I got tipped off by some other traveler’s in the park about “Pueblito”, a small indigenous village buried back in the park but accessible from the entrance “El Calabazo” off the highway as well as Cabo San Juan and the Playa Nudista. Nobody warned me about the difficulty of this hike so I am warning you now: THIS HIKE IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. BE PREPARED TO SWEAT. There are sections of the trail where you are pulling yourself up on short ropes to get to the next rock. Most of the trail looks like this, climbing big boulders, going straight up:
I consider myself to be a physically fit person but even I had to stop and take frequent breaks to sit down and catch my breath. My clothes were soaked through with sweat. Still, it was nice to get up and away from the crowds of Cabo San Juan and go a bit deeper into the jungle:
I didn’t find this out until I had already gotten to Pueblo, but apparently there is a much easier, much more level trail to Pueblito from the Nudist Beach (Playa Nudista) so if you’re not up for busting your butt, I’d recommend going from there! The trail that I took left from just behind the camping of Cabo San Juan and took a very intense hour and a half.
And when you arrive to Pueblito, this is what you get. A very small, functioning indigenous village and some ruins of villages past. There is one stand selling water, Gatorade, and chips if you need an energy re boost. I would recommend having ample water supplies with you (for obvious reasons). I was surprised by the small children running around Pueblito that live there. Crazy to think that in this modern world, you still have little tribal babies living isolated in the jungle….
Since I had no idea how difficult this hike was going to be before I started it and I saw on the map that if you continued on past Pueblito, you would eventually reach another entrance of the park “El Calabazo”, I planned on leaving the park that way. It was a lot longer and more strenuous than I anticipated and for this reason I would not recommend leaving the park that way. The way that you came in or the “Camino 9 Piedras” are a lot more pleasant to walk and just as scenic and lovely. But do check out Pueblito if you have some extra time in the park! Just listen to me and go via the Playa nudista, if you can.
When I finally reached El Calabazo, I sat down and had a well earned smoothie and an arepa with egg (Colombian street food, made of corn, very delicious and cheap!) and waited for my bus to the little nearby beach town of Palomino.