Tropical beach paradise with palm trees and golden sunset.

Tayrona Park Essentials

TOP Tips to Visit Tayrona National Park

For those who don’t have the time to read the whole article, here are the 16 essential information you need to know before you leave:

  1. The park can be visited on foot, and a good level of walking is required.
  2. There’s no electricity in the park.
  3. Try to arrive early in the morning, especially in high season (december – january)
  4. Don’t forget your passport !
  5. The entrance to the park closes at 5 pm, leaving from Santa marta Maxi at 3 pm.
  6. Take cash, as there are no ATMs around.
  7. The park closes 3 times a year for a total of 2 months.
  8. Water and meals are more expensive than in the city.
  9. Take a Padlock for your locker
  10. Don’t forget your headlamp
  11. Leave Light, take only what is strictly necessary.
  12. Wear a hat, take breaks and stay hydrated.
  13. Plan 2 or 3 nights to live your experience well.
  14. Don’t bring alcohol or drugs and the guards can search you at the entrance.
  15. Don’t swim on beaches that are closed to bathing
  16. Don’t waste your money on a room.
  17. Beware of sun burns: in 45 minutes you already risk sunstroke.
  18. Respect this sacred site: bring only positive thoughts! 🤞

Discover Tayrona Natural National Park

Because Tayrona National Park enjoys a tropical climate all year round and is increasingly popular, it is important to plan when you want to visit.

Tayrona Park in figures

Maps of Tayrona Park

Where is Tayrona Park ?

Tayrona Natural National Park is located in the north of Colombia, at 45min from Santa Marta. 

Map of Tayrona Park Colombia

Areas of Tayrona Park

The Park is Divided in 4 areas. 90% of people goes the El Zaino Sector. But there are also amazing beaches in Palangana sector

Map of the 4 different areas of Tayrona Park

But in this guide we will concentrate mainly on El Zaino sector, this where you will probably want to go.

Map of El Zaino Area and Calabazo

Does it worth to visit Tayrona Park?

Tayrona Park is a site that cannot be ignored. A trip to Colombia without visiting it would be totally incomplete!

With its white sandy beaches bathed by the crystalline waters of the Caribbean, and bordered by mangroves, trees and forests, Tayrona National Park is a paradise for nature lovers.

For those seeking contemplation and rest, the Park offers magnificent beaches and the relaxing panorama of an intense blue sea.

The park is home to an incredible wealth of flora and fauna, and is surely the place in Colombia where you can observe the most variety of animals in a short time.
Those who are attracted to more exciting activities can enjoy hiking, snorkeling and scuba diving.

Tayrona National Park is not only one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean – it is also a place of profound spiritual significance to the indigenous cultures of today and past generations.

Tayrona Park has archaeological remains of one of the greatest civilizations in Latin America: the Tayrona people.

But isn’t the park too touristy?

The park is more than 19000 hectares, and there is enough space for everyone to find their own little corner of tranquility. There are beaches where there is nobody and you can feel like Robinson Crusoe.

Spend a night in Tayrona Park and you will understand why the indigenous people consider it a sacred place.

In short, your experience in Tayrona Park will be unforgettable, and will go far beyond a beautiful postcard photo that you can take back home.

Tayrona Park is a site that cannot be ignored. A trip to Colombia without visiting it would be totally incomplete! 

Tayrona Park Beaches Complete List (with Maps)

What are the best beaches in Tayrona Park ?

Tayrona Park Beaches Map

Here is the map of all the beaches in Tayrona Park, so you can get an idea. 

Tayrona park beaches map
Tayrona Park Beaches Map

The Beaches in Tayrona Park are divided in 4 areas :El Zaino, Calabazo, Palangana y Bastidas.

Let’sl review in detail all the beaches by sector. 

The 4 Areas of Tayrona Park

Beaches in Sector el Zaino

The entrance el Zaino is the main entrance to the park, through which 95% of the visitors to Tayrona Park enter.

It gives you access to the most beautiful beaches in the park, including the famous Cabo San Juan beach.


This is the first beach you will see between the entrance “El Zaino” and the car park of Cañaveral. If this is your first time in the park, I wouldn’t recommend it. The sea is rough and the currents make swimming strongly discouraged.

The amateurs of tranquility will find their happiness there. There is a campsite with restaurant and cabins.

Camping in Castillete, First beach in Tayrona Park – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly


To clarify right away, Cañaveral is the name of the car park where the park shuttle bus drops you off and it is also the name of a beach.

