Updated: Jun 8, 2020
When you think nothing can surprise you anymore but you start breathing under the sea!
Since I was little I have always liked swimming and for my 25th birthday I wanted to do something different, so I asked for the "Advanced Open Water" certificate for diving (3 reasons certificate yourself "Advanced Open Water" if you are an adventurer traveler), despite never having dived in life! My parents consent that to me and that was when I booked my flight to Santa Marta to make my gift a reality.
My birthday is on January 4th, so I took advantage that in Colombia January 1 and 7 are holidays to request only 3 days of vacation at work and to be able to take the "Open Water" and "Advanced Open Water" course in the 7 days I had (the course lasts 6 days). I traveled very early on January 1 to Santa Marta and on the next day I was already starting theory classes in Taganga at the diving center.
National Park begins, one of the most important nature reserves in Colombia because its richness in fauna and flora as it has different thermal floors, from the sea level with its different beaches, up to 5,775 meters in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Taganga is considered one of the favorite places for all types of divers, since it has a great extension of reefs, meaning ... great marine diversity.
The agency in which I did my diving course is the only one authorized to dive within Tayrona (because being it is a NAUI affiliate, they care about the conservation of the environment) and if you are lucky and are enough clients in the day (at least 5), dives will be done in Love beach or Gayraca, a beach that does not receive crowds of tourists because its access is limited for tour operators and it does not have any type of infrastructure (neither food nor water).
To get to this beach, you must take a boat ride for about an hour from Taganga, which 30 minutes is crossing a choppy sea, so prepare to be soaked. Upon arrival, the memories of that lively experience will be in the background because this beach really is charming, with almost crystalline water, soft sand and trees to cover you from the sun (what more can you ask of life?). The agency built a hut of wood and thatch roof where you can leave your things and hang hammocks (if you do the course called "safari" you will sleep in them for 2 nights disconnected from reality in this heavenly place) being the only construction that exists on the beach, you definitely will have total disconnect.
During the dives I did, I was able to appreciate a great variety of marine species, especially during the night dive. Some of the species that I saw, in addition to the different types of coral, were parrot fish, puffer fish, lion fish (which the instructor hunts since they are not native to the Caribbean Sea and do not have a natural predator so they are the main enemies of the reefs after global warming), trumpet fish, groupers, moray eels, shrimp, lobsters (loooooots of babies), sea snakes, octopuses and sea spiders. I was not so lucky but one diving partner saw a turtle and another saw a stingray, so ... you be extra careful of your surroundings, or you will miss a shark!
You must be wondering, but why should I add this to my bucket list? Well, beyond the incredible experience of diving itself, the possibility of being on a beautiful beach to rest between dives, take a sunbath to get that tan you want so much or find yourself; where if you hunt a lion fish big enough it can be your delicious lunch and where you can meet incredible people from around the world who enjoy traveling and now diving as much as you, makes it more than just a diving experience, it is a travel plan go diving to Tayrona Park.
NOTE: If you plan to do several days of diving, I recommend staying in Taganga to save on transportation from Santa Marta. You can do it through HosteWorld or when you get to the town, look for the place that best suits your needs because not all hotels and hostels are registered in searchers.
If I have convinced you and want more information or need help planning your trip, do not hesitate to comment or contact me!