¡A Complete Guide to Visit Tayrona Park in 2019!

Tayrona National Park (Parque Nacional Tayrona) is a wonderful protected area that holds variety of vegetation, marine species, coral reef, incredible landscapes and endangered animals. It’s located in the northern zone of Colombia, specifically in Santa Marta (Magdalena Department).

Tayrona Park Arrecifes Trail
Tayrona Park – Arrecifes Trail

Tayrona park has 12,000 hectares of land and 3,000 hectares of marine strip, being home of 350 types of winged creatures, 471 of crustaceans, 15 of amphibian creatures, 31 sorts of reptiles, 202 of wipes and 50 types of coral reefs.

In Tayrona and its surroundings is possible to see amazing species of monkeys: Howler Monkey, Tití Monkey and Capuchin or Maicero Monkey.

Common questions about Tayrona Park (Parque Tayrona)

How to get to Tayrona National Park? Shuttle bus, public transportation and more

Take a public bus

The best way to go to Tayrona National Park from Santa Marta is taking a public bus. Reach the bus stop in Santa Marta’s Market.

Keep in mind that this bus also goes directly to Palomino. Tayrona National Park is located on Troncal Caribe, this is a straight and long road. Because of this, buses to Tayrona Park make several stops, some of them in places like Calabazo, Río Don Diego, Buritaca, Guachaca and Mendihuaca

If you are going to stay in a hostel located nearby El Zaino, you can also take this bus. Don’t forget to tell the bus driver the name of your accomodation.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GO  FROM SANTA MARTA TO TAYRONA MAIN ENTRANCE?  Around 50 minutes.

Price and departures of Tayrona Park Public Buses

Prices: 

7.000 COP – 8.000 COP per person (From Santa Marta to Tayrona entrance) 

10.000 COP per person (From Santa Marta to Palomino)

Departures:  

They start to work at 7:00 am. These buses don’t have an exact departure, and you can’t book in advance. The last bus goes at 6:00 pm, but to make sure you find a bus, be there at 5:00 pm. 

Where is Santa Marta’s Market?

Bus stop to Tayrona Park, Santa Marta's Market
Santa Marta’s Market is the best place to take a bus to Tayrona National Park.

Just in front of Nativos Juices you will find buses to Tayrona Park and Minca. To get there, it’s easier to take a taxi, it might cost around 6.000 COP or 7.000 COP, from Santa Marta downtown.

What to do if you missed the last bus to Tayrona Area?

PRO TIP:  In Mamatoco Gas Station you can also take a private bus to Riohacha, these buses also make stops in hostels of Tayrona Area. The last departure is at 10:00 pm. It’s not the best option, for sure you don’t want to pay 180.000 COP to take a taxi.

Still it’s good to know about this if you’re planning to visit Cabo de la Vela. Or whether you’re staying in some hostel of Troncal Caribe Road, you just need to wait on the street to catch a bus to Riohacha (35.000 COP), they run often on this road. 

Taking a non private taxi

Also in Mamatoco Gas Station you can take a non private taxi, shared vehicle with people you don’t know. (20.000 COP – 30.000 per person)

Taking a private cap

If you don’t like to wait and prefer a quiet trip to Tayrona in a private cap, you must know prices are higher at night. Normally a taxi will charge you from 170.000 COP to 200.000 COP from the city center.

Rent a Car or a Motorcycle

For those who rather privacy and freedom. There are some places in Santa Marta to rent vehicles, we recommend Adrenaline Addicts for Motorcyle tours and rentals from 110.000 COP per day and Avis for Car rentals from 145.000 COP per day.

Where is Mamatoco Gas Station?

Shuttle bus to Tayrona Park

Some People decide to book a shuttle bus service to visit Tayrona Park, it’s an option to avoid transfers. One of the most safe service is Marsol, it’s a good choice if you come from Cartagena, Barranquilla or  Rodadero. They also have transpotation from Taganga, Minca and Palomino.