Cañaveral beach is a 20min walk from the car park. It has strong currents and it is not possible to swim there.

Not being on the classic route (koguis trail), it is far from being essential to visit it, the greatest spectacle of Tayrona is not there.

Like Arrecifes, it’s a long narrow beach lined with grape trees. There is little shade on the beach, so watch out for the sun.

You will be able to stop at the bar of the famous Ecohabs.

cañaveral Ecohabs tayrona park colombia
Drone view over the Ecohabs – Cañaveral Beach in Tayrona Park – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly

La Piscinita

Less popular, and for good reason, the Piscinita is the small cove of the Ecohabs.

It is a little off-center, if you have little time it is better to attack the main path right away.

That said, if you have time on the way back, it might be worth stopping there for a little while.

They have a small beach bar, umbrellas and swimming is pleasant.

It is also one of the only supervised beaches in the park, and the flag will indicate the recommendations.

To get there you will have to go through the Ecohabs from the car park in Cañaveral.

cañaveral Ecohabs tayrona park colombia
Drone view of Piscinita beach in Tayrona Park – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly


Arrecifes is the first beach you will see up close, after a 1 hour walk if you take the main path.

You will walk along a very pretty lagoon in which giant stones bathe.

It is on this one that you will have the best chance to see the Caiman Abuja come to sunbathe (around noon).

If you are the type to avoid the most touristy places consider the accommodations in the area.

You can make the trip to Cabo San Juan the next day.

You will be able to take some of the most beautiful pictures of your stay in Arrecifes. The sunsets are often spectacular.

playa arrecifes Tayrona Park Colombia
Arrecifes Beach – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly


Barely 1 min after Arrecifes, Arenillas is finally the first beach where you can swim.It’s shady and not very crowded. Careful, now the currents can surprise you. Ideal if you sleep in the Arrecifes area.

There are a few kiosks with fruit juices, empanadas, and even a small restaurant with a shaded area.

arrenillas Beach Tayrona Park
Arenilla Beach Tayrona Park – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly

La Piscina

As its name suggests, “la piscina” evokes a swimming pool. It is a calm and pleasant lagoon, and it is here that the water is the calmest and crystal clearest in the whole area.

Its name comes from the barrier of rocks that surrounds it creating a natural swimming pool with calm waters.

Family Special: if you come with children, this is THE beach where you can stop and swim in complete safety.

It’s one of the ideal places for snorkeling. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to observe the Carrey turtle.

There is a juice stand, but no accommodation or food.

Pro Tip

It is in October that the water is the calmest: no waves and crystal clear water guaranteed.

playa piscina Tayrona Park
La Piscina is definitely one of the best Beach in Tayrona Park – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly

Did you know that ?
The large giant rock you see on the point is a sacred rock for the natives… She represents a protective guardian. The koguis often go there to make offerings to him.

Playa Escondida

Have you ever heard of this beach in another guide book? I doubt it. Cause nobody knows it. Only certain experts at the park.

And for good reason, there’s no way in. You have to sneak through the trees and bushes to find it.

It is actually an extension of the swimming pool.

If the swimming pool already offers peace and quiet, on this one you will be alone in the world, while enjoying the advantages of the swimming pool.

playa escondida tayrona park colombia
Drone view of Playa Escondida, which is actually an extension of Piscina Beach. You can access it by a hidden path in the forest – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly

Cabo San Juan

Cabo San Juan is a life-size postcard.

Idyllically beautiful, she has become one of Colombia’s emblematic figures, featured on the covers of many magazines and travel guides.

A little paradise for the eyes, it consists of two small bays surrounded by coconut palms, separated by a rocky promontory where a palm-roofed hut sits enthroned.

As you can imagine, victim of its success, the bay of “El Cabo” is also the most frequented beach of the park.

Roughly 95% of the park’s visitors visit it or spend the night there.

tayrona park cabo san juan colombia
Cabo San Juan is like a Postal Card, a paradise on earth – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly

Nudist Beach

It’s the only nudist beach allowed in Colombia.

Nudity is optional, so if you prefer to keep your swimsuit on, no worries.

There are in fact very few nudists on the beach, a maximum of 10.

Officially swimming is forbidden, but I have bathed there without any problem.

This said, be very careful, stay very close to the edge, the bottom waves are treacherous!

nudist beach tayrona park colombia
The Nudist Beach in Tayrona Park is an excellent option if you like to avoid crowds – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly

Pro Tip
For those looking to avoid the crowds of Cabo San Juan, this beach will be your haven of peace.

