If you are travelling up the coast of Colombia then you will have heard of Tayrona National park as it is notably the most famous destination here. Firstly, It is a large protected area covering the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta as they meet the Caribbean coast therefore making it a haven of treks and beauty. It’s known for its palm-shaded coves, coastal lagoons, rainforest and rich biodiversity but gets PACKED throughout the year with tourists both international and domestic alike.
Well, today we made the leap and went for a visit! Leaving Palomino, we hopped aboard another of our favourite public busses heading South for Santa Marta. The journey takes an hour and costs 7000COP each ($3.50NZD) – you can also get a taxi costing around 50000COP.
The main entrance of the Tayrona Park is the Zaino where we hopped off as by its path you can reach the Cañaveral, Arenilla, La Piscina, Arrecifes, Cabo de San Juan de Guía beaches so it gave us a good amount of diversity for doing this in 1 day, when most people spend a few nights camping in one of the various campsites throughout the park.
Upon entry, you have to queue for your tickets, which cost us $63,000COP pp ($31NZD) and then on top of that you pay 2500COP for insurance – this is mandatory so overall it will be an expensive day out. From here, you can decide to walk 4km’s which will take you to the main car park and the start of the walks, or you can be smart and hop in a taxi which costs 3000COP pp and saves you about 1 hours walk.
The park itself is amazing, from the second we arrived we found it to be a place of nature and incredible beaches so if you are a lover of adventure and are fit enough to hike all day in scorching heat, this is the ideal place for you.
The walk to the main beach ‘Cabo San Juan’ takes around 2 hours – we made it in 1 hour but we really stepped it up a gear and smashed the walk in. To be fair, it’s great exercise but I was a drippy mess by the time we arrived. Nestled in 2 different sandy bays we found a perfect little watch tower you can walk to and take brilliant photos of both bays…and even a few Instagram worthy shots! We did this the second we arrived before the hundreds of other tourists started to emerge from the lush jungle. (The park lets 6900 people in per day). We grabbed the drone and flew it over the surrounding bays, showcasing the forests and mountains around. It is truly magical here! Then it was time to chill, relax, eat some lunch and swim in the beautiful clear waters.
There are so many walks you can do here, and you could easily spend 3-4 days but based on time constraints and the fact we have a perfectly good tent up the road, we opted for just one day.
We loved the park, the walks, and the wildlife you can spot all around you. We saw iguanas, little spider monkeys and a brilliant array of different birds. The great thing is that even though this destination is SUPER touristy, as it takes a bit of effort to get there and is expensive - it was clean and attracted a nicer crowd than the other dicks we have met on our travels so far… AND we felt safe to leave our bags when we went for a quick swim. That is priceless!
After a day of exploring the beaches, we headed back to the entrance, had a well-deserved ice-lolly before making the journey home.
If you do plan to head to the park here are a few things to note:
Hey! I'm Ally. I left the UK in 2011 to move overseas and ended up in New Zealand - my new home. This year we are taking a gap year to loop the world stopping in some AMAZING destinations - and I'm passionate about sharing these adventures with you!