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Tayrona National Park Santa Marta Colombia

Tayrona National Park

Activities, Lodging, Camping, Diving, Biodiversity, Archeology, Beaches, Geography, in Tayrona National Park in Colombia near Santa Marta.

Tayrona National Park, located just up the road from Santa Marta and Taganga, features some of South America's most beautiful coastlines, incredible biodiversity, and cultural treasures.  Created by concession in 1964, it has since become Colombia's second most visited national park.

Along the coast, where most travelers seem to aggregate, you will find beach after beach, each offering its own unique charm.  While the beach at Arrecifes is a great place to relax in the sand, there are extremely strong rip currents, and we advise going down a bit further to find the park's more protected bays if you are planning an extended swim. At Cabo San Juan you can swim comfortably in either of the two crystal blue bays. Snorkeling is a great way to see the various tropical fish present along Tayrona's coastline, though you will need to bring your own gear with you. Just 15 minutes west of Cabo San Juan, you will find Playa Nudista, where the only clothing permitted are sombreros, diving masks, and flippers.

While the majority of Tayrona's visitors pass their time lounging along the beaches or relaxing in hammocks, those willing to embark upon a 3 hr uphill hike from Cabo San Juan will be rewarded with the opportunity to view ancient Tayrona Indian ruins at the El Pueblito archeological site. The site is comparable to the longer, much more expensive trek to the lost city, (though on a smaller scale), and offers amazing views of Tayrona in addition to the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the park's abundant wildlife, which include titi and howler monkeys, parrots and tropical birds, a variety of frogs and iguanas, and more.

In Arrecifes and Cabo San Juan, you will find restaurants and general stores, with hammock rentals, tent sites (for those with their own tents), and tent rentals. You should know that everything in the park costs 2-3 times as much as it does in the rest of Colombia. The food in the park is hit or miss, and you should not expect to be able to buy a basic meal for less than 12.000 COP. Hammocks range from 15.000 - 25.000 depending on the location and season, and tent rentals are slightly cheaper if you have 2 or more people in your party. If you get the opportunity, try to snatch on of the 16 hammocks available in the island hut at Cabo San Juan, which offer amazing sunrise and sunset views, and cool ocean breezes which ward off the mosquitoes.

For those wanting to experience Tayrona National Park's Natural beauty without the at times raucous crowds of backpackers found at Cabo San Juan and Arrecifes, Cañaveral offers luxury outdoor beds and hammock huts where you can enjoy incredible views and peaceful breezes with all the privacy you desire. These accommodations can run upwards of 300.000 COP, and include private bathrooms with fresh drinking water, room service, your own mini fridge, and electric hook-ups.

If you are traveling through Colombia on a tight budget, visiting Tayrona National Park is going to hurt your wallet. Nevertheless, if you can afford to spend 3 or 4 days in the park, it is an experience you will not soon forget.

  • Things to Do and See

    Activities, Beaches, Hikes, Places to Visit, Things to Do and See, Points of Interest in Tayrona National Park Colombia

  • How to Get There

    Information on entering Tayrona National Park by bus, horse, ferry, or taxi, admittance and bus fares, trail conditions, times, etc.