Boca del Saco

We now arrive at the last beach in the el Zaino sector…

Boca del Saco looks a lot like the nudist beach, but without the nudists.

This is probably the least frequented beach in the whole area.

Swimming is officially forbidden, but you can refresh yourself by staying on the shore.

boca del saco beach tayrona park colombia
Boca del Saco is the Last beach you can Access from Cabo San Juan, unless you try the 4 hours hike to Playa Brava. – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly

Section 2

Sector Calabazo

If you like walking, nature and adventure, this is the place to go.

This sector will give you a more complete view of the park thanks to an off-trail approach ending with the tourist part.

Playa Brava

Playa Brava is a beautiful secluded beach, but as its name suggests (angry beach), the currents are dangerous and swimming is not recommended.

There is still the possibility to swim on the left side of the beach.

It is also a beach rich in history.

During the guerrilla era in Colombia, it was a small export port. I’ll let you guess what it is.

This isolation from the deep jungle and the hills gives it one of the most incredible atmospheres of the park.

It will take you about 4 hours walk from Calabazo, through the jungle. A demanding walk.

If you start walking at dawn (06:00) you will have a better chance of seeing animals.

Possibility to go there by mule

For the return journey, you will have to go by the same path or climb the hill and reach Boca del Saco (3h walking).

Playa Brava tayrona park colombia
Dawn in Playa Brava – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly

Sector Palangana

palangana is home to the most breathtaking and most secret beaches in tayrona park.

You may be surprised to discover them

Palangana entrance is 12 km from Santa Marta taking the Troncal del Caribe towards La Guajira.

It gives you access to Gairaca, Neguanje and Playa Cristal. The other beaches are closed to the public: Bahia Chengue. 

By boat you can acces Playa Cristal, Baha Cinto, Guachaquita and Palmarito.

palangana bahia chengue tayrona park colombia
Drone View over Bahia Chengue, Gairaca and Playa Cristal – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly


From the entrance of Palangana, the beach of Gairaca (also called Playa del Amor) is the first beach you can access.

A sign to the left will tell you where to turn.

Beautiful beach with crystal clear waters, Gairaca is without a doubt the best beach in Tayrona Park for scuba diving. You will not find a diving center on the beach, you will have to go through Taganga where only one center is authorized to supervise outings twice a week (see activity section).

mirador 7 olas Tayrona Park
– Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly

7 Olas

Along the road from the Palangana entrance, a stop at the 7 Olas viewpoint will be self-evident. Its name 7 olas is due to the immutable rhythm of its waves which arrive only in succession of 7.

mirador 7 olas Tayrona Park
Did you count how many waves ? – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly


It is considered the largest bay in Tayrona National Park.

It is the access point to visit Playa Cristal.

This site was of the utmost importance for the Tayrona culture as it served as a cemetery for the great indigenous caciques.

You can also see a beautiful demonstration of the semi-arid vegetation, populated by cacti and dry woods, unlike the eastern part of the park which is humid tropical and green.

tayrona park neguanje colombia
Neguanje Beach is the Largest Bay in Tayrona Park – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly

Playa Cristal

Playa Cristal is one of the most beautiful beaches in Tayrona Park.

As its name suggests, its azure and crystal clear waters make it THE most beautiful place in the park for snorkeling and diving.

Mostly frequented by Colombians, it is an option that few foreign tourists know about.

It’s a wonderful place to spend the day at the beach. There are free or paid shade areas, excellent fresh fruit juices, and several huts where you can enjoy a good fish.

For the record, this beautiful beach was known as Playa del Muerto (Beach of the Dead) no wonder they decided to change the name.

Playa Cristal Tayrona Park
Playa Cristal Beach is in the Top 5 best beaches in Tayrona Park – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly

Pro Tip
This beach can only accommodate 200 people per day. Avoid it in high season (January, and June, July).
In the end, although the beach is famous, Playa Cristal remains a place where you feel privileged, with few people. A super pleasant experience.

Bahia Chengue

Bahia chengue is for connoisseurs THE most beautiful beach in the park.

Too bad for you, it has been banned to the public since 2019.

Indeed, it is a highly sacred place for indigenous communities, and they won their case in early 2019 to prevent it from being invaded by tourism.

To make you salivate a little anyway: Crystal Waters, birdwatching and pink salt lagoons

This beach has in fact been closed to the public for a long time but some tourist agencies in Santa Marta were overflowing the rules and still took tourists with them.

bahia chengue tayrona park colombia
Drone View of Bahia Chengue in Tayrona Park – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly

Bahia Cinto

Officially closed to the public, Cinto is one of the quietest and most beautiful beaches in Tayrona Park (and yes, one more!).

