Live #59, Tayrona National Park, Colombia
25/02/2015 Tayrona National Park should ring a bell for a lot of people, forming one of the most spectacular coastlines in Colombia. About four months ago, I spent a few nights there and can finally present you my story wandering through the beaches, doing some great bouldering and exploring the “mini” lost city Pueblito 🙂
I arrived at the entrance of Tayrona National Park around 11:00 after being stuck in traffic with the public bus. First off, you need to watch a video and actually receive a ticket as proof that you saw the video – without it you won’t be able to buy your entrance ticket. I met a few people in line that had to go back to get the ticket as it is not very obvious. The line was not really huge, but thanks to the fact that only two people sold tickets, I ended up waiting over an hour to get my ticket, leaving me enough time to make new friends which would explore the park with me together 🙂 We finally were able to pay the 40.000 Pesos entry fee and started to walk along the paved road and hiking path for an good hour before arriving at Arrecifes beach. You can also take a shuttle for more than half of that trip if you are short on time.
The landscape at the first beach was nothing short of impressive, combining an awesome beach with huge boulders and a thick jungle in one spot! It was also very hot in February and walking in the sand did not make it any easier. None of us had any spot to sleep yet and the little group split up a little bit, me ending up with a German couple at a place called Finca don Pedro, offering Hammocks for 12.000 per night after some negotiating – a pretty decent price! We relaxed for the rest of the day before heading down to the beach for sunset. It actually took about 15 minutes of walking to get there, but we preferred to be up in the jungle a little bit and would then stay right at the beach for the second night.
Having all those boulders around, I decided to grab my climbing shoes and make my way to the beach for sunrise in the next morning. I arrived at 6AM, just a few minutes before the sun came out of the cloudy sky. Barely any people could be seen along the huge beach line and I came back to one huge boulder I spotted the day before. Some nice cracks and the sand offered me two great easy routes (V1 and V2 I’d say) which I could do without using a crash pad. It was so much fun to finally climb again and I ended up staying for 2 1/2 hours in that one spot before heading on to find some more boulders further down the beach.
I was able to find some, but actually ran out of time, because I really wanted to see Cabo San Juan as well, being the most famous beach in the Tayrona National Park. Arriving at the check-in, my plan was to get myself a nice spot in one of the hammocks for the night already. However, rumors turned out to be true and they did not sell any spots until 2PM, which was 5 hours away by the time I got there! I had no intentions to wait that long and decided to find another spot while checking out the really amazing coast line over here. Walking up to a little hill towards the more expensive hammocks offered a great view, perfect beaches dotted with palm trees everywhere. Oh and guess what- I met my friends from Australia once again over here, they were actually sleeping at the beach last night 🙂
Since there was no other good place to stay the night at the beach, I grabbed all of my stuff and decided to walk towards the “mini” lost city “Pueblito” La Ciudad Perdida to then sleep in Santa Marta afterwards. It was really hot by the time I started the hike through the jungle and boulder fields and the journey turned into a sweat-fest. After doing some more bouldering within the forest area, the path constantly went uphill through more and more huge boulders. I had to squeeze under some of those as well and actually used some climbing techniques to get on top of some others with my backpack. All of that made the hike very physical challenging in the speed I progressed, but man how much fun it was hoping and crawling on top and under the boulders!
Once I arrived at Pueblito, I finally had time to rest and enjoy the pineapple I was bringing along. Drinking the rest of my 5L water canister, I realized that I was completely alone at the site and spent a few minutes exploring. It was really enough time as it was pretty small. Nonetheless, it was nice to see the terraces and it made me look forward to my hike to the actual lost city in the next days. My water ran out and I hurried up towards the main road and alternative access point of the Park. I quickly bought 3 bags of water there for just 200 each and entered the public bus, which was presently inspected by some police. That same procedure actually happened again two more times within just ten minutes of driving! It took a very long time to return to Santa Marta and to round this nice trip up, they would just drop me at the roundabout outside the city, forcing me to take another shuttle towards the hostel, where I could finally relax a bit and reflect on the amazing trip I just had!