Thursday, March 19, 2015

Trekking in Tayrona Park

March 10th-11th, 2015

I relocated to the other Dreamer’s Hostel in Santa Marta and I have to say I prefer the one in Palomino as it’s got more wide open and natural spaces and is near the beach but this place would do for a few nights.

The pool at the hostel:

Nice big kitchen...that I didn't bother to use:

And a little lounge:

The main reason why I moved was to visit Tayrona National Park.  It is supposedly some of the nicest coastline on the north end of Colombia.  I met a few others backpackers in the hostel who were planning to camp for one night in the park as it is about a 2 hour hike in.  I didn’t have the time since I had booked a plane ticket to head to Medellin and had already extended my time in Palomino but I wasn’t worried about hiking in and out in one day.

I caught a local bus for the forty minute ride out to the park entrance.  Everyone had to sit through a short video, or at least part of it as was in my case, about the park and how to help preserve it (well I think that it was as it was in Spanish and I couldn’t comprehend everything).  Then I had to fork out $20 for an entrance ticket and another couple bucks for a shuttle ride to the trail head.

The trail began with nicely maintained boardwalk with minimal elevation change (good to see the entrance fee money is being used for something beneficial).  The whole path was quite easy and I arrived at the first stop, Arrecifes which means “reef” in forty five minutes and to the main spot, Cabo de Juan in about an hour and a half.  I hiked at a relatively speedy pace but did stop for the odd viewpoint, the occasional leaf cutter ant highway and some small monkeys hopping around in the trees.

The hike started off easy:

The little yellow bits are leaves being carried by ants.  If you look carefully a line of them straight up to the top of the picture:

Ze Autobahn...or is it the "Antobahn"?!?

The first view of the coastline:

Looking west towards my goal:

There were nice big boulders on the beach:

Arrecifes Beach:

With some horses enjoying the sun:

And so was Flat Stanley:

The horses decided to go for a dip:

Pelicans flying over...they are awesome birds...

Cute little guys...not sure what type they were:

The beach was lovely but on a large portion of it swimming was banned as there were strong riptide currents and large crashing waves.  Cabo de Juan was protected however so there were some tourists frolicking in the water.  There were rows and rows of tents and some hammocks available for rent.  It didn’t look like the best equipment, but I guess it would do in a pinch.  

Tent town:

The protected swim area:

Looking west:

More poor Panamanian hat really is getting beaten up (spending most of its time folded up in my backpack)...although it looks pretty good in this pic:

I guess you could rent one of these hammocks for the night, this is up in that little hut on the point about 5 pics ago:

I'm starting to like Aguila more and more:

I explored around, had a beer and a few hours later started my walk back and much to my delight I ran into the three Aussies I’d just said good-bye to a few days early (Pat, Mitch & Jazmin).  Oh the Gringo Trail can be mighty small at times.

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