Its crystalline waters, green vegetation, golden sand and isolation give it a unique touch like few beaches in the world.

Very good spot for snorkeling.

bahia cinto tayrona park colombia
Drone View of Bahia Cinto’s Beach in Tayrona Park – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly

Pro Tip
You can spend the night here, but shhh!
2 options to stay there:
– In hammocks
– Rent a villa. Info here, transport to be defined with the owners.

But always bear in mind that it is far from the city and you need meals, water, etc. for this adventure. To get there, you have to take a boat from the beach of Taganga to Bahía Cinto.


It is one of the few beaches in the PNNT where its calm waters allow swimming,  its waters are clear and its sand is white. The beach is small and has little marine life, but it is replaced by the beauty of the landscape.

guachaquita Tayrona Park Colombia
Panoramic view of Guachaquita Beach – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly


One of the smallest beaches in the PNNT The beach is not suitable for swimming due to its high waves. The area is full of coconut trees. To get there on foot, the path is very demanding, as it takes about 3 or 4 hours on footpaths that are poorly signposted due to the lack of foot traffic.

Sector Bastidas

The sector of Bastidas is not really an entrance but a district of Santa Marta from which one reaches the beautiful Bahia Concha.

Bonito Gordo

This one is a secret beach, the only access is by boat from the marina of Santa Marta. Some boats mark a short stopover there for tours to Bahia Concha.

bonito gordo tayrona park Colombia
Panoramic view of Bonito Gordo Beach in Tayrona Park – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly

Bahia Concha

Bahía Concha is a beautiful beach, offering a very good quality – accessibility – price ratio. Only 30 minutes by car from Santa Marta, Bahia Concha offers a superb setting with its calm and crystal clear waters, with the majestic Sierra Nevada in the background.

This beach is for you if:

bahia concha tayrona park colombia
Fishermen in Bahia Concha Beach – Tayrona Park – Photo Credit © Tristan Quevilly
Pro Tip

The beach is crowded for the first 500 meters. If you want to find peace and quiet, go to the bottom of the beach where you will be much more tranquil.

Avoid the months of Brisa Loca (January-February) when the sand can whip badly.


Small improvised restaurants at the entrance of the beach where you can enjoy a good grilled fish.

Street vendors will be happy to sponsor you with local beer.

Its calm waters make it ideal for spending the day as a couple, with friends or family.


Relatively easy to access, it is the most visited beach in the park by Colombians. If you are looking for peace and quiet, avoid weekends and school holidays.

How to get to Bahia Concha?
1. Private Taxi from Santa Marta.

Advantage it brings you back at the time of your choice. Count about 160.000 Cop entry included.

2. By Bus + moto Taxi

take a bus from Santa Marta’s center in Avenue 5ta direction “Bastidas”. Then take a moto taxi for 30 000 cop aprox.

3. Excursions

Tours leave every day from Rodadero

4. Speed Boat


If you want more info about Tayrona Park, please consider visiting the official Colombian National Park’s website

Now Your Turn

I hope that you enjoyed my guide to Tayrona Park Beaches

Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:

Or maybe I didn’t mention one of your favorite beach ?

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

Where to stay in Tayrona Park ?

In Tayrona Park, you have 3 options for sleeping : Hammock, Tents or Cabins

Some are HEAVENLY GOOD, other are awfull.

Let’s see the best hotels inside and around the park

So, there are 3 options for sleeping in Tayrona park : Hammocks, Tents, or Ecohabs. 

let’s see what works best for you :

1.  Hammocks

Hammock definitely make part of the Tayrona’s experience. 

What is more pleasant, falling asleep between 4 walls or to the sound of the waves and ocean breeze?

Important: if you sleep in hammocks bring a lock for the lockers

hammocks tayrona park
Pro Tip

Remember to sleep diagonally in the hammock and not lengthwise, it will avoid a good backache!

2. Tent

It’s also a great option if you’re afraid of the hammock. 
But beware, if it rains you’ll be the first to know. 
Also say goodbye to the midday nap, the tents turn into an oven between 10am and 4pm.

3. Ecohabs

The prices of the Ecohabs seem excessive to me: 400 Usd, and they are not close from the best points of the park. 

cañaveral Ecohabs tayrona park colombia

If you use the application, all the dwellings are indicated in the Tayrona park.

