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  • Writer's pictureSanni & Gerri@

Tayrona National Park. Sometimes it's just not how woman would think it is

03. December


After being through the physical torture of the Lost City Trek, we take a two-day break at the pool of our Dreamer Hostel. We take care of our tormented bodies and the laundry of "hell" must also be washed intensively. But then the adventure continues: the Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona is considered by Colombians as one of the most beautiful places in their country. It is located in the east, just an hour from Santa Marta. After a short reflection, it is clear for us to visit the park as part of a day trip. There is also the possibility to camp. Immediately after our recent trip, this does not seem very tempting to us. So we are moving to a hostel near Tayrona, from where we take the public bus to the entrance.

The common descriptions of Tayrona National Park in the internet are fairytale. Lush and dense rainforest where toucans, monkeys, parrots, sloths, coatis and numerous other animals can be seen. During the research, we immediately find numerous pictures of dream beaches. The water of the rough Caribbean Sea shines turquoise. On the beaches we will find a sea of palm trees and untouched jungle, in the background the snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Pure postcard scenery. At the same time, when you read more closely, you learn that the park is extremely popular and therefore often bursts at the seams. The entrance will be closed when the daily capacity of 1,700 people is reached. After the high season in December and January, the park even closes for a complete month "for recreation of nature".

Doesn't even sound that good.

That doesn‘t stop us from going there and we hope that we will be lucky not to get stuck in the crowds. Once at the entrance, we are rather positively surprised. There is a lot of activity going on here for a Friday, but we don't have the impression that it's overcrowded. But what surprises us directly is the clothing of the predominantly local visitors. Equipped with white dresses and mini skirts, in flip-flops and with chic straw hats on their head, they carry their refrigerated chests and music boxes into the park. We, on the other hand, are fully prepared for hiking in the jungle and dressed accordingly.

In the first part of the park we walk up and down hill exclusively over wooden jetties and various stairs. The paths are well signposted and not particularly demanding. In this respect, this makes sense with the flip flops. However, it is still quite warm, as the heat and humidity are high here as well. Arriving at the first viewpoint, we are not disappointed. The view of Punta Cañaveral is really super beautiful and the fresh wind gives us a first cooling off.

The path continues and the wooden planks are now joined by some well-trodden muddy paths and some rocks that have to be climbed over. Huge piles of empty coconuts of the tourists lie around everywhere. It's organic, but still looks kind of garbage-like. The forest is getting a little denser, but no trace of animals or insects. No, not quite correct. Horses! There are a lot of horses in this jungle. On their backs, the lazy tourists rocking awkwardly and holding on tight. Clever. They save themselves the way through the paths ploughed by the hooves of the animals which is difficult to pass. That remain for us. And the penetrating smell of horse poop, too.


Annotation of the editor: Do you realise anything yet? Sanni complains about rumbling coconuts. And she is even bothered by the smell of horse poop... As an absolute horse fool?


The hike becomes a little more strenuous, but remains rather unspectacular. In addition to us, quite a lot of other people, equipped with beer and music, are now hiking next to us. The surrounding doesn't create much of an adventurer mood in us. Fortunately, the next dream beach is coming soon. Playa Arreceifes offers wonderful views. Creeping plants in the sandy soil, coconut palms, fine sand and in between again and again as scattered the smooth gray boulders. Really very very nice. And here we are almost by our own. There is also a reason for that. The coast consists of many rocky cliffs and stones, which cause a very strong swell and treacherous currents. Therefore, bathing is strictly prohibited here.


To continue following the hiking trail through the park, we pass the first camp where you can spend the night at. A very dull location, as we think. So we are really very happy that we have not chosen this option. Further on, we have to climb a little here and there and cross one or the other creek. While this caused pure adrenaline and real adventurous spirit a few days ago, today we master these challenges rather indifferently. Actually, Sanni is rather annoyed:

Uuufff, I really can't see mud anymore...and besides, it stinks... and it's not authentic here at all.

Gerriet - zodiac sign libra - tries to cheer up the mood: "Look it is really beautiful here! And maybe we'll see monkeys right away! Todo es possible!"

Next, we pass the first beach where swimming is possible. La Piscina - the swimming pool. This name is just right. Due to the upstream stones, the waves break way before the beach, the water is quiet just like in a swimming pool. The sand is fantastically white again here, the water crystal clear. And it is already relatively crowded here. (The picture is from the way back)

So we go directly parallel along the beach, protected from the sun by tall palm trees, to the main beach Cabo San Juan. This is the final destination for us and most other visitors. This beach is famous for being the most beautiful beach in the national park. And that's true. Cabo de San Juan consists of two coves. In the centre there is a viewpoint on a rock. At the top of the tower you can chill in hammocks and also spend the night. The view is a dream and so we forget for a moment the 1,698 other visitors who populate the beach and take some "Instagram-like photos" in which you of course do not see the reality.

Directly at the beach there is also a tent camp that spontaneously reminds us of a festival site. Next to it, we find a huge restaurant. This, too, is heavily frequented. Nevertheless, we can get a seat and treat ourselves to an overpriced lunch. After all, the portions are lush and it tastes good. Sanni also gets a beer to calm her nagging. However, its positive effect is not sufficient for the whole way back and so there is still a little nagging and crying about painful knees, the mud and everything else. Shortly before the exit, however, there is still some fun! A horde of cheeky monkeys actually cross our path and turn around cheerfully over our heads. Unfortunately, a group of women comes right behind us, who then illegally feed the monkeys with nuts and fruit. Time for us to go.

Back at the hostel, we realise that the, let's call it a bit critical perception of, Tayrona National Park, is probably mainly due to the poorly chosen time. The Lost City Trek is still in our sore bodies. Going hiking directly afterwards was not the best idea. And of course, the comparison with the rainforest in Teyuna is also lagging behind. We are once again dawning on how lucky we have been so far to get the experience and also on our previous trips. Very rarely have we experienced so closely the effects of mass tourism. The bottom line is that Tayrona National Park is a paradisiacal place. The fact that such a thing does not go undetected for a long time today can hardly be avoided. And it is above all that Colombians simply love their park and visit it again and again, which is great.

 

*The English version of this blog is supported by automated translation*

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