aventura, Colombia, natural wonder, South America

taking a hike in Taganga and Tayrona

Bec / 14/04/2013

Colombia has always intrigued me with its varied personality and reputation. Having Colombian friends among the loveliest people I’ve known it seemed at odds with the societal view of being in constant danger when roaming the streets. A few weeks in and I’ve felt more unsafe in Brazil following being robbed and in Venezuela when the hostel owner handed me a set of five keys to get past the security doors.

After a few long hot drive days from Los Llanos and Barinas over the border and overnighting through Cúcuta and Bucaramanga, we finally landed in Taganga for our first real taste of Colombia for two days. A fishing village outside Santa Marta, where the hero Símon Bolívar died, it was our jumping off point for Tayrona National Park. Dirt roads, rough stray dogs in the dozens, glorious sunsets over the bay, amazing cafes and beach days. I took a tumble on my first day out and gave myself a very impressive graze to refresh the one I got in Santa Catalina. It admirably matches the one on the other leg from Canaima. I cannot be trusted on gravel roads.

The main attraction for the area is the Tayrona National Park. A lovely hike of around 90 minutes over a track alternating between wide bush track to boulders and muddy goat track brought us to Arrecife beach. Further along the sand we passed through Arenilla beach, a lovely cove with a couple of long boats and a ceviche cafe. We scrambled across a few more boulders and found ourselves at the protected waters of La Piscina – pool – beach. A natural (in appearance at least) rock sea wall held back the crashing waves offshore to let us paddle about in the brilliantly clear waters near shore. After the heat of the hike and the blaze of the sun it was amazing.

I’ve also had to think of a new word for describing a beach with golden sand…this place literally has golden sand. Mica flecks abound in the sand and float in the water, glinting in the sunshine. It was mesmerizing staring into the water, trying to capture the flakes in my hands and chasing the sizeable fish away from my wounded leg. After a couple of hours in paradise we traipsed back along the bush track to get the transfer back to Taganga. Along the way we were passed by a family of indigenous people. Stern faced, very short and slight, dressed in long white tunics and sandals, the only real adornment besides a belt was dad’s tall hat that reminded me of the kind we are told Santa’s elves wear. They answered our hola’s and kept on their way, a startling contrast to us tourists.

Cocktails on the beach, delicious dinners at restaurants like Cafe Bonsai and Babaganoush, meeting the resident tortoise, a manicure and some shopping filled the rest of my time, trying my best to stay out of the sun in the heat of the day…and trying not to fall over on the dirt roads. Again.







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