Marsol supposed to be a door to door service, but sometimes they don’t pick you in front of the hostel. So ask first if they can do it or not, because they have some restrictions. Whether you are in Cartagena they don’t pick people in neighborhoods like: Getsemani, Center, Bocagrande, Laguito, Castillogrande o North area.

Price: 65.000 COP – 70.000 COP

They don’t have a website to book, therefore you must contact them sending a whatsapp message or calling:

  • Barranquilla: +57 319 760 1810
  • Cartagena: +57 319 691 9185
  • SantaMarta: +57 319 637 7288
  • Rodadero: +57 319 773 0428

Common questions about Tayrona National Park

👉 What’s the best season to visit Tayrona Park?

👉 How many nights should I stay in Tayrona? Daily Itineraries

👉 What’s the best place to Camp in Tayrona?

👉 Most Popular Hostels in Tayrona National Park area

👉 Top 5: Best Beaches in Tayrona National Park (El Zaino)

Everything you need to know before you go to Tayrona National Park

How many entrances does Tayrona Park have?

Tayrona National Park has three (3) gates, El Zaino, La Palangana and Calabazo.

Arrecifes Tail Tayrona
The main path of El Zaino Entrance is Arrecifes Trail

1. El Zaino:

This is the most well known entrance, because it’s the main one. You can take a bus from there to the place where the trails start (Tayrona’s Park Parking Lot).

🚌 Bus: 3.000 COP / $1

🐎 ¿Do you love horseback riding? You just need to pay 40.000 COP to ride to Cabo. However, you will miss amazing views of the sea.

Beaches and trails of Tayrona Park

🔴 Arrecifes Trail:

Arenillas Beach, Piscina Natural, Cabo San Juan, Nudist Beach and Boca del Saco.

Tayrona Park Cabo San Juan
Cabo San Juan is a famous beach of Tayrona National Park

📌 Cabo San Juan

Cabo San Juan is for sure, the most famous beach in this area of Tayrona National Park. Probably, everyone who has been there can tell you why. Cabo is formed by two beaches separated by an iconic mount of rocks and vegetation.

Caribbean palms, green mountains full of trees and plants, blue or turquoise sea (depending on sunlight) and incredible rocky formations are also part of the landscape.

Restaurants and campings

Cabo San Juan area has a camping site, restaurant, kiosk, football field and toilets. Be prepared to share and enjoy the beach with travellers from all over the world.

Location

It’s a 2 hours trek from the parking area of Tayrona National Park and 20 minutes walking from Piscina Natural. 

Connection to Cañaveral

On the summit, there’s a house where you can rent a hammock or just enjoy the amazing view. To book  a place you can do it in the main entrance of the Park or when you arrive to Cabo, depending on the season try to make a reservation in advance. 

Tayrona Park Piscina Natural
Famous Piscina Natural Tayrona Park

📌 Piscina Natural

Piscina Natural is a magnificent work of nature in Tayrona National Park. Its tide is so soft that it seems to be a swimming pool. That condition is due to some rocks placed in such a way that they act as a wave barriers,  those rocks are also the home for corals and fish.

After Cabo San Juan, Piscina is well known as one of the most beautiful beaches within Tayrona National Park. Therefore, it’s often visited by tourists. 

The beach doesn’t have a campsite, to camp you’ll need to stay in Arrecifes or Cabo.

What to do?

In this caribbean beach you can swim, take a snorkeling tour (you can do it by your own if you have goggles or snorkel) or just enjoy the amazing view. Piscina natural is a must stop in Tayrona Park before continuing to Cabo San Juan.

Location

It’s 20 minutes before Cabo San Juan Beach.

Where to eat?

Piscina Natural has no restaurants nearby, so bring your own food or try Cabo San Juan’s food. If you’re thirsty in front of the beach you’ll find a guy that sells drinks (water, gatorade and beers).

Arenillas Beach Arrecifes Trail
Tayrona Park Arrecifes Arenillas Beach

📌 Arenillas Beach

Arenillas is the first beach where swimming is allowed in Arrecifes Trail. It’s located 10 minutes before Piscina Natural and about 30 minutes before Cabo San Juan.

