05.10.2011 - 10.10.2011 30 °C
So after a 20 hour, overnight bus journey from Bogota we arrived in Santa Marta in the afternoon. The trusty Lonely Planet led us to La Brisa Loca hostel, which is right in the centre of Santa Marta, in a traditional Spanish Style building. The vibe is very relaxed and we feel at home pretty quickly.
In the evening we decided to do as all English people do and go down "to the front". Unfortunatly Santa Marta's sea front isn't one of it's stong points and after a pretty average dinner we wonder around trying to find where all the action is, with little success.
The next morning, just by chance, we met a couple from Slovenia, that like us wanted to spend the day at the beach. So we shared a taxi with them to Bahia Concha. But this was no average taxi ride... the driver had a sound system in his taxi and he wanted to use it. So we spent 45 minutes listening to various classic tunes like Shaggy's Mr Lover Lover, UB40 and Bad Boys Bad Boys - all at top volume with Mr Taxi Driver doing the occasional dance move (with Leia joining in). Plus the road to the beach was just a dirt track, so at points it looked like we wouldn't even make it there and at one point we all had to pile out of the taxi so the car would get through the mud. It was hillarious!
The beach was amazing though, so beautiful and very peaceful, with hardly another soul there, apart for some local guys trying to catch fish. The Caribbean Coast did not disappoint.
That evening we asked the hostel where was good to eat and where was good to dance. So we ended up having a lovely dinner and Lupo and then we went to a bar for a free salsa lesson - which Leia and Jo loved but Craig wasn't so keen on and pointed out several times that it wasn't even proper salsa!
When we got back to the hostel we bumped into the Slovenian couple again and after a few drinks decided that we would go to the Tayrona National Park together the next day.
I don't think any of us were totally prepared for the walk that we would have to do when we got to the Tayrona National Park. Luckily we all had our walking boots on as we had to walk through a very muddy, uneven path going through the jungle for about 3 hours until we got to the beach where we wanted to stay. It was hard work! But my god was it worth it!!! The Cabo San Juan beach was simply stunning, so so so beautful and completely unspoilt. The area is protected so there are very few buildings there.
We arrived at about 5 O'Clock and got straight into the sea. We then drank beer and ate a picnic on the beach with Enes and Ursa (the Slovenian couple). Bliss!
We went to sleep in hammocks, with the sound of Colombian "salsa" music in the background. The next coupld of days were spent lazing on the beach, all of us totally amazed by how beautiful it was.
The 3rd night we slept in the hammocks which were on the top of a little island that over looked the bay. A storm came in and from our hammocks looking out at the ocean it felt like we were in the middle of the storm-amazing!
On our final day in the National Park we decided to do a walk up to Pueblito. Which is an ancient native village about 2.5Km in land and up hill. The walk was a little challenging, especially for Leia and Jo who felt that they were going to die most of the time as the walk involved walking over various rocks, with sheer drops the other side. Luckly for us Enes and Ursa (and Craig) were experienced walkers, so their confidence ensured that we made it through ok. The village was cool, but the journey there was more of an experience.
We decided to get the boat back to Santa Marta, rather than do the 3 hour walk back. Although we nearly needed to walk as Jo and Craig ran out of money and it was only because they accepted US dollars that we had money for the boat. Lesson learnt there. The boat droped us at Tagana (a sleepy fishing village that has been invaded by tourists and isn't so sleepy anymore!) We had a little walk to try and find an ATM and decided quickly that we were very glad we chose to stay in Santa Marta rather than here!