Photo Friday: Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Photo Friday: Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Tayrona National Nature Park is a gorgeous protected area on the Caribbean Sea in northern Colombia.  Located just over 30 kilometres outside of Santa Marta, it is easily accessible by public transportation.

The park caters to all sorts of travelers, but it seems to be most popular with the backpacking crowd, as it offers the option to camp overnight in either a tent or a hammock with a mosquito net.  (You would assume that the latter would be super comfortable, but I learnt that sleeping overnight in a hammock is super hard on the neck and back).

Once you arrive at the park, you can plop down on the beach right away, or you can hike for a few hours along trails and the beach until you reach the most popular camping spot, Cabo San Juan.  Hammock rentals around around $10, while tents cost a bit more.  If you want to sleep up high on the rocks (the “room with a view”), you probably need to book a day in advance, so you may want to consider spending two nights in the park.  If you plan to do this, bring a sweater — it gets chilly during the night up there!

The beach gets a bit crowded during the day, but wander a little further along and you’re sure to find your own peace and quiet, as well as a perfect place to watch the sun set.

Photo Friday: “The Friendly Beasts” at Wayllabamba, Inca Trail

Photo Friday: “The Friendly Beasts” at Wayllabamba, Inca Trail

 “I,” said the Donkey, shaggy and brown,
“I carried His mother up hill and down;
I carried His mother to Bethlehem town.”
“I,” said the Donkey, shaggy and brown.
The Friendly Beasts, Christmas Carol

As Christmas gets closer and closer, I’ve started to see countless nativity scenes (“El nacimiento”) pop up around South America.  But, since I’m a bit out of the Christmas element this year, the friendly beasts of the dioramas are actually reminding me of one of my favourite Inca Trail moments.

I shot this photo at Wayllabamba, my first-night stop on the Inca Trail.  We shared the campsite with a donkey, dog, and a few loose chickens and pigs.  This building was next to the cooking area for the porters on our trek.   The lady who lived here ran a tiny shop (pictured on the left), but it was the other room that caught my attention.

When I peeked through the door on the right, I saw a bed, and about twenty guinea pigs (cuy) scurrying around the floor.  This week’s dinner.  Have I mentioned that I’ve tried said Peruvian delicacy?  Roasted and eaten whole.  Not my cup of tea, to say the least.

Cuy – Guinea Pig