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Gorgeous Tayrona National Park in Colombia

The park covers 30,000 acres and is roughly an hour by car from Taganga (either by car or by boat)

The park covers 30,000 acres and is roughly an hour by car from Taganga (either by car or by boat)

Four species of monkeys live in the park; Lee saw a couple but I never saw any; 400 bird species also live here

Four species of monkeys live in the park; Lee saw a couple but I never saw any; 400 bird species also live here

Some speculate that the 9 stones may have been used to view the cosmos; admission to the park is about $20 for foreigners and $5 for Colombians

Some speculate that the 9 stones may have been used to view the cosmos; admission to the park is about $20 for foreigners and $5 for Colombians

We rented a small room with a shared bathroom and spent 2 nights in the park; most people camped in tents but we decided we were too old for that

We rented a small room with a shared bathroom and spent 2 nights in the park; most people camped in tents but we decided we were too old for that

I explored the reef here at La Piscina since this was supposedly one of the few swimming beaches; it was only later than I noticed the lifeguards keeping everyone within 15 yards of shore

I explored the reef here at La Piscina since this was supposedly one of the few swimming beaches; it was only later than I noticed the lifeguards keeping everyone within 15 yards of shore

The further we got from Cabo San Juan the fewer people we saw; many beaches, like this one, have prohibited swimming due to dangerous rip currents

The further we got from Cabo San Juan the fewer people we saw; many beaches, like this one, have prohibited swimming due to dangerous rip currents

The beaches at Tayrona were so unlike any we saw anywhere else on mainland Colombia; their remoteness has helped the water clarity and lack of development

The beaches at Tayrona were so unlike any we saw anywhere else on mainland Colombia; their remoteness has helped the water clarity and lack of development

Spanish hogfish was one of the brighter sights underwater; TV actress Sofia Vergara was born in Barranquilla

Spanish hogfish was one of the brighter sights underwater; TV actress Sofia Vergara was born in Barranquilla

Posted signs say more than 100 people have drowned in the waters of the park; currents are deceptively strong and variable

Posted signs say more than 100 people have drowned in the waters of the park; currents are deceptively strong and variable

We agreed that Tayrona National Park was our favorite destination on this trip; locals we spoke to urged us to visit Medellin and Bogota on a future trip

We agreed that Tayrona National Park was our favorite destination on this trip; locals we spoke to urged us to visit Medellin and Bogota on a future trip

Colombia is home to more bird species than any other country on earth; geographic areas range from rainforest to the Andes mountains

Colombia is home to more bird species than any other country on earth; geographic areas range from rainforest to the Andes mountains

The few beaches OK for swimming were sandy meaning the snorkeling wasn't very good; they also tended to be on the far west side of the park

The few beaches OK for swimming were sandy meaning the snorkeling wasn't very good; they also tended to be on the far west side of the park

The park was established in 1964; species found in the park (that we didn't see) include the boa constrictor, condor, green turtle, lone eagle, hawksbill turtle and white eagle

The park was established in 1964; species found in the park (that we didn't see) include the boa constrictor, condor, green turtle, lone eagle, hawksbill turtle and white eagle

The reef at La Piscina was the best in the park but had been severely trampled/destroyed; there was little trash in the park or in the water

The reef at La Piscina was the best in the park but had been severely trampled/destroyed; there was little trash in the park or in the water

The entire park closes for one month a year (usually February); the indigenous people here think the development of the world is ruining it so the government allows the park to 'breathe' one month a year

The entire park closes for one month a year (usually February); the indigenous people here think the development of the world is ruining it so the government allows the park to 'breathe' one month a year

There are 30 beautiful beaches in the park but the waters are rough and snorkeling was limited to 1 or 2 small areas

There are 30 beautiful beaches in the park but the waters are rough and snorkeling was limited to 1 or 2 small areas

Our campground did have a small outdoor place to eat but it was expensive and Lee said it took forever to get your food; he never got sick though

Our campground did have a small outdoor place to eat but it was expensive and Lee said it took forever to get your food; he never got sick though

Supposedly jaguars, ocelots, panthers, sloths, toucans, macaws, anteaters and armadillos live in the park but we didn't spot them

Supposedly jaguars, ocelots, panthers, sloths, toucans, macaws, anteaters and armadillos live in the park but we didn't spot them

Mysteriously not all of the holes in the 9 stones were uniform; some were the same dimension through the stone while others might be larger on one end than the other

