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Tayrona National Park Guide: Everything You Need To Know


Read this guide to find our everything you need to know to visit Tayrona National Park in Colombia.

Imagine paradise for a second. Intense turquoise waters. White sand beaches flanked by lush forests of palms, which sprinkle coconuts on the floor, creating brown carpets of the delicious fruits.

Tayrona National Park perfectly embodies the idea of the picture perfect tropical paradise and it is one of Colombia finest destinations.

We highly recommend to add Tayrona National Park to your Colombian itinerary. By visiting, you won't only enjoy a beautiful beach, but also get a chance to discover the Colombian tropical forest, hike through the jungle and explore a protected ecosystem.

Here the ultimate guide and everything you need to know to plan a visit to Tayrona National Park.

Is it worth to sleep inside the park?

We heard and read very different opinions on whether is worth or not sleeping inside Tayrona National Park. After being recommend both by locals and tourists who previously visited, we decided to sleep one night in the park and it was the right decision. If you don’t sleep in the park you will not have enough time to really enjoy the beach as it closes at 5pm, or do the different hikes that are available.

How many nights should I sleep inside the park?

We opted for one night and that was the right choice for us. As we slept on an hammock, which was not the best sleep we ever had (!), we would have not enjoyed a second night. On the other hand, friends of ours slept 5 nights on hammocks and loved it! As always, is just a matter of preference.

Where should I sleep?

You have several options in terms of campsites. Cabo San Juan, the most popular one, Canaveral and Bukaru.

We chose Cabo San Juan because we wanted to wake up on the beach, even though the campsite is probably the worst of the three. We can’t report about Canaveral, while we visited Bukaru, which looked extremely nice, with the only issue being that is not on the beach.

Sleeping in Cabo San Juan

At the campsite in Cabo San Juan you can choose between sleeping on a hammock or in a two person tent (or use your own tent if you have one). There are pros and cons for both options and we chose the hammock because we heard the tents do smell quite a bit. The hammocks are twenty in a raw, very close to each other, under a straw roof. There are also a set of hammocks located on of a rock formation right by the ocean. You can get a spot there by making sure to be one of the first to book the hammocks when the booking time opens at 11am. The view up there is wonderful, the only downside is that it gets really windy and you are very far from the toilets.

The hammock per se if ok in terms of comfort, the real problem is that people come and go so it’s quite noisy. We didn’t sleep very well, but that really depends on your ability to sleep on hammocks and how you handle noise.

At the campsite you will find a small shot, lockers, showers and toilets and a restaurant. The showers and bathrooms are pretty questionable in terms of hygiene, but again this is our very personal opinion. The restaurant serves local dishes and fresh fruit juices.

Despite the campsite being somewhat average, the location is unbeatable. We woke up for sunrise and had the beach almost to ourselves. Seeing the sun rise within the perfect tropical setting was absolutely worth the lousy sleep!

What do I need to bring with me?

Since you need to walk a good hour and a half to reach the campsites, make sure to only bring a small backpack with few items. Here some must bring items:

  • Passport

  • Warm clothes for the night if you sleep in hammock

  • Towel

  • Toilet paper

  • Beach towel

  • Swimming suite

  • Cash

  • Mosquito repellent

  • Sunscreen

How much does it all cost?

  • Entrance to the park: 44,000 COP (14,7$) pp

  • Hammocks in Cabo San Juan: 40,000 COP (13,3$) pp

  • Dinner for two: 45,000 COP (15$) (depending on your order)

Getting there

From Santa Marta you can hop on a local bus at the small bus station between Calle 11 and Carrera 11. The bus leaves every half an hour and it costs about 3$.

From Taganga you can take a boat. The trip is roughly one, one and a half hour. They leave in the morning from the main beach, get there before 9am and the coat is around 12/15$. We decided to sleep outside the park the night before and night we exited as we didn’t want to rush in and out. The park opens at 8am and closes at 5pm.

There are plenty of beautiful accommodations outside the park, from every budget. We stayed at Villa del Rio by the El Zaino entrance.

We hope this was useful and if you have any additional question just drop us a comment!

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