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Posts Tagged ‘Tayrona National Park’

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Every experience continues to amaze me on this journey of ours. The beauty that we keep seeing on a near daily basis makes me feel like the luckiest person alive. There have been a handful of times; however, that have rendered me nearly speechless. Parque Nacional Tayrona on the Caribbean coast of Colombia was one of those places.

Machu Picchu, southwestern Bolivia, and Patagonia have all been standouts as far as landscapes and natural beauty is concerned. All have been simply amazing in their own unique way and will be the places we tell our kids about and remember vividly for the rest of our lives. Add another one to that list because Tayrona stands out with the best of them, perhaps topping the list.

Whenever we meet local people in the countries we visit, we always ask them their favorite part of their country. Tayrona National Park ALWAYS tops the list when speaking with Colombians. Tayrona is just up the coast from the little fishing village of Taganga, where we stayed for close to a week. It can be reached by boat or bus, taking about two hours by sea and about an hour by land. We decided to go by sea, which was a horrible mistake as the boat we took was quite small and no match for the middle of the Caribbean Sea. We thought we were in for a nice, relaxing ride with great views, but we got a white-knuckle, hair raising, vomit inducing (not us, luckily, but some of our boatmates were not so lucky) two hour ride that made the World’s Most Dangerous Road seem like a leisurely ride through a park.


The boat trip did have some positives, though. We went in the back way to Cabo San Juan, where we didn’t have to pay the park entrance fee, and it dropped us on one of the nicest beaches in the park, where we ended up staying for two nights. Had we went by bus, it would have dropped us at the park entrance, where there are places to sleep and beaches, but those beaches aren’t as nice, and the swimming is dangerous because of the rough surf. Also, there are actually huts and nice rooms to stay in near the entrance, which is nice, but it makes it more crowded. The only options for accommodations in Cabo were renting a hammock or a tent. That, coupled with the fact that it was a couple hour hike from the entrance and not accessible by road, made it much more relaxing and less crowded.

After renting hammocks, we put our valuables in a locker and checked out the campgrounds, which were definitely the most picturesque we’ve ever stayed at. The campgrounds even came complete with a futbol pitch, which provided views a bit different than the fields I grew up playing on (if I had played here, my mother would have never seen a minute of my games).

Our "room" for the night

Our "room" for the night

Our beds for the night (only two of them)

Our beds for the night (only two of them)

Soccer field

Soccer field

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Cabo Campground

Cabo Campground

View from Cabo Campgrounds

View from Cabo Campgrounds

The campgrounds were literally right next to the crystal clear sea and a ribbon of beautiful white sand beach, dotted with huge palm trees, with a lush green jungle as the backdrop. Postcard views were everywhere around us in the most stunning tropical setting I have ever seen.

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Adam enjoying the views

Adam enjoying the views

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Cabo beach in the morning

Cabo beach in the morning

Us at Cabo beach

Us at Cabo beach

Anyone want to buy the rights of this image for a postcard?

Anyone want to buy the rights of this image for a postcard?

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Everything written and every picture posted so far is probably enough to persuade most people that this place is special. We’ve expressed our love for Colombia already in the few posts we’ve written, but this country keeps managing to top itself. There always seem to be more around the next corner, always something extra. And while our first views of the park were amazing, believe it or not, it got better the more we explored.

Tayrona is a really big park which was still pretty dangerous within the last 5-10 years. Because of its remoteness, thick jungle, and many beaches, it was an ideal place for many drug cartels. It was a great launching point to transport their product by boat. Since Colombia’s revival; however, Tayrona has been cleaned up so to speak. But since it’s so “new”, the beaches remain unspoiled, and the lack of development within the park, as far as hotels and restaurants, keep the number of people visiting rather low comparative to other national parks.

There are so many different beaches in Tayrona, connected by hiking paths through the jungle, it’s possible to find yourself completely secluded from anyone else. There isn’t much to do in Tayrona besides lying on the beach, enjoying the clear, blue waters of the Caribbean, and wander around and explore.

Since we slept in hammocks out in the open, we were up pretty early the second day (which happened to be St. Patrick’s Day). We decided to explore some different beaches right around Cabo. One was a short 20 minute hike from the campgrounds. We walked all the way down that beach to find another little trail through the jungle that led to yet another beach. Once here, we walked to the end which was seemingly the end of the trails. We plopped our towels down and got settled, where we stayed for the rest of the afternoon. Not one person walked by us, and we only saw about five other people off in the distance the entire time we were there. It was like we had our own beach to ourselves and we had a simply amazing time (a little different than Dogtown, which we did talk about several times throughout the day).

Nobody around except us

Nobody around except us

Rolling coconut

Rolling coconut

It's a rough life

It's a rough life

Along with secluded beaches, there are also several other places to go and stay within the park. Cabo was at one far end of the park, furthest away from the entrance. Not far from Cabo in the other direction, towards the entrance, was perhaps the most beautiful place of all. A short walk through the palm tree filled jungle brought us to La Piscina (which means pool in Spanish). It wasn’t as secluded as “our” beach was, but the waters were much calmer, and in my opinion it was the most amazing place in the park. There was a big, rocky area next to the beach that was sort of cut off from the main part of the beach (it reminded us of Elephant Rocks but with the sea around it). The water in this area was fairly shallow all the way to about 30 meters out, surrounded by huge rocks on the shore and in the sea, and the water was as clear as a pool. I was in Heaven and easily could have stayed for days.

Hike to La Piscina

Hike to La Piscina

Watch out for falling coconuts!!

Watch out for falling coconuts!!

Entrance to La Piscina

Entrance to La Piscina

Meg on La Piscina

Meg on La Piscina

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Since we actually have a flight booked out of Colombia, we are on a bit of a time crunch to try to get everything in that we want to do, so our time in Tayrona wasn’t quite as long as we wanted it to be. It was a little odd when we left though because even though it was one of our favorite places on the trip so far, we were fine with leaving. We had such a perfect day the second day when we relaxed on our own beach with no one else around, then had such a wonderful morning the third day hanging around La Piscina, we thought that leaving on a high note was a good idea.

After leaving Tayrona and staying in Taganga for one more night, we headed off to Cartagena, a colonial city, right on the Caribbean (noticing a theme, here?). We are a little behind on the blogging as we are actually leaving Cartagena tonight to head to Medellin, but there will be more about this beautiful and unique city, along with the time we spent this past weekend on a nearby beach sleeping in hammocks yet again (we just can’t get enough). Hopefully we can find some good internet connections in Medellin to get this back up to date before we leave South America next Tuesday for the next leg of our adventures.

So until next time…

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