Best hotels in Tayrona Park

If your are not interested in lodging, just read these 5 recommandation and then skip to the next part. 

Favourite Lodging
Camping Don Pedro
Best Location
Camping Cabo San Juan
Cleanest Place
Camping Yuluka
Cheapest Campsite
Camping Jacobo
Best Hotel
near of the park
Maloka Barlovento

If you want more detailed information about a the best hotels in Tayrona Park sea also :

How to get to Tayrona National Park

By bus, taxi, walking or by boat, we will see all the ways to go

There are 4 different entrances to get to Tayrona Park. We will concentrate here on the 2 main ones. 

For the other, please refer to the other article : Best beaches of Tayrona Park

Getting around Renting a car

If you want to take a road trip from Santa Marta, and have the freedom to visit Taganga, Minca, Palomino and Tayrona at your own pace, a good idea is to rent a car. Here you can compare the available offers and rent a car at the best price.

Be aware though that road are in a bad state in Sierra Nevada De Santa Marta, and you may need to park the car in the village and then take a 4×4 or a motorbike taxi.

Getting around Renting a Motorcycle

If you would like to visit the area in an adventurous style and go off path, another good idea is to rent a motorcycle. We partner with Adrian who runs Colombian Riders, a motorbike Rental agency

Getting around renting a 4×4 with Driver

If you prefer safety, traveling with an experienced 4×4 driver is essential in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The roads are often in an incredibly bad state, and in rainy season things get worth. With a private driver, you can drive to Cerro Kennedy or visit remote communities. Here you can contact our partners, we have partnerships with several excellent drivers in the area

Get to Tayrona Park from Santa Marta

By bus

The best way to get to Tayrona Park is by Public Bus. It’s the cheapest and best discovery experience.

Let the driver know where you want to get off (Palangana, Calabazo or Zaino or the name of your hotel).

Pro Tip

The bus will drop you at the main entrance, then you will have to take the minibus at 3000 inside the park.


Collective Taxi

Collective taxis leave every day from Santa Marta.

Chivas (Colombian Touristic Buses)

From Taganga

Getting to Tayrona Park by boat

Speedboats leave Taganga every day.

This is the best method if you don’t want to do the 2 hours walk in the Park.

Beware, the sea is often very rough, the boat captains go at full throttle, it can hurt your back very badly.

In case of swell you will arrive soaked.

Remember to buy 2 garbage bags at the shop in front of the pier.

One to protect your big backpack, and a smaller one to protect your mobile phone, passport and other electronic devices.

Be careful with the Boasts

You must not get seasick, and also have very strong loins.
The boats don’t have the same standards of conduct and safety as at home.
Moreover, some boats do not have their certificates and papers up to date

From Palomino



By Bus

Buses run daily from Riohacha to Santa Marta. Let the driver know where you want to get off

Section 4

Hikes in Tayrona Park

We have seen that there are many options to visit Tayrona Park.

Now you will have to make your choice according to your physical level, your timing and your taste for adventure

Here I

You have several possible hikes in Tayrona Park

1. Kogui trail or Knowledge Route from Canaveral to Arrecifes (low difficulty, one hour).

2. Arrecifes – Boca del Saco Trail, passing by the beach of Arrecifes, La Piscina and Cabo San Juan del Guía (low difficulty, two hours).

3. The trail to Pueblito from Cabo San Juan del Guía (high difficulty, 3 hours).

4. The Calabazo – Pueblito – Cabo San Juan del Guía trail (high difficulty, 4 hours).

1. Hike “Sendero Kogui”

This is the classic path that has been moved between Cañaveral and Arrecifes so that visitors can access the beaches.

Basically it is the hike that 99% of the people do in the park, if you enter the park by el Zaino you will have to go through it.

As you go along, the trail will vary between gentle dirt paths surrounded by vibrant green jungle and stairs built on the hillside between large boulders.

Once you reach the highest points of the trail, you will be treated to superb views of the coast, including Piscinita beach where the Ecohabs are located.

Later, the trail will take you between grape groves, beach paths and rainforests which makes the walk interesting.

Walk to Arrecifes, stop at the Piscina and finish the walk to Cabo San Juan.

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2. Hike to Pueblito Chairama 

Pueblito is a sacred site for the Indigenous communities of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a remnant of an ancient Tairona indigenous village.

For centuries the great leaders of the 4 communities have gathered here annually for important meetings, ceremonies and spiritual cleansings.

There is a small village of about 10 huts on the site, guarded by an indigenous Kogi family.

