Friday, February 16, 2018

Puddles and Palm Trees in Tayrona

The hammock swung smoothly back and fourth as I listened to the rain falling on the thatched roof above me. Only a foot to my right swung a stranger who I had yet to meet, on my right a woman I had met only the day before on the bus traveling from Cartagena. We all swung like pendulums from the wood beams, staring into the sheets of rain, debating running to use the restroom which was a good 100 meters from where we hung.

Twenty four hours earlier I was riding a shuttle with my backpack to the trailhead at El Zaino to Tyrona National Park. My only plan was to hike. I had no reservations, no hiking group and just my backpack filled with items procured on my trip through Colombia. It was on this windy road I would meet my  hiking buddy.

When we arrived we booked our hammocks for Cabo San Juan de Guia at the entrance of the park, and set off on our two day adventure. The first part of the trail took us through the forest before it spit us out onto the beach. From there, the trail skirted the beach winding back and fourth into the jungle that abutted the sandy beaches. The strong sun beat down on our skin and the cool blue water tempting us to jump in as we trudged through the sand. Halfway to our proposed destination we stopped at a small wood stand under the palm trees for egg and cheese pupusas with a view.

Finally after six hours we wandered onto the grassy meadow of Playa Cabo San Juan de Guia. We were shown to our hammocks, immediately changed into our bathing suits and ran to the beach. Cabo San Juan de Guia is famous for its rock formations jutting out of the light blue water. After a long nap on the beach and dip into the Caribbean we turned in for a warm meal of arroz con coco y mariscó with a glass of jugo de lulo (which of note is now my favorite natural fruit juice). After a filling meal we turned in for bed.

The air was warm and humid, the hammocks comfortable. I fell asleep quickly with my backpack between my legs and my travel pillow under my head. The thunder and lightening started in the night, the rhythmic rain only soothes me deeper into sleep.

That morning we waited patiently as the rain subsided. We dressed, acquired a new hiking partner, and set off back to the entrance of the park. We quickly realized hiking with shoes was impossible. The rain turned most of the trail into either a river or ankle deep mud. I hiked through the palm trees feeling the mud squish through my toes. The small streams that we crossed the day before, transformed into deep fast rivers. We waded through the water keeping our eyes out for crocodiles.

Again we stopped for pupusas enjoying for the last time the beautiful beaches lined with rocks and palm trees before we dove back into the jungle to meet the bus to Santa Marta.


  1. Yolanda - CARES InstituteMarch 19, 2018 at 11:56 AM

    Checking in on you and seeing how you are doing. Safe travels!!!

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