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In Tayrona National Park

Colombia day fifteen

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View in Tayrona National Park

We had an early start today as Christian was picking us up at 7.30 for a visit to Tayrona National Park. That’s when breakfast usually starts at Cayena Beach, but they had kindly agreed to provide us with a simplified meal of granola with fresh fruit, toast and coffee, which was more than adequate.

When Christian and Nestor arrived we drove to the park entrance about twenty minutes away. We were there before the eight o’clock opening time but already it was crowded. Christian joined the queue to buy our tickets, and it was over half an hour before he returned with them and with wristbands we were required to wear.

Four indigenous groups consider these lands part of their ancestral territory. The park management acknowledges this, saying that ‘the sacred sights within must be protected and respected as part of the cultural heritage’. This respect means that for short periods each year the national park is closed, at the request of these groups, so that the land and the sacred places can rest and recover from the stresses of tourism. We were fortunate that we arrived in this region just as the park had reopened after one of these closures.

Nestor drove us along the rough track to the parking area, from where we started our hike. At first it was easy going, a mix of flat dirt path and raised boardwalk.

The path at the start of our walk

Christian stopped a few times to point various plants and showed us how they shred young agave plants to create fibres for weaving hats, baskets etc., also the leaves used to wrap tamales and the juicy guava jellies he'd shared with us on the journey yesterday.


Then he pointed out a large spider in a web, the female Yellow String Spider. He told us the name comes from the web, which is often yellow although this one was white, and that the male is tiny in comparison.

Yellow String Spider

We saw lots of leaf cutter ants too. But the best wildlife sighting was a troop of White Fronted Capuchin Monkeys. These were so used to people that Christian was able to feed one with a bit of guava. This caused a bit of friction and one monkey who'd missed out got quite aggressive. I’d felt it wasn’t a good idea to feed them and this backed up that impression.




White Fronted Capuchin Monkeys

Nearby we saw a solitary Colombian Red Howler Monkey, moving too fast to be photographed. The Capuchins were chasing him off.

As we continued the path became harder going, with lots of steps up and down, often quite rough ones on tree roots or boulders. I was very glad I’d brought my hiking pole as it would have been very tough for me and my poor knees without it! But there were some great views to reward us for the climbs.

View from the path

After a while we started to hear the sea and eventually came within sight of it. We could have walked on to reach the park’s most famous beach, Arrecifes. But as I was finding the path quite challenging (and inwardly disputing its rating as ‘easy’), Christian proposed a shortcut directly to the other beach we were to visit, Cañaveral.

This path had the other advantage of being less busy. After a short while we came to a cluster of thatched round cottages, one of the accommodation options in the park, the Ecohabs.

The Ecohabs

There were great views of the coastline from here, The sea was a beautiful shade of turquoise and the spray created a sparkling haze that was very hard to do justice to in a photo.

View from the Ecohabs


Coastal views

We stopped for a much needed cold drink in the restaurant attached to the Ecohabs, with an equally fabulous view!

View from the restaurant

We then followed the short path down to the beach where we sat for some time enjoying the sights and sound of the waves. I took quite a few photos but if some of them give the impression that this is a tranquil tropical paradise, think again!


At Cañaveral Beach

The beach was busy with swimmers (or rather wave jumpers, as swimming wasn’t really possible in these rough seas), with sunbathers and picnickers.


Cañaveral Beach

Still, it was a great spot to relax after the walk and chat with Christian about his time living in Australia, how he'd coped during the pandemic and more.

Then we returned to the restaurant for a delicious lunch (I had an avocado dish) before walking back down a much shorter and easier path to the parking area. Nestor drove us back to the hotel where we spent the rest of the afternoon swimming and taking it easy. I enjoyed spotting and photographing a few birds neat the pool area too. I think, from what Christian had said and from pictures I’ve found online, that these are Bicolored Wrens.

Bicolored Wrens

Coco-lemonade, and bougainvillea

In the evening we had another nice dinner. I chose the steak this time which was delicious, although we both found the pseudo-tiramisu served for dessert a little sickly. And as we were both tired from the early start, heat and in my case the walking, we again opted for an early night!

Posted by ToonSarah 15:42 Archived in Colombia Tagged beaches monkeys coast hiking national_park colombia spiders

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Yes it's definitely not a good idea to feed monkeys. They become very aggressive. Sometimes people get bitten by them in Hong Kong.

by irenevt

I kept well clear of this one!

by ToonSarah

yep, have to agree that feeding wild animals is never a good idea!

by Ils1976

Yes, I agree Ils :)

by ToonSarah

When mostly the "news" are how tourism is destroying sacret sites and other places is nice to hear these kind of "news" (forest being closed for a while etc)! :)

I am not fan of coco but yours do look tempting! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Your drink looks tempting I meant to say...should always read what I just wrote before pressing Send, hah. :)

by hennaonthetrek

I'm not a fan of coconut either but I got addicted to these drinks! Like a creamy lemon milkshake :)

by ToonSarah

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