Parque National Tayrona, Colombia

This place stuck in my head after reading Mark Mann’s ‘The Gringo Trail’ a few years back. Although I think the main character dies here after too many drugs and a riptide on Arrecifies beach. So hopefully that won’t happen.

You enter the park at El Zaino, shuttle bus to Canaveral, and then trek through the jungle that lines the coastline . Even in the shade your clothes melt onto you. It’s the hottest I can ever remember being. The irony is, after praying for sun for so long, for a few split seconds I longed to be transported back to an icy Bolivian night. There’s just no pleasing some people.

You walk 45 mins to the aforementioned Arrecifes beach. Although it’s only a teaser, the currents really are too deadly to swim. Then you continue 20 more mins to La Piscina, where you have the dilemma of ‘shall I stay here, or will there be a nicer beach just around the next corner?’ It’s the classic urban myth. I kept the faith. After about 2 hours you reach the promise land; Cabo San Juan de la Guia.

I rock up at a hut, gasping for air. This must be the entrance to the magical kingdom where the hammocks for the night are. Excellent. The gatekeeper of the hammocks however must have been channelling the energy of the Amazon sloth from last week, as he was going about his business in actual slow motion. After at least 20 mins of suspense we have the exchange of:

‘Top or Bottom?’

I instinctively say top, secretly wondering how exactly that works in a hammock. I’m too tired and sweaty to care as I walk across a small campsite towards crushed rows of bunched up, moth bitten rags swinging against each other like those desktop magnetic ball stress things. This must be the ‘Bottom’ option. Brilliant. I lower my expectations.

When I realise what ‘Top’ means however, I actually double-take. Where the crux of two perfect beaches meet looms a small hill on its own island. Perched upon it is a round wooden cabana, with 12  pastel colour hammocks. It’s like sleeping inside a pretty kaleidoscope. One that looks out over the Caribbean. The whole place felt like a castle turret from a fairytale. Except a treehouse version. It’s the beach equivalent of the Garden of Eden.

I befriend a few hammock neighbours, which easy to do when you are sleeping inches from them. I luck out as they are also the guys that brought a stash of rum. We toast to our ocean breeze penthouse for $25 Pesos (£8) a night, and laugh at the plebs camping in mosquito ridden tents below. Its dog eat dog here in backpacker-ville.

Being cocooned in the tropical warmth of a hammock watching a storm circle around you at 4am this morning was slightly surreal. If I didn’t know better I’d have said it was CGI’d.

I’d of stayed longer but to be honest I was itching to get back to civilization after I’d exhausted  two days reading my stray copy of ELLE cover to cover.  Don’t judge me.  I might still need to know what’s in fashion, even though I only live in the same three outfits nowadays.

I left, but no jungle bound walk back for me. We meet a man with a speedboat, as you do, and tear off like Foxx and Farrell in Miami Vice, flying air-bound across giant waves. Coolest getaway ever.

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Connecting to %s : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

Blasts From The Past…

June 2011

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