This beach is surrounded by amazing rocks and close to some of Tayrona National Park campsites.  
Check Arrecifes Campsite [HERE]

Be careful if you swim

 Swimming is allowed in Arenillas Beach when there are no strong riptides. But Arenillas Lagoon has been declared caimans home, you wouldn’t try to swim there. 

A little restaurant

In front of Arenillas beach you’ll find a restaurant where you can enjoy sea food and drink some beers. Sometimes, you’ll see local sellers. 

The best place to take sun

There are no trees covering Arenillas Beach area. Therefore is a good place to enjoy the sun and have a caribbean tan while you enjoy a beautiful view.

Tell us more about Tayrona Park

📌 Nudist Beach

Nudist Beach, in  Tayrona National Park, is an isolated place to practice nudism. This beach is supposed to receive nudists. However, not all visitors take off their clothes. 

No restaurants in Nudist Beach

To find a place to eat go to Cabo San Juan, Nudist Beach doesn’t have a restaurant.

How to get to nudist beach?

After a 10 minutes walk, following the way out of Cabo San Juan, then, you’ll find Nudist Beach.

Can I swim in Nudist Beach?

NO, some people get into the sea, but it’s a strong swell that can play against your life. So stay on the sand and enjoy the waves coming to you.

Boca del Saco
Tayrona isolated beach called Boca del Saco

📌 Boca del Saco

This is a huge beach, so you can walk along it enjoying the loneliness of the area and take some good pics.

Boca del Saco is a rarely visited beach, most of the tourists only go to Tayrona National Park to visit Cabo San Juan. There are no chances to camp in this area, sometimes the guards of Tayrona are checking the place.

How to get to Boca del Saco?

It’s located 8 minutes walking from Nudist Beach.

Avoid crowds in Tayrona Park

Boca del Saco is an isolated beach with rip currents, but really nice to take a rest from the sun. Because, there are plenty trees that provide shadow to the visitors.

There are no restaurants in Boca del Saco

The closest restaurants are located in Cabo San Juan, 20 minutes walking from Boca del Saco. 

NOTE: No official campings in Boca del Saco.

Arenillas Lagoon in Tayrona
Arenillas Lagoon and mountains in Tayrona National Park

📌 Arenillas Lagoon

Arenillas Lagoon is sometimes avoided by tourists. Because, Colombian Caimans live in its depths. In fact all Tayrona National Park lagoons have presence of these reptiles.

In spite of the beautiful Arenillas Lagoon is forbidden for swimming, but you can still take nice pictures from Arenillas Beach sight.

Some information about Arenillas Lagoon

A GOOD ADVICE: Don’t try to walk along Arrecifes Beach or in front of Arenillas Lagoon. Because, some Caimans get sun in the area and it’s a zone where turtles spawn.

Location

Arenillas Lagoon is located on the right side of Arenillas Beach, part of Arrecifes Trail.

🔴 Cañaveral Trail:

Includes Cañaveral and Piscinita beach.

📌 Piscinita Beach

Piscinita Eco Habs Tayrona
People enjoying Piscinita Tayrona Park

Piscinita is an idilic beach in Tayrona National Park. It holds a sort of exclusive beauty. That’s because it seems not many people know or hear about Piscinita Beach. It’s easy to get there, just walk five minutes from Cañaveral beach which actually, isn’t a hard trekking or hiking, in particular it’s described as a relaxing walking. It begins in the parking area where you have to decide to take Cabo San Juan path, 9 Piedras Trail or the already mentioned Cañaveral. 

 You will walk through a camping site with many trees and green grass. Also public bathrooms you can use for free. After 20 minutes approximately, there’s a restaurant and immediately, the entrance to Cañaveral beach.

Eco Habs, which is a fancy hotel with spa, and private lodges with indigenous Kogui design is settled close to this beach. Passing to the left next to many big rocks, there’s a small and beautiful beach called Piscinita, don’t relate it with Piscina Natural. But, in Piscinita you can swim too.

