Even though Santa Marta is known as a popular destination on the Carribean coast, both for foreigners and Colombians, Luis and I felt that around Santa Marta are more interesting places to explore. For instance, Bahia Concha (Shell Bay). With a little search and after seeing some photos, we decided to go there on the next day and camp for a night.

The travel

It was still early when we left Santa Marta. Luis set the route on his GPS and our first easy 12 km on the go. The fresh air whipped my face, encouraging my excitement to push my bike faster to Bahia Concha, but it didn’t last that long. When the dirt road started bumping my bike, I realized how bad my physical condition is unprepared for all this kind of hilly and muddy roads. Just a little bit of altitude made me barely caught my breath… I was dying.

It took us about an hour to reach the entrance gate of Tayrona Park. The local people guarding a gate gave us two options to get into the beach: slower option with free entrance with 30 minutes long and not convenient to ride our bicycles, and a faster option to pay 5000 pesos per person and ride for 5 minutes. We were tired of the 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 for our last stop!

bahia concha

The beach

When we arrived, locals approached us offering beach chairs, lunch package and so on… We refused them politely and said that we wanted to catch our breath and relax a little bit. It’s low season and they hunt for customers, but in fact, after all the travels Luís did around Asia, they weren’t that annoying.

The “WOW” effect of the beautiful bay of Bahia Concha was making us feel worth it all the travel and pain. It’s bigger than the bay at Taganga, that we also thought of going. It’s surrounded by natural hills and the Isla de La Aguja in front. I could imagine why there is a myth that this bay was used to be a heaven for pirates when they invaded Santa Marta. The water begins with a translucent crystal color and slowly fades into darker turquoise. It’s superb!!

The campground

The main entrance is on the left and the further we walked to the right the quiet and more relaxed it gets. On the left side is actually where the camping ground is. We were sweaty, dirty and smelly. The weather in north Colombia is not friendly after 10 am.

“How much is per night?” – Luís asked
“2 persons is 20.000 pesos per night” – answers one of the staff in charge.

That when Luís made use of his Latin blood and touches the heart of the staff:

“We are going to Chile with this bicycles… it’s a long way to get there. If you take our money we will eat less… do us a little discount!”

Luís didn’t lie, he just melted that guy heart with our vulnerable existence and we got a better price for 15.000 per night. At that moment we learn that there were toilets and showers as well in the campground. That was a plus because we thought that would be like wild camping. Later on, we found out that the water is no longer sweat and it’s filtered salty water from the sea.

The sea

After we made up our tent and refilled our energy with bananas, we finally swam!! Slowly we dipped into the clean and fresh water! Once inside, I saw some tiny gold flecks floating on the water. This was the kind of beach that is so beautiful that I end up taking the same photos over and over because it’s just so damn beautiful!! Such a paradise…

During our search for Bahia Concha lots of people wrote the food and beverage would be expensive, so we packed a few goodies to bring with us. Whoever, I couldn’t resist to satisfy myself with a coconut on the beach (7000 pesos). After eight months in Portugal without a fresh coconut water, it was memorable and relieving! I remember when Luis and I were in Bali, we bought coconuts almost every day. It was so cheap and felt so good, especially after the workout. My favorite way to drink coconut water is to add a little bit lime juice, yummy!!

My imagination of a beautiful sunset goes away when it started to rain around 5 pm and continued until early morning. We couldn’t do much during the night since the storm and the wind didn’t leave for almost all night. Horrible. During that night we were grateful for our choice of the tent for this trip. Our Geres 3 from Berg Outdoor kept us dry and safe. Since we couldn’t do much that night, we slept early and hoped the next day would be a better day.