Colombias Narional Park Tayrona Park (or Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona) starts at Taganga and spans more than 35 km to the mouth of the Rio Piedras and exists of tropical forest and white beaches. This nationalpark definitely is one of Colombias Highlights with amazing beaches like stolen from a photo book. But with alle the stunning scenery you should not forget the wild animals. In the park there live e.g. snakes & caimans. In the Tayrona Park there are four beach sections: Cañaveral, Arrecifes, La Psicina and El Cabo de San Juan. Always take mosquito spray with you!
Arrival and Around
Taganga or Santa Marta are perfect starting points for a trip to Tayrona Park. You should leave your big luggage in your hostel and just carry the most important things as you will have to walk several kilometres. For getting into the park the most comfortable way is to book a minibus; most guesthouses offer this service for around COP 15.000. And the guesthouses in general also have little maps for the national park. The minibus drives up to the entrance (you have to show your passport) from there you have to walk. E.g. the walk from the Cañaveral entrance to the last beach EL Cabo de San Juan takes around 2,5 to 3,5 hours. Admission fee is COP 35.000 for foreigners and COP 12.000 for Colombians.
It also is possible to get into the park by boat for COP 40.000 that leaves directly at Taganga beach.
From Santa Marta mercado you also can take a bus to the entrance at Cañaveral for around COP 3.000.
When you are in the park you also can take a horse to get to the camp sites for COP 16.000 – 32.000 (depending on the distance). Especially, if you have heavy bags, this is the most comfortable way – and the only one except walking.
There are no supermarkets or kiosks in the park at all! You have to bring everything you need. But bringing plastic bags and alcohol is not allowed. At the entrance your bags will be checked. At the restaurants you can buy beer and wine, but of course it is expensive inside the park.
At Cañaveral Cabañas can be rent. The Ecohab is a more luxurious accomodation for COP 450.000. From the Ecohabs you have a perfect view over the jungle and the beach. The huts themselves are in the typical Tayrona style. They also offer camping, but the camp site is next to the horse stable…
El Cabo de San Juan is supposed to be the most beautiful beach area. At Cabo de San Juan you can camp with your own tent, rent one or rent a hammock. If you decide for the hammock there are two options: at the camp site directly or in a little hut up on a rock. Here you have a perfect view and the feeling of sleeping directly upon the sea. In general the breeze here keeps the mosquitos away – or at least there are less than at the camp site. But it also can become cold at night. So, it definitely is a good idea to bring a blanket. Rent a hammock costs COP 17.000 – 20.000, if you bring your own hammock you have to pay COP 12.000. To rent a tent costs COP 50.000, if you bring your own tent and just need the place it costs COP 15.000. At night, electricity is switched off, therefore you better bring a torch!
All camp sites / Ecohabs have a restaurant. Despite eating at your accomodation there are no other possibilities. Due to that fact things are of course expensive. So, don’t forget to bring enough money as there are no ATMs.