Welcome to “The Paradise” (Day 347)


This is what the sign said after I had reached the beach in Tayrona National Park, about a one hour hike from the highway.  I walked in with my tent, some food, and 5 litres of water in each hand.  I was delayed doing the “Lost City” trek, so I came to this Colombian National Park to spend a few days of rest and relaxation (those Spanish lessons were stressful!).

At this point in my travels I was pretty sure I had seen all of the world’s finest beaches.  Not so.  Another 1 hour hike brought me to Cabo San Juan, a campground in the NP, which sports two golden arcs of sand that straddle a rocky cape.  The place is idyllic.  I put up my tent on a grassy area just off the beach.  I drove my tent stakes into the ground with a fallen coconut (try that next time you forget your hammer.)  I spent 4 days here doing jack squat.  Just reading, swimming, and collecting rays.  It´s how we travellers do it.

The beach at Cabo San Juan, Tayrona NP, on a cloudy day in September

Encore.  If you didn’t bring a tent, you can put a hammock up in that shelter on the point.  I proposed they rename this place to “Relaxation” National Park.  The ranger didn’t go for it.  Must have lost something in the translation.

Tropical camping tip:  Don’t put your tent (or yourself for that matter) directly underneath a coconut tree, no matter how inviting the shade looks.  The coconuts fall without warning!  They are very hard and heavy.  It will hurt.

That’s my orange tent.  When I travel, I like to blend in as much as possible.

I don´t often say much about my upcoming plans because they can change at any instant:  any encounter, any change in mood, weather, or heart, can detour me.  And, to be honest, my plans also change often because I don´t really know what I´m doing (this is my first “round the world” trip, I´ve never done this before).  But, I feel I can safely speak of the next few months.  I´m on the NW coast of Colombia. I will slowly move south, through Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.  In early December, from wherever I am, I will fly down to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city on the planet.  And then I continue south, by boat.  That´s what is in store for your blog-reading pleasures.  Stay tuned.

How about another “How To” video? you ask.  Happy to provide.  For this one we go back to Part 1 of my trip, to a creek outside of Inle Lake, Myanmar.  This video shoes you how to cross a river using only a water buffalo.  See, I only show you the most important skills you need to travel the world.

As much as I wanted to, I never did get a chance try this one myself (maybe I should have bought a buffalo?), but I feel like the Burmese kids I video’d do a fairly good demonstration. I have never seen this before or again, so it is possible this river-crossing technique could be unique to Myanmar. Anyway, most of us might use a boat to cross the river. In Myanmar, they just stand on the back of the nearest water buffalo and drive it across. Besides the buffalo, all you need is a good balance.

If you loved it, here is the dismount:

(These videos were shot on location near Inle Lake, Myanmar, some time in February, 2009.)

After all my days in the jungles of Asia, I claimed I would never go back into those sweaty, humid, dank places.  But, alas, the lure of lost cities are too much.  I am going back on my word.  I will be back in civilization in about one week, see you then.

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2 Responses to Welcome to “The Paradise” (Day 347)

  1. says:

    Shawn,Muchas gracias es sus diarios.Fotos son muy bonitas.

  2. Shawn says:

    Gracias, Zhu Zhu!

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