This Caribbean Beach is also part of Eco Habs. You can use comfortable beach chairs, drink a beer and even there’s a lifeguard. We hope you give a chance to this beautiful beach in Tayrona Park. Keep in mind, after Piscinita you can connect with Arrecifes trail that takes you to Cabo San Juan.

Piscinita is a beautiful, but less visited beach

FOR THE RECORD: 

You don’t have to spend almost 300.000 COP to enjoy the beauty of this beach, some people may think they have to pay because, the beach is just in front of Eco Habs hotel but it’s free.

KEEP GOING TO CABO SAN JUAN:

Piscinita beach connects with Arrecifes trail that takes you to Cabo San Juan.

🔴 9 Piedras – Nine Stones:

9 Stones Trail has big rocks with information about Tayrona worldview and incredible viewpoints.

Views in 9 Piedras Trail, Tayrona Park
A view walking through 9 Piedras Trail, Tayrona Park

Cañaveral, 9 Piedras and Arrecifes Trail are easily connected and well marked. So, if you’re in a good shape start walking from 9 Stones Trail to Cabo San Juan or from Cañaveral to Cabo.

You can walk all the trails of El Zaino in one day

It might take you around 3 hours
  • Path Cañaveral – Cabo San Juan del Guía: 2 hours and a half
  • 9 Stones – Cañaveral: 40 minutes

2. La Palangana Entrance:

This one is before El Zaino, usually visited by tourists with car, because, there is no public transportation to La Palangana road. A taxi from Santa Marta to La Palangana gate would charge you approximately 270.000 COP and if you’re close to El Zaino about 200.000 COP.

The path will give you access to Neguanje beach and Playa Cristal, you will need to pay a boat tour (30.000 COP per person). Some of the best isolated beaches of the park are Chengue, Gairaca Bay, Wachakyta and Cinto Bay. To reach some of these amazing beaches from Santa Marta you can book a Sailing Trip for 150.000 COP or in Taganga.

Costs per trip from Taganga to Tayrona

Playa Cristal (round trip): 80.000 COP per person

Bahia Concha (round trip): 60.000 COP p/p

Playa Cristal and Cinto (round trip): 120.000 COP p/p

Cabo San Juan (round trip): 100.000 COP p/p

Chengue (round trip): 90.000 COP p/p

Gairaca (round trip): 90.000 COP p/p

Wachakyta (round trip): 100.000 COP p/p

Boat departures from Taganga are around 10:00am and they return to the bay at 4:00pm.

Playa Cristal Tayrona Park
Playa Cristal is one of the most beautiful and isolated beaches in Tayrona National Park

Taganga is a fishermen town close to Santa Marta City, it  borders with Tayrona National Park sea. In the town you’ll find plenty Diving Centers to accomplish a PADI Certification for around $250 and take a fun dive for  less than $65. So Taganga is an inexpensive location to dive in Colombia. Most of the professional academies go to Tayrona Park and its surroundings.

Things to Know about Taganga

WHERE TO TAKE A BUS TO TAGANGA?: 

Buses to Taganga pass through “Carrera 5ta” of Santa Marta center and Santa Marta’s Market. You can take a bus to Taganga in any of these places or take a taxi. 

Taganga Bay is approximately 20 minutes from Santa Marta center in a normal traffic day.

A CHEAP PLACE TO STAY:

Accomodation in Taganga is cheap compared to other places in Santa Marta. A decent dorm costs 25.000 COP per night.

TAGANGA IS AN AREA FULL OF TOURISTS:

It’s common to find restaurants, stores and a lot of people selling tours. Of course, to eat fish is very affordable, you’ll always see fishermen in the shore with their catch. Mostly during evenings or in the morning.

NOTE: Taganga has only one ATM, sometimes it doesn’t work.

3. Calabazo Entrance:

Since february 2019 Calabazo gate remain closed. It was the trail to Pueblito Chayrama, a Kogui community inside Tayrona National Park. This place has native ruins, terraces made of stone and covered big trees. Before february 2019, some of the indigenous monuments on the path were forbidden. But now, because of agreements between National Parks of Colombia and Indigenous communities of Sierra Nevada the area is not longer available for tourism. Also they agreed the closure of Chengue beach and Los Naranjos.