Mysteriously not all of the holes in the 9 stones were uniform; some were the same dimension through the stone while others might be larger on one end than the other

Many beautiful butterfly species in the park; this was the most common species but I saw many others including a large blue one

Many beautiful butterfly species in the park; this was the most common species but I saw many others including a large blue one

The most famous hike in the park is to El Pueblito, an indigenous settlement; unfortunately, it's 90 minutes each way from Cabo which itself was more than 2 hours each way from our campground so we didn't do it

The most famous hike in the park is to El Pueblito, an indigenous settlement; unfortunately, it's 90 minutes each way from Cabo which itself was more than 2 hours each way from our campground so we didn't do it

Leaf-eater ants were common; it was surprisingly easy, efficient and cheap to get from the park back to our hostel in Taganga

Leaf-eater ants were common; it was surprisingly easy, efficient and cheap to get from the park back to our hostel in Taganga

I was curious about the history of the 9 stones but could find little information in English; there wasn't much in Spanish either

I was curious about the history of the 9 stones but could find little information in English; there wasn't much in Spanish either

You are required to show your passport to enter the park; supposedly a yellow fever shot is required but we were not asked for proof

You are required to show your passport to enter the park; supposedly a yellow fever shot is required but we were not asked for proof

Had no idea that even Panama City is east of Miami; most of South America is well east of North America; Santiago, Chile and NYC are at roughly the same longitude

Had no idea that even Panama City is east of Miami; most of South America is well east of North America; Santiago, Chile and NYC are at roughly the same longitude

The locals we spoke to are not fans of Trump; wonder if this boat is a political statement since Hillary is hardly a Colombian name

The locals we spoke to are not fans of Trump; wonder if this boat is a political statement since Hillary is hardly a Colombian name

Tayrona is the best-known national park in Colombia; the park maps distributed to all guests were horrible as was the signage on the hiking trails

Tayrona is the best-known national park in Colombia; the park maps distributed to all guests were horrible as was the signage on the hiking trails

Beautiful creature is actually a feather duster worm; the limited reef in the park had a few interesting sights but wasn't all that impressive

Beautiful creature is actually a feather duster worm; the limited reef in the park had a few interesting sights but wasn't all that impressive

This coral formation looked like a potato harvest; prices for food and drink in the park were very expensive by Colombian standards but OK by ours

This coral formation looked like a potato harvest; prices for food and drink in the park were very expensive by Colombian standards but OK by ours

This is the last place in the world where the cotton-top tamarin still exists in the wild; the park is very humid; lowest temperature ever was 57 degrees

This is the last place in the world where the cotton-top tamarin still exists in the wild; the park is very humid; lowest temperature ever was 57 degrees

In Panama City you are not allowed to bring any beverage on a  flight to the US, even ones bought in the airport post-security; I was not happy since it was a 7hr flight to LA

In Panama City you are not allowed to bring any beverage on a flight to the US, even ones bought in the airport post-security; I was not happy since it was a 7hr flight to LA

The beach at Cabo San Juan is the most picturesque and most popular in the park; Lee and I found good snorkeling on the far side

The beach at Cabo San Juan is the most picturesque and most popular in the park; Lee and I found good snorkeling on the far side

After Tayrona, we flew back to LAX via Panama City which has a huge airport without a single book in English for sale; it did have 20 identical stores selling phones and accessories

After Tayrona, we flew back to LAX via Panama City which has a huge airport without a single book in English for sale; it did have 20 identical stores selling phones and accessories

Iguanas were common in the park; some of the smaller iguanas had bright blue tails but they were too fast to photograph

Iguanas were common in the park; some of the smaller iguanas had bright blue tails but they were too fast to photograph

The beach at la Piscinas was my favorite but it was a grueling 2 hour hike from our campsite (each way); we needed to visit outside of a holiday week because that is the only time the park has lifeguards and they won't let you swim far from shore

The beach at la Piscinas was my favorite but it was a grueling 2 hour hike from our campsite (each way); we needed to visit outside of a holiday week because that is the only time the park has lifeguards and they won't let you swim far from shore

Hammocks cost about $20 per night but sleeping crammed together like this did not seem appealing; they were also sold out when I looked for our dates

Hammocks cost about $20 per night but sleeping crammed together like this did not seem appealing; they were also sold out when I looked for our dates

70% o electricity generated in Colombia is hydroelectric; with decreasing violence has come a big surge in tourism with 3.3 million visitors in 2016

