Sunday, 21 May 2017


The next stop on our itinerary was Palomino, a small town on the Caribbean coast with a lovely beach and laid back vibe.

Palomino beach
The beach goes on for miles, but you're not supposed to swim due to strong offshore currents, however, we arrived to find around fifty people in the sea - all fine. So, we took the advice with a pinch of salt, only went in to waist deep and after the waves had broken. It’s too hot to not cool off!

Miles of beach in Palomino
There was glorious sunshine every morning, and we even had a view of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains from the bottom of the garden in our accommodation.
It's hard to believe that it's possible to see snow up there when we were stood melting down at sea level, in extremely high heat and humidity! It's apparently the highest peak in Colombia and you can just about make out the snowy peaks in my photo:

The snow capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada
Mountains in the distance 
In the afternoon, the sunshine would eventually give way to thunderstorms and torrential rain and the occasional power cut.

The main mud road of the town is characterised by several large puddles that fill the entire road, so it takes some time to get anywhere, picking your way around the puddles.
When it rains, we were recommended to just go out barefoot to avoid the issue of soaking your trainers or losing a flip flop in the mud!

We went 'tubing' down the river one day – a much more sedate affair than in Laos – just floating down the river in a giant inner tube, with views of the mountains, until we reached the sea. We just had to be sure to get out before we floated out to sea!
Tubing in Palomino
Getting to the start point however was a little hairier - it basically involved getting on the back of a motorcycle taxi whilst carrying our tubes!

All in all, Palomino was a lovely place to stay for a few days. After four nights, we travelled down to Santa Marta, so we could do a day trip into Tayrona National Park.

Once in the park, we embarked upon a six-mile hike along the coast, which was tough as it was so hot and humid. It's also not possible to swim on most of the beaches due to the strong currents and big waves so we had to wait a while before we could cool off.

Tayrona National Park
Most of the park has well organised trails with boardwalks, but parts of the track are very muddy and we had to wade across three shallow rivers in some parts – I think probably due to the heavy rain that has been falling.

Rough seas in Tayrona Park
After two hours of hiking, we eventually reached Arricefes and there's a beach nearby where we could finally swim in a sheltered bay – where cooling off was much appreciated. The park is stunning – wild beaches, huge boulders and big waves. Well worth the strenuous hiking effort.

Huge boulder cracked in half
We were glad we decided against the option of hiring a hammock and mosquito net and staying over in the park – it seemed a fairly horrific experience – though one that Hannah apparently enjoyed when she visited a few years ago! Perhaps as we approach the end of our trip the travel fatigue is setting in and we need our home comforts!

We are now down to our final week – how time flies! First we’ll head back to Cartagena for a few days, then we fly to Mexico in preparation for our flight back to London.

Tune in again next week for the final instalment of the blog (well, for this trip anyway!)

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