Tayrona National Park

After the 4 day tour to Cuidad Perdida the bus of my tour operator Expotur dropped me and my big backpack at the entrance to Tayrona National Park around 15 o’clock. Gabriel our tour guide asked on the opposite side of street in a restaurant whether they could deposit my backpack for me. For 5000 COP/day they and me were happy to do so 😉

I paid the expensive entrance fee of 63,500 COP plus another 3000 COP for obligatory health insurance and 6000 COP for two additional days I intended to stay. I recommend to claim that you’ll be staying just for one day as nobody really checks this. 😉

I took a collectivo for 3000 COP which brought me 7km into the park. As if the last day of the Ciudad Perdida trek with 15km has not been enough I had to walk another 6km to San Juan de Cabo from the parking lot where the buses dropped me ;( After 30min I decided that I can switch to flip flops as my feet started to hurt. My ten year old hiking boots had done amazing job and now it was time to rest in peace for them. Cheers for being an awesome companion for the last decade!

The trek was not very hard a couple of ups and downs through forest and in between rocks. After one hour or so I reached the small settlement of Arrecife which I let behind me because of the lack of swimmable beaches. In the next forest section I ran into a monkey family – what a great thing to see during my last days on this trip!

After 1:45h I finally arrived at San Juan de Cabo. Unfortunately, no tents were anymore available such that I ended up with a hammock for 40,000 COP/night without breakfast. I changed immediately to my swimming shorts, bought a cold Aguila (beer) and jumped at sunset into the ocean. What a relief!

After another beer and a shower I went to bed early and even skipped dinner as I was completely exhausted from the 4-day trek.

It turned out to be a terrible night. My throat was hurting and I got really cold due to the breeze at night. I also got a little fever and took some pills to survive the night. Much sleep was not in for me ;(

The next day I went to the on-site nursery and got some fever and throat medicine which helped me through the day. Honestly, I could not really enjoy the beauty of this place that day and hence I was hanging around in the shade, got some breakfast from the only restaurant available and booked a tent (40,000 COP/night) for the following night. Unfortunately, there was no wifi at all available in San Juan and my cell phone did not get any internet connection either in order to kill time. Somehow I made it through the day 🙂 After a mediocre dinner at the same restaurant I went to bed at 21 o’clock and got a good amount of sleep.

The next morning I started enjoying the beauty of the bay. It is gorgeous! There’s a small strip of sand which separates two small beaches from each other and on the small strip there are rocks on which an open wooden house was built equipped with top notch view hammocks! 50,000 COP/night for this luxury spot if you’re fine with sleeping in hammocks – I am not 😉

Next to the two bays there’s a forest of palm trees and as well a small swamp where apparently caimans live. I did not get see any. Well, there were plenty in the Amazon, so not a big deal! I swam twice across one of the bays and got me afterwards one of the yummy fruit juices. What a beautiful day!

I decided to head slowly back towards to the park entrance around lunch time as I wanted to stay another night in a proper bed in Santa Marta and have some proper food and draft beer 😉 I had a wonderful day. I stopped after 20min on the next beach called “La Piscina”. This beach is equally beautiful as San Juan de Cabo’s! I went snorkeling and saw couple of colorful fish and some corals along the rocks which were close to the beach. Visibility was great (>10m) and the water color in deed looked like the one from a swimming pool (la piscina!). Then I swam to the rocks which serve as a wave breaker and enjoyed the amazing view of the nearby Sierra Nevada. Three hours passed by like nothing.

I continued walking to Arrecife beach which turned out not to be swimmable due to strong currents. In fact, there were signs at every corner of this long beach that moren than 100 people have drowned here and that one should not become part of the statistic. I respected that warning!

Ultimately, I found a small beach at Playa Castillete where swimming was possible. I took a short cut and had to climb over a couple of rocks to reach it. It was nearly an hour from “La Piscina” to this beach.

I swam here and hung out for another hour and then left around 17 o’clock to catch the last shuttles before 17:30 to the park entrance. It was just a 15min walk from the last beach. Walking this trail with swimming pauses was so much nicer than without any as on the first day!

I picked up my luggage at the restaurant and asked for 5000 COP of reimbursement because I came a day earlier. They agreed and I could immediately catch the bus going to Santa Marta’s market. I checked spontaneously into the same hostel (Sierra hostel) I stayed at before the Ciudad Perdida trek and got some decent Mexican food and a couple of craft beers before heading to bed before midnight.

The next day I bought some more presents for my relatives and walked to the MarSol bus terminal in the city. As the next bus at 11am was already full I jumped into a taxi for 7,000 COP to the terminal (unfortunately nor Uber neither Cabify were available at that time in Santa Marta) and got immediately a small bus for 15,000 COP to Barranquilla. I got off at a main street crossing, walked 500m to the other side of the road and took the next bus towards the airport (2000 COP).

Unfortunately, my flight to Bogota got delayed by 1.5h and hence it was a bit of a rush in Bogota’s international airport to catch my flight home to Germany. I arrived two hours before departure, picked up my checked bag and had to walk through half the terminal to reach the Lufthansa counter.

After a long argument about airport tax I could proof that the airport tax was already included in my ticket price 😉

Shortly before boarding I am typing now these lines which means this is the end of this amazing journey through Colombia and particularly South America. My family and I had a wonderful time and we do not regret a second that we decided to take a year off and pursue our dream to travel through this wonderful continent!

We are very thankful for the beautiful places we got see and the fantastic people we met! This trip will stay forever in our memories and we can encourage everyone to come and spent some time here. Food, people, nature and animals are incredible!

Muchas gracias por tu amistad, tu naturaleza, tu pasion, tu comida, tu gente y tu amor, America del Sur! Du hast uns sehr viel Freude bereitet!



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