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Colombia - Santa Marta & Tayrona National Park

We've made it to the Caribbean coast, a big landmark for us as we have just crossed the entire continent of South America by land. From the icy southern tip of Ushuaia in Argentina, to the northern coast of Colombia. That's a lot of hours clocked up on busses over 10 months of travel!

You can't visit Santa Marta without going into Tayrona Natonal Park, and the Dreamer Hostel is set up perfectly for exactly that. The bus leaves from around the corner, and there's a pool at the hostel to help cool down in the sweltering heat. We spent two nights, three days at Park Tayrona. After catching the bus out to the eastern end of the Park (don't forget your passport for entry) there is an hour of walking through lush rainforest full of lizards and leaf cutter ants running around. And I think Paul would've rather not spotted the bright green snake he saw slithering away from him! The next hour or so of walking is along the coast, through little coves, over boulders and around plam trees. Eventually we arrived in Playa San Juan - magical! Lush covered boulders lining the edges of two beachs, framing the clear blue water and we dived straight in. No amount of description will do it justice, so check out the photos, or even better...go!

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Unfortunately we were a little late arriving and ended up in tents (instead of hammocks). We weren't aware how bad this could get until it started to rain and we had to pull a big tarp over the top. As it was so humid, imagine a sauna, or something a little hotter..we resorted to sicking out heads out of the tent to cool down in the rain.

We spent the day on the beach and in the water, and admiring the fantastic setting we found ourselves in. In the middle of the two beaches there is a small island upon which a hut is perched and where, thank goodness, we managed to score ourselves a hammock for our second night. Who would've thought a hammock would be so comfortable, it was the best nights sleep I've had in ages, and with a nice breeze all night we didn't need mosquito nets. In the moonlight we could see out over the water and could hear the soothing crashing of waves just below us. When morning came we watched sunrise over the water without moving! Ahhhhh.

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There's a boat you can catch back to Santa Marta at 4pm from playa San Juan which takes an hour and a half and is 45,000 COL for anyone contemplating the trip, you buy it a couple of hours beforehand on the beach. We chose to walk back before the heat of the day and we enjoyed a nice cool shower when we made it back to the hostel.

After, for the mostpart, a relaxing few days we returned to Santa Marta. The town itself is smallish and quite nice, however it's beach is next to a shipping port. We went into Taganga for dinner, which was originally a small fishing town only ten minutes away, and has been hit by tourism! It'a good spot for some tasty fish, and to hang out among tourists as there are hostels and party spots lining the beach. In contrast Bahia Concha was a nice day trip from Santa Marta if your after a more appealing beach to swim in. It sits inside the west end of Tayrona Park, and feels like your in the Caribbean, with white sand and blue water...and many toters walking along the beach with a smorgers board of snacks, ceviche and drinks on offer.

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Posted by TheNomadWay.com 16:00 Archived in Colombia

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