Calabazo trail ends in Cabo San Juan beach, but it also has a detour to Playa Brava. We had the chance to visit Pueblito Chairama, so if you are interested in see some pictures, click this link.

Viewpoint Tayrona Park
Viewpoint in Tayrona Park

Accommodation Inside Tayrona Park

If you are going to visit this amazing place you should know that inside the park you have three options: Hammocks, Tents or fancy hotels.

Hostels

If you want to discover some of the best options to stay nearby Tayrona National Park you must check the most popular hostels in the area.

👉👉 Most Popular Hostels in Tayrona National Park Area

Costeño Beach Hostel
One of the best hostels in Tayrona Park Area

Camping inside Tayrona

Ready to find the best campings in Tayrona National Park? We show you the best options to have a great night inside the jungle.

👉👉 Awesome campings inside Tayrona Park

Tents in Cabo San Juan (Tayrona)
Cabo San Juan tents in Tayrona Park

Fancy Hotels nearby Tayrona

Some of the best options if you prefer to avoid campings and sleep in a comfortable bed with high quality services, food and facilities.

Playa Koralia Tayrona
Playa Koralia a fancy hotel nearby Tayrona Park

Parque Tayrona: What you must bring for your trip

  • Snacks, canned products and enough water (If youy have a filtered water bottle you will save a lot in Colombia, because some places doesn’t have drinkable water)
  • Don’t bring alcohol to Tayrona Park!
  • Don’t forget you passport or ID!
  • Bring mosquito Repellant with hight DEET percentage (In Colombia the most effective is Nopikex).
  • If you want to use a drone inside Tayrona you need special permission provided by the main office of Tayrona National Park.

   

Swim in Tayrona Park
Safe beaches to swim in Tayrona Park

Where can you swim in Tayrona Park?

Nature and especially the sea and its powerful tide is unpredictable. That’s why many beaches in Tayrona Park are forbidden. The following is the list of the  beaches where you can swim:

Playa Cristal, Bahía Concha, Cinto, Gayraca, Neguanje, Chengue and Guachakyta. In Zaino Area are Piscinita, Arenillas, Piscina Natural and Cabo San Juan.

Avoid to swim in beaches like Playa Brava, Cañaveral, Arrecifes, 7 Olas, Castilletes, Nudist Beach and Boca del Saco. You can visit them though.        

According to El Heraldo data, more than two hundred people have passed away due to strong ocean tides. So, be careful.

Swimming in Tayrona Park
You can’t swim in some beaches of Tayrona Park

Some reasons to visit Tayrona Natural National Park

  • Tayrona is the perfect tourist destination for those who are looking to escape from the city, saying goodbye to wi-fi connection. Here you will enjoy a steaming jungle, turquoise beaches, beautiful mountains, big rocks and if you’re lucky lonely beaches (Chengue Bay, Gairaca, Guachakyta or Playa Brava).
  • Are you ready to hike? Tayrona Park has many trails to enjoy views of sea and explore indigenous culture like 9 Piedras Trail. 
Take a break and enjoy the view in Tayrona Park.
Viewpoint in Tayrona Park, 9 Piedras Trail
  • Camping in the beach is always a great plan. Try to wake up early to enjoy sunrise, little crabs moving and a quiet sea.
  • Discover amazing underwater life taking a scuba diving tour from Santa Marta to Tayrona or take a snorkelling tour (In Cabo San Juan, Playa Cristal or Bahía Concha). Corals and fish are waiting for you.
  • If you are a nature lover, we are sure you will see some monkeys or electric blue lizards on the way.
  • Come to see some caimans, not everybody can find them, but some say they prowl Arenillas Lagoon and Cañaveral.
  • If you stay inside the park you will have the pleasure to see the stars at night and hear the sound of sea.
  • Swim, relax and walk along the beaches. you will be in a piece of paradise. Something like Jurassic Park with big beaches.
  • Get naked in Nudist beach or Boca del Saco.
Dive in Tayrona
Two people diving in Tayrona National Park

10 THINGS to do in TAYRONA National Park

We have list of things to do in Tayrona Park. Click the title to see more activities inside this wonderful place.

