Tayrona National Park

We left Cartagena after lunch, and after a long drive we got to our destination about 6.30. Our guides found, after a little difficulty, our posada for the next two nights. Although it was, as they say, "basic", it did have some charm. It was apparently one of a number of such businesses set up in the area by the government, to wean the local populace off the cultivation of drugs. The only really odd thing about it was that you had to climb about 30 steps to get to the place, and haul all the luggage up too. We had a comfortable wooden hut complete with a mosquito net

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The purpose of this stop was to see the Tayrona National Park, 34 km north of the city of Santa Marta. It has been a National Park for a long time, the concession being was created in 1864. Many years ago, small groups of hunters and gatherers inhabited the area, and later it was habited by the Tayrona tribe. The Koguis, their direct descendants, as well as three other indigenous groups, still live in these areas and they maintain many of their traditions.

The park offers a big variety of Flora and Fauna because it includes two ecosystems between the mountain and the sea. Its wildlife includes black howler and titi monkeys, red woodpeckers, iguanas, jaguars (which are rarely seen as they hunt at night), a variety of lizards, tropical marine life, and more than 400 species of birds, such as eagles, condors.

The vegetation is characterized by the ecological influence and the rain depending on the sector, from tropical dry forest to coral reefs. The climate is temperate and hot and very humid. I can testify to that after a day's hiking through the forest. Our hike was 14 kms in total, that is 7 km to El Cabo, and 7 km back. The local guide, Carlos, was not the best in the world, but he did keep us on the right track. The hike was long, hot and sweaty, with very few views until one came to the 3 beaches along the way. The area is very popular with Colombians, and access has to be controlled in the high season. As elsewhere in Colombia, you see very few foreign tourists

The challenge for me was doing the hike, rather than what there was to see. I could see why the park was popular with Colombians, if these are their best beaches. It is not to say that the beaches were bad, but by international standards the beaches were not anything special

After getting back to the entrance, it was back to the posada for dinner and an early bed

On to Cabo de Vela and Punta Gallina

Colombia - Venezuela Holiday