One Night in Tayrona

For the boat to Tayrona National Park, I was told I'd be picked up. I wasn't expecting a teenager on a moped! It was quite scary and I closed my eyes for most of the journey. The boat to get there was like the boat we'd used for diving. Pretty much just a metal boat with a metal bench running around the inside. Not very comfortable. I'm glad I didn't wear anything decent as the Colombian way is to wade into the water then use a stepladder to get into the boat. And that's if they're being considerate. Then the ride is so bumpy you fly out of your seat for most of it. The captain thought it was funny to do the water equivalent of 'wheelies' so turned the boat so sharply the water came right up to the edge. It was worth paying the extra though as the scenery was beautiful. We pulled into a small bay that you can only get to by boat to pick some people up. A stretch of white sand, turquoise water, loads of yellow butterflies and a few beach huts. Paradise.

Getting off at Tayrona was just as beautiful a sight. I met the guys and we walked to a quieter beach along the coast and spent the afternoon swimming in the warm water and chilling on the beach. In the evening we walked quite a bit to find the place we were going to stay at. We passed this beautiful wind swept beach that one of the guys said looked like something from Jurassic Park, and it did. It was deserted, driftwood scattered everywhere, sand blowing creating a misty backdrop to the thunderous sky. Fallen coconuts and jungle to one side with an emerald green lake, huge boulders and a group of fishermen casting out nets. Once at the campsite we opted to sleep in the hammocks, which is quite popular here. It's an open wooden hut with a thatched straw roof and rows of hammocks. The place was in a clearing in the jungle and had horses roaming around and geese. One of the guys working there came over to us and he had something in his hand. It was a hummingbird! Then we played cards all night, drank beers and had some well earned food :)

Sleeping in the hammock was the worst nights sleep ever. It didn't help that I'd seen a huge beetle crawling underneath just before turning the lights out. It was so dark that I couldn't see a thing and that creeped me out. The rain on the tree leaves also sounded like people walking about and my paranoia set in. I also really hoped I didn't need the toilet during the night!

I survived the night in the hammock. We walked down to the beach and spent a few hours there. Then we trekked 2 hours to where the buses left. It was a gruelling walk in the heat, mostly uphill, on sand which is hard to walk on and through the jungle in which you get eaten by mosquitos. They were even biting me through my leggings! I was pretty stinking by this point and would describe myself as looking like a rabid dog. Stinking, matted hair, flea bitten. I even had my own cloud of midges following me. The walk, although tiring, was actually good. The landscape here is so picturesque and there's some great wildlife. They have lizards that are bright turquoise and also saw a large blue and yellow crab living under a coconut tree in the forest. The best though was spotting a monkey in the trees and also a capybara.

It's worth mentioning the bus journey back to Taganga. I'll give you a hint as to what it was like: the bus driver refered to himself as 'Loco Alan' which means 'Crazy Alan'.  So off we went, overtaking cars even when there was something coming on the other side of the road. Latin music blaring, Alan switching the internal lights on and off a la disco style and shouting 'cervesa!' (beer) and clapping. Overtaking stationary traffic, hurtling along on the wrong side of the road. One guy got off when we stopped at the lights. On we went, weaving through motorbikes carrying entire families, coaches, pedestrians, swerving past stopped taxis. At one point the door flew open and it took two people to slide it closed again. Might be worth mentioning that seat belts don't exist in these buses. We did stop off for empanadas and beer though.

After checking in at the hostel in Santa Marta we went for food. It was just a nondescript place down a crumbly back street but the food was first class. Then beers on the rooftop terrace back at the hostel where we got chatting to one of the girls I'd been out drinking with after scuba diving. I'd gone to bed earlyish that night which I'm glad I did as 2 of the others got mugged when walking back to their hostel!


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