Monday 4th December 2017 – Tayrona
Yes, the horse was called “poo”-palito.
Now we’ve got that out of the way…
Today we woke up with the sunrise in our hammocks after one of the worst nights sleep of my life. Sleeping in a hammock on the beach sounds idillic, but when you’re 6ft4, your head and legs are practically vertical and your body horizontal.
Kate however seemed rather enthusiastic about a new day. We wanted to explore Tayrona park more, but considering how much more rain had been added yesterday and over the night, we were a bit concerned about the flooding being even worse than yesterday.
Enter… one of Kates “good ideas”. Let’s get horses she says. It seemed like a good idea, but the second I mounted my trusty steed, I realised I didn’t have a clue how to ride one.
We had assumed that we’d be travelling along similar roads as yesterday, and so it’d just save us wading through the muddy flood waters.
How wrong we were.
We wanted to go much further into Tayrona than we’d managed on foot yesterday, and were told it’d be 1.5 hours on the horses. Extreme horse-riding much? It was insane! So much so, neither of us really have any photos or videos of the journey to share with you, because the focus of the day was simply to stay atop the horse and to actually ride and control him.
The terrain was thick jungle, 50cm deep with mud that the horses waded through. Uneven terrain was the call of the day! Incredibly steep boulder-like mountains that the horses had to jump, stretch, leap and gallop over.
I genuinely feel it’d be a challenging ride for even the most qualified of horse riders, yet here’s Kate (scared of horses) and I (far too top-heavy) tackling this beautifully rugged terrain in the Colombian way… in flip flops, swim shorts and with no helmet!
What could go wrong?
We eventually made it safe and sound to La Piscina beach (yesterday was La Piscinita). I felt a sigh of relief when we arrived there. The horse ride was truly challenging and a crash course in indiana-jones style horse riding. I felt proud I’d sort-of got the hang of it, but happy to be able to plop myself onto the sand and wallow in the sun.
And again, although slightly busier than yesterday, we’d found a beautiful beach! Tayrona really boasts some of the most honest and rugged jungle/beach terrain I’ve ever seen. Really worth the visit!
After a few hours sunbathing and swimming, we were ready to made our return. Feeling more confident atop poopalito, our guide got them into a gentle gallop (though poopalito didn’t seem keen on carrying me very fast…can’t understand why lol).
About 1 hour into the return journey, which seemed even more demanding than the way there, all hell broke loose.
You know when you get your foot stuck in the mud and can’t pull it out. This happened to poor old poopalito’s front right leg. But he’d lifted his other legs to move forward, so when he couldn’t get his front right leg out of the mud, his whole body dropped forward and he was on his knees.
Being the completely unseasoned rider that I am, I instantly toppled forward and found myself hanging upside down from my stirrups, my groin got all caught up on to the saddle handle and my head was submerged in the mud.
All I could think was PLEASE don’t tear my balls off. It was utterly terrifying. Poopalito was obviously scared and nervous and started panicking. Eventually he got out from the mud and threw me off the side.
I sunk into the mud and lay there in shock for a moment. Fortunately we were really close to a river and the guide walked me over, I was absolutely covered in slimy jungle slop. The guide took me over to a nearby river and I stood in the middle of it feeling sorry for myself and doing my best Ross Geller impression… “I’m fiiiine!!!”.
Eventually I came round and we wandering back to the campsite, which was nearby. Everybody back at the camp had a good laugh and we made our departure from the park. What larks!
And yes, the horse was fine! I apologised to him immensely. I felt so bad. He didn’t apologise for tearing a huge hole in the crotch of my favourite swimming shorts, but i’m not one to hold a grudge!
What a day! Tonight it’s off to Palomino for much needed rest and relaxation!
Tayrona really was beautiful! Check out my Instagram for more pics of the beaches we explored.