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If Colombia is one of the new major stars on the international holiday destinations map then it’s surely because of places like Tayrona National Park. It’s got everything you could want in a secluded tropical beach. As well as boasting some dramatic archeological ruins and cultural heritage it’s got some of the most pristine beaches you can find on the Caribbean coast. Throw in some fantastic jungle trekking trails and sprinkle with a fantastic range of accommodation from quality camp sites to a luxury secluded eco lodges and you have got the mix just about right for a seriously idyllic location.
We recommend spending between 7-10 days Parque Tayrona. Here are our essentials, which give you a guide on how to spend your time in this exceptional slice of paradise.
Take a flight from Bogota national airport to Santa Marta, where you will be able to take a van or taxi directly to the park. Alternatively, if you are trying to save some cash in the centre of Santa Marta you can also take a bus to the park. From there, you will have to hire transport inside the park to take you to Canaveral or Arrecifes. You have two options to get to Arrecifes sector: walk for about 50 min or hire a horse or a donkey, which is a nice way to get you into the spirit of adventure. Arrecifes is the only place that can be reached by car.
The best luxurious option is the cool and shimmering Ecohabs. These bungalows have been inspired by the tribes and indigenous people of the region and provide you with an incredible view of the Caribbean Sea (make sure you request a room with an unobstructed sea view), whilst their spa offers fantastic treatments and massages. This area of Tayrona feels less remote than further West and there are some lovely beaches. If you prefer camping there is also an excellent camp site in the Cañaveral area at Camping Tayrona.
The Arrecifes area is popular on the backpacker trail and offers visitors the chance to stay in one of 60 hammocks. It’s a lovely feeling and if you are relaxed about where you sleep and it's a rare opportunity to enjoy bedding down under the stars.
You can either do as much or as little as you want – flopping down around the small clusters of beaches is idyllic but make sure when you do your swimming you stick to the safe bays – there are some fearsome riptides. Make sure you spend a day at the main beach, which is long and beautiful – perfect for body boarding and general lounging.
There is also some great snorkeling opportunities around El Cabo so make sure you bring some snorkeling gear. The marine life is abundant and tropical and you can spend hours floating amongst the multi-coloured marine life.
If nude beaches are your thing you can find this at Cabo San Juan.
The fantastic archeological ruins of El Pueblito not only provide you with a mesmerizing ruin but we absolutely loved the fascinating journey there. Our trip took seven hours along a stone track, fringing stunning beaches and the piercing sounds of the Colombian jungle. Once you arrive the Pueblito archaeological area opens out with the remains of ancient building and walls. We had a great guide who spoke a decent level of English who told us about the lives of the 4,000 inhabitants this area once supported. We finished of the day with a half hour dip in the ocean on the way back. A magical, unforgettable day.
You should stay here
The best luxury option offers you killer views, lovely accomodation and everything you could ever need in this beautiful spot.
Basic accommodation but lovely setting and great vibe. The main attraction is the proximity to the crystal clear waters and stunning beaches.
A lovely eco-friendly hostel nestled just 1km from Tayrona National Park. Each cottage provides air-conditioning and a balcony with hammock. We wished we could of stayed longer.
You should do this
La Piscina Beach
Make the most of your time at this fantastic beach, with a true tropcial back drop, great snorkelling and swimming.
This is a large picnic and camping site located next to the ocean.
A fascinating ruin and a great journey there. Make sure you get an Enligh speaking guide to give you an insight into the inhabitants that once lived here
Your Country Guide
Born in Bogota, Margarita is a Colombian national and has spent the last 5 years living between London and Bogota