One of the must visit places in Colombia is the National Park of Tayrona. Part of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, the national park stretches over 30 square km of the Caribbean Coast.
After 4 days in the higher parts of Sierra Nevada mountain area, it was type to relax and let our legs rest at the Caribbean Coast and so our next stop on our Colombia Itinerary was the National Park of Tayrona.
From Santa Marta head to the main square and get one of the buses that starts leaving as of 6:00 in the morning. After 1h you will get in front of the parks entrance.
Before adding the park on your itinerary, make sure to check the parks website as they close the park a few times per year so that the nature and animals can take a break from all the tourists.
2023 closing times:
- February 1 to 15,
- June 1 to 15
- October 19 to November 2
Another thing to consider is that only a certain number of people are allowed in the park per day, thus on weekends and right after re-openings long queues tends to get formed at the entry in the park.
The park opens at 8:00 and the entry price for foreigners (in Feb 2023) was 68000 COP (62000 COP entrance fee - can be paid by card or cash and 6000 COP insurance - can be paid only cash)
After the entry, catch a bus that saves you some waking time and then you get into a 1h walking trail. We arrived at our accommodation at 10AM
We booked our accommodation in booking.com. There are several accommodations which range from hummocks to bungalows, we chose the tent option which seemed the best option for us.
Info & Must Knowns
Most of the accommodation have wifi on site, but keep in mind that there is no 4G connectivity in the park.
Bring sunblock more than you would usually do on the beach & mosquito repellent.
Have cash with you, although some places (restaurants next to accommodation) do accept cards, most of the smaller places only accept cash.
Avoid having luggage, you can carry them by horses, but by would you. Leave most of the things on your previous accommodation & get only what you need for the time you will be in the park.
What to do
We did not investigate what things you can do, as we came with the sole purpose to relax. While checking in we asked what are the best beaches to visit and so we decided to visit 2 beaches on the first day and send the second day on a closer beach as we had to leave around 16:00 to make it in time to our flight to Medellin.
Follow the instructions when it comes to the flags you have on the beach, red means no swimming (and it's actual no swimming not like in other places) and back means, that at least over 100 people died there.
Day 1: Playa La Piscina
Our first stop was Playa La Piscina, with it's calm waters, I would say, it was my favorite beach.
We spent a few spent a few hours there and enjoyed the sun and warm water.
Day 1: Cabo de San Juan
This is supposed to be the jewel of Tayrona, but although very pretty, it was very crowded and I could not enjoy the place that much.
Day 2: Playa Arenilla
As mentioned, we could not stay till very late, so we decided to leave the closest beach for the last day so that we spend as much time as possible on the beach.
Two things I recommend you to try in the park
1. Fresh cut coconuts :)
2. Arepa Huevo - don't think calories, think it's something local which you need to check out.
My overall opinion
Even though I would still consider it a must, for me, Tayrona did not raise to it's fame. I am happy that we decided to stay only 1 night, which felt lithe the perfect amount of time to spend in the park.