Parque Tayrona Travel Guide

  • Cabo San Juan
    Cabo San Juan
    by mircaskirca
  • La Piscina
    La Piscina
    by mircaskirca
  • Arrecifes
    Arrecifes
    by mircaskirca

Parque Tayrona Highlights

  • Pro
    Kindra profile photo

    Kindra says…

     Isolated, gorgeous, spectacular, beautiful! 

  • Con
    Lodestar profile photo

    Lodestar says…

     Absolutely no con's 

  • In a nutshell
    flynboxes profile photo

    flynboxes says…

     Find your perfect beach 

Parque Tayrona Things to Do

  • Canaveral

    While the Canaveral area of Tayrona National Park is probably heavily visited by Colombians due to its easy accessibility, it is not much frequented by the backpacker crowd as it is far-removed from the more notoriously party oriented portions of the park. The tourist bus crowd that frequents this portion of the park is likely to either do a long...

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  • Pueblito or another gorgeous beach?

    From Cabo San Juan de la Guia you can hike up to Pueblito, a lesser known and less well-preserved Tayrona ruin than La Ciudad Perdida. The rough stone path climbs for about an hour and can be slippery when wet but it was completely dry when we thought about doing it. We didn't think long, having already done La Ciudad, we opted to enjoy the beach...

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  • Cabo San Juan de la Guia

    Cabo San Juan de la Guia is perhaps the most beautiful of all the Tayrona beaches and is thus also the most crowded. It is for good reason with its stoney outcropping that doubles not only as a great lookout to both sides of the cape but also a covered hammock area if you care to spend the night out there. It is a fairly large area and by walking...

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  • La Piscina

    La Piscina is perhaps the most calm-watered beach in Tayrona National Park. Its name literally means “the pool” and that is exactly what it looks like and it's hard to imagine that just around the rocky bend lies the far rougher Arrecifes Beach. La Piscina is very well sheltered by these rocky outcroppings and generally speaking a very gradual...

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  • Arrecefes Beach

    Lot of people come to Colombia specifically for its beaches. Having spent a lot of my life living close to beaches, I am more drawn to mountains and admittedly most of my South American trips have centered around mountains. In planning for Colombia, it was pretty much the same but there were some beautiful sounding beaches that seemed too good to...

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  • Cabo San Juan

    Another 20 minute walk from La Piscina will take you to Cabo San Juan, a beautiful cape with good beaches and views. This is a very scenic beach, truly magnificent. It's the most popular in the park (high season is in January), perfect for swimming and camping. It offers fully-equipped camping facilities: tents, hammocks, showers, restaurant, food...

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Parque Tayrona Restaurants

  • there really were some cheaper options

    Many complain that there is no cheap eats to be had at Tayrona National Park but that is not necessarily true. Yes, things are generally more money but there are some less expensive options. Obviously, the closer the campgrounds the more money you are likely to pay and that goes double for Cabo San Juan de la Guia. The place to stay is going to be...

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  • they have a captive audience

    The restaurant at Cabo San Juan de la Guia is not a great budget option but considering its prime location and stranglehold on its captive audience, it could be a lot worse. It's cafeteria, plastic picnic area atmosphere would be perfectly fine for a typical South American budget eatery and to be fair, perhaps this is what it portends to be, but...

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  • not bad in a pinch but cheaper to cook...

    Finca Paradiso had a small restaurant on its premises and most people used it for most if not all their meals. While it was not cheap, it was not insanely expensive considering they pretty much have you over a barrel, a captive audience with few other options. We did however have another option as we not only had our tent with us but also our...

