Beach time in Colombia

Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
Trip End Apr 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Dreamer Hostel

Flag of Colombia  ,
Monday, August 29, 2011

It's a bit of a whistlestop tour of Colombia so the next day we get a minivan to Santa Marta along the coast. And yes, the driving here is just as crazy as Peru and Ecuador- for such a laidback continent they do lack patience when it comes to driving.  We stay at Dreamer Hostel which comes highly recommended and we immediately find out why.  The staff are friendly and it has a pool, hammocks surround the pool and the communal space is all outdoor – very relaxing.  We spend the afternoon in the pool and in the evening cook dinner and enter the killer pool competition.  Neither of us does that well but we get to meet everyone and spend the night chatting away – really good, relaxed atmosphere in the hostel.

The next day it’s sunny so we head to the beach – Bahia Concha.  It takes a bit of time and negotiation on costs but we get there (end up paying double local price – a bit frustrating).  The truck out to the beach is a battered old jeep and we can smell the petrol fumes but it gets us to the beautiful, natural beach.  The green of the jungle meets the beach, the water is warm and there isn’t many people about so it’s pretty perfect.  We are immediately asked if we would like lunch (it’s about 11am so we hadn’t thought about lunch), we don’t show much interest but the old man brings out the fresh fish for us to choose.  So we bargain and agree a price for our lunch at 1pm.  A couple of hours later he has set up a table with a view of the sea and serves us our fish, rice, salad and plantain – very good and the view couldn’t be better.  Another couple hours on the beach, in the water or watching the crabs scuttle by.  It’s definitely very relaxing.  It even rains with blue skies at one point, making it even more surreal. 

The next day we are off to Tayrona National Park for an overnight stay.  It’s only 45 min from the hostel and known for beautiful beaches.  However you have to work for your beaches – about a 3hr walk through jungle, along beaches and very muddy paths but each time you come across a beautiful deserted bay (and get to cool off), it’s worth it.  Also there is plenty of wildlife to keep us occupied – lizards of all shapes, sizes and colours rustle about when we disturb them and birds fly overhead.  We eventually get to the most popular bay, Cabo de San Juan, which has a long sandy bay, turquoise warm water and is sheltered from the waves.  Even I spend a lot of time in the water.  The restaurant serves very good seafood and so the rest of the day passes with some food, beers, swimming and sunbathing. The sunset is amazing with purple / pink skies and picture perfect conditions. Really does seem like something out of a movie set.

We sleep in hammocks which may sound perfect but in reality, they are slightly damp, smelly and rammed into a shed of about 30.  There are plenty nice places to stay here, just not a backpacker budget!  However, it is all worth is for the scenery.  We actually sleep quite well in the hammocks (possibly to do with the walk during the day) and the only thing that interrupts sleep is the very loud thunder and lightning storm overhead.

Up early the next day (not too easy to sleep late in a hammock), we spend the day making our way back out of the park, stopping at each beach for a while to enjoy the water.  On our way back we even come across a couple of snakes on the path and have to wait until they clear off – one quite large bright green snake and another tiny little one slithered into the trees.  Having never got close to the snake in the jungle and not expecting to see any here as the path is busy enough – I’m a little bit unnerved but Jonny is glad we saw them on the way out and not the way in (there would have been a lot less sleep if I had been thinking of snakes!). He does attempt to get close for a photo (surprise surprise) but just misses as the snake goes back into the undergrowth.

These were definitely the most beautiful beaches we have seen, as they are so natural and very well protected.  Worth the hard trek there, and one of our highlights so far!
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