This morning we got up early to head out for our overnight excusion to Colombia’s natural jewel, Tayrona national park. After another delicious breakfast, we headed out to a bus that brought us near the park entrance to Calabazo.
We packed enough food and drink for one night and headed to the trail. We literally almost walked past the entrance because a woman wearing a nurse like uniform was helping a group of people. Once we noticed she was the entrance we paid out way in, one Colombian and one gringo (of course my price was about double) and we were on our way.
We headed up the trail and the previous night we had done some research on tripadvisor and saw that people complained about a lack of signage, but our first sign pointed us right in the direction of pueblito, the ancient city ruins that are still on the mountain.
The start was a little dark. It seemed like it would rain and the trail was a little damp and full of horse shoe prints. Soon the trail started to as end and we were definitely starting to feel the hike begin. After about a half hour or so of a pretty steep ascent I was definitely feeling the burn and heart rate. It was tough! Then all if a sudden we started to hear the rain begin and I was waiting to feel it. The canopy was so thick we didn’t even feel any rain. It was really nice and relaxing especially knowing we were staying dry.
After about another hour or so and the ups and downs of this mountain, we came upon a fork that lead us to pueblito. It looked like a little rest area that had been abandoned. We continued on and soon after we came up to a little hut that had a little girl was couldn’t have been for than 10 years old. She stood there next to a pile of mandarins like a perfect little shop owner and before we knew it she was offering coca cola, BEER and other drinks. I cracked up. Louisa seemed quite ready to serve us a refreshing drink but we didn’t need anything. We have her a 500 peso coin just for being there.
After we left Louisa, we saw the beginnings of the ruins as the area opened up and was really green grass with stone foundations and huts. We saw other hikers finally as well. We felt this was a perfect place to set up for lunch so sat down and got out the ham sandwiches we had prepared the previous night.
During our lunch, a guy passed us and was bleeding from his head. We asked if he was ok and apparently he slipped and came back to this area that had a building set up that perhaps had some first aid materials. This didn’t make me feel too confident on the next half if the hike!
After our delicious sandwiches (nothing can beat a simple ham and cheese sandwich), we started the next portion of this mountain climb in the jungle.
We saw a difference in the vegetation and humidity and the trail. As we wound through the jungle hearing birds chirping and pure silence, we came upon a pack of monkeys in the trees! They were jumping between the branches and playing around but all of a sudden a fight broke out and there was screaming and a lot of commotion. They swung from the branches and landed in other trees. It was so cool to see!
We then continued on the trail where finally we started to see the boulder part of this trail. This is where the descent began and climbing down rocks was really difficult. Some were slick, some moved, some had cliffs next to them. We were completely in the jungle at this point and there wasn’t a sound but of jungle life.
This part felt like it took forever. Although climbing up it seems like it would be impossible so I’m glad the route we took! Finally we descended to a flat area that was grassy, sandy, and full of palm trees. It was stunningly different from the jungle we had just traversed.
After weaving through this area, we finally arrived at our site for the time in Cabo San Juan. It was like the set of Lost. This secluded little community that had some huts and a shower area, laundry hanging and people walking around. We found our way to the restaurant and walked around the beach. The beach opened to this beautiful small bay that had a hut on top of a little hillside to the left, and the rocky coastline to the right.
We were told to get a hammock in this hut which had stunning views of the ocean and a full 360 degree view of the bay below. We were excited to secure one of these by waiting at the pay station to be first in line for the 2pm release of hammocks.
The rest of the afternoon I spent relaxing, waking around, and finding a boulder looking at the ocean to relax upon and do some yoga stretching and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
After relaxing a bit, I sat down next to an Australian named Ben and we started chatting about his journey coming to an end after almost a year of touring around the globe. A guy from New York, Chris joined our chat as well and Andres walked up.
We spent the entire evening chatting about topics from law to world travel to what we were eating throughout our trip. We had a lot of fun with everyone’s stories.
Mom and dadDecember 15, 2013
Great post, Ben. Looking forward to seeing photos of the park. Everyone missed you last night at the family dinner. We pray you continue to have a wonderful and safe trip. And don’t run with scissors! LOL