April 7, 2012
Colombia is doing a steady effort to diversify its portfolio of tourism products and attractions. The South American nation, which is privileged in having coasts both by the Pacifica Ocean as well as by the Caribbean Sea, boasts an amazing variety of natural and cultural features, fascinating enough to attract larger numbers of national, regional and international voyagers and explorers, looking for new, exotic and exciting destinations.
This is the case with the increasingly better known Tayrona National Park, on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast, in the north of the country. Nominated as one of the “Tours of a Lifetime 2011” by National Geographic Traveler”, the Park is located just 20 miles from the city of Santa Marta and covers a vast area which includes the heights of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to sparkling and pristine beaches at the southwestern tip of the Caribbean Sea.
With a host of natural and cultural attractions and activities to offer in the area, the Colombian Tourism authorities have launched a new campaign to promote visitation to Tayrona National Park. For this purpose they chose the highly popular retired Colombian soccer super star, Carlos Valderrama, as the image to encourage travelers to visit the area as well as to create awareness about the importance of conservation. The local campaign’s slogan is: “Conservation, All Good”, and aims to promote conservation of the rich ecosystems which form the Park, one of the oldest in Colombia. The campaign includes spots that foster the compliance with good environmental practices, which should be observed on protected areas.
Tayrona National Park offers a variety of ecosystems, from the Andean heights of the majestic Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, which includes snow-covered peaks reaching above 19.000 feet of elevation above sea level; across pampas, cloud forests, dry forests, rain forests and onto the coralline beaches and coral reefs. More and more tours, expeditions, multi-sport adventures and relaxing vacations are being offered in the area, all with the added value of the spectacular natural surroundings and rich wildlife which includes some 400 species of birds, amongst them the red woodpeckers, parrots as well as eagles and condors; along with howler and titi monkeys; colorful iguanas and even the rarely seen jaguars, mighty nocturnal hunters.
The natural characteristics of this unique Colombian National Park are further enhanced by the rich cultural importance of the area, considered a historic treasure. Effectively, between the V and XV Centuries, the area was inhabited by the legendary Tayrona indigenous tribe. Their descendants, the Koguis and three other indigenous groups still inhabit the area and maintain many of their ancestral traditions. One the highlights here is the “Lost City” or “Ciudad Perdida”, the remains of an amazing stone city of the Tayrona people, built around the Fifth Century, which can be reached from nearby resorts, following the original stones of ancient roads which connected the high towns of the Sierra Nevada with the Caribbean coast. The city features a maze of waterways, stone bridges and impressive stairways with over 200 terraces and structures which supported a complex of round houses; storage and farming areas.
With the campaign led by the popular figure of soccer star Carlos Valderrama, the local and national tourism authorities expect to receive, just on this Easter Holiday, more than 7.000 visitors per day, who will contribute to the local economy and are aimed to become supporters of the conservation of this unique relic of nature and culture, the awesome Colombian Tayrona National Park.