and not only that they are foreigners which makes it interesting they can speak Spanish... a true miracle.
In General there are many Israelis passing or staying in Taganga, and so a lot of the vendors and kids in the village could speak some Hebrew words, but for all of them it was the first time to see Israeli kids - and they were fascinated. Omer & Shachar became in a day the Villagers' No/1 Attraction...
Shachar, who just last summer was scared of entering a swimming pool has become a fish - he dives and jumps and tries to stand on his hands inside the water - all without any sign of fear at all - actually it is now our turn to start fearing while he is in the water, because he is so sure of himself, he actually might do things that risk him....
In the afternoons we would go down to the beach again, this time with a cup of freshly brewed coffee or cold beer,
in order to see the amazing sunsets over the Taganga bay. While waiting for the magical moments, we read our books, watched the kids playing together and chat with the other Israelies on shore, eager to listen to our stories. When the sun was setting, the skies were beautiful, the water turned into a purplish color with golden glittering on the edges - it was so relaxing and calming just seating there, motionless, listening to the noise of the waves and watch nature's greatest prism-colors' show.
With the abundant time we had, both Tal and I finished reading our books, but it was fun to do it in this little village, because with the amount of Israelis visiting and the local Israeli hostel - we could swap both our books there!
Somewhere in between this loaded schedule, we tried a variety of local fruit shakes - Mango with Lulu; Pineapple with Melon; Mango with Maracuya, banana and chocolate etc. etc. - all freshly served from stalls in the narrow pedestrian street along the beach.
In one of the evenings, we stayed quite late at the beach after sunset, enjoying the good weather and the warm water. Just
as we were about to go back, we saw some young fishermen throwing their fishing net into the waters. At first glance, we thought they were arranging something as it seems like they are throwing it very close to the beach, but we were wrong - they were actually fishing
. Although not far from the beach, yet they have managed to catch an immense amount of fish and it was a great attraction for us as well as for all tourist still around the beach. We have collected a few of the fish that escaped the net and brought them to our hostel owner as a gift - she was very happy, I guess they were to become lunch the next day.
After 6 nights, it was time to move on, and so at early morning, we left Taganga toward Tayrona National Park
. To get there, we took one of the minivan buses going to Santa Marta from where we took the bus that dropped us at the entrance to the park. From the park entrance, another half an hour ride until the point were cars are nit allowed ay more (normally you take a jeep that waits for
tourists at the park entrance, but we took a lift with a van that came into the park full with Israelis we already met in Taganga, and so we squeezed in with them).
From that point, you could either walk or take horses. We were considering taking horses, but unfortunately there were not enough horses given that these 8 boys we came with in the van, all took horses. Shachar had the pleasure of being invited by them, and so he rode off with one of them, while Omer, Nitzan, Tal and myself walked (on a different trail than the horses) toward the beach. It was a very nice walk through a jungle, though it was VERY humid and hot. The trail took longer than we thought (or longer than the signs indicated), but we were rewarded with seeing a new species of monkeys we have not yet seen (though known to science...), and some special black and yellow poisonous frogs. When we arrived in the beach (Arrecife beach) - we finally met with Shachar that have arrived there with the horses half an hour earlier.
We then continued on the trail along the beautiful beaches passing through
Walking in the jungle
Tayrona National Park
another beach (Piscina beach) to finally arrive in Cabo San Juan beach - this would be our night stop! (Don't worry, we did not carry with us our heavy big backpacks, but only one backpack with food and water and another small one with the little staff we would need, which was basically swimsuits, snorkeling gear and towels...).
We bathed in the beach, that is considered one of the most beautiful in South America (judge for yourselves when viewing the photos attached), though the waves and currents were pretty strong. Tal took Nitzan and Omer for a snorkeling round next to the rocks at the edges of the beach - and they came back very happy and excited with the different colorful fish they saw. The Israeli guys also came to the beach for a while, but left fairly early afterward with the boat that is bringing and returning people to Taganga. It is a very expensive 'shuttle' and this is why we did not come with that boat (obviously we also wanted to see the jungle, but for a cheaper boat price we might have opt for that option).
After bathing at the beach, we eventually turned
to deal with sleeping arrangements for the night. The options were a tent, a hammock at ground level (exposed to tons of mosquitoes), a hammock up in the tower or a 'cabana' at the top level of the tower, overlooking the bays. As we got a good deal on the cabin, we took it - it is located in the upper most part of a wooden tower they have built on an “island” separated from the beach only by a small fresh water stream, which one has to cross in order to get to the tower. Though the room was very basic (only a double bed + especially for us 2 more mattresses on the floor), the view was absolutely stunning!
(as you can see in the photos). We did not mind the fact that the toilet and shower are on the beach, far away from us. The balcony of the our cabin was equipped with a hammock and Nitzan decided she is going to spend the night in that hammock, just like we originally thought we would all sleep. After showering in the open-shared showers of the resort - yes, yes, completely open and no separation between man and
woman... we had dinner to the light of candles on our balcony overlooking the ocean - it was truly unique experience.
We spent the next morning on the beach again, we snorkeled again for a while (this time I have joined as well), then we got prepared to walk back to the main road through a different trail (a longer one that would take us also through a deserted old Indian village), when the boat man approached Tal with an offer he could not resist - we would pay for the adults only for the ride - then an hour on the water, and we are back in Taganga, no walking, no sweating and no waiting and connecting with buses. Not to mention around 7 hours back home taking that option.
Indeed, an hour later we landed on the beach of Taganga, went straight to our hostel, showered, re-arranged our backpacks and left with a taxi to Santa Marta to catch a night bus to Medellin (15 hours away), our next stop and our next blog episode.
To view our Taganga and Tayrona Park photos, click on the following links:
Tayrona National Park Photos
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