Tayrona National Park (Parque Tayrona)

 

My stomach was still not at its best, but equipped with necessary supply of toilet-paper I got to eat some light breakfast (4 eggs), and got on the bus, around 20 minutes later than scheduled. No worries, my counterpart was running late too.

In the beginning  of the journey to Tayrona National Park (Parque Tayrona) thought that the bus had only 2 gears (since was not surpassing 40 km/h), and shifting them seemed to be a real art, given how clumsy the shifter looked (moving freely into any position rather than staying where designated by the gearbox builders).

Only later the old beaten-up can started developing higher speeds, from insiders perspective north of 60 was already pure craziness.

After over an hour of driving, we were already in the place. Surprisingly, Seba was on the same bus, but must have entered from the other side. We were both happy to see each other, and curious what Tayrona is going to be like.

At the entrance I put solid amount of mosquito repellent, together with sun protector, since mosquitos and were somehow able to penetrate through any clothes one had put on (and sun was not leaving apart much).

The price for entry was 9 K for Colombian student, 16 K for any Colombian citizen, and 42 K for foreigners. Fun fact is that Colombia in order to promote tourism, didn’t apply the 16% tax on hotels or hostels for foreigners, but apparently major attractions like the above had a steep difference in pricing.

We started walking from Cañaveral towards Arrecifes, and then to Cabo San Juan through La Piscina, here I’ll leave you with slide show, only mentioning that it was really hot and humid, and the road itself was either steep or muddy and narrow (and sometimes all above were accurate to describe the stage). Nice part were native Indians (from Cogui tribe – which means Jaguar) on the way, selling coconuts and freshly squeezed orange juice. In spite of daily contact with tourists, they didn’t speak much spanish, saying what was necessary to the tourists, and comunicating with each other in their native language.

At half way we were exhausted to the point of desperate seek for some shelter and eat some of the supplies we brought with us. It was 12,30 pm.

Just after reaching our destination, first thing I did was put myself in water (with my overpriced snorkelling set and waterproof camera). Unfortunately, the visibility of water was rather dissapointing, and the underwater life was not impressive at all.

After taking refreshing swim, I went to the reception to reserve the hammock for night – it was around 3pm. I was told that, to my surprise, everything was rented for the night (25 K a night). Fortunately Seba brought a tent and offered that I can sleep there (in exchange for setting it up). Regarding setting up the tent, thankfully I had experience previous this year, doing that in Woodstock already. The links were a bit broken, we we managed to fix it, and after less than 20 minutes our new house for the night was ready.

The park guards were demanding us to register the tent. It turned out that we were supposed to pay 15 K each – basically for comfort of setting up the tent. This was too much for me – 42 K park entrance absurdal prices for food and water, no hammocks.. I decided that I won’t pay, no matter what.

After chilling some more, it was time for dinner and some beer. As you can imagine, in the place without any competition, the prices are usually set at frantic level – 4 K for small bottle of water anyone? Thankfully, small beer was at the same price, so I took the oportunity and grabbed a couple. After dinner we smoke some dope, inviting some fellow travellers. It was also the night of big bright moon. In my opinion it was tiny little bit more shiny than usual, but nothing astonishing. Something can be seen in the pics 😉

 

Smoking dope, watching stars and hearing the ocean in unpolluted place felt really good. And the stuff didn’t make me sleepy as the usual one back at home.

The night, is spite of lack of matress, was peaceful, until more or less 6 am. It turned out that our camp was situated literally 15 meters from the place where horses had their resting zone, so with the first activitiy their neigh brutally woke me up.

I wouldn’t be able to stay in our tent for much longer, since it was not put in the shade, and sun soon made this place feel like a sauna, last thing one wants in such warm climate.

We had breakfast and were figuring out what to do during the day. We decided to trek towards El Pueblito, the abandoned village that used to be the local capital for Cogui tribe.

I heard that the place was located at 260 meters above the sea level (at which we were starting).

on the way up it was and adventure, where one had to use the ropes or help of third parties to get there. Adventure to my liking. After around 90 minutes we reached El Pueblito. I was stunned how the natives were able to maintain this place, with extremely hard access, little space to cultivate the crops, and very difficult access to the sea where the food could also be obtained. Seba spoke to one of the natives, and showed her a magic trick – which delighted the young lady.

 

After a quick visit we started descending the other way – supposedly easier.

I never expected the hike to be so exhausting, to the point of being homocidious.

It was the road made for donkeys and horses – steep, muddy and monotonous. And descending is always harder than ascending. After internal fight of over 2 hours and cursing at whichever language currently crossed my mind, we finally arrived at the seaside. It was a nudist beach, so I couldn’t skip opportunity to get naked into the ocean. As the only one on the beach, since the rest was too shy to get their clothes off. Their lose, especially that sand was of prime grading, thus feeling great.

We continued towards our camp where we had lunch. At the shower I was asked where my bracelet was (given upon registering – that 15 K that I decided not to pay). Quick explanation that I’m on the way back was enough reasoning for the guard.

In original plan I was supposed to come back to Santa Marta Rodadero part for 3 nights. But the company of Seba was so good that I decided to stick with him whatever his plan was. And it was to hit full-moon party in the village located around 30 kilometers from where we were at the moment.

It was getting late, so we decided that walking would make it impossible to catch the bus, so we got ourselves the horses. Also, I didn’t feel like walking anymore after descend from El Pueblito. Price of 40 K per horse didn’t seem that elevated given the above.

The ride was rough and delightful. In our group there were 2 more girls, one was obese to extreme levels, so I felt sorry for the horse. She didn’t have a clue how to ride it, so after 15 minutes of starts and stops I let mine go, occasionally even trotting (riding at high speed). The ride was wonderful, and the walk would be horrible. I arrived 20 minutes ahead of the rest of the group (the total time for me was 1 hour). Later I learned that the obese girl got scared, hung onto the tree, and her horse lost balance, thus hit the ground. Poor creature!

It was time to say goodbye to Tayrona and take the road down to Full moon party place.

 

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