This park is an exceptional chunk of beach and jungle, really gorgeous. But its concession provider takes a rather bare-bones approach, probably to keep its own profits high. There is very little information available to visitors on how to make use of the park, what species to see, what trails to take. Trails are good and well marked, but it seems a shame that there aren't guides working for the park who can help you. Park staff are genuinely rude and indifferent, which is strange for Colombia. Parque Arvi, a park atop a mountain near Medellin, is staffed to the hilt with nice people interested in helping you make the most of your visit, while Tayrona, a hundred times bigger and more famous, takes your money and leaves you sort of confused. At el cabo San Juan, the swimming beach, camping facilities were gross and inadequate -- four showers and four toilets for hundreds of visitors at a time. In the main campground you can choose between tents and hammocks so close together it's unsanitary. We stayed in a nicer-looking bank of hammocks on a boulder overlooking the beach, at a slight distance from the main campground and the bathrooms/showers. It was a beautiful starry view from the hammocks, but cold (a sleeping bag would have helped a lot). Also, after dusk, you must stay put -- descending the boulder at night, even with a flashlight, would have be dangerous. This meant of course that no one could go to the bathroom, but rather just did what they had to do, and the boulder stank. And finally, there were mice running about beneath the hammocks, chewing holes in people's backpacks in pursuit of their crackers. Probably best to make Tayrona a day trip --come early in the morning and stay till dusk, carrying a minimum of gear. Hike and swim to your heart's content. Then get the hell out of there. Unless you can afford the luxurious eco-habs you're condemned to some nasty overnight conditions.
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