If you haven’t considered going to the Lost City, it’s worth going up and seeing.

pueblito Chairama tayrona park colombia
The site is now closed to tourists, according to the wishes of the indigenous communities.

How to get to Pueblito?

There are 2 ways to get to Pueblito:

Whichever way you take, you need a good walking level

Let’s see the 2 options : 

Option 1 : From Cabo San Juan

From Cabo San Juan take the path that goes up from the campsite to Pueblito Chairama.

This is a difficult road in the hills. You will climb for 1 hour on giant rocks and lose 1L of sweat.

There are signs every 10% of the hike. But as luck would have it the last 10% seems to be getting further and further away.

Above, the Indians sell you water, soda and snacks at 5.000 COP.

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Survival Tips

Option 2 : From Calabazo

There is only one part, where it is difficult to navigate, many people get lost. 

There are not many signs, so when the road forks, make sure to go to the right.

You will need more 45 min after pueblito to reach Cabo San Juan. 

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3. Hike Playa Brava 2 days 1 night

Adventure and off the beaten path
This hike is probably the best way to discover Tayrona Park.

Day 1 : Calabazo – Playa Brava

Entry via Calabazo. Night in Playa Brava. Half way do not make a mistake the road divides into 2, left Playa Brava, right Pueblito (access prohibited to the public).

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Day 2 Playa Brava – Cañaveral

 Hike to Boca del Saco then Cabo San Juan. Time for a short swim and departure for the swimming pool.

Visit of the rest of the park passing by Arenillas and Arrecifes.

Take some time in the forest. Return by the El Zaino entrance in the late afternoon.

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In theory it seems easy to hike, but there are a number of things to take into account: it’s incredibly hot! and it changes everything.
I can’t repeat it enough: many people are close to feeling sick from dehydration or sunstroke. So you’ve been warned.
Now that that’s said, it’s really worth it, the hikers are magnificent!

4. The 9 Stones Walk

I’ve never done it before, so I don’t spend too much time on it.
But here’s what I’ve heard:

“The Nine Stones Hike, is a hike around the park following egg-shaped stones in places along the way”.

During this hike, you will have cult places for the natives of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

These stones, used during the sanitation sessions, would allow the indigenous people to communicate with their ancestors and the cosmos.

The walk lasts about an hour.

Hiking in Tayrona Park : Guided or unguided ?

99% of tourists visit Tayrona Park without a guide for the sole purpose of lazing around. However, I strongly recommend you to be accompanied by a professional guide. 

Highly qualified, they will tell you a lot of rich anecdotes about the history of the park, the indigenous communities, the flora, and most importantly they know where and when to see the animals in the park that you would not be able to see alone.

Section 5

Boat Trips to Tayrona Park

Because Tayrona National Park enjoys a tropical climate all year round and is increasingly popular, it is important to plan when you want to visit.

Sailing day excursion from Santa Marta

Departure 10:30 am and return 6 pm from the Marina de Santa Marta, ask for pier 21 (Muelle E21).

Includes 1 beer, water, fruit and insurance.

Possibility to eat on the boat for an extra charge, as well as extra drinks.

Speedboats from Taganga

You can choose from the following destinations:

There are several types of excursions that go to Bahia Concha: Chiva, private taxis, speedboats, private boats or sailboats.

Speed Boat
tayrona park bahia concha colombi

Excursion to Playa Cristal

Boat departures from Taganga every day between 09h30 and 10h30.

Playa Cristal Tayrona Park
Section 6

Best time to visit Tayrona Park

Because Tayrona National Park enjoys a tropical climate all year round and is increasingly popular, it is important to plan when you want to visit.

First of all it is important to now that since 2020 the park closes 3 times a year

There reason is taken by the indigenous communities that wish to restore the spiritual balance in the park, and for the animals to reclaim the place.

The dates are usually revealed only a short time in advance, but consider that the longest closure is usually in the month of February. 

> Check here for closure periods 

That said, when you plan to visit Tayrona Park there are 2 factors to consider

 Let’s have a look at each one : 

High Tourist Seasons
Low Tourist Season
Summer season
Winter Season

Conclusion on when to visit the park

Taking into account the above information, to find the ideal mix of dry weather and few people, we come to the conclusion that the best time to visit Tayrona Park would be March and April.

How long to stay in Tayrona Park ?

There is no time limit for camping in Tayrona, my advice is to stay 2 nights.
It’s up to you on your own schedule. If you only have 15 days in Colombia, 1 night will be enough.

