“Would you like to see me naked?” A French accent purrs as I walk back into my hostel room one morning. “I promise you won’t regret this” he takes off his pants and proceeds to walk around the room naked, pottering about. This is is how I met Jon. And to our delight there were 2 more of them; Olli and Karim.
The morning before Grace had woken up utterly depressed after a bad night out. She felt like we were wasting our time in Cartagena so I organised us a bus and we left 2 hours later. Vamos a Taganga! After arriving in this secluded town we then realised we had overseen the fact that we had no money on us and the only ATM in the entire town was ‘Out of Order’. Shit. A policeman had come over and after we told him about our unfortunate situation he whistled over a mini bus and paid the driver for both of us to get back to the main town. Legend! Cashed up we returned and paid back our Policeman-friend then found a little hostel full of hammocks that overlooked the beach and the town.
The next morning after meeting naked Jon and the Frenchies we head to the local beaches. I love hanging out with these guys, despite Jon repeatedly telling me I have bad breath and a small neck. At least I have a nice walk, apparently. They tell us they are going to break into Tayrona National Park by going in the “back way.” We’d heard about this park being over priced but full of amazing flora, fauna, ancient tribes and some of the best beaches and reef in Colombia. Being on the small budget that we were we decided to come along of the ride.
TIP: Tayrona Park is expensive but there is a back way to get in without having to pay the cover charge. Ask any of the locals about the “secret entrance.”
With the Frenchies leading the way, we managed to get to the outskirts of the park until it started raining and we had to find somewhere to stay. I have no idea where we were and whose backyard we ended up sleeping in but that night we played the longest game ever of “I went to the shop,” which included such purchases as; a dog-fur towel, a pink wave and a blue crab. After a restless, cold, mosquito-ridden sleep we woke up keen to take on the park. As we set off it started raining again. No, it was torrential down-pouring! So we dove into a Cafe and ate some chicken feet soup while waiting for the rain to stop. It didn’t. Disheartened, we jumped on a bus back to Taganga. The bus was so leaky that we might as well have stayed in the rain but at least we weren’t wrestling live chickens on our laps like the locals. A little kid jumped on and gave us the freshest Colombian coffee we’d tasted and everything seemed great again. Plus we were still travelling with three hot Frenchies.
Note: This was the second time the Frenchies had attempted to get into Tayrona Park. The first time was a failure as well. Finally, on the third go, they managed to go the back way into Tayrona park – and it looked amazing!
Currency: Colombia Peso (COP)
1 USD = 1899 COP
I was there: October 2009