We thought that the bus ride to Santa Marta would have taken 15 hours, but they ended up being 22 before we arrived in the capital of the Magdalena region. At the bus station we took a taxi to Taganga; followed by the Tayrona Natural National Park. We didn’t have planned to travel to the north of Colombia yet, but the idea came one night while drinking a few beers with my best friend.
We wanted to arrive in the morning to be able to enjoy the day, but as I said the bus trip took 7 hours more than expected. Anyway it didn’t matter too much, we were happy to be finally there. We arrived in Taganga at 4 p.m. with a reservation for four people in La Tortuga hostel, so we left our baggage and we went out to find a cash machine and a place where to eat. As it was to be expected after that exhausting journey we were starving.
Initially the plan was to wake up early to go to Tayrona park, but after having dinner and buying a few things for the breakfast of the next day, we decided to take a look at the terrace-bar of the hostel. Nothing to do, we stayed for a few cocktails and beers. That night the breeze was strong and refreshing, the atmosphere was great, and it was fun to sporadically hear, while going to the bathroom or dancing, the stories of the people and their reasons for being in Taganga.
Going to Tayrona Natural National Park is not just a day-trip.
The next day we took a taxi at 9:30 a.m. and it took one hour to get to the entrance of the park. In theory we woke up very early after partying till late the night before, but we didn’t take in consideration two important things: first, if we wanted to do a day-trip to Tayrona, we should have left the hostel at 7 a.m. to have enough time to enjoy the beach, have lunch in Cabo San Juan and go to Pueblito. Second, it became obvious during the walk and we confirmed it once in Cabo, going to Tayrona is not just a day-trip.
We arrived in Cabo at 1:30 p.m., already too late to walk up to Pueblito and be back at the entrance before closing time at 5 p.m.; at the same time we thought we didn’t have enough time to enjoy the beach, what a dilemma! So we decided to check out prices to spend the night there, it was 15,000 pesos (about $5.15) for a hammock and 20,000 pesos (about $6.8) per person in a tent.
We took the most reasonable decision, we stayed for the night to continue the next day to Pueblito.
We spent what remained of the day in the sea, teaching to Stefano how to swim in the gorgeous beach of Cabo San Juan and trying to find Boca de Saco, the nudist beach, but without any luck, so we went back to Cabo, we had dinner and we went to sleep early.
We chose to stay in the tent and we spent a good night despite not being ready for it and the heavy downpour that fell. The next day we went to the restaurant, the breakfast was quite good and the price was consistent with what they offered.
We then started walked up to Pueblito, a charming place where Stefano gave me a cute necklace of Indian craftsmanship. We sat on a rock to eat what we call our lunch (crackers with tuna and a sandwich with ham and cheese).
The walk is great, sometimes a bit hard but nothing that’s not worth it. The way back to Taganga was easier, this path took us directly on the main road in Calabazo, where we took the bus.
In conclusion, what can we say about Tayrona? It envelops you, time goes by slow and quiet, you only want to stay there and enjoy every second… For a few moments we fell asleep on the beach, lulled by the warm sun and ocean waves. We didn’t have time to explore the entire park because due to our miscalculation we had to go back, we were without cash.
We arrived in Taganga almost by night and we instantly fell asleep until the next day. The following morning we had breakfast with fish empanadas and arepas with eggs in a small stall in front of the beach. Delicious! We also had lunch in a restaurant with a view on the sea, where fishermen eat a wonderful lunch with fish soup, coconut rice, patacón (fried plantain slices), salad and a personally selected fresh fish, only for 12,000 pesos ($4.10), very recommended.
Stefano said to me: “Don’t worry, we will come back here”, and we swore to do it.
For me it has been really hard to leave Tayrona as well as Taganga. The Tayrona Natural National Park is gorgeous and it has its deserved recognition among nationals and foreigners as one of the must-see places of Colombia. Taganga, a magical and cozy fisherman’s village. You don’t have much to do, but you don’t need more. Before my nostalgia Stefano said to me: “Don’t worry, we will come back here”, and we swore to do it.