70% of electricity generated in Colombia is hydroelectric; with decreasing violence has come a big surge in tourism with 3.3 million visitors in 2016

French angelfish; this is one Lee and I saw in Cabo but they grow to a huge size as I saw 2 days later

French angelfish; this is one Lee and I saw in Cabo but they grow to a huge size as I saw 2 days later

The president of Colombia won the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for brokering peace with FARC, a guerrilla movement espousing anti-imperialism

The president of Colombia won the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for brokering peace with FARC, a guerrilla movement espousing anti-imperialism

The park has significant tracts of critically endangered dry tropical forests; it was very dusty for our visit but there are 2 rainy seasons per year

The park has significant tracts of critically endangered dry tropical forests; it was very dusty for our visit but there are 2 rainy seasons per year

La Piscinita beach in the distance; Lee visited the mountain town of Minca where he hiked to waterfalls, visited a local family and saw cacao being processed

La Piscinita beach in the distance; Lee visited the mountain town of Minca where he hiked to waterfalls, visited a local family and saw cacao being processed

In addition to climbing over boulders the hiking was made more treacherous by vicious tree roots that were often hidden under leaves

In addition to climbing over boulders the hiking was made more treacherous by vicious tree roots that were often hidden under leaves

The scenery at Tayrona National Park was spectacular when the sun was out; there are very few places to stay in the park with most of them being basic campgrounds

The scenery at Tayrona National Park was spectacular when the sun was out; there are very few places to stay in the park with most of them being basic campgrounds

Cabo San Juan is the primary destination at Tayrona National Park; the water was rough but the snorkeling surprisingly good

Cabo San Juan is the primary destination at Tayrona National Park; the water was rough but the snorkeling surprisingly good

Colombia ranked 3rd on the latest Happy Planet Index which is a measure of human well-being and environmental impact

Colombia ranked 3rd on the latest Happy Planet Index which is a measure of human well-being and environmental impact

There were lots of visitors from Argentina and Chile as well as a surprising number of Europeans; many had been backpacking across South America

There were lots of visitors from Argentina and Chile as well as a surprising number of Europeans; many had been backpacking across South America

Blue skies, gray boulders, green forest and turquoise waters made for a very photogenic panorama throughout the park

Blue skies, gray boulders, green forest and turquoise waters made for a very photogenic panorama throughout the park

Although you can't see them from the park, the snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta are only 26 miles away and 18,000 feet high

Although you can't see them from the park, the snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta are only 26 miles away and 18,000 feet high

Ecologically, Colombia is one of the world's 17 most diverse countries, and the most densely biodiverse of these per square kilometer

Ecologically, Colombia is one of the world's 17 most diverse countries, and the most densely biodiverse of these per square kilometer

The Tayrona Indians arrived in the region around 400 AD with their descendants still living in small villages within the national park

The Tayrona Indians arrived in the region around 400 AD with their descendants still living in small villages within the national park

The 9 Stones hike; these egg-shaped rocks have holes through them but no one is quite sure what they were for but they may be 1000 years old

The 9 Stones hike; these egg-shaped rocks have holes through them but no one is quite sure what they were for but they may be 1000 years old

La Piscinita was one of the few beaches where you were allowed to get in the rough waters; lifeguards are not usually at the park but it was Easter week for our visit and they were on duty

La Piscinita was one of the few beaches where you were allowed to get in the rough waters; lifeguards are not usually at the park but it was Easter week for our visit and they were on duty

Throughout the park boulders were scattered everywhere; at times you would even see large trees seemingly growing out of them like the one in the background here

Throughout the park boulders were scattered everywhere; at times you would even see large trees seemingly growing out of them like the one in the background here

There is very little development in the park; most of the facilities look very dated except for the expensive EcoHab huts which go for $400  per night

There is very little development in the park; most of the facilities look very dated except for the expensive EcoHab huts which go for $400+ per night

This was a huge French angelfish that was easily the largest fish I saw; it was also too large to get all in one photo

This was a huge French angelfish that was easily the largest fish I saw; it was also too large to get all in one photo

School of Atlantic spadefish; finished 3 Greg Iles books on trip and ran out of reading material; hard to find books in English

School of Atlantic spadefish; finished 3 Greg Iles books on trip and ran out of reading material; hard to find books in English

Posted by VagabondCowboy 03:18

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