Mata de Platano, Colombia

Photo: Villa Playa Tayrona

You’re supposed to be cleaning. Almost every weekend, for the past few months, you’ve tackled another room in your house. The kitchen was easy. It just needed some muscle. The bathroom, as expected, was gross. It really didn’t take that long, though. But the closet in your bedroom is another story. Clothes and shoes aren’t the problems. You have two big bags ready to be donated. The issue is the overflowing boxes. They’re full of photos, itineries, and momentoes of all your trips. It’s quite the emotional rabbit hole, especially with no new adventures in your immediate future. So cleaning might have to wait.

After flipping through recent—a relative term, obviously—vacations pretty quickly, you slow down when you reach Colombia. This was a big one. It was your first international trip without your family, a school chaperone, or an all-inclusive wristband. You were on your own with your best friend in South America. It was exciting, liberating, and a bit nervewracking. It was your first adult trip.

No wonder it’s taking a long time to sift through everything. Cartagena. Santa Marta. Playa El Rodadero. Quebrada Valencia. Tayrona National Natural Park. The latter was the biggest surprise. You knew you’d enjoy the cities, the beaches, and even the waterfall in the rainforest. You didn’t expect to love exploring the national park as much as you did. But as you look through the photos of the overgrown river trails, the loud mantled howlers, and the gorgeous viewpoints, you realize that you need to go back. It might take a while, but Colombia’s Caribbean coast needs to be one of your next trips.

This trip will be a lot different. Obviously, there’s the pandemic. You don’t know when you’ll be able to fly internationally or what precautions you’ll need to take. Your best friend, whose schedule is a lot different after having kids, probably won’t be able to join you. Then there’s the agenda. You want to slow down. Way down. You’ll start in Cartagena again. You’ll still spend a few days in Santa Marta. But the majority of your time will be spent around Tayrona National Natural Park.

Villa Playa Tayrona makes it incredibly easy. The little boutique hotel is perfectly positioned. It sits across the Piedras River from the northeast edge of the park. Playa Los Angeles, Playa Los Naranjos, and the Caribbean Sea’s sparkling blue water are just steps away. The hotel’s thatched-roof buildings are surrounded by green gardens and lots of palms. Wooden boardwalks, thoughtfully raised above the marshes, lead to sets of chairs, umbrellas, and hammocks. Another deck lines a small infinity pool. While concrete floors flow inside to an open-air dining room and six minimal suites. Best of all, someone else will handle all the cleaning. You can’t wait.

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