Historical facts about Tayrona Park

Tayrona area is visited by people from all over the world, a lot of European, Latin American and American travelers come to see this wonderful place, specially hiking, adventure and nature lovers.

MORE THAN 400.000 PEOPLE VISIT TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK EVERY YEAR

Historically, Spaniard conquerors entered to America by this area. Long time ago these lands where home of Tayrona community, today named by themselves as Kogui. The group had to change their original name to run and settle into Sierra Nevada, most of  Kogui people still live there.

This Park has the classification of  Natural National Monument since 1964 and it ensures nature and untamed life.

Kogui guide in Sierra Nevada
Luis, a Kogui tourist guide of Tierra Nativa Kogui agency

Other Attractions inside and Nearby Parque Tayrona

River Piedra, Los Naranjos Beach
Los Naranjos – Hotel Casa Barlovento

Los Naranjos

Los Naranjos beach is part of a set of hotels close to Tayrona National Park. The magic of the place is that Piedra river meets the sea, creating a sort of lagoon. The sea is perfect for surfing. There is a secret road that connects with Tayrona Park. It’s easy to see monkeys on the path.

As you can see on the pictures, sunset in Los Naranjos is usually stunning and it’s a place to avoid crowds.

The most affordable place to stay in the area of Los Naranjos is Playa Los Angeles Campinglocated about 2km from Tayrona National Park entrance (El Zaino).

Close to Los Naranjos is Playa Los Angeles, but to reach this beach you must pay an entrance fee (5.000 COP).

HOW TO REACH LOS NARANJOS?

Stay in one of the luxury hotels in the area, paying entrance to Los Angeles Camping or walking inside Tayrona National Park using a hidden path with no signals. The same bus that stops in Tayrona Park goes to Los Naranjos.

5 Amazing Plans Outside Tayrona National Park

caiman colombia
Babilla in Don Diego River, nearby Tayrona Park

Being in Tayrona area will allow you to explore Kogui Communities

Trekking up to the mountains, about 3 hours from Tayrona National Park, there are Kogui communities. They are indigenous that live according ancient traditions and Tayrona worldview. Some of them are open to tourism, with Kogui or local tourist guides, while others are hidden to visitors.

Kogui village
Kogui village hidden in Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta

TOURS:

It’s rare to find tours to visit a Kogui Community due to some of the tribes are hermetic. 

We recommend to take this type of tour with Tierra Nativa Kogui or Wiwa Tour to know Wiwa community, other tribe from the Sierra Nevada.

WILDLIFE: 

On the way to these communities you’ll see nature, monkeys, gorgeous landscapes and views to the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta.  

TAKE A LOOK TO A KOGUI COMMUNITY: 

If having cultural exchange with indigenous people is one of your dreams. This is a great opportunity to know their real life. 

¿Do you want to learn more about Kogui Communities? Click Here

Some Popular Tours in Tayrona Park

  • Sale!

    4 Days Trek to Lost City [Ciudad Perdida] ➜ Tours in TAYRONA

    $1,100,000.00 $980,000.00
    Add to cart
  • Playa Cristal Tayrona Park

    Visit Neguanje, 7 Olas and Playa Cristal ➜ Tours in TAYRONA

    $123,000.00
    Add to cart
  • Sailing to Tayrona

    Sailing Day in Tayrona National Park

    $150,000.00
    Add to cart
  • Discover Scuba Diving in Tayrona Park

    $220,000.00
    Add to cart
  • Fun Dive in Tayrona National Park

    $180,000.00
    Add to cart
  • Snorkeling tour in Tayrona National Park

    $120,000.00
    Add to cart
  • Kogui pictograms on stones

    Tour Tayrona Park and Pueblito Chayrama

    $240,000.00
    Add to cart
  • PADI Open Water Diving Course in Tayrona

    $700,000.00
    Add to cart

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