Saying our goodbyes to Cartegena we jumped aboard a minibus destined for our next destination, Santa Marta, with our travel buddies Frenchy and the four Canadians. Another Carribean coastal town and what would be our last beach destination for some time as we were about to head inland and south!
Five fun-filled hours later we drove into Santa Marta. It was a chaotic place with sprawling markets, congested traffic and vendors screaming to sell whatever it was they were selling. Our bus stopped a couple of times and sure that he understood that we needed to get off at the beach, we waited patiently, however nervously, for our stop... Up the hill we started to go and we watched the crazy town get a little smaller and more distant... I think we missed our stop...
Others on the bus were heading to the smaller and more hippy village of Taganga only 15 minutes away. We got our message across to the driver that we wanted to stay in Santa Marta at the Dreamer hostel and by this time it was too late and said he would drop us off on the way back! Arriving in Taganga, it did have a much more relaxed look and vibe and so we took it as a message that it was meant to be this way. Trusting our intuition we said to hell with the crazy Santa Marta and got out here instead. Frenchy on the other hand headed back to Santa Marta to meet up with a Swedish girl he was chasing (legend haha) and the Canadians were booked into a nice hotel, a little out of our budget range so we decided to part ways and head off on our own again.
We found a nice, cheap and quiet hostel close to the beach, although as we entered the room a middle aged Italiano man was sleeping on his back wearing only a pair of budgie smugglers... Kate was a little bemused... haha. We dropped off the bags and headed to the beach.
The promenade along the beachfront was beautiful. Very quiet, with little shops and restaurants lining its front and facing out onto a beautiful bay that forms Taganga's beach. We found a restaurant and sat thinking how weird it was to be alone just the two of us travelling again after a few weeks of having travel buddies. After dinner we enjoyed a few beers at the hostel and played some cards.
The next morning we set out to jump on a boat to Tayrona National Park where there are stunning beaches and wild jungles with monkeys and other wildlife. Low on cash though we headed to the ATM only to be told that the entire town was having electricity issues. This meant a 45 minute mission there and back to Santa Marta to use an ATM and rush back to jump on the boat before it left without us.
The boat trip was a 45 minute ride in a small boat with big swell which made for an interesting ride! It was made better though by the beautiful scenery. The coastline had stunning cliff faces, little beaches, weird rock formations and little coves. Arriving to Tayrona the big round rocks at first from a distance looked like some futuristic setting or something from a fantasy book, but as we came closer I realised that my mind was just creating what it wanted.
Disembarking the boat I slipped, fell on my arse, bag almost fell in the water, followed by me and my dignity! I saved myself though but not the dignity, that fell in... Walking onto the beach we were told we had to pay another amount as entrance fee to the national park which we believed was included in the boat price. A little annoyed but determined to enjoy our day we brushed it off and walked further along the beach to check out what all the fuss was about.
The main beach is a little cove in a horseshoe shape, lined with soft white sand and literally thousands of palm trees and those beautiful big round rocks that I thought was a futuristic house. We had a great day here relaxing in the sun, and enjoying the beautiful setting.
Our boat guide called us back to the boat with the straight up fib that we had to leave early due to big waves headed our way. The ride back was smoother and faster than on the way there. The lazy w***s just wanted to cut their work day short! Again a little peeved but the day was a really good one and the beaches were perfect.
That night we intended to have a few drinks until a massive storm rolled in and set the town in complete darkness. Heavy rain and torchlight ended our time in Taganga but it was a beautiful little town and definately recommend it to anyone travelling the area.