The Tayrona National Natural Park is one of the day trips we completed whilst staying on Colombia's Caribbean coast.
Tayrona National Park is a protected area in the Colombian northern Caribbean region. The park covers 30 square kms of area in the Caribbean sea and 150 square kms on land. It is home to many species of animals, insects, birds and plant life. The environment is extremely diverse, from beaches to mangroves, to coconut groves and several higher elevation terrains.
Tayrona is a popular tourist destination. We had been hearing about the park from fellow travellers for many months. Fortunately for us, we had a couple of days warning that the park was going to be closing for a month, so we took the opportunity to visit whilst we could.
Most of the park is not accessible by vehicle, so in order to access its beaches you need to complete a 2-3 hour hike, 4-6 hours return. It is actually fairly tough as the climate is hot and humid and at times you are hiking in the direct sun.
We got to see a variety of insects, birds and animals on our walk.
The scenery and the beaches were quite spectacular. Some of the beaches are protected with no swimming or access allowed.
After a 2 hours hike we came to La Piscina, a swimming beach. We welcomed a swim after the long and hot hike. We hang out here enjoying the beach for a couple of hours.
Cabo San Juan is a beautiful bay, accessed after ~3 hours of hiking. It is the destination that alot of backpackers go to. For us it was a little bit of a disappointment. In the bay was a large speedboat, not condusive to the environment, and there were so many people crowded into a small space. The camping was out in the direct sun, and meals were served at a very busy restaurant.
We were also surprised to learn that 95% of the park is privately owned and that many indigenous groups and locals live in the park itself. There were a lot of dwellings throughout the park and during our walk you could see the impact that the excessive tourism, human and domestic animals are having on the environment.
We enjoyed our day at Tayrona but all agreed that we loved OUR beach and camp at Los Angeles better.
Just a place to keep our mates informed on where we are at, and what we are up to.