Tayrona National Park is a Colombian destination with incredible nature and beaches. If you are an adventure lover, you are good at walking and you love nature, this is the ideal place for you.
In this travel guide you will learn how to get there, where to spend the night, what to do and what are the closing dates, you will know the budget, the plans you can make and how you can tour the Tayrona Park in 1 day.
Information updated to September 2019
TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK, COLOMBIA
The Tayrona National Natural Park is located in Colombia, in the department of Magdalena, 1 hour from the beautiful city of Santa Marta, and on the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
Tayrona is a park inhabited by the Wiwas, Arhuacos, Kankuamos and Koguis indigenous peoples. A sacred place that you must respect at all costs, and where you will find hiking trails, paradisiacal beaches and practice snorkeling, diving and sighting of flora and fauna.
The climate of the Tayrona National Park is tropical humid and although its temperature ranges between 25 ° C and 33 ° C, you can wear a light raincoat in case it rains, shoes with good grip, swimsuit, binoculars and snorkel mask.
HOW TO GET TO TAYRONA PARK?
You can reach Tayrona Park from Santa Marta, a city that you can reach by private car, plane or bus from the main cities of Colombia:
🚌 Bus Bogotá to Santa Marta: $65.000 COP y 19 hours
🚌 Bus Barranquilla to Santa Marta: $15.000 COP y 1 hour
🚌 Bus Cartagena to Santa Marta: $25.000 COP y 4 horas
🚌 Bus Medellín to Santa Marta: $110.000 COP y 16 hours
To Santa Marta you can also from Cartagena is in Transportes Marsol, a micro-bus company that can pick you up at your lodging in Cartagena and leaves you at your accommodation in Santa Marta. This service is usually priced at $50,000 COP.
HOW TO GET TO TAYRONA PARK FROM SANTA MARTA?
Before traveling to Tayrona National Park, you can explore Santa Marta, get to know its historic center on your own or take this guided tour, go to La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, the Tayrona Gold Museum, the basilica cathedral and Taganga.
In the historic center of Santa Marta you can stay at Hotel Catedral Plaza, Masaya Hostel, Calle 11 Hostel Rodadero and República Hostel. In Taganga you can enjoy the sunset at the Casa Horizonte, Cielo Hostel and the Mirador Hostel Club Social.
When you decide to go to Tayrona Natural Park from Santa Marta, you must go to the Public Market and take one of the buses that go to La Guajira or Palomino and that for leaving you at any entrance of the park will charge you $10,000 COP.
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OTHER TRANSPORTS FROM SANTA MARTA TO TAYRONA PARK
You can also get to Tayrona Park by taxi from Santa Marta for a price of up to $60,000 COP. You can even rent a car in Santa Marta from $90,000 COP, since the park has private parking lots guarded 24 hours from $ 14,000 COP.
On the other hand, if you travel with older adults with reduced mobility or have little time, you can reach Tayrona by boat from El Rodadero or Taganga. The trip by sea lasts 50 minutes, leaves you in Cabo San Juan and costs $ 50,000 COP.
HOW TO GET TO TAYRONA PARK FROM PALOMINO?
From Palomino it is very easy to get to Tayrona National Park, you just have to go out on the road and take any bus that goes to Santa Marta and tell the driver the entrance to the park you want to enter.
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ENTRIES TO THE TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK
The Tayrona National Natural Park has 3 entrances, each one arriving at different beaches, but determining which is the best entrance is going to depend on how much you want adventure or rest you have.
If the intention of your trip is to enjoy the beaches more than hiking, enter through the entrance of the Zaino, but if you just want to walk and get to know the forests of the park, enter through the Calabazo.
Previously, from the entrance of the Calabazo you could reach Pueblito Chairama, Playa Brava, Cabo San Juan and the other beaches of Zaino. Today it only reaches Playa Brava, so if you want to go to most beaches you must enter through Zaino.
The third entrance to the Tayrona National Park, Colombia, is through the Palangana sector, where you can reach the beaches of Neguanje, Gayraca and Playa del Muerto or Playa Cristal. In this part of the park you cannot spend the night.
HOW TO VISIT THE TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK IN 1 DAY?
The main entrance of the Tayrona Park is that of Zaino and by its path you can reach the Cañaveral, Arenilla, La Piscina, Arrecifes, Cabo de San Juan beaches and the Boca de Saco nudist beach.
So, if what you want is to visit the Tayrona National Park in 1 day, the best thing you can do is to enter the Zaino very early and not delay at each beach.
