Where To Stay Tayrona National Park: Are you interested in exploring Tayrona National Park and wondering about the best accommodation options? Here is a phenomenally in-depth guide to the absolute paradise that is Colombia’s Tayrona National Park.
A Travel Guide To Tayrona In Colombia
Nestled between the pristine beaches of the Colombian Caribbean coast and the verdant jungle of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, this national park of 150 km² is an exquisite blend of rich biodiversity, stunning landscapes and ancient culture.
We’ve tapped into the reservoir of knowledge and experience of a local expert Giorgy from G-ExtremeTravel to bring you an insider’s guide to this magnificent and enormous hidden gem in Colombia.
With years of exploration under her belt, she is revealing everything there is to know about Parque Tayrona. So, whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a nature lover or a history buff, rest assured that this guide has you covered.
This guide is going to help you navigate through the park’s winding trails, find the most awe-inspiring scenic spots, and give you a glimpse into the park’s rich history and cultural heritage.
In addition, this Tayrona National Park travel guide will provide insider tips on the best times to visit, how to get around, options on things you can do, and most importantly, where to stay inside and outside Tayrona National Park.
So, without further ado, let’s venture into this biodiversity hotspot and unveil the magic that Tayrona National Park has in store for you!
Is Colombia’s National Park Worth It?
Absolutely! Tayrona National Park is totally worth the visit and be prepared to be convinced as to why including this spot in your personal itinerary is absolutely worth it!
This tropical paradise is a haven for adventurers and nature lovers alike. With its remarkable biodiversity, you will encounter a diverse array of wildlife and unique ecosystems. Its beaches are considered some of the most beautiful in all of South America, featuring crystal-clear waters and secluded, white sand shores.
The park is also rich in cultural heritage, with ancient indigenous settlements to explore. The breathtaking beauty of the landscape, combined with the opportunity for adventure and learning, makes Tayrona National Park an experience that you won’t want to miss!
Entrance Gate of Tayrona National Park
As you approach Tayrona National Park, the first point of contact is the entrance gate. This is where you’ll purchase your ticket, securing your passage into this extraordinary ecosystem.
USEFUL TIPS: Make sure that you purchase your entry ticket directly at the designated entrance gate rather than from street vendors nearby.
After procuring your ticket along with the insurance, don’t be mistaken, your journey is just beginning! A quick tip for first-time visitors: make sure to pay for the shuttle bus service that operates from the ticket gate after the police security check to the actual entrance of the park.
While walking is an option, it’s a hot, 30-minute trek that you might want to avoid, especially considering the high temperatures and humidity typically experienced in the area.
So, hop on the shuttle for little money, conserve your energy for the upcoming 2 hours hike, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in Tayrona National Park!
Entrance Fees For The Park
Accessing the wonders of Tayrona National Park comes with a modest cost that varies depending on the season.
During the low season, foreigners are required to pay 54,500 COP ($11.30), while the high season fee is slightly higher at 64,500 COP ($13.35).
High season stretches from June 15 to July 15, December 15 to January 30, all Easter holidays from Thursday to Holy Sunday, and any weekends attached to public holidays.
Keep in mind that the money you’re paying is not just for access to the park. You are helping to contribute directly to the park’s maintenance, preservation efforts and the continued protection of its unique biodiversity!
As I mentioned above, other than having your own travel insurance, it’s mandatory to have one specifically when visiting the park. Don’t fret, though. You can conveniently purchase it at the park entrance for a negligible 5,000 COP ($1) per day.
USEFUL TIP: Worth mentioning is that payment must be in cash from the moment you step at Tayrona entrance and further. So ensure to have enough on hand!
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When Is Tayrona National Park Closed?
The Park is NOT always accessible. The park is closed for few days in February, June, and October to honor the traditions of the indigenous communities living within its boundaries.
From February 1 to 15, June 1 to 15, and October 19 to November 2, the indigenous communities conduct their traditional cleansing practices. This period allows the local flora and fauna to rejuvenate, ensuring that the park remains a biodiversity hotspot.
Don’t worry, the rest of the year, the park welcomes its guests with open arms, offering them a chance to immerse themselves in its rich ecosystems, beautiful beaches, and cultural heritage!
How Can You Travel to Tayrona National Park
Now that we’ve established that Tayrona National Park is certainly worth a visit, let’s dive into the best way to get there.
BUS TO EL ZAINO
The primary and most commonly used mode of transportation to Tayrona National Park is by bus from Santa Marta. This bustling city acts as the gateway to the park and provides frequent bus services to El Zaino, the main entrance of Tayrona National Park.
It’s an approximately one-hour ride, offering a great way to soak in the scenic beauty of the region while en route to your adventure. The buses are comfortable and affordable, making them an excellent choice for budget-conscious travellers and locals alike.
