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Colombia was a blast!

Only spent three weeks there, but over a week was here at Tayrona National Park on the Caribbean Coast near Santa Marta, close to Venezuela!  The mountains (5k feet) are right up against the coast, so the place is kind of isolated and unspoiled.  You had to hike in for a couple hours along the coast, carrying all your food and water,  but that kept most of the ya-hoos out.  Cost was one dollar a day for hammock space,  or $1.50 for tent space.  The six of us set up hammocks,  and stayed there for a week.  Everyday we swam, hiked, snorkeled, and socialized with everyone we met.  Excellent reef for snorkeling a few hundred yards out. We only brought food and water for 3-4 days,  but survived the last few days off mangos (yum!),  coconuts, and fish!  Spent a couple hours everyday finding Mangos, opening coconuts, and catching fish!

 I hooked up with this Israeli girl, Yfat,  and we traveled throughout Ecuador and the Galapagos for a month. Here we are in Cartegena Colombia, staring at the red blinking self-timer light on my little Olympus XA camera. A couple days later we headed into Tayrona National Park.

 Hiking in with two British blokes we met in Cartagena, and Yfat, a lady from Israel I met about 5 weeks earlier in Quito.

 We camped in this protected cove in the shade on the distant left, where
the water meets the rocks.  Everywhere else the surf is brutal and dangerous. The reef
is hundred meters from the left margin of the above image.  Incredible snorkeling!

 Two very cool Kiwi ladies we met our last day.  We gave them our site.

  Two hundred yards from our campsite

View of Sunset from my hammock
  Sunset swim (one of ten swims per day!)  View from our campsite!

Secluded cove; cliffs on both sides!
 Quiet, very private cove, very near our campsite.

Colombia is an Awesome place. One of the best things is; No Americans!  I must'a met people from forty different countries during the week camping here, and only one or two other Americans.  We had great campfires every night, lot's of conversations with many cool people.  It is amazing how many teachers and others travel with only a backpack for many months at a time.

The coolest thing about this N.P. is the snorkeling.  The reef is only 200 yards offshore, but you have to get around behind, through some sometimes heavy surf,  it to avoid getting smashed into it.   The cove here is quite protected,  but nearly everywhere else the surf is big, wild and very dangerous.  We only had one snorkel set-up among the six of us,  but one of us was *always* out on the reef!   The water temp was so perfect, that some of us stayed in for three hours at a time, only coming out for more sunblock.

Every day a Rasta-man came by with a spear,  asking if anyone wanted fish for dinner.  We said "Yeah, for six of us....".   He came back an hour later with a huge fish still kicking.  We gave him a couple bucks, and fried that sucker up with coconut and rum!  Another rastafarian guy came by every day with homemade cookies; three or four types, most all had coconut, chocolate, etc. Some were "cookies especial" that cost a bit more, but had some kind of local vegetation added. Ciudad Perida is an ancient stone city an hour hike into the interior.  Every morning we planned to hike to it before it got to warm,  but after a morning swim and socializing, we seemed to lever get up there.  Having been at Macchu Picchu and all the other ruins a couple months earlier, seem that is the only ruin I missed!

Only saw a few Americans in all of Colombia during my three weeks there!  In fact,  I told almost everyone I was from Canada, eh?   Columbia is a great place!  Very friendly!  Great people, music, etc. Just do not get in trouble there. Do not expect Uncle Sam to help you out!  All fines are pay-on-the-spot.  If you are lucky!     I had just come from three weeks in the Galapagos Islands, and this place was just as wild!  Cartegena, Medellin and Cali were all great to visit,  but Bogota was way too dangerous (like all capital cities everywhere!)  From here, I almost went to Cuba,  but the ban was still on,  so I reluctantly decided not to.

Four people that visited the park about the same time as I wrote up some short but very interesting text reports;
Why Uris Should Be Moved to Colombia:
Spring Break Stories: The Trip
Excerpts From The Journal; By Rob Raich

Click to visit Lonely Planet!

Page created by Tim D  March '98 (updated 4/22/02)

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