Tayrona aka Paradise

“Tayrona is probably Colombia’s most famous national park, filled with idyllic beaches that are nestled between the area’s glorious Caribbean coastline and its most mysterious jungles. The park is incredibly diverse. It has something like 300 different species of birds and more than 100 animal species and a variety of climates, because it rises from sea level up to 900m. It covers around 150 square kilometers (58 square miles) including its surrounding corals and seawaters.”

We were staying at Finca Barlovento which is right outside the Tayrona Park, actually over looking the park. In the map below you can see where we stayed and the park just over the river. Derek found Finca Barlovento in Loney Planet and loved the idea of the Cabaña which over looked the ocean and was open air!

We flew from Medellin to Santa Marta (only about a 45 min flight) and then took a cab to our hotel. The entire day was seamless and easy. After we booked Finca Barlovento they sent an email with everything we needed to know and also a contact to call to pick us up – Jimmy.

Something I was surprised with are the “puddle jumpers” from city to city are bigger than 747s! They are also super new and very clean…at least Viva Air was. Also extremely inexpensive- only around $150 to fly to Santa Marta with bags included, priority seating and boarding.

We landed, Jimmy was waiting for us as promised, and we were off to our hotel with what felt like our own personal tour guide. It was fascinating how different the landscape was here, lush mountains that jetted up from the ocean. There were even cactus.

We heard it’s the only national park that goes from coral reef to glacier – snow capped mountains. We were lucky to see some as normally it’s too hazy.

We arrived at Finca Barlovento around 12:30. Jimmy brought our bags to our room while we were given a tour of the property completely in Espanol!! It was apparent we would be getting a lot of good Espanol practice here. We were able to pick up on most of what was being said, breakfast from 6-9 and dinner from 7-9.

Derek had warned me that this hotel was rustic and the night before shared there was no hot water!! I was prepared for camping like arrangements which was going to be completely fine with me, as my expectations were low. But as I walked up to where we would be staying I was in awe. I actually had tears in my eyes as I had never seen anything so beautiful. Our room was in a large Cabaña (which means cabin in English) that had three open rooms with just a bed and a mosquito net and Air Conditioning (a fan which is what they call AC here 🤣)

Here is a video walkthrough of our cabana:

I thought we would be sharing a bathroom but actually the bathroom was just in a separate room downstairs. As you walk out of the cabaña on the opposite side of the ocean, there is a large area of grass overlooking the mountains, river, and Tayrona National Park.

Inside the cabaña, there were open hang out spaces with chairs and hammocks overlooking the ocean. This place was heaven!! I cannot believe Derek found this gem.

A lot of people have asked how we find our places when traveling. We normally find hotels, attractions and places to eat in Loney Planet and then cross reference Trip Advisor and (hopefully) travel blogs and shows. For Colombia we could only find one travel show (Anthony Bordan) and one video blogger on You Tube (backpacker Steve who was really great, I would highly recommend checking him out: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZJQF1Jx9nxq4ERTgJkiX0A5iwwxH3k9K

It was the first we had run into that….just not a lot out there I guess for Colombia yet. When going to Iceland I found blog after blog detailing what yo wear during every part of the year and what do, which Colombia that was not the case and after hours of research I could only find one helpful article about what women should pack….which was for a more “resort” vacation vs ours.

After settling into our room, we applied sunscreen and went out to explore the area. This place was filled with birds, beautiful white crane looking birds and even parrots.

Had to Google Translate this sign 😬

It was really hot so we hit the pool to cool down, the pool was right in the middle of the jungle. After swimming we grabbed a quick snack in the main dining room.

We were exploring, seeing the sunset behind the jungle and seeing crabs start to come out.

It is so funny, one of the crabs was digging a hole and would go down into the hole and get some sand, then come back to the top and wait. They would then run out fast and throw the sand.

This was really interesting and I wanted to learn more so I went on wiki: “They burrow into the sand at a 45-degree angle for a depth of up to 4 feet. It creates holes of 1-2 inch width. Adult crabs of this family occasionally dig a burrow with two entrance shafts.The digging activities of these crabs have been reportedly heard even 2 meters (6.5 ft) away. Ghost crabs generally look for food at night. This is also the time when they dig and repair their burrows. Video: https://youtu.be/6gCaZ8VxD5Y It is rare to see these crabs during daytime as they are mainly active during the night. Mature male ghost crabs neatly pile the burrowed sand next to their entrance. Young and female crabs do not make a neat pile and the sand they dig out is scattered in all directions beside their entrance. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Female crabs can identify a male residence by the neat sand pile and get a mate for themselves. Younger crabs burrow and make homes in the area of shore that is closer to water. Older crabs are seen to burrow away from water.” Given this I’m guessing the one we were watching was a young, female sand crab since she was really close to the water and her pile was all over the place! I could have watched them for hours! But we had a dinner to get to.

We grabbed a drink at the bar before heading to dinner. We were taking in our “algo time” which is what we heard is like a Latin American happy hour (between 4 or 5 it’s algo time where you get together with friends and drink something and eat something sweet).

I sneezed and the table next to us said “bless you!” That’s how we met Tyler and Brina!! They are from New York and are staying a couple days here before heading to Medellin for a friends wedding.

They told us about their amazing day visiting the beaches and snorkeling in the area. They invited us to go to see the flamingos the next day on a tour. I had no idea there were flamingos in the area let alone you could venture to go see them! We said yes and headed to dinner, excited to have a full agenda with a super fun couple for our next day.

Dinner was family style and was so good!! I love this place, it has everything – community feel, nice people, more rustic, and is beautiful!

After dinner it was around 8:00 but since it was dark and there was nothing open or around we headed to bed, under our mosquito net tied with hair ties, under millions of stars and the roaring sound of the open.

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