Visiting Tayrona national park? You should know this!

Tayrona national park is the most visited national park in Colombia and that is not crazy at all. In this park, the jungle of Sierra Nevada and the Caribbean coast come together, making it an unforgettable experience. You can alternate beautiful hikes with breathtakingly beautiful beaches where you can relax. The park is very large so you need some preparation to give yourself a unique experience. In this article, you can read which Tayrona national park hikes there are, the Tayrona national park map, what to bring, and where to stay.

Note: before you leave, check whether the park is open. The park is closed several times a year to restore the ecosystem.

Tayrona National Park beach

How do you get to the Tayrona national park?

There are several options to visit the Tayrona national park from a location. You can visit the park from Santa Marta/Taganga, Palomino or take accommodation near the park. We recommend staying close to the park. This saves travel time plus there are nice accommodations close to the park. We visited the park ourselves from Palomino because we liked Palomino very much and after a lot of packing and unpacking during the trip, we took the travel time for granted. However, it is still recommended to stay closer to the park.

Tip: the entrance fee is 54,500 pesos ($16) per person. You can only pay in cash and since there is no ATM nearby, you need to bring enough cash. They also ask for your passport number, don’t forget this.

Tayrona National Park sunset

How many days to stay in Tayrona national park?

How many days you have to stay depends on your own wishes. It is possible, when you have a tight timetable, to visit Tayrona national park in one day. If your schedule allows it you can also extend this with an overnight stay. The advantage of this is that you have more time to discover the park and there are fewer people in the park outside the opening hours of the park. This means that you are alone in this large nature park with a small group, which was a very nice experience.

Tayrona National Park view

What is the best Tayrona National park hike?

The park offers roughly two routes. The most popular Tayrona national park hike is to start from the main entrance (El Zaíno) and walk to Cabo San Juan and back to the entrance where you started. It is wise to take a bus from the main entrance of El Zaíno to the start of the Tayrona national park hike (parking on the east side of the park). The costs for this are approximately $3 per person and this saves you a walk of 1,5 hours.

The less popular route is from the main entrance (Zaíno) to the small entrance (Calabozo). You can start this walk from both entrances. This route takes about 8 to 10 hours of walking in the jungle. The advantage of this Tayrona national park hike is that you hardly meet anyone, but this walk is not easy. If you choose this, it is recommended to combine this with an overnight stay.

Tip: if you stay in the park for 1 day, you must be back at the parking lot at 18:00. The last buses to El Zaino leave at that time. If you miss this bus you have to walk in the dark back to the entrance, you don’t want to do this after a whole day walking!

Tayrona National Park map
Tayrona National park map

What should you bring with you?

Try to take only the essentials items with you. Given the temperature and distance, you have to travel. You can leave your other belongings at the accommodation. It is important to bring the following items with you. We only link to products that we use ourselves.

Hiking shoesPassportInsect repellent
Water: 2 liter per personSlippersCamera
Sun protectionTowelCash for food or drinks
Swim clothesToilet paperSnacks
If you stay overnight in the park you also need lights, toiletries, underwear, long chunk and a vest.

Best places to sleep in Tayrona national park?

There are different accommodations with different options. If you choose to stay overnight, we recommend staying at Piscina or Arrefices. We do not recommend San Juan, because it is very busy and you have to rush during the entire trip to get a spot (you can’t make a reservation). If you do this, the visit to the park loses all its charm because of all the rush. Piscina and Arrefices are nice and quiet places where you can spend the night. Some accommodations can be reserved at the entrance of the park, check this upon your arrival. If you can choose between a tent or a hammock, it is better to take a hammock, because this is fresher because of the outside air in contrast to a dirty tent which is not cleaned. Bring a pillow and a vest plus protection for the mosquitoes.

Best Tayrona national park hotels?

It is also possible to stay just outside the park. The advantage is that you have the luxury of the accommodation where you sleep and yet you are quickly in the park. The disadvantage is that you are not in the park when all regular visitors are gone and you can enjoy all the peace with a select group. We recommend staying at Viajero hostel Yayrona & Ecohabs or Playa Los Angeles. Both accommodations are close to the park and score very well. Do you want to stay in such a special place? Don’t wait too long, because these accommodations are quickly fully booked.

Viajero Hostel Tayrona & Ecohabs

tayrona v6

with a 9.0, Viajero Hostel Tayrona & Ecohabs scores very well. Many guests have visited this and are very positive. It is located directly on the beach. With a beautiful garden, beautiful houses, and beautiful surroundings, you have the feeling that you are a Parisian.

Price per night from:
$ 12 dorm | $ 79 double room

Playa Los Angeles

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Playa Los Angeles is a beautiful accommodation where you can sleep right on the beach in one of the cute tent huts. With your own hammock, you can enjoy the surroundings to the fullest. Sleeping here is great because you fall asleep with the sounds of the sea in the background. Do you want to stay in such a special place? Do not wait too long, because this property is fully booked quickly.

Price per night from:
$ 42 double room

Next destination

After you have visited Tayrona National Park you can travel to Palomino, Minca, Santa Marta or even Cartagena. When you follow our Colombia itinerary your next destination is Minca, open this travel guide of Minca to know more!

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Visiting Tayrona national park? You should know this!Visiting Tayrona national park? You should know this!Visiting Tayrona national park? You should know this!

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