Wednesday, October 11, 2017

That Day We Went to Parque Tayrona, Colombia

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I clung to the shoulders of arguably the most handsome Colombian I've ever seen, as we roared down the highway on his motorbike. Soaked in the hot, Caribbean sun, with the wind blowing ferociously through my hair, I felt a delicious sense of recklessness diffuse through me.  Trucks and buses flew past us and we raced through the countryside, its structures looking forlorn yet defiant in the oppressive heat and the shifting dust.

Tayrona National Park is located in the Northern Caribbean Coast of Colombia, 34 kilometers north of Santa Marta. It covers 15,000 hectares and protects 27 species of fauna and flora that are found only in the region as well as 56 endangered species.
Still flushed with excitement, we arrived at El Zaino, the entrance to Tayrona National Park, and joined the hordes of bewildered backpackers figuring out how to get tickets. It was confusing: some were queuing up at a badly lit counter while others were watching a video on an old TV mounted on a wall; a few were listening to a man giving an introduction to the park while the rest were just milling around, unconcerned with the chaos around them. Nobody speaks English so we had to rely on our limited Spanish to make sense of it all. 

We managed to pay for our tickets and board a shared van that would bring us to the start of the hike at CaƱaveral. With us in the cramped van are a lone traveler carrying a backpack that looks bigger than her and a Colombian extended family whose members are all dressed up for what appears to be a formal event and are talking over each other with voices raised. My Spanish wasn’t that good to discern the details of their conversation but it was good enough to grasp that they are arguing about entrance fees. The backpacker, who is also a local and looked rather embarrassed by what’s going on, tried to engage us in some small talk.

La Piscina
Though I wanted to know the conclusion to the unsubtitled telenovela unfolding before my eyes, we got off at the trailhead and started walking. For an hour and a half we walked along wooden boardwalks and narrow dirt paths through thick rainforest then down big rock outcrops to reach La Piscina, a pristine white-sand beach fringed by large boulders and palm trees. I was puzzled why, despite its beauty, the beach is almost deserted. Later I found out that everybody else was at the party beach, El Cabo San Juan del Guia, a thirty-minute walk away from La Piscina

From that exhilarating motorcycle ride to the chaos at the entrance of the park and the drama inside the van to the hike to the beaches of Tayrona, it was a faultlessly beautiful day indeed.


muffled solitude © 2007-2021. Design by Pocket | Distributed by Blogger Blog Templates