Luís Simões, travel sketcher around the world
Once we arrived in Santa Marta, we took a minibus to a house where we rent for a few nights in here. The weather reminds me of Indonesia – very hot and humid. Along the way, I saw the people look like me – tanned skin and dark hair. “I could be a local in here!” I thought.
After mounting our bicycles in the room we rent, we decided to go for a ride around the city with them.
Not sure if it was a good idea because we won’t leave the bicycles while we go see something else. So after some time wandering around, we want food. We searched for a place near the beach that was also convenient to leave the bikes in a way we could keep an eye on them. From our table we choose, Luís sketched while we refill our stomach and cool down a bit from the heat.
This was the first sketch Luis did in Colombia where he could draw comfortably. He didn’t feel pleasant to sketch in Bogota because we were new in town and there was too much going on.
There were indeed more interesting areas in Santa Marta to sketch and explore. The location is perfect – next to the beach, but again, with our new and shiny bicycles, we didn’t dare to lock them and just walk around.
The first 14km
It was still early when we left Santa Marta. Luis set the route on his GPS and we are ready for our first and easy ride – 14 km. The fresh air whipped our face, encouraging the excitement to push our bicycles faster to Bahia Concha. Yet, it didn’t last that long.
When the dirt road started bumping our bicycles, we realized how bad our physical condition. We were unprepared for all these hilly and muddy roads. Just a little bit of altitude made us barely caught our breath. We were dying – two dying amateurs.
It took us about an hour to reach the entrance gate of Tayrona Park. The local people guarding the gate gave us two options to get into the beach: a slower one, with a free entrance with 30 minutes long and not convenient to ride our bicycle, and a faster one to pay COP 5000 per person and ride for 5 minutes. We were tired of those loose gravel, and honestly, we just wanted to reach the beach and take off our pampers – cycling shorts with gel protections – and swim. So, we paid the money and went straight to our last stop for the day!
The “WOW” effect of the beautiful bay of Concha was making us feel worth it all the travel and pain. It’s surrounded by natural hills and the Isla de La Aguja in front. We could imagine why there is a myth that this bay used to be a paradise for pirates when they invaded Santa Marta. The water begins with a translucent crystal color and slowly fades into darker turquoise. It’s superb! We thought that we would do wild camping. But there was a campground once we walked further to the right from the entrance. After we made up our tent and refilled our energy with bananas, we finally swam!
Slowly we dipped into the clean and freshwater!
My imagination of a beautiful sunset goes away when it started to rain around 5 pm and continued until early morning. We could not sleep at all that night. There were too many unknowns that we haven’t familiar yet. What promised to be a romantic night had everything but not that. Fortunately, when the dawn arrived and the rain calmed, the weather got better.
We woke up with the sound of birds chirping. After the stormy night, Bahia Concha was calm and peaceful. We saw a lot of brown pelicans after the fishermen came from the ocean. They were so close to the beach that we took some cool photos. It was like Live National Geography in front of us.
After we immersed our self’s into the turquoise water, Luis recorded our experience in Bahia Concha thru his sketch as you can see in here.
- Bring your food, drinks, and skin protector.
- Go early and avoid the high season that starts around October.
- Cash some money but obviously don’t bring too much.
- Camping costs around 10.000 pesos per person. (low season)
- Food costs around 25.000/30.000 pesos per plate (low season)
- Bargain the prices
- Go to the right-hand side of the beach for a calm and relax experience.
- Bring diving goggles if you want to dive around.