Last week I published a post about how to do nothing in Santa Marta. Today I’m writing one about how to make your trip to Santa Marta worthwhile by doing anything and everything in the Tyrona National Park, only a stones throw from Santa Marta, by taxi or by bus. A popular traveller route, the Tyrona experience has already been well documented on Tiplr by our Explorer, Erin Burt. I myself used Tiplr for the first time in this case, using Erin’s tip to plan my trip to camp Cabo San Juan! The hike consisted of 2 hour romp through the park which I can only describe as sweating a lot whilst feeling like Bear Grylls on the set of the Jungle Book… Can’t pretend I wasn’t singing the soundtrack of the movie the whole way around to keep up team morale when legs became shaky from all the stairs!
Erin’s Tip was perfect and pretty much made our experience in Tyrona problem free so I won’t repeat her advice and instead I’ll just labour the point that you MUST queue up early at check-in to get a hammock in the viewpoint (mirador, in Spanish) because when you wake with the sound of the birds chorus at 5am to a sunrise like this one you won’t regret the queuing – plus I’m a Brit so we love a good queue anyway!
Although, Erin, one thing you didn’t mention was NOT to do the 2 hour hike in 30 °c degree heat at 8am! Seriously hard work! After sunrise and a dip in the lagoon like waters of Cabo camp’s beach, we were ready to continue our Tyrona experience on the edge of the park at a camp with a slightly different vibe. At Cabo, we felt at one with nature, but although the park is beautiful it is a little bit of a tourist trap! We rode mules back to the entrance of the park as we were too lazy to repeat the walk… This was a hilarious, bizarre and slightly unsteady experience and we’re still not sure whether we should have walked, but anyway, it saved our legs even if we did nearly die from falling off a misbehaved mule!
Our next stop was Costeño Surf Camp, a hostel on the edge of the National Park boasting a prime location on Surf Beach. Now this is a place that deserves a Tip, the main one being, make sure you book more than one night here because you will 100% never want to leave. After days of zipping around, hiking, hammocking, public transporting and hostel hopping you’ll be as ready for this place as they are for you when they invite you in with their incredible home-cooking, sunrise yoga lessons and their practically private beach.
If that short list didn’t win you over then the Jamaican inspired furniture, music, signage, tree swings and unlimited collection of board games will. And failing that, their $1 USD beers definitely will.
Before I started travelling around the Caribbean coast I hated the word paradise but in situations like this one, it’s the only thing to say. The 7am yoga with the beach breeze, home-cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner served to everyone at the same time on the dining benches when the dinner bell rings, and the laid back / almost asleep vibe from the staff here is all too much. I didn’t want wi-fi ever again. I just wanted to ask for a job and retreat in Costeño forever until I was a yoga expert, chubby from cheap delicious home food and bronzed from living in swimwear all day! Tip of the day: go to this spot. Listen to Bob Marley all day. Forget about everything.
Sadly though, there’s so much of the world to see and we had to say goodbye to Surf Beach and hello to Minca… A slightly less relaxing experience! Watch this space!