We could not wait to get to Tayrona, when searching online what to do in Colombia, Tayrona is always mentioned probably because of its beautiful beaches, hot weather and the chilled Caribbean atmosphere.
Where we stayed…
Deciding where to stay took us longer than usual, do we stay in Tayrona park itself? Do we book a high end hotel? Or do we just stay in a cheap hostel on the beach? We decided to save some money and stay in the hostel and we are so glad we did. We stayed at the Costeno Beach Surf Camp and it was amazing. They have a few different options on where you can sleep depending on your budget, hammocks, dorms, beach huts or private rooms, we chose the beach huts. The beach was just a few seconds walk away, opening the curtained door you could see the waves. The hut was a bed with a mosquito net, a locker and a few shelves and that was it and we loved it. This option meant sharing a bathroom but they were always clean and we never had to wait, if you don’t like the idea of sharing then the private rooms had their own facilities. As the hostel is in the middle of nowhere they provided breakfast, lunch and dinner at an additional cost, the food here was really good so much better than we expected and it was cheap, breakfast was 6000 pesos (£1.50 or $2.06) try the banana pancakes they were delicious, then lunch and dinner was an extra 13,000 pesos (£3.25 or $4.48). The hostel was really laid back but you can keep yourself busy with volleyball, tight rope walking, yoga or just lay by the sea and do nothing. The hotel also runs organised events which are advertised on a board. If you chose this hostel and you should, getting there is 2km off the main road, now on their site they say you can walk or jump on a mototaxi but when the bus dropped us off there were no mototaxis so thinking we were superwomen we started the walk with our 13kg and 17kg bag in the afternoon heat. A few moto taxis passed us but we kept convincing ourselves it couldn’t be that far away. So if you’re carrying a same bag then the walk is a nice one but if your over-packers like us then wait for the mototaxi.
What to do in Tayrona…
Enjoy the beach
There is so much to do in Tayrona so deciding what we wanted to do and dragging ourselves away from the hostel was difficult. Our first full day we just stayed by the beach. The waves are pretty big and having read a lot before our stay we knew that the currents are strong in this area and in some places it is not recommended to swim at all. You can swim in the beach were our hostel was located but there are be cautious so if you’re not a good swimmer then its probably not a good idea. We had read that people had lost their life’s whilst swimming in this area and on our first day we didn’t really understand why, yes the current is strong so you don’t go too far out especially when the waves are so big. It wasn’t until we met the drunken swimmer that we understood the risks; there we were sat on the beach at 11pm enjoying the sound of the waves when an extremely drunk man decides to thank God for the world and has a swim to celebrate!!! The guy dives into the waves and disappears under each wave that hits, he then appears 100m down the beach, we were both about to go tell the guy to stop being such an idiot when his girlfriend appeared, thinking she would be able to convince the guy to go to bed we continued to enjoy the beautiful view. We were wrong in he went again, now this guy was too drunk to even climb back onto the raised beach area, he was too drunk to remember that he came to the beach without the shirt and he was too drunk to realise that he had nearly killed himself. So now we can guess how some of those statistics came about, we all love to have a drink and have fun but being this stupid is ridiculous.
Visit the National Park
Tayrona National park is one of the main reasons everyone comes to visit Tayrona. On our second day we decided to make our way to the park. From our hostel we got a mototaxi to the park entrance for 10,000 (£2.50 or $3.44) and the same guys picked us up later in the day. Park entrance for foreigners was 42,000 pesos (£10.50 or $14.48) and only 16,000 pesos (£4 or $5.51) for Colombian citizens. And so the journey begun, we weren’t expecting Danielle’s entrance to be so high and not being prepared as usual we didn’t bring too much money with us. Dani wanted to get the horses but as we had to get lunch and get back to the entrance we decided to walk and we are so glad we did. First there is an optional but recommended bus that will drop you off at the beginning of the trail for 3000 pesos (£0.75 or $1.03) There are a few beaches you can visit but we decided to go to Cabo San Juan, this seems to be the most popular beach and most of the pictures you see online are from this beach. First we had to walk 1 hour to Arrecife beach then another 1 hour to Cabo San Juan. The walk was beautiful the scenery was constantly changing from jungle to beach and we saw so many monkeys, birds and lizards if you can manage the walk do it and miss out the horses you’ll get to see so much more. The walk wasn’t too hard you are constantly making your way up then down, but as Danielle isn’t used to the Colombian heat and humidity it was like walking after just taking a shower, it was so hot as soon as we got to the beach we jumped straight in. We arrived to the beach at 1pm and it was already busy, the beach is beautiful and the sea is crystal clear its definitely worth the walk. There is only one restaurant at the beach which is reasonably priced but as it’s the only one its busy and it takes a long time to get served, there is a small shop that you can buy snacks from and venders walk up and down the beach selling food so there are a few options for lunch. You can stay at the beach for the night they have hammocks or tents but we were so happy with our hostel we decided not to. Whilst we were walking back we saw people walking with big bags and a lot of supply’s, the walk would be a killer with anything more than a small bag, if you’re planning to stay the night take the horses your journey will be a lot more comfortable.
Don’t forget to take…
Sun tan lotion
Lots of water
Snorkel (we didn’t take this and wish we had)
Flip flops for when you get to the beach
Wear comfortable walking shoes
Watch the sunset
The sunsets here were amazing, have a look for yourself…
How to get there…
We were making our way from Cartagena and decided to stay one night in Santa Marta before making our way to Tayrona. If you’re not planning on staying inside the national park, then you could make your way straight to your hotel/hostel. As everyone recommends getting to the park early if you’re staying there, one night in Santa Marta would be a good idea. A bun runs from Santa Marta station, just tell then where you going whether its Costeno or the National park and they will advise you once they arrive. The journey takes about an hour and costs 7000 pesos (£1.75 or $2.41). The hotel also overs the Marsol transfer service that we have used before and they drop you off at your next hotel, they are good but more expensive so we took the local bus.
Tayrona was our favourite place so far, we stayed for 4 days and could have easily stayed here longer. There’s so much you can do but spend your day by the beach is just as appealing. We loved you Tayrona.
Now for the hustle and bustle, Bogota let’s see what you have to offer.