Section 7

Where to Eat in Tayrona Park

You have four options for food:

Here I will guide you in your choices

Option 1: Bring your food

Bear in mind that it is hard to bring food to Tayrona Park, and it makes more expensive than normal

So bringing your own food can seriously considered. 

But, don’t forget you’ll have to wear the food for 2 hours.

You can buy most of the food in the shops at the entrance to the park.

It costs about 10% more than in Santa Marta.

If you arrive by boat from Taganga, you won’t have a long distance to travel carrying your food.

Often I see tourists carrying 5-10 litre bottles of water for the entire duration of the hike. 

Personally, I find that it is better to walk light and enjoy the trail than to carry an extra 10 kilos. 

Therefore I recommend that you take only a 1L bottle with you. 

You can have all your bags carried to Cabo San Juan by muleteers. It will cost you 40.000 Cop approx.

Option 2: Restaurants

There are restaurants in all accommodation areas, with complete menus (fresh fish, chicken, vegetable rice, etc…).
Prices vary according to the category of campsite. 
As an example, here are the prices of Camping Cabo San Juan

Option 3 : Street Vendors

Also on the beaches where swimming is allowed, (like Arenillas, La Piscina and Cabo San Juan) there are stands selling juices, beer, water and some of the most typical snacks, such as arepa.

Option 4 : Camping Shops 

The Camping de Cabo San Juan also offers non-perishable products such as tuna fish, salty cakes, and canned sausages.

You already know it: everything is more expensive than in the city.

As an indication: The most expensive is water, one litre costs around 5,000 COP, i.e. five times more expensive.

They also have batteries, suntan lotion, shampoo, etc…
Keep in mind that you are not allowed to bring your own alcohol into the park.

Pro Tip
There is a bakery hidden just behind Arrecifes, with excellent sweet and savoury breads and fresh fruit juices. In my opinion, this is the best spot to take a break and eat during your hike in the park. You can even pick up take-away and picnic on the beach of Arenillas or the Piscina.
Section 8

Health and Security

If you’re traveling with your family, you’re probably wondering what the greatest dangers in Tayrona Park are. 

For your safety, here are the recommendations to follow.

Recommandation for keaping safe during your trip

Are the animals dangerous in Tayrona Park?

There have almost never serious problems related to animal attacks on humans in the park.

There are Caymans, three varieties of deadly snakes, jaguars, and poisonous frogs

So Important, to follow these advises :
What to do in case of a snake bite?
Be aware that your entry includes compulsory insurance.
There is an emergency station located in the area of Arrecifes equipped with serums and antidotes.

If you are bitten, alert someone to go and warn the emergency services.
Do not use a tourniquet, it will necrotize the wound, risk of amputation.

Is it necessary to vaccinate against yellow fever?

The official entities recommend to be vaccinated at least 10 days before the trip.

Actually: There’s no risk of catching him.

It is not mandatory to present your vaccination booklet at the entrance (see National Parks site).

However, it is always good to have it with you in Colombia.

Chikungunya and Dengue?

There is no risk

Risk of theft?

No, the risk of theft is close to 0%, but we never know, remember to take a locker for your locker.

Section 9

What to pack for Tayrona Park ?

A Japanese proverb says : “Traveling smart starts with packing smart.”

Here are all the tips to avoid the rookie mistakes

So plan to travel light to get the most out of your trip!

Guess what’s the good news ?

You don’t have to carry your big bag around the park.

Any good hotel or hostel in Santa Marta will be happy to store the bulk of your stuff while you go to Tayrona so you can just take the essentials with you. 

So what to take in your bag? Here is a list of the key items.

Hygiene / Health
Other important information

Do not bring in the park

Photographers and Drone enthusiasts
It is prohibited to take photographs and make films for commercial purposes without the prior authorization of the National Parks and Colombia.
Section 10

Budget for Tayrona Park

We have gone over the prices in the previous chapters.

We can now add up the bill considering that you are a backpacker and that you sleep in Cabo San Juan

Budget 1 night coming from Santa Marta

+ 7,000 buses from Santa Marta
+ 63,500 Entrance fees
+ 2,000 insurance
+ 3.000 of Shuttle entry
+ 2×3.000 bottle of water
+ 40.0000 accommodation in hammock
+ 30.000 Meals in restaurants
= 140,000 Cop

Budget for 2 night and more

Count around 100.000 Cop per extra day

entrance fee tayrona parc
Tips for saving money :
If you bring your own tent or hammock, you’ll pay half the price…

If you bring your own food, it’ll save you a lot of money.