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Parque Tayrona Nightlife

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo
    goregous sunrise at Tayrona 1 more image

    by richiecdisc Written Dec 3, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I had read a lot about the huge party scene of Tayrona and to be honest, it nearly put me off going to the park which would have been a real tragedy considering how well the trip panned out. Reports of crammed rows of tents full of all night party people was not exactly what I had in mind when it came to visiting a National Park even if one on the beach. We never did spend any time in the favored Cabo campground and my guess is it is surely more rowdy than the one we did camp at. Also, it was “after the season” so perhaps it was just not as crowded and not as dominated by the party people that give the park its reputation. In either case, the nights were mellow, at least at our campground and we very much appreciated it. The most exciting thing we did was have a beer or fruit juice at the terrace restaurant but mostly we just enjoyed hanging out at our campsite which on our second night featured a few visiting toucans! With the orientation of the beach the time of year we were there, sunrises were more special than sunsets and partying heavily and getting up for sunrise does not generally mix well...unless you are up all night I guess!

    Dress Code: Tayrona had one of the nicest climates of anywhere we visited in Colombia. It was not dreadfully hot during the day nor muggy at night. It was just about perfect and you could relax in your shorts of put on light long plants in case you felt there would be mosquitoes which didn't seem to be the case.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Beaches
    • Photography

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Parque Tayrona Transportation

  • getting there was easy

    Tayrona is easily reached from nearby Santa Marta on buses leaving from the market at Carerra 11 & Calle 11. We paid 5000 COP ($2.50) for the one hour trip. From the road you are dropped off at it is about an hour walk to the first accommodation option. Alternatively, there are shuttle buses that ply the 10 minute trip for only 2000 COP ($1). From...

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  • Bus - Riohacha to Parque Tayrona

    The bus terminal in Riohacha is at the corner of Avenida El Progreso and Carrera 11, some 15-minute walk from Panorama hotel where we were staying. The ladies at the reception told us we could also stop a bus at the crossroad on the way. This would save us some walking in the heat which was almost unbearable during the day (we took an afternoon...

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  • Bus - Parque Tayrona to Barranquilla

    There are frequent buses from Riohacha to Santa Marta and Barranquilla and all of them pass by the entrance of Parque Tayrona. The company that runs is Expreso Brasilia. The bus doesn't always stop automatically so you have to wave with your hand to show the driver that you would like to go on the bus. You buy the ticket on the bus and I was...

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Parque Tayrona Shopping

  • Lodestar's Profile Photo

    by Lodestar Written Nov 18, 2002

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    During the holiday season the park is full of the "artesanias", craftsmen. Don't miss the oportunity to buy relatively cheap local craft, which is really nice. You can also ask them to make something specially for your taste. Don't be afraid to bargain...

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Parque Tayrona Local Customs

  • parks fees are high

    Coming from the United States, I have a very high standard when it comes to National Parks. The US might get a lot of things wrong but when it comes to National Parks, it seems to have it down better than any other country. We visited a few National Parks in Colombia and generally speaking, there was very little infrastructure. Now, this does not...

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  • Organic Coffee - Café Anei

    The Asociación de Cabildos Indigenas is the result of an agreement between some indigenous groups in the north of Colombia from 1998. This agreement looks for share efforts in order to obtain better conditions of life for these people. The most important aspects of attention are health and economy. The cooperative work joints organic coffee...

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  • getting food in - and garbage out

    Getting food in - and garbage out is a very simple thing in Tayrona... occasionally it comes by boat, but normally it comes (and leaves) by donkey. As you'll walk through the park you're most likely to bump into a few donkeys transporting food and dirnks in... you'll also see the same donkeys transporting garage out.Despite the great number of...

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Parque Tayrona Warnings and Dangers

  • NO SWIMMING AT ARRECIFES

    There are several areas in the Tayrona Park that are not for swimming due to the very unpredictable and strong currents. Particularly in Arrecifes, numerous lives have been taken here. As a result, it is best to swim only in La Piscina and San Juan and only during the day.

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  • DON'T TAKE THE BOAT FROM TAGANGA

    I made this mistake by ignoring other people's warnings by convincing myself that it couldn't be "that bad". It is; in fact, it is probably worse.The fisherman's cooperative in Taganga (one hour drive from Tayrona Park entrance, 15 minutes from downtown Santa Marta) takes passengers every day around 9-9:30 am to San Juan del Cabo in the Tayrona...

