Getting to the entrance of the park was easy enough: a bus took us from Santa Marta and dropped us very close to the park office. After paying the fee, we still had to wait for a bus to fill up, which fortunately happened very quickly. After arriving at the end of the road, at Cañaveral, we decided to send our baggage with a horse, while we would walk to Cabo San Juan de la Guía, the westernmost settlement reachable from here. After a walk through the forest of the Tayrona park, we reached Arrecifes, a settlement on the coast. Warning signs were convincing us not to try and enter the sea, as the currents apparently have already taken many lives. We anyway did not have time for it, and wanted to be sure to reach Cabo San Juan de la Guía before dark. So we walked the beach, on the edge of where the waves were breaking on the sand. Passing some great boulders, we turned inland for a while, until we exited at other, smaller beaches. The sunlight was beautiful now, and we stopped several times just to enjoy, and took a small dip into a small bay of tranquil water. After continuing past the Piscina beach, so called because it is well protected from the sea and makes for safe swimming, we continued to our destination. When we were quite close, we saw all kinds of small crabs jumping into their holes, and we reached Cabo San Juan de la Guía just before night fell. But the guy meeting us had some bad news.
Even though this place has hammocks and a camping ground, there was no way we could stay for the night, as everything was full. We were unpleasantly surprised, and did not want to walk anywhere else. Fortunately, miraculously the guy realized he still had a tent, so we were saved. Or, so we thought. A horse-rider told us that our bags were waiting for us in Arrecife, a walk that had taken us around 45 minutes - a clear misunderstanding. After some deliberation, I decided to borrow a torch from a new friend we had met, and go as fast as possible. Running part of the stretch, I had trouble convincing the official guarding the bags that she had to give them to me. Once I did, I was faced with the next problem: walking back to our new home with luggage of two persons. I managed, and was lucky not to fall. I was even accompanied by a dog, all the way back to Cabo San Juan de la Guía - he was still sleeping next to our tent the next morning! After a good dinner, and a dip in the irresistible sea, we slept in our tent - the first time to do so in a long time.
The next days, we spent exploring the surrounding area, the beaches, relaxing, walking, swimming, sunbathing, talking... After a cloudy start, the days turned out to be great, and we thoroughly enjoyed the awesome nature here. The lush tropical vegetation covering all the hills, the marvelous beaches with shade provided by coconut palms, the lovely bays, the boulders on the beaches and in the sea, the clean and clear waters, the total absence of traffic all led us to believe we had arrived at paradise. And who knows, we had, and we should have never left?
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Parque Nacional Tayrona (Colombia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Parque Nacional Tayrona.
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