Parque Nacional Tayrona

After the busy streets of Cartagena, we decided we needed some time on a beach. We had heard of Tayrona National Park through other travellers and friends, and it came highly recommended. Colombia is a little more difficult to travel than other more tourist-orientated countries in South America, and after doing some investigation, it turned out a door-to-door minibus transfer would be better than the arduous task of getting a local bus.

So we set off on the 5 hour trip to Taganga, a small little fishing village that had become a popular spot for locals and backpackers. In some respects this popularity and the resulting tourist development had negatively affected the town, and the beach front was practically just restaurants and street sellers. I didn’t see many fishermen!

To South America - Taganga beach

We had arrived in Colombia at the end of the dry season, and Taganga’s surrounding hills were coloured in browns and oranges and it was hot as hell. This made the 10 minute walk up the hill to our hotel seem like Day 2 of the Inca Trail all over again.

So it was some relief when we found ourself flagging down a bus going in the direction of the lush tropical of coastline of Tayrona. The driver was playing reggaeton at full volume and I had to share my seat with a sack of potatoes. We sat in a queue for over an hour at the Park gates, as Colombian efficiency dictated that every visitor needed about 69 photocopies taken of their ID.

Finally after another minibus ride we donned our packs and hit the trail to the beach and campsites. On the way we came across some rusting wrecks covered in vegetation.

To South America - Rusting truck

The jungle was nothing like I’d been in before, as underfoot it was sandy and there were plenty of palm trees and coconut crabs scurrying about on the floor.

To South America - Palm forest

Lines of leaf-cutter ants cut proper highways in the vegetation. I couldn’t believe how straight and organised their roads were, with any leaf litter cleared out of the way so it didn’t obstruct their progress.

To South America - Ants

After about 40 minutes walk we could hear the crash of the sea, and soon afterwards we found ourselves on one of the many beautiful beaches the park is famous for. And you can see why!

To South America - Beach

There were several beaches like this separated by huge boulders and jungle. A bit of walking and we found our spot for the night. Not a bad view…

To South America - Beach with hammocks overlooking

To South America - Tayrona

We stayed: At the hammocks you see in the pic above! One thing you might not realise is it actually gets quite cold at night. Blankets are available on request (and recommended).
We paid: 20,000 Colombian Peso per hammock (£7).

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