Monday, April 17, 2017

colombian diary - 6th chapter - parque tayrona

Before I begin to tell you about my amazing day at Parque Tayrona, I must admit that I skipped one stop: After we left the pleasure hell of the beaches of Cartagena, we made it to Santa Marta, a city by the sea. A little colonial, a little touristy  (again: Semana Santa!), a little average, but very unpretentious. Healthy mix of good crowds.

Too bad that scenic outposts always have to be way up high. But we are still smiling. 


We came by bus. Special tourist bus, door to door service. Do these drivers drive smoother than others? ¡Hell no!

I got my drivers licence at the age of 25, practiced the art of driving for two years, never felt very comfortable. Then I gave away my car, went to Jamaica for a couple of months, and never sat behind a wheel again. So I'm certainly no driving expert. But I know for sure: what these people are doing, is not right!

There is for instance the overtaking at blind curves - way up high on serpentines.
We have the overtaking at spots marked with two continuous lines  (not there to give the road a fancy touch or make it look slim).
Overtaking on the right side of the car  (just to be clear: in Colombia you are driving on the right side; or at least you're supposed to).
Another charm is simultanious overtaking by two cars - so if you're lucky, there are four cars side by side - the two cars overtaking the third one and another one in the opposite direction; in a spot with a continuous line (advanced course: at blind curves; way up high on serpentines).
And if you are in a rush (Colombians are in a rush as soon as they sit in a car), you go straight; on a very curved road. Also known as cutting a curve.
And since the trips are long, drivers get bored just driving so they talk on the phone or even type WhatsApp-messages.
Yesterday the cab driver wrote down my phone number with a pen on paper while driving  (no, we won't go on a date, he'll take me to the airport on my last day).
On our way from Salento to MedellĂ­n over the Andes we had to sit next to the bus driver because Mimi tends to get travel-sick. Well, although the road was very windy and quite bumpy, she did not get sick. She was far too scared.
Never will I sit next to the driver again and see - I think 'witness' might be the better word - what he's doing. I let him - and Him (remember: Semana Santa) - do his job without watching.

Parque de los novios at Santa Marta. But at the many bars people other than novios are allowed to hang out, too.

Anyway, back to why I'm skipping Santa Marta for now: We'll be back for a couple of days after our weekend excursion.

Taking only a small backpack with us, we spent the Easter weekend further East (no pun intended) beginning at Parque Tayrona, a national park that stretches more than 20 miles along the Northern caribbean coast and attracts nature lovers not only because of its impressive flora and fauna but also by reason of many secluded, unspoiled beaches.

Getting sneak peeks at the cool, blue ocean is very encouraging. Like the carrot dangling in front of a mule.  

Secluded means - once again - hiking. It starts harmless on straight wooden walkways, but this bliss doesn't last.

This is how they suck you in: The first part is an even wooden walkway.

Soon you have to climb up and down quite steep stairs and dirt trails and it's really hot and humid. At the same time the jungle is magnificent and you get to see majestic birds, exoticly glittering lizzards, huge butterflies in bright colors and even monkeys.

I can see ¡the beach!

Yes, it's a great place, but when we finally reached the beach after only  90 minutes, I was much more exhausted than after our five hours hike in the mountains of Valle Cocora. 'Mountains' is key here: There it was relatively cool, here it's a frigging hothouse! So once we got to the first of many beautiful beaches, I took a dip in the cristal clear ocean and simply crashed in the shade of one of the lush trees. Until it was time to make it back.

Like an enchanted forest: Not every creature makes itself visible. We also heard something gallop in the underwood - no clue what it was.


Did I inspire you? Planning on going to Colombia?
Get detailed information on the most interesting destinations that I've travelled bye:myself.

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