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Wish You Were Here: Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Live the dream in South America.

Getting to the celebrated coastline of Tayrona National Park is a process. After catching a bus from the nearby town of Santa Marta, you need to pay your park entry fee (around $20AUD) before undergoing a two hour hike through a jungle to reach the beach, often in extreme humidity. The hike is hilly, the insects are massive and the heat is punishing, but all of that is forgotten the moment that you spy the welcoming sight of the Caribbean Sea.

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(Photo: “111 Tayrona National Park Colombia” by David ShankboneOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.)

Once you arrive at the Cabo San Juan beach, you can pay a modest fee (around $15AUD) to spend the night in either a pre-set up tent or a hammock. (FYI, while sleeping in a hammock sounds exciting and exotic, the reality of it involves hours of massage to iron out the resulting back kinks.) There’s a restaurant and some food vendors at the campground, plus a bunch of friendly travellers, most of whom hail from South America.

Time seems to slow down drastically at Tayrona National Park. Pass the long hours by reading in a hammock, swimming in the sea or hiking up the mountains just a short way back from the shore.

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(Photo: “Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona 9” by Luis Perez from Medellin, Colombia – Tayrona 01-2011. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.)

When it’s time to leave, skip the return hike and catch a boat from the beach to the nearby fishing village of Taganga. You’ll eat the best seafood of your life in this sleepy coastal town.

(Lead image: “Cabo San Juan, Colombia” by OpenApertureOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.)

Check out Qantas flights to South America here.