Park Tayrona

BFP Magazine

Travel Bogota

Park Tayrona

By Andrea Holme

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tayrona Park

After a day of rest from the diving (by the way we passed the exam and all that- good old multiple choice :-) today we went into the Parque Nacional Tayrona- a national park which covers a large chunk of the Caribbean coast east of Taganga. We did most of our dives in the western part of the park but the eastern part is said to have the most beautiful beaches so we took a bus and spent the day there and it truly was the most beautiful place I have seen. That side of the park gets a lot more rain than the arid Taganga side and hence there is dense jungle vegetation which comes right down to the beach. Walking the paths from beach to beach we saw huge colonies of leaf-cutter ants streaming along their own motorway-like paths, enormous spiders with yellow and black legs sitting on their webs and hundreds of jewel bright lizards and land crabs which scuttled away at our tread but not before we glimpsed a flash of colour. The first beach at Arrecifes is forbidden for swimming as the currents there have killed several people, but there's a campsite there which was pretty busy with this being the weekend- with tents and hammocks scattered about. The beach there is lovely but very wild- you can tell from the size of the waves that the water is not a safe place.

Tayrona Park

15 minutes along the jungle path though and you come out at La Piscina (the swimming pool), where a natural bay is protected from the force of the sea by a reef. Huge, rounded boulders form the sides of the bay and the spotless beach is scattered about with driftwood and smaller boulders which are perfect for sunbating on or storing your stuff. The water is crystal clear and much warmer than in Taganga and shelves very gently with only small waves lapping on the beach. Even though it is the weekend the beach was quiet with perhaps 6 or 7 couples well spead out. Palm trees and jungle form the backdrop and I can well believe that this beach and the others in this part of the park are those depicted in many of the Caribbean postcards you can buy in Colombia. After a swim we made our way on for another 30 mins to the next beach El Cabo where there is another campsite with a restaurant and Mirador (lookout point). Again words can't do justice to the beauty and tranquility of this spot; I'm not sure my photos can either but I'll put some on in the next couple of days to give you an idea. If I come back to Colombia in the future, and I really hope I will as it is a marvellous country so far then I will bring a tent and spend a few days camping in the Tayrona park- the rest of the world seemed a million miles away whilst we were there! On our way out of the park we picked up a fallen coconut and it is a testimony to Uli's tenacity and the power of a Swiss Army knife that we (well he) got into it and we drank the milk and ate the flesh before we left!

We came back to Taganga in a huge 4x4 pick-up truck with 2 Colombian guys we had bumped into a couple of times in the park. They were, like all Colombians so far very friendly, proud of their beautiful country and keen for us to enjoy it and not be intimidated by the problems which, while certainly present are undoubtedly exagerrated by the world's press and hearsay at least as far as the risk to travellers is concerned. The drove us round a suburb of Santa Marta which we hadn't seen as they thought we should see it, and then took us for a beer and all the way back to Felipe's and here we are, cooking pasta and planning to move on tomorrow, although with much regret to be leaving this idyllic corner. Still Cartagena awaits and after that the rest of Colombia so we can't stay but this is definitely a place to come back to (besides the hostel cat has kittens and I want to see them grown up)

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