Wednesday, 20 August 2014


Two weeks in and Colombia continues to give. I am enjoying a lot of free time at present, mostly because my work at the University doesn't seem to start until the end of the month, and nobody seems too bothered about the fact that I'm just chilling at home (T.I.C.). However, the weekends are still as busy as ever. We decided to head out along the coast again this weekend, this time a little further along, to Parque Tayrona - a National Park, and place of outstanding natural beauty (especially for us foreigners!).

Our route to Parque Tayrona
When talking over plans with the group, there was a great discussion about what we'd have to take (everything), where we'd be able to sleep (on a campsite) and what we'd be able to eat (what we'd brought). There was even some talk of supermarkets and hotels. Given that Parque Tayrona is, basically, a jungle, this seemed unlikely. And faced with the question of what there was to see in the way of attractions, the appeal of a place with no wifi or good restaurants to go to seemed limited to some. But for those who went, the appeal was clear: naturaleza (nature)! And nature, on its part, definitely delivered...

Jungle trekking = hard work!
Cheeky monkeys
 After a few hours' bus ride, we arrived at the entrance of the park, where our journey would really begin. Once we'd done all the official stuff (tickets, registration etc.), we were carted 5k up the road to the beginning of a trail, where we unloaded our luggage and started our trek into the jungle. It was already midday by this point, and the unforgiving sun bore down on our heavily-laden shoulders, with the rucksacks we were carrying. Thankfully, I managed to find myself a friendly Brazilian who was happy to swap his (much lighter) rucksack for my own, and we made our way through the trees, dying of perspiration but marvelling at the sights that surrounded us. We even came across a couple of monkeys, who were high up among the palms, pulling at coconuts to throw down on our unsuspecting heads!

Our sleeping quarters

We got to the campsite about an hour later, very grateful to be able to buy cold water and beer from the little café on site (they do exist, after all...). I was also keen to see our accommodation, given that we were going to sleep in what you see here - hammocks! Although I didn't get to test mine out until a little later on (pretty comfy, I have to say), because we headed off even further along the track to freshen ourselves off in... the sea!

Sunset on the beach at Tayrona
Yes indeed, there is more. Not only does Parque Tayrona consist of extensive woodland and paths through the jungle, but also a veritable plethora of gorgeous, sunny beaches all along the coast. Fantastic! Needless to say, we passed a fantastic weekend exploring the many delights of this National Park and there still remains plenty to be seen (I decided a 6-hour trek to see an indigenous village was a bit too much in the heat of the midday sun... next time, perhaps!). There were some hairy moments - getting lost in the jungle at night is not a good plan, particularly when there are animals around to make loud noises and scare you half to death - but there were also moments that I will never forget. Sitting on the beach in the darkness, looking at the stars and hearing the roar of the waves in front, I looked at the red of the crescent moon reflected in the water and even saw my first shooting star. Simply magical.

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