If you come by boat, you can bring much more food as you dont have to bring it on your back.

There is a bakery in the park, and street vendors sell hot bread for 5000-8000 pesos on the beach. Great vouchers
Section 11

History and Culture

Currently, Tayrona National Park is not inhabited by any of the 4 ethnic groups that are found in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, of which Tayrona Park is part of its lower zone.

The four indigenous ethnic groups (Kogui, Arhuaco, Wiwa and Kankuamo) decided to settle in the high Sierra Nevada because of the high number of younger brothers (as we are all called outside their communities) but this does not mean that Tayrona Park is not part of their refuge or ancestral territory.

There are sacred places where they have long practiced their rituals and ceremonies and which must be protected and respected as one of the most important cultural heritages of humanity.

Kogui Indigenous People

The Kogi, related to the Tayrona culture that flourished at the time of the Spanish conquest, survived by isolating themselves in the high mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta for generations.

Mythology tells that they are the “older brothers” of humanity living in the “centre of the world”, and that strangers or “younger brothers” have been banished for some time.

In response to the offences they have committed in their homeland, the young brothers will have to walk the road home and reap what they have sown in the form of self-destruction.

Every time a native uses an element of nature, he must make an offering.

There is no concept of ecology among the natives there is only spiritual balance.

But spiritual payment is not necessarily better than ecology, because sometimes they make an offering and then it devastates the place.

The representation of stones

There are large stones very representative of the park that the natives consider as guardians who protect them.

In fact, the natives used to build all their terraces out of stone.

So the stone was very important to them.

Stones: Connection to the Spiritual

In Tayrona Park there are 130 sacred sites, and all the sacred sites are represented by the stones.

Among the Kogis, cotton has the power to absorb thoughts. It is like a USB key and holds information.

During the offerings, the kogi put cotton on some connecting stones and that would connect them to the spiritual world.

There are stones that are used for weddings, others for protection (seguranzas), and others to ask for miracles.

Like an oracle they put the stones in the water.

Here is one the most comprehensive article on the web that may interest you : 

Pre-Columbian Cemeteries

In the park there are also pre-Columbian cemeteries. The tombs were often very rich in stone and gold.

Until 1991 the guaqueros, the grave robbers, had the right to plunder the graves because in the Constitution the natives did not exist, they were not even mentioned.

So all the holes that we see on the road to the tayrona park were areas of ransacking and excavation.

History of the Park

The Tayrona area has always been of great natural and cultural importance.

The pre-Hispanic Tayrona tribe has always populated the region in small villages and communities.

The hunters and collectors lived in the coastal area and in the heights of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Mara.

The descendants of this tribe, called Koguis, as well as three other groups still live here and maintain their culture and traditions

Creation of Tayrona Park

The park was established in 1964 and transformed into a national park in 1969 to protect and promote ecology and archaeology.    When Tayrona Park was created, they formed two associations: the Guides’ Association and the Riders’ Association.

The Park is also declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.

They then banned all other activities: gold hunters and animal hunters.

It was therefore necessary to transform the activity into a tourist activity.

It is now the second most visited national park in Colombia after the natural coral reef park of Rosario and San Bernando, near Cartagena, with almost 300,000 visitors in 2012.

For the anecdote, it is said that the Davila family, originally from Italy, became the richest family of Santa Marta thanks to Tayrona Park.

Indeed, originating in Italy, they were importers of barbed wire.

And at the time, not having a land registry, they appropriated some of the most beautiful lands in Tayrona such as Bahia Concha, and even private property.

Pre-Columbian Cemeteries

In the park there are also pre-Columbian cemeteries. The tombs were often very rich in stone and gold.

Until 1991 the guaqueros, the grave robbers, had the right to plunder the graves because in the Constitution the natives did not exist, they were not even mentioned.

So all the holes that we see on the road to the tayrona park were areas of ransacking and excavation.

Now Your Turn

I hope that you enjoyed my guide to Tayrona Park

Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:

Do you have any questions about Tayrona Park ?

Or maybe I didn’t mention one of your favorite tips about this destination ?

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

About the author

At the helm of Remote Expeditions, Tristan adeptly combines exploration, photography, tour design, web development, and tour leadership, encapsulating the essence of a versatile travel entrepreneur. His mission is to offer a limited number of high-quality tours each year, ensuring an unparalleled travel experience steering clear of mass tourism. He aims to guide you towards the true essence of each destination, facilitating a deep connection with both nature and yourself.