USEFUL TIP: Make sure to tell the bus driver to drop you off at the entrance to the park, because the buses also continue further to other destinations!
Another popular option for reaching Tayrona National Park is through a private shuttle service.
This mode of transportation offers a convenient, hassle-free experience, picking you up directly from your accommodation and dropping you off right at the entrance of the park.
Private shuttles can be a bit more pricey than public buses, but the added comfort, quick travel time, and the assurance of a direct route without any detours often justify the additional expense.
Remember to book your shuttle in advance to secure your spot!
For those who prefer to explore Colombia at their own pace, a rental car could be a fantastic option as it offers the utmost flexibility.
With your own set of wheels, you’re not bound by bus schedules or shuttle pick-up timings. You can simply hit the road when you’re ready and enjoy a drive through Colombia’s picturesque landscapes.
Tayrona National Park is easily accessible by car, with well-maintained roads leading you right to the El Zaino entrance.
Just remember to arrive early, as parking spaces at the park can fill up quickly during peak season!
BOAT FROM TAGANGA TO CABO SAN JUAN BEACH
For the more adventurous souls, reaching Tayrona National Park via boat might just add the right amount of thrill to your journey!
Taganga, a neighbouring fisherfolk village, offers boat services that take you directly to Cabo San Juan Beach, nestled within the heart of Tayrona National Park.
It’s important to note that this mode of transport can be a bit choppy, so it may not be the best option for those prone to seasickness. Nonetheless, stepping off the boat and onto the golden sands of Cabo San Juan Beach makes for an unforgettable entrance to the park!
How To Get From Cartagena To The Park
Getting from Cartagena to Tayrona National Park is a journey of about 5 hours by road, making it a perfect option for a day trip or an extended stay.
Regardless of the option you choose, the journey is scenic and filled with beautiful landscapes that are sure to keep you entertained.
For a detailed breakdown of the route, travel costs, and what to expect, be sure to check out the full article!
Where To Stay Tayrona National Park
Stay In The Park Itself
When it comes to accommodations within Tayrona National Park, your options lean towards a more rustic, authentic experience with nature. Imagine sleeping under the star-studded sky, listening to the symphony of forest sounds, all while nestled comfortably in a well-equipped tent or just in a hammock!
The park offers several ‘glamping’ spots – a blend of glamour and camping, where you can enjoy the beauty of the outdoors with some basic comforts of a hotel.
Experience the wonders of Camping Tequendama Playa Arrecifes, where nature’s embrace awaits. Please note that this option is available on booking, but there are similar alternatives on a first-come, first-served basis. See the map below or see some of the options we found:
Stay outside The National Park
For those who prefer a more traditional hotel experience or are not overly keen on complete immersion in the wild, there are plenty of accommodations available just outside Tayrona National Park.
These options offer a comfortable stay without compromising your close proximity to nature.
Among these, Senda Casa Tayrona Los Naranjos is a charming boutique hotel nestled between the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Caribbean Sea, offering guests an exceptional blend of comfort, style, and stunning natural beauty. Just a short distance from the park, it’s the perfect base for exploring the breathtaking landscapes of Tayrona while affording you the luxury of retreating to a modern, comfortable setting at the end of the day.
USEFUL TIP: If you’re looking to save some pennies without skimping on the experience, there are plenty of other hostels and cheaper hotels available in close proximity to Tayrona National Park. These accommodations offer a decent level of comfort and amenities at a more affordable rate. Remember, an unforgettable adventure in Tayrona doesn’t have to break the bank.
You can use this interactive map to search for accommodation inside and outside the park.
Where To Buy Food & Drink Inside The Park
The park offers several food stalls and restaurants providing meals and snacks!
But, if you’re on a tight budget or prefer to prepare your own meals, the park also allows visitors to bring their own food and cooking equipment.
As for water, rest assured that Colombia’s tap water is generally safe to drink, so feel free to refill your bottles during your stay. This can be a budget-friendly and eco-conscious decision, reducing plastic waste.
Things To Do and See in Tayrona National Park:
From stunning beaches and magnificent hiking trails to intriguing archaeological sites and diverse wildlife, the park offers an abundance of experiences that cater to a variety of interests.
Let’s delve deeper into these exciting options to help you plan a memorable adventure in the heart of Tayrona National Park.
EXPLORE THE BEACHES
Tayrona National Park is blessed with an array of stunning beaches that are sure to take your breath away. These beaches, with their golden sands, azure waters, and lush tropical backdrops, are a highlight for many visitors.
You can bask in the sun, enjoy a picnic, or simply appreciate the picturesque beauty of the surroundings.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Keep in mind, that not all beaches in Tayrona are safe for swimming due to strong undercurrents. For your safety, do pay attention to the signage posted on each beach. If a sign indicates that swimming is prohibited, please respect this warning to avoid accidents and ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to the park.
