We took a 5 k bus ride to Taganga, famed for its ¨gringo explosion¨ but after a 15 minute hike one does arrive at nice beaches.
After some fresh juice we hopped on a bus and drove the pretty, curvalicious 5 k back to Santa Marta, packed up, bought a few last minute provisions and got on the 5,000 pesos a person mini bus to Parque Tayrona.
Whenever I think of this magical place and say its magical name it has been shrouded in mystery and suspense for me. Ever since Colombians have been telling about their country they have insisted that this place is the most beautiful place in Colombia and that I have to go there. For Josh and I it has been a sort of Mecca for our trip. We've kept it as out ending goal. From the bottom of the Andes we will make it all the way to the top of Colombia!!!! was our motto and we did it! This place was just as magical as they all said it would be, and much more of a paradise than I ever imagined.
After a guard searched our stuff and confiscated our bottle of auguardiente (gulp, didn´t know you had to smuggle it it!!) we took a 2,000 pesos a person jeep ride to the head of the trail, put on out backpacks and started sweating. The hike took us about two hours, and with the packs on it was hard, but along the way there were distractions enough. We had paused for a second to breathe when I pointed at a mango tree and slightly above a whisper exclaimed: Monkeys!! There were around ten monkeys just jumping and swinging from tree limb to tree limb, one guy was really into shaking the tree, maybe one was trying to throw stuff at us but he needed to work on his aim. Anyway, we were super close to them and it was pretty awesome.
When we finally made it to the park just before dusk we paid the somewhat high prices to pitch our tents (15,000 a person at the Cabo sight), set em up and then ran the ocean to get a quick rinse off. Even in the dark I could tell it was amazing, but its real beauty was revealed to me the next day.
Yes, as you can see from the photos I borrowed from the internet with no intention of returning them, these beaches are divine. And the camp site was nice too, grassy and covered in palm trees. We saved a lot of money by bringing our own food and for two amazing days our lives consisted of tuna, beans, rice, books, the ocean and soaking in some sun. We are here during the low season so we sometimes had a more out of the way beach all to ourselves, and when we didn´t we laughed at the Israeli's crazy tatoos or the British couple's pda. Nothing could get us down.
For now this place is only reached by foot or by boat. I hear rumors of cable cars, and I can only imagine how some hotel mogels would like to get their hands on some of this virgin jungle. But for now this place remains primitive with public bathrooms, an overpriced restaurant, tents, hamocks, and people who come to enjoy this amazing bit of untouched nature.
I was really sad to leave, but we tried to do it in style by leaving in a boat. Unfortunatly this turned out to be less dignified than imagined. They sold too many seats and I had to sit on the floor of the speed boat fighting sea sickness as I was looking sideways the whole time. We left the boat soaked and glad to be on dry land.
We spent the night in Santa Marta because the beds are so damn cheap there!! and then said our goodbyes to Jonathan as he headed to Venezuela and we back to Cartagena.
Its hard to imagine that there are only about three days left to this trip! This trip, this adventure, this blog, its become my life, and while I am super excited for Philly, for time with family, and living in the peace of my parents nest, and catching up with old friends I can not imagine not being in South America for now. This reality will change whether I can imagine it or not, but three days!! It seems an impossibility that I just can't fathom, or wrap my mind around.
Anyway, for our last night in Cartagena we have a fancy dinner planned with Mike, and then we spend two days in Bogota. Josh flies to DC; I to NJ, and then the next day I fly off to visit Mia in Europe until the 25th of May. After that I will go home and upload lots and lots of photos to the blog!!!
So if you don't hear from us for a little bit don't loose heart, the blog has a few good posts in it yet!!