Tayrona National Park is just north of Santa Marta on the coast with several picturesque beaches, forest, different trails and a native community amongst the mountains.
After waking up in Santa Marta, packing a small bag and checking out, we caught a taxi (as there was four of us) to the entrance to Tayrona National Park. We paid the fee to get in with our bags being checked by the security and started our hike. First we hopped on a bus to the start of our walk. Walking through forestry and camp sites, along several beaches, we reached our destination in about 2 hours. The whole trek was pretty flat, along easy paths or sand, where there were all signposted to make it easier to find where we wanted to go.
We queued up to book our accommodation, where we wanted hammocks. There are hammocks, which cost us 25,000 pesos either on top of a small hill overlooking the sea or just behind the beach. Luckily, we were the last four to get hammocks as they are so popular so it’s best to be there as soon as possible, before 11am, as you can’t book them in advance. Otherwise you can get a tent to sleep in.
By this time, we were feeling hungry so we ordered some food at the restaurant where there is a large selection costing between 13,000-30,000 pesos. I ate vegetables with rice as I wasn’t feeling too hungry, plus it was the cheapest option, but they were very generous with their portions. For the rest of the afternoon, we sunbathed on the golden beach and swam in the cooling ocean.
In the evening, we bought some more food from the restaurant, where I got a mushroom pasta with bread. We met two Australians, where we played card games and drank our sneaked in rum for the rest of the evening. Then we headed to our hammocks to sleep. The hammocks weren’t as cold as expected as others had told me it can get cold at night. I was still wearing legging and a hoodie but this was sufficient.
The next morning, we woke up quite early, feeling refreshed. Three of us (as the other girl had been sick during the night) had decided to do the hike to El Pueblito. This trek was a lot harder, climbing over rocks and pulling ourselves over stone, while being vertical most of the time. There were several people doing the hike but I also saw a few that turned around as it was difficult. Through the trees, I could see an amazing view of the sea and beach as we were so high. After about an hour and a half, we reached the top, where there were straw huts sporadically around with indigenous people still living in them. I was feeling knackered by the time we got to the top and luckily there was a little shop selling drinks, where I bought a water and energy drink. The whole area was really cool and a little surreal. After being there a while, we hiked all the way back down to the beach.
We lazied on the beach for the rest of the afternoon, mostly in the shade as I was sunburnt from previous days, buying bread filled with cheese and tomato to fill my stomach. I also climbed the steps to get to the other hammocks to get the beautiful view of the beach.
While I was lying on the beach, half asleep, I heard someone calling my name. I looked up and saw two girls from my orientation, who I had shared a room with. I was surprised to see them. We chilled and chatted for the rest of the afternoon. After, I had a shower before getting ready for the boat, which was taking us back to Santa Marta. I had been told that the boat was dangerous, however it was going to skip the walk back and it would take around an hour. It was a little pricey, costing around 50,000 peso but the other people I was with were returning this way.
With a large group of us queuing for the boat, we were told to walk to the other beach about 10 minutes away to catch our transport. The boat came to shore, where we passed our bags and climbed aboard. We were sitting in rows facing the front, and boy, it was definitely a bumpy ride. The waves were so rough and high that the boat literally jumped in the air. It felt like an expensive rollercoaster that didn’t feel safe but the shore was so close that if our boat did topple over, we would be able to swim to land. Obviously, this didn’t happen and soon enough, we were sailing onto the beach.
From here we had to get a bus back to the centre, where we went back to hostel to collect our packs, grabbed some food from the supermarket before getting a taxi to our next destination: Minca.
I have to say the whole Tayrona national Park experience was amazing, with breath-taking views, interesting hikes and just a lovely place to be.
How to get to Tayrona National Park:
Bus from Santa Marta – it takes about an hour, where you can hop on the bus along Calle 11, costing 6,000 Pesos. The bus leaves every half an hour.
Taxi – it takes around 40 minutes and cost 80,000 per taxi.
Boat – You can catch a boat on Taganga beach and it leaves in the morning around 9pm to El Cabo and returns about 4pm. It takes around an hour and cost 40,000 pesos.
Where we stayed:
El CaboEl Cabo, where I slept on one of the hammocks – They are very basic but it’s a one in a lifetime opportunity. There are cold showers, toilets, a restaurant and a beautiful beach. You can’t book so it’s best to arrive early to guarantee a hammock otherwise you can rent a small tent.