TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK & MINCA / colombia

TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK / Santa Marta is a great springboard to access Tayrona National Park, a stretch of coastline offering exquisite beaches to take a dip, palm trees to shade under, boulders to climb and hammocks to sleep in.  About a 90-120 minute walk and you find the camping ground Cabo San Juan where you can rent a hammock for 40,000 Colombian Pesos. Here, the beach is safe to swim at, unlike a few other spots. We arrived just after lunchtime and set up for an afternoon of swimming and soaking up the rays. Coconuts fill your view from the sand and make for a delicious afternoon snack if you’re strong enough to crack one. It’s the perfect possy to watch the sun go down with a few cold drinks in hand. A basic dinner at the little restaurant and a swinging sleep with the sounds of the ocean very close. The following day we spent the morning at La Piscina beach, just 15 minutes east back along the trail. The water was again a sparkly blue and palm trees lined the sand. There is no doubt that Tayrona is most certainly worth a visit if you’re in the Santa Marta/Cartagena region. The beaches are clean and the feelings are relaxed, the Caribbean coast has not disappointed thus far. Furthermore, the town of Palomino nearby was a quick detour and also worth a visit for some river tubing en route to Tayrona.

MINCA / The complete opposite of Tayrona is the mountain village of Minca. Set about 15km from Santa Marta, the town of Minca is a cleansing paradise. We chose to stay at Casa Elemento, about an hour bumpy Jeep ride up the mountain. The casa is home to South America’s largest hammock and some pretty spectacular views! Warm by day and cool by night, Minca is a refreshing pit stop from the Caribbean heat.

The first evening was very chilled with a glass of red wine and some delicious burritos. A short 90 minutes walk downhill to Cascada de Marinka and you will find a refreshing swimming hole. Back up the hill, we experienced another bumpy ride, although this time on the back of motorcycles, an experience, that’s for sure! Another few reds as we laid stretched across the enormous hammocks. Awoken by howler monkeys at sunrise, we stepped out to enjoy the morning view. A nice escape from the coastal lifestyle and a cleanse from digital life. A place to reset and reframe from the continuous movement that can sometimes exhaust a traveller. There is no stress up at the casa, the definition of carefree and zen. Em and Zander, our Aussies babes travelled through Colombia with us, so you’ll notice a few more moustaches, sore knees and denim shorts.

Much love, Laura xx

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