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Travel Adventure - Backpacking Latin America's Gringo Trail Backpacking Latin America starting in Cuba, then travelling from East to the west coast of Mexico before making our through Central and finishing in South America.

The untouched beauty of Tayrona National Park and Colombia making everything hard for us

COLOMBIA | Monday, 10 August 2015 | Views [304]

So we were a bit more organised this morning and went to the bus stop to hail down our bus. 'Look for the green and blue bus with Tayrona on the sign - They'll spot and stop for you' the girl from the hostel said. It took about half squinting trying to read the destination names written on the bus windows until one finally stopped going to Tayrona. You could barely stand up inside and the back door was pretty much about to fall off. The bus took an hour to the entrance of the park. There were so many people waiting around and lining up in a queue assuming they were the buy entrance tickets so we joined the queue. We were waiting for about half an hour and realised everyone had small tickets stubs in their hands. We asked someone who looked the most English speaking what they were for. Apparently we had to watch some video safety presentation before we lined up, then we would get the stub. Right. I jumped out of the line, watched the presentation to get the ticket. We waited about an hour in line until we finally purchased the entrance ticket. Colombia have a weird way of organising things! Makes it harder when we don't speak Spanish. It was then a 2 hour walk through the National Park to get to Cabo San Juan, the beach were going to where you could book to sleep in hammocks for the night. It was hot, but a nice walk through the bush along the coast, spotting lizards, a couple of butterflies and 3 little tiki monkeys climbing the trees at the very end. We were sweating and could not wait to swim once we arrived. We had to wait in another bloody line once we got there to see if we could book a hammock. Matt and I took turns to go for a swim while we waited in line. The beach was absolutely beautiful and it was so refreshing to go for a swim. Although a lot more people there than I expected since it took so long to get there. An hour later, there were no hammocks left, only tents. That's not too bad.. I thought of there were no hammocks we would have been turned around to walk all the way back that night. We laid on the beach and went swimming for the rest of the afternoon. I was so tired I fell asleep for a bit. It was dinner time and the restaurant opened at 6:30 so we had to line up again! For another hour to order food. It was a whole lot of waiting around and an effort to walk all the way out there but it really was a beautiful beach and gorgeous National Park. It looked like it had a PPP lot more to offer with animals and plants etc in other parts of the park. Would be good to spend a week or two just exploring and camping throughout. A natural beauty and completely untouched. It's definitely the most beautiful beach we have been to on our trip so far! As mentioned in another post it's hard to beat Australia's beautiful beaches - we are spoilt - but this one definitely is up there!

We bumped in to Patrick who was with the Swiss guy and an Austrian girl - friend from home. So we sat with them after dinner and played a new game of cards called Yunka! It was fun and I haven't been taught a new game in ages so was good to learn. We went to sleep in our tents, had breakfast the next morning then went swimming and walked up to the hut in the point to take some photos. We relaxed for the morning until we had to do the 2 hour walk back. We left about 10 as we had to be back in the afternoon to catch flight to Bogota.
 
When we got back to the hostel Matt had received an email saying that payment for our Bogota-Lima flight had been denied. Great! We didn't have time to rebook (especially with that shit connection) so we decided to get on this flight from Santa Marta to Bogota and asked VivaColombia airlines when we are at the airport. As we had a ticket confirmation, perhaps we could pay at the airport. We arrived and asked the check in girls for help. One lady who spoke better English than the rest but we still had to use the translator on her phone to figure out what each of us were saying. After waiting around for a while, she came back and said that the ticket has been cancelled and that we can only purchase it with a National Bank card - do we have friends who's card we can use? No we don't. She apologies and was as helpful as she could be but boy they have a weird way of doing things around here. So we got a cab to our hostel. We walked up the road to get some food. It was so cold and fresh. We haven't had much cold at all and I think will give us a good insight on what to expect. We just got dinner at a fast food Mexican joint. It wasn't too bad but I forgot the wallet so Matt had to go all the way back to the hostel to get it. I saw Forever 21 (a bargain American chain store) so I was excited to come back the next day and have a look in there!
 
Our aim when we got back to the hostel was to book another flight to Lima. As we searched the cheapest one we could find was just over $1000. It was the only one that flew direct (the rest had stop overs, taking around 22hrs and too long so we would miss our connecting flight the next day to Iquitos, which is the whole point on getting a new flight). Oh well we had to bite the bullet and pay over $1000 for a flight compared to the $300 we originally booked for coz otherwise our Lima-Iquitos and Iquitis-Cusco flights would be exempt. This flight was with LAN and it left at 4am. So it was 12pm after we tried multiple times to book the ticket with Matts card but it kept denying it ( trust another thing to go wrong) and decided to get a cab back to the airport and try our luck at purchasing the ticket at their office or any next available flight that day. Thankfully the card was accepted on the eftpos machine for LAN airlines! We were on the flight! With no sleep we checked in our bags and waited for our flight.. at least we knew we were getting to where we needed to be! A bit of a shorter stay in Colombia than anticipated and probably didn't see as much of it as I wanted, nor was it as amazing experience as a lot of people who had been, told is it would be. The flights also didn't ended working as cheap as we first thought either. But all part of the traveller experience, things not going to plan and you just need to roll with it. Hoping the Amazon is worth it and Peru is on the up for us when we arrive. 

Tags: beach, beautiful, cabo san juan, camping, cards, flights, tayrona national park

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