Tayrona National Park and Santa Marta

Hello beloved friends! This time, photos of Tayrona National Park and Santa Marta, both on the Caribbean coast on the north.

Before getting there from Villa de Leyva, I stopped one night in Bucaramanga. There is hardly anything to tell about it since it’s a city that seems devoted only to trading. I also visited Giron, a colonial town nearby, cute, but after Villa de Leyva could not stand the comparison.

Then, finally, after many up and down on mountain roads, I am back by the blue sea. First, I went for 3 days to Tayrona National Park, full of hidden beaches in a dense forest.

After that, I arrived here in Santa Marta. It’s not so pretty, but, until now, the city closest to how I imagined Colombia: the architecture, the colorful houses, the markets, and also the people. Here, died in 1830 Simon Bolivar, the principal architect of the wars of independence of several South American nations.


Inside Tayrona park, at one point is possible to proceed only on foot or horseback. My camping was about an hour’s walk bumpy, and since I also had the backpack, I preferred to ride a horse on the outward and return journeys.


And I rented a place in a hut, using my hammock again.


On the beaches and in the forest, there are spectacular giant boulders.


Like a natural or divine abstract sculpture. These large boulders were revered by the Tairona people, who lived in these areas, and from whom the park takes its name.


One of the many beaches. Sometimes are reachable only by forest paths.




Another beach with giant boulders.


Horses carrying goods.


Little beach.


…and so on, there are dozens.




Monkey coming down from a tree.


Boulders at dusk.


A strange bird wandered through the camping. Like a turkey, it swelled awkwardly when approached, perhaps trying to frighten.


Interior of a barber in Santa Marta.


Santa Marta market.




The map of places visited so far. From Salvador de Bahia, I went a little south to Arraial, then north by the coast until Belem, then by river to Manaus, flight to Bogota, and from there to the Caribbean coast.

And now? And now, guys, the going gets tough: tomorrow, I go for a 5-day trek into the forest to reach the mythical Ciudad Perdida, a mysterious archaeological site where there was once a complex pre-Columbian city, and that can only be reached on foot. It’s challenging trekking organized by an agency because it is not allowed to do it by yourself. Ehhh, what I wouldn’t do for you, my blog readers! For us? And of course! As for me, I would be safe at home, satisfied with my daily job, waiting for the evening to watch some tv series… well, now I’m maybe exaggerating. Still, it’s true that a little bit I do it for you, otherwise I already know that you come out with the usual grumbles: mhmm but you just put pictures of beaches… mhmm but everybody can do that… etc… Ungrateful. Ungrateful readers.

Ok, so I venture into the forest in search of the Lost City! Follow me…

Manaus, Bogotà (Colombia) and Villa de Leyva.

Hola amigos! I am in Colombia now, in Villa de Leyva, a small town that seems to have stopped in the past. But before I tell you of Manaus and Bogotà, where I landed.

Manaus is not the most exciting place in the world. Apart from a certain charm due to its big port in the middle of the Amazon, there isn’t much to see and do. Furthermore, for some reason, it is also quite expensive.
The only beautiful area is around the Amazon Theatre, which opened in 1896. At that time, Manaus suddenly became one of the wealthiest cities in the world thanks to the trading of rubber, which was possible to make only with trees of the Brazilian Amazon.
Various accounts tell of the follies of the rich men of the time, as lighting cigars with hundred dollar bills, washing horses with the champagne, etc… But when the British were able to steal the seeds of the trees that produce rubber for sowing them in their colonies, the monopoly ended, and with it the luck of Manaus.

Beautiful and charming is, instead, Bogotà. Despite the bad name for its recent past, the atmosphere is tranquil, apart from the sight of many different kinds of soldiers guarding the streets, some of them armed to the teeth. It’s enjoyable to get around, especially in the area where I stayed, the Candelaria, which, from the main square, climbs up to the mountain with narrow streets and colonial houses. Full of clubs, museums, libraries, universities.

From Bogotà, I arrived in Villa de Leyva, a small mountain town, where I’m now. I arrived at night, walking on cobblestone streets between colonial houses. Then, when I popped into the vast main square, made of large rocks, with little dim lights and a well in the middle, I really felt as if I had been transported in the past, like in a science-fiction movie.
In fact, next to the colonial houses, even those built later maintain the same style. Although there isn’t much to do, people are very kind, making you want to stay here for long, just doing nothing.


The arrival at the port of Manaus.


The Amazon Theater.


Inside the teather.


The dance hall.


In Colombia, in Bogotà’s main square: Plaza de Bolivar. Bogota is located at an altitude of 2600 meters.


Armar o Amar? (To arm or to love?).






A Candelaria street.




Candelaria by night.


The museum of the Colombian painter Botero, who often paints fat people. Indeed, in the background, a self-portrait with one of his notveryslim models.


Entering the extraordinary Gold Museum, inside a safe.


Golden masks.


The main square of Villa de Leyva: Plaza Major.


Man in Villa de Leyva.




Children running.


Villa de Leyva street.


The well in the center of the square.




Occasionally, with a little of luck, I get some nice room as this. For just 20 euros!


Finally, some thought on Brazil, that I left.
I really like Brazil. In fact, it is the only country outside Europe where I have been already three times. The people are warm, hospitable, cheerful, and with great vitality. Even for a somewhat ‘shy as me, it is natural to make friends on any occasion or starting talking on buses, in bars, streets, etc. …
Of course, it isn’t just a bed of roses. The gap between the few rich and many poor is appalling. And, perhaps, nowhere else in the world there is such a large percentage of people who seem unable to go beyond the horizon of football, soap operas, TV stars, and music.
Almost all large cities have favelas, are degraded and a bit dangerous. However, luckily, nothing bad ever happened to me. Nevertheless, Brazil gives me the idea of a young country, optimistic, with a great desire for life. Almost the opposite of Italy and Europe who give me an increasing feeling of oldness and weariness.
It seems, at the moment, in the unstoppable rise and has all it takes to believe in the future: a vast country, full of natural resources, where less than two decades of governments not totally corrupt and unable, made possible an extraordinary boom. Let’s hope now that the various democratic movements that, arising from below, reached power, after hard struggles and immense sacrifices, will retain the grit for the future battles for a more equitable distribution of wealth.
But if they fall asleep on their laurels, the international finance, and similar pigs will devour in one gulp all their social achievements, as already happened to my poor Europe. In this case, Brazil will remain the same as always, with a small cast of insanely rich men barricaded in hidden fortresses and the bulk of the population massed in the favelas, glad to look bullshits on TV and to play football on the beach.