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  • Parque Tayrona Hotels

    0 Hotels in Parque Tayrona

Parque Tayrona What to Pack

  • a varied places needs varied equipment

    This is a backpacker's park and having one will enable you to move around the park more easily and much more cheaply. Hiking boots are a luxury but one you'll be glad you have when clamoring over rocks. Strap sandals are great for day hikes and at camp. Long pants and shirts are nice to keep mozzies at bay but didn't really see so many of them....

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  • What to Bring

    For one day visit of the park, a small backpack to carry water, snacks, sun protection, camera..., is most suitable. The park offers great hiking possibilities so you'll need a pair of comfortable hiking shoes or sandals. Shorts and t-shirt will be fine most of the time. In the evening better wear long trousers and long sleeves, preferably light...

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  • WARM CLOTHING

    You need to be prepared before going into Tayrona. If you are staying in Taganga before leaving, most places will let you store your luggage there while in Tayrona PNN. If you have a garbage bag or mesh covering, this is useful to keep moisture, water, dirt etc. from getting into your luggage. BRING WARM CLOTHING for the evenings as they get crisp...

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Parque Tayrona Off The Beaten Path

  • toucans

    Toucans are some of the most colorful and certainly impressive of all birds. Their range is not overly big, confined primarily from the south of Mexico to central portions of South America. They are primarily forest dwellers so their compact bodies feature relatively small wings but their feet are quite adept at tree dwelling and travel with two...

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  • osprey

    At the tail end of our Tayrona stay, after seeing tons of birds from toucans to various wading birds, we decided to check out the Carnavel area a little before exiting the park. To be honest, the shuttle was not there and I figured I'd take a short hike to see the beach while D waited for it. It was a bit rushed as I wanted to be back for the...

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  • kingfisher

    The kingfisher is one of my favorite birds and have been lucky to see them on a number of occasions. I think my favorite siting was in Mompos a few weeks earlier in Colombia when I snapped a few great shots of one in between his fishing forays which were even more amazing but not be captured by me in a photo. I even saw one from my own back window...

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Parque Tayrona Sports & Outdoors

  • hiking in Tayrona

    I was exposed to hiking late in life whereas beaches were a big part of my family's vacations from before I can remember. The idea that the two could be combined has always been intriguing but aside from a hike along the Abel Tasman Trail in New Zealand, I hadn't done any. Sure, I'd walked on beaches, for miles in fact but not with any gear. So,...

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  • Plenty of Trails to Hike

    Parque Nacional Tayrona with its stunning beaches right next to the exuberant jungle is a true tropical paradise. It is not surprising that it's one of the most visited national parks in Colombia. There are plenty of trails to hike. Most of Tayrona park is dry tropical virgin forest with many species of birds, mammals, reptiles as well as deer,...

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Parque Tayrona Favorites

  • that content again

    Sometimes the photos you remember best are the ones you didn't take. I was laying on the beach at Tayrona, much like everyone else but the difference was I rarely did this. True, I'd grown up at the beaches of New Jersey but my time on the beach was always active. I was not one to lay around, beach or no beach. But here I was actually laying...

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  • a tale of two toucans

    The next day we hiked up the coast and had a wonderful day swimming at the various beaches we passed along the way. Though the beach at the end was stunning, that campground was even more crowded, more expensive and the bathrooms were even dirtier if that was possible. We were quite happy with our decision to remain at the campground closer to...

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  • one more trek seemed a bit overdone

    It's hard to pick one thing at Tayrona as so many things stand out. True to reputation, the beaches are killer. Not only gorgeous but also functional with warm water to swim in and comfy beaches to lay on. Oh, and it's nice to hike through a jungle to get from one to the next. Monkeys? They got 'em. But the one thing I guess that surprised me the...

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Explore Deeper into Parque Tayrona
spider monkeys
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Map of Parque Tayrona

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