The park has very high security, you are searched prior to entering, you are not even allowed to bring in alcohol, the policeman on the gate took everything out of my bag and even patted me down! The cost to get into the park is $17 for gringos, you need to bring you passport otherwise you won't be granted entry. $17 is a bit steep, but it goes to the upkeep of the park so I shouldn't grumble....You can either walk or catch a shuttle bus to the entrance to the walk, it's all uphill and over 7ks, so I opted for the $1.50 shuttle bus ride
. I sure we could have hitched a lift if we wanted too as there were plenty of people driving in.
The walk in takes about 45 minutes to an hour, and it's awesome. You can also take a horse, but I'm not so keen on riding horses, they never seem to want to do what I want them to do. I've only ever had 2 experiences, once at the age of 15 when I was with Claire Tatum, she put me on a the oldest most docile horse telling me I'll be fine...the horse bolted, then again on a trip in Australia on a sheep sheering station, the horse again bolted..so no thank you. Marc was trying to talk me into it telling how much fun it will be......so we walked.
The walk is quite easy, there are many muddy parts due to where the horses have been treading, but it's not too bad. If you're lucky you will hear Howler Monkey's, I only heard them in the distant. The walk brings you out at Arrecifes, there's a campground and hammocks to rent, but you are advised against swimming here; there are sign everywhere advising how people how drowned. We continued walking to Cabo San Juan Del Guia. Here there are numerous beaches you can laze around and swim in. There is a campground and again hammocks to rent, although at over $10 it's not cheap! Plus there are no mosquito nets
. I was advised by a certain website that I didn't need to bring my own - the one I've been carry for over 8 months and never used, so I didn't bother. Also the food here is extremely pricey. Breakfast consisting of Kellogg's Cornflakes will set you back $3! The dinners were large but still expensive by backpacker standards, over $10, and beer was $3, it's only $1.50 in the stores. However, the location is amazing. You can walk along the beaches and easily find yourself alone on one of the many beaches. As we arrived late in the afternoon we just hung out at the camp beach and had a few beers. At night, not a lot happens, we saw a couple of girls had sneaked in a bottle of Johnny Walker Red, and had pour themselves just a tiny amount then they sat the bottle on the table. This was a pretty dumb move considering you aren't allowed to BYO. One of the many police guards around the place saw this and swiftly moved over and confiscated the bottle! A couple of English lads scored some weed and were looking for papers, but a Colombian guy on the table next to us let them borrow his pipe, before warning them, be careful and bring it back. "oh no worries" they said; "we're just going to the beach to have a puff..." (and what could possibly go wrong right?). We later heard off an Aussie couple we'd met that one of the English guys had the pipe in his mouth ready to go when out of no where one of the guards appeared! These guys are black and are dressed in army fatigue so there is no way you would ever see them coming - like a phantom the Aussie chick put it. Obviously he took all the weed and the pipe and the Colombian guy was not a happy camper! As I said there's not much to do at night, the generator is stitched off at 10, the beer shop closes at 8, and with the fun police patrolling the area, Marc and I had an early night.
I had the English boys sleeping in the hammocks next me and one of them pulled a chick who slept in is hammock...why i have no idea as she actually had a tent
. So they all woke up extremely early for a chat them went back to sleep after waking us all up. Marc and I got up and went for a walk to the other beaches. There were no one on them, it was awesome. I persuaded Marc to go to the naked beach, which I was surprised he did and he got his kit off, but lay face down! We were planning to to the ruins which were just behind our campsite, but had been told it was a 5 hour hike. It was so hot and sticky so we decided to go to the other beaches. I had been sneezing and my nose was running and was starting to get quite a bad rash. My god damn allergies were out in force. We stopped at La Piscina and decided we'd leave today instead of staying another night, mainly due to the cost and the fun police, plus I wasn't feeling too good. So we hiked out, and go the buses back.
I highly recommend buying food prior to going into the park, it will save you a fortune, but there are no cooking facilities. Also they didn't check our water bottle when we went in so you could fill it with white spirits. There are a couple of locals wandering up and down selling food, but again these are inflated prices but cheaper then the meals the campground sells.
This place is amazing and is one of my highlights of the trip so far. I wish we'd been more prepared, and stayed another night, but I couldn't help feeling ill, which was shit! Oh the hike....NOT 5 hours, more like 90 mins...spewing..mis information....
There are 3 ways to get to the National Park. One is to pay $20 (one way) and get a boat directly from the beach here, and get dropped off directly onto the beach in the park. Another is to take a "tour" or a basically a shuttle bus for $10 (one way)and be dropped off at the gate of the National Park, or do what we did and take the local buses for a total of $3 (one way).