Another bright and early morning for the traveling duo. We woke up at an unreasonable 7:45 am, ate a very delicious breakfast of tropical fruit, and made our way out to the beautiful Parque Tayrona. The trip there was smooth sailing. Like the Colombians say sigue derechito derechito (just go straight). The National Park was about one hour from where we were staying in Santa Marta. The route was through the mountains. Curve after curve, mountain after mountain, pueblo after pueblo. The Pueblo’s (neighborhoods) were small, homey, and gorgeous. Every house was painted a different color, there were fruit stands every 100 meters, and they even had little kiosks selling shark oil (what that is, we have no idea). At every neighborhood center, there was a large speed bump that practically forced you to stop. Once stopped, a group of 5 Colombians would approach your vehicle to sell you something. Whether it was a selfie stick, some corn on the cob, a few bottles of water, or a car wash service, it was interesting to see a day in the life of an average Colombian del pueblo. To us, it was nothing more than a vendor trying to earn some extra money, but to them, this was their livelihood. They were trying to make ends meat. It was quite a culture shock.
We eventually made it to the beautiful Parque Tayrona. The beach was quite far from where we had parked the car, so we opted to be taken by horseback (by foot would have taken 2 hours just to get there). The lift up to the beach was beautiful and scenic. The vegetation was to die for. All kinds of bird species had flown out and sang us their beautiful songs. Some parts of the route even looked like it was taken right out of the grand canyon. With towering boulders to each side, it was a surprise the horses could even make it through. There were stretches of flat land in which the horses could gallop freely (my butt was not happy, ouch!). After about an hour on horseback, we finally arrived at the beautiful beach area. It wasn’t just any beach, however. Before you actually made it to the beach, there was a patch of land filled with tents. Either you could bring your own tent, or the national park provided one that you could rent out for a few nights. It seemed the national park was actually a tourist “hotel” of sorts. If tents aren’t really your style, they also offered hammocks for you to rent and hang up wherever your heart desired.
The beach itself was gorgeous, the water was transparent, the sand was coarse but comfortable. It was also incredibly crowded. It became obvious that this particular park was strictly for tourists, as no Colombian visitor was seen. The crowd was young, what seemed like people in their mid-twenties that were out vacationing and backpacking throughout Colombia to pass the summer. Since the beach was so crowded, my mother and I decided to walk to another beach, just 10 minutes from the main park. To our surprise, very few people chose to venture out to the other beaches, which provided an opportunity for visitors to strip. Yes. That’s right. We were at the nude part of the beach. Let me tell you something about nude beaches. They are awesome. The freedom of not having to cover up or the ability to even out your tan, it was worth it. Of course, there were the odd stragglers that would walk by, but they were naked too. No room for judgment at a nude beach.
After a few hours of relaxing at the beach, it was starting to get late and the horses were desperate to get back. We hopped back on the saddles and ventured back to the entrance of the national park. In a desperate attempt to get back to the entrance for a refreshing drink of water, the horses raced back like their life depended on it. Fun for us, but not for our butts.
We made it back to the car and enjoyed the last view of the beautiful scenery back to Santa Marta. We arrived at the hotel, enjoyed a delicious dinner, and packed our luggage for the second last time.