Although, the best alternative will always be to spend several days inside or outside the park, and take advantage of each day to explore each of the entrances, because each beach and each forest of Tayrona Park has its unique charm.
The entrance schedule to Tayrona Park for any of its tickets is 8:00 a.m. at 5:00 p.m. and although horse tours are offered inside there are reports of animal abuse.
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WHERE TO SLEEP IN THE TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK?
Sleeping inside the park is cost. In Arrecifes and Cabo San Juan there are camping areas that offer camping tents starting at $60,000 COP, rustic rooms starting at $100,000 COP and hammocks starting at $40,000 COP.
Although, the lodgings inside the park have shared bathrooms and showers, the truth is that the high flow of guests generate long lines for bathing and in general the cleanliness of these accommodations is not the best.
Since lodging within Tayrona Park is very requested and expensive, there is no way to book early. Most travelers prefer to spend the night around the park, where the best places are:
($) Viajero Hostel & Ecohabs, The Journey Hostel, Manigua Hostel, Hermanos Beach Hostal, Las Mañanitas ($$) Villa Yira Eco-hotel, EcoHotel Chayrama, Casa Antawara, Dream House, Posada Ofelia ($$$) Maloka Barlovento, Yachay, Casa Barlovento.
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WHAT TO DO IN TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK?
The Tayrona Natural Park is one of the favorite plans in the Colombian Caribbean, its white sand beaches, crystalline waters, archaeological remains and dry forests, make it an unmissable destination.
Know everything you can do:
1. VISIT THE BEACHES OF ZAINO
The Zaino entrance is the most used and busiest in Tayrona Park. Keep in mind that buses that come from Santa Marta or Palomino will leave you on the road and from there you have to walk 30 minutes to the entrance.
Although, if you don’t want to walk you can find minivans that leave you right at the entrance for $3,000 COP. A good alternative to save time and energy. Once inside, you will find these beaches:
This beach is the one that is closest to the entrance of Zaino, and although it is one of the small and beautiful, but it is also one of the beaches where it is not forbidden to swim because of how strong and dangerous its waves can be.
Canaveral beach has virgin corals, but no matter how tempted you are to enter the sea, don’t do it! Better walk and take some good photos.
To 45 minutes walking from Canaveral between the thicket of the humid jungle and the dry tropical forest, you arrive at Arrecifes beach.
Arrecifes is the largest beach in Tayrona National Park, and in it you will find restaurants, camping, a large coral reef and giant stones that make swimming there prohibited because of how dangerous it can be.
500 meters from Arrecifes is Arenilla, a small beach with turquoise waters, where you can finally take a bath that you will want so much.
Arenilla, is one of the most popular beaches for the tranquility of its sea, and although there is no food service, bathrooms, camping, you will have to visit it early if you want to find the beach without so many people and get fancy photographs.
LA PISCINA BEACH
15 minutes from Arenilla is La Piscina, one of the quietest and most beautiful beaches in Tayrona Park, where, in addition to swimming you can explore the marine wealth and snorkel.
At La Piscina, you can also take diving mini courses from $280,000 COP.
CABO SAN JUAN DEL GUÍA
From La Piscina you must walk 15 minutes to reach Cabo San Juan del Guía, the most famous and visited beach in Tayrona Park.
You will recognize Cabo San Juan, because it is the only beach in Tayrona Park that, besides being surrounded by a lot of vegetation, has a hill in the middle of the sea and at the top a kiosk and one of the most incredible viewpoints in Colombia.
In Cabo San Juan it is allowed to swim, but whenever you are going to do it, be very careful with the waves. Also, remember that this beach is where the boats that come from Taganga arrive.
Finally, keep in mind that in Cabo San Juan you can get hammocks and camping areas from $60,000 COP, hammocks from $40,000 COP, and a restaurant that offers breakfast at $15,000 COP and main dishes from $30,000 COP.
BOCA DE SACO NUDIST BEACH
Boca de Saco is located 20 minutes from Cabo San Juan, and although it is not officially a nudist beach in Tayrona Park, the truth is that its visitors usually leave modesty aside and get carried away.
Boca de Saco more than a nudist beach is a paradise of huge rocks, green biche palm trees and thick jungle, where the sea breeze makes it a perfect place to rest.
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2. HIKING AND VISIT THE CALABAZO BEACHES
Breaking news: at the request of the indigenous peoples that inhabit the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the Chengue, Los Naranjos beaches, an area of Bahía Concha and Pueblito Chairama have been closed to the public because they are sacred places.
However, we leave you the information of Pueblito, in case one day an agreement is reached that ensures the respect and self-sustainability of this place, and with it its reopening.
