While traveling around Colombia, I had the misfortune to visit during the month that Tayrona National Park suddenly closed. I had already booked a flight and a place to stay near Santa Marta, so I decided to come anyway. I figured there would be enough to keep me busy for a couple of days before visiting Cartagena. I am glad I did because Tayrona glamping left me aglow in gladness.
Next stop – Tayrona glamping
Getting to the lodge was an adventure in of itself. First I had to fly from Bogota to Santa Marta. Then I grabbed a taxi to the market in Santa Marta where I had to find the Tayrona bus. I climbed aboard the Santa Marta to Tayrona bus and requested they dropped me off at Costeño Beach. An hour later I jumped off the bus and the walked 40 minutes down a dirt road to begin my Tayrona glamping adventure.
I was surprised but not disappointed to find the place more primitive than luxurious. The fact that the location was literally paradise made up for any inconveniences like a lack of air-conditioning and Wi-Fi. I do a lot of more primitive camping, so I am used to and have no problem unplugging for a couple of days.
I was greeted by the very friendly Carlos who managed the place and spoke almost perfect English after only studying for three months. He explained it was an eco-lodge, which used solar panels to generate electricity and recommended only charging your cell phone between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The lodge offered three meals a day, and Carlos gave me the eating schedule. He also introduced me to the rest of the staff including Elsa that ran the kitchen. Everyone was exceedingly friendly and welcoming.
I was then shown my tent, which happened to be number five. It was the closest tent to the Caribbean Sea. I got situated and then read a little bit at one of the hammocks by the seaside. The only sound one could hear was the crash of the waves and the cackling of parakeets. It was perfect. I then enjoyed a lunch with fresh fish, friend bananas, and panella water.
Activities while Tayrona glamping
There are not a ton of things to do here for the adventure traveler, but there are enough to keep one occupied. There is a surf school next door, so you can rent surfboards and hit the lively surf that comes crashing into the beach. You can also hike 25 minutes to the river. I wanted to do this, but I did not have the energy after hiking to a waterfall.
The Valencia waterfall is only a 15 minute moto-bike ride away, and Carlos set me up with a local ride for only $3.50 round trip. There will be a future post on this experience, but I can tell you that this was one of the most enjoyable swimming adventures I have ever been on. It is really hot here, so the swim was remarkable.
You can also swim right out front on the beach. One evening me, two French travelers, Carlos, and another person working at the lodge all played in the waves. We made our way out and tried jumping over the waves as they came crashing in.
If you are not adventurous, Tayrona glamping is great for just doing nothing. I loved reading in the hammocks while watching frigate birds, parakeets, caracaras, pelicans, and other birds of prey soar over the beach. Colombia is a world renowned birding destination, and you can see quite a lot just sitting in the hammock or sitting on the porch of your tent.
The location sells soda, beer, and water, but I recommend you bring some water and drinks of your own from town before coming here. Although they served juice at each meal and sold drinks, I had a difficult time staying hydrated here due to the extreme heat. The lack of a/c also played a part although there is a fan in the room.
Another great activity at Tayrona is sunset or sunrise watching. I awoke the first morning at 5 a.m. and filmed the below GoPro video of the sunrise. It was spectacular as the sun appeared as a red disc over the distant jungle covered hills. I then enjoyed breakfast and took a nap on the hammock before my waterfall adventure.
It was a sad moment when I had to leave. I felt almost like family. Carlos told me how he enjoyed having me, and it was all smiles from the rest of the staff. I highly recommend a day or multi-day stay at this destination. When the national park is open, it would make a perfect base for visiting either before or after or both.
A stay Tayrona glamping is almost paradise. The only down side was the heat and the lack of luxuries, but that is also the appeal of the location. If it was more built up and had more amenities then more people would want to come and it would spoil the pristine nature of the beach.
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