Tayrona National Park isn’t just about serene beaches; it’s also a hiker’s paradise!
If you’re the adventurous type and wish to delve deeper into the park’s historical roots, there are a couple of iconic hikes you shouldn’t miss.
The El Pueblito hike and the Piedras hike are top of the list!
El Pueblito Hike is a journey into the time of the Tayrona civilization. The difficult steep trail leads you to an ancient Tayrona village, El Pueblito, which provides a fascinating glimpse into the indigenous culture. Despite its challenging nature with steep, rocky sections, the hike is rewarding with its rich archaeological sites and natural beauty.
USEFUL TIP: Please check at the entrance when purchasing your ticket, if the Pueblito is still open for visitors. Unfortunately, due to disrespect towards the place, the indigenous group has made the decision to close it for visits.
Piedras Hike, on the other hand, is a less frequented trail that lets you experience the park’s diverse flora and fauna up close. The path winds through a dense, biodiverse forest, leading you to a captivating viewpoint with stunning panoramic views of the park.
Remember to tread lightly, respect the ecosystem, and embrace the tranquillity these trails offer. These hikes are not just about the destination, but also the journey, letting you soak in the vibrant history and the raw, untouched beauty of Tayrona National Park.
The azure waters of Tayrona National Park offer more than just a visual treat; they are a paradise for marine enthusiasts. The park provides opportunities for visitors to engage in incredible water activities.
Snorkelling is one such popular activity that allows you to discover the vibrant, diverse underwater life. The coral reefs of Tayrona are home to an astonishing variety of marine species.
If you’re more into relaxation, you may opt for a boat ride, journeying along the coastline of the park, and bask in the exhilarating views of the pristine beaches and forest-lined shores.
WATCH OUT FOR WILDLIFE
As you wander through the park, be sure to keep an eye out for inhabitants such as the red howler monkey, deer, iguanas, and numerous species of birds.
As the sun sets and the darkness of night blankets the park, a remarkable phenomenon occurs – the nocturnal symphony of the jungle.
Particularly impressive is the chorus of “talking” monkeys that fills the air, a truly unique and enchanting experience that perfectly encapsulates the magic of Tayrona’s wildlife. This is a perfect reminder of the park’s rich biodiversity and the thriving ecosystem it supports.
What to Pack For Your Stay
When it comes to packing for Tayrona National Park, there are a few essentials to keep in mind. Given the park’s natural setting, make sure to include:
- light, breathable clothing
- a good quality pair of hiking shoes
- a swimsuit for those enticing beach visits
- eco-friendly sunscreen to protect your skin and the environment around you
- a reusable filtered water bottle to stay hydrated
- binoculars to enhance your wildlife spotting experience
- a torch or headlamp for those nocturnal adventures
- a portable mobile charger can also come in handy to ensure your devices don’t run out of power when capturing the park’s enchanting beauty
- If you want to save a little bit of money, remember to pack your own food and cooking equipment if you plan to prepare your own meals while in the park.
Click the picture below to check out our lists of essentials to take with you
Is Tayrona National Park Safe?
Tayrona National Park is considered safe for visitors, provided that you respect the natural environment and follow the park’s rules and guidelines.
The park is well-patrolled and has clear signage indicating safe areas for swimming and potential hazards. It’s important to heed these signs and not to wander off the marked trails, to avoid encounters with wildlife or getting lost.
Additionally, maintaining a respectful distance from wildlife ensures both your safety and theirs. Equally crucial is respecting the local indigenous communities and their cultural heritage. With a mindset of respect and preservation towards nature, your experience in Tayrona National Park can be safe, enlightening, and utterly unforgettable.
How Many Days Should You Spend in Tayrona National Park?
Deciding on the length of your visit to Tayrona National Park depends largely on your interests and the activities you wish to partake in.
One piece of advice I can share with you… if you truly appreciate the diverse beauty and rich heritage of the park, a one-day trip might not be enough!
With its stunning beaches, historic hikes, abundant wildlife, and marine activities, there’s so much to explore and experience that a single day may feel rushed and incomplete.
Ideally, a stay of 3 to 4 days is recommended. This gives you ample time to immerse yourself in the park’s offerings!
Remember, the essence of visiting Tayrona National Park is not just about ticking off a checklist but about immersing oneself in the experience and the enchanting aura of the place.
Wrap-Up: Tayrona National Park Travel Guide
There you have it, the complete Tayrona National Park travel guide.
With its striking landscapes, fascinating wildlife and the deep-rooted history within its trails, it promises an unforgettable experience that far exceeds the ordinary.
So pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and let the enchanting beauty of Tayrona National Park captivate your heart and soul. Here’s to the adventure that awaits you!
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