Before, after 3 hours of walking from the entrance of the Calabazo, the old Tayrona settlement of Pueblito Chairama was reached, and after another 3 hours at Cabo San Juan or Playa Brava.
Today you can still enter Tayrona Park through the Calabazo, but your path will not take you to Pueblito Chairama or Cabo San Juan, it will go directly to Playa Brava where you can only spend the night in the Bungalows Teyumakke.
Pueblito Chairama is an ancient place of terraces and ceremonial buildings in stone built by the ancient Tayronas, one of the most important archaeological remains of Colombia.
Going to Pueblito Chairama was the best option if you want to get closer to the indigenous peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and you did not have the budget or the necessary time to discover Lost City.
PLAYA BRAVA TAYRONA PARK
Playa Brava is a lonely beach where you can rest and sunbathe, and although it is forbidden to enter the sea it is an excellent alternative if you are looking to get away from the busiest beaches.
The trail from El Calabazo to Playa Brava, is quite steep and is an ideal trekking to get closer to the water richness and the flora and fauna present in the park. Upon arrival you can sleep at Bungalows Teyumakke.
3. VISIT THE BEACHES OF THE TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK IN PALANGA
Palangana is the first one you will find from Santa Marta and at the same time it is the least used. In Palangana you can access the beaches of Neguanje and Cristal.
Playa Cristal is for many travelers the best beach in Tayrona Park, to get there you must go to Neguanje or Taganga and look for a boat ride.
However, remember that in this part of the park you cannot spend the night and that Cristal beach is so removed from the other beaches that you will need a whole day to visit it.
WHERE TO EAT IN TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK?
On the busiest beaches like Cabo San Juan, Arrecife and Arenilla, it is normal to see food stalls selling egg arepa, cold beer and other typical delicacies of the region.
Although if you prefer to bring your own food, remember to return all the trash that you can cause and do not carry with you disposable items, bags and plastic utensils since your entry is prohibited.
TAYRONA ENTRANCE FEES NATIONAL PARK 2019
✅ Foreigner NOT resident in Colombia and NOT a member of the CAN: $53,500 low season and $63,500 COP high season.
✅ Colombian, foreign resident in Colombia or member of the CAN between 5 and 25 years: low season $18,000 and high $20,000 COP.
✅ Colombian, foreign resident in Colombia or member of the CAN over 25 years: low season $24,000 and high season $28,500 COP.
WHAT TO BRING TO TAYRONA PARK?
The Tayrona Park takes what is necessary, the walks are very long and are usually done on jungle trails, so try to go light luggage and remember to take:
✅ Lightweight raincoat
✅ Trekking shoes
Also, if you go camping, carry a flashlight, toilet paper and a small kit with the basics.
TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK CLOSING DATES 2020
Tayrona Park will close from February 1 to 29, from June 1 to 15 and from October 19 to November 2, 2020.
At the park entrance you can buy the entrance tickets, where you must also show your identification document or passport and buy the mandatory insurance that costs $3,500 COP for each day you spend in the park.
BUDGET TO VISIT THE TAYRONA PARK
✅ Bus Santa Marta – Tayrona – Santa Marta: $20,000 COP
✅ Lodging: $40,000 COP
✅ Park admission: $53,500 COP
✅ Meals for two days: $80,000 COP
Total for a 2-day weekend in Tayrona: $193.500 COP
RECOMMENDATIONS AND FINAL ADVICE
1. Get vaccinated against yellow fever at least 10 days before visiting the park, because although it is not mandatory to carry your vaccination certificate, it is recommended that you have the vaccine.
2. Go through authorized trails, remember that this is a sacred place for many Tairon towns, so always keep in mind your surroundings.
3. The best time to visit Tayrona Park is in the low season, on weekdays and between November and April, since these are the less rainy months.
Finally, be sure to return all your trash with you, including organic waste such as shells or food debris, as these can generate pests and diseases in wildlife.
IN ADDITION TO THE TAYRONA PARK, YOU CAN VISIT:
15 Planes cerca a Bogotá, Santa Marta y sus alrededores, desierto de la Tatacoa, Jardín, 10 pueblos de Boyacá, Barichara, Guatapé, Salento, Chocó, Mejores playas de Colombia, Mompox, cascada Fin del Mundo, Amazonas colombiano y 10 pueblos de Antioquia.
See you soon!
Somos un medio de comunicación que conecta viajeros amantes de la naturaleza y la aventura con historias que inspiran a descubrir la Colombia inexplorada.