With the antics of Colombia’s party scene behind us, we were all keen for one last nature fuelled stint in tropical North Colombia. Tayrona National Park seemed like a tasty option, yet stories of the park being flooded with tourists didn’t increase the hunger to go there. But, as we made mates along the way, it seemed we developed a bit of a crew who we’re keen on our idea of some sort of remote hike.
So, we’d told five Kiwis, two Germans and a Canadian that we had planned a remote-ish route through Tayrona that would get us to some quiet tropical beaches. Although we had almost no clue about what we were doing, we set off on a hot and humid bus to the edge of the park. We sweated about three litres of water before even arriving, and once we did arrive, we were flocked by workers at the park trying to show us pictures of the campsites, lodges, restaurants and all the other shitty developed shit that’s inside. Immediately, we felt like walking wallets as we paid for three separate wristbands for entrance, insurance and some other crap.
Nevertheless, with good company and an eagerness to get to the turquoise water, we set off. We made it a solid 35 meters before security guards then checked our bags ruthlessly and confiscated 3 of 4 bottles of rum we were saving for a remote beach night. Fortunately, we still had one left. Unfortunately, Pat and Lachie were rather thirsty, and chugged the whole bottle sneakily on the way to our first campsite, spending the 3 hours pissed as we trotted through the lush jungle.
A short 8km first day saw us at a relatively developed campsite, yet the feeling of jumping in warm turquoise waters as the sun was setting abolished any feelings of disappointment. The scenery was truly stunning. Cooking shitty rice and soup on the beach, at night, with mates from around the globe, was a moment to never forget. Another moment a Colombian man won’t forget was seeing three naked Aussies swimming in the early hours of the morning the next day. As we were enjoying the whole beach to ourselves, we saw a man dashing across the beach in our direction approximately 1km away. He eventually made it over after a long run and began angrily yelling at us, firstly frustrated that we were swimming in a beach where apparently it forbidden to swim. Secondly, he mentioned various times that Colombians don’t swim naked (despite there being a nude beach in the park). In our defense, the sign that says no swimming, which he urged us two look at multiple times, was ripped to pieces, in fact it barley resembled a flag. Oh well.
We dried off, packed up the hammocks and set off for a 14km day, past the popular beaches and towards a promising beach which apparently was much less travelled. The humidity made walking a nuisance, having to constantly drink water as it was sweated out only minutes later. I haven’t been immersed in greener scenery before, and the fact we were collectively experiencing this jaunt with other epic people made it all the sweeter. Having a few steep hills to climb, rivers and streams to cross and valleys to cruise down, we finally made it to what we had been looking for.
A wide-open grassy area with palm trees picture-perfectly scattered throughout, adjacent to a rough yet beautiful beach with only a handful of other people around. It was perfect. The feeling of jumping into the water with everyone after a massive slog of a day was so sweet. We had another beautiful night under the stars, cooking dinner on the sand and sharing stories with new mates. One of those warm fuzzy feelings, ey. Sleeping was easy with the gentle sea breeze, a slight sway in the hammock and the sounds of waves crashing.
After the golden sun soaked my hammock and woke everyone up, we set off to a waterfall a few km’s away. I’ve been to plenty of waterfalls, but this one takes the cake for being the most epic. Perched perfectly in the humid jungle, the cool stream water tumbled 20 meters down into a perfect swimming hole, which cured us of the salt and dirt accumulating in every nook ‘n’ cranny of our bodies. We spent the morning enjoying this piece of geological magic and set off for our last 12km stint out of the park. We made it back to the main road that leaves the park and within seconds a bus back to town was hailed down. Spending an hour in a crowded humid bus post hike was not ideal, but we made it back to town in time (by 3 minutes) before Govinda’s closed (an epic vegetarian restaurant).
We stunk the place out, ate the best veggie food you could find & shared the highs, lows and learnings from our little family adventure. A common theme across everyone’s experience was how grateful they were to share the past three days with people who now feel like family. Even though we didn’t really have a plan, things worked out exactly as they should have, and I don’t know how this adventure could have been sweeter. I love people.
Up next, we go even bolder with the whole ‘yeah we got it sorted’ thing, as we invite 6 mates to Mexico for our Mexico Surf Safari…