How to Prepare for a Day Trip to Tayrona Park in Colombia
Visiting Tayrona Park is one of the most memorable things you can do in Colombia. The national park sits along the Caribbean Sea, giving visitors a chance to revel in the combination of tropical beach and exotic jungle. The park is one of Colombia’s main tourist attractions, but many travelers find it difficult to prepare for a day trip to Tayrona Park in Colombia. Read the following tips before trekking into the jungle and diving into the picturesque blue waters.
How to Get There
Keep in mind Parque Tayrona has several entrances, but Santa Marta is the main city closest to the park. Many people sleep in a hostel in Santa Marta, like The Dreamer, spend a day in Parque Tayrona, then head back to Santa Marta in the evening. It takes about 45 minutes by car or bus to get to Tayrona from Santa Marta. The main entrance, where most people buy their tickets, is still about a 30-minute walk from where the trails begin, so if you are getting dropped off, it’s best to get dropped off in the second parking lot closer to the trails. You can arrange transport through many of the hotels and hostels in Santa Marta, including The Dreamer Hostel in Santa Marta and Palomino.
To return back to Santa Marta, visitors may decide if they want to follow the same trail back out (maybe this time on a horse) or alternatively there are options to leave the main beach, Cabo San Juan, by boat and return to Taganga. From here, an easy taxi back to your hostel will do the trick. The boats leave at 4pm, giving you a chance to enjoy sunset by the water and see the park from a new perspective. This ride can be a bit bumpy, so pack your sea legs!
Don’t Go in February
Tayrona is sacred to the indigenous groups native to this area of Colombia. A handful of these indigenous people still live in the park and take special care of the land. Part of that process involves closing Tayrona normally starting January 28 and reopening on March 1. That means you shouldn’t plan on visiting Parque Tayrona for the whole month of February. If February is the only time you can visit Colombia, there are still plenty of fun things to do in the area such as tubing in Palomino or relaxing on the beaches of Santa Marta.
What to Do in Tayrona Park
Hiking, camping, eating and of course relaxing by the beach are the main things to do in Tayrona Park. There are several beaches inside the park including a nude beach. Most people head to Cabo San Juan del Guia. This is the most iconic spot, with a breathtaking view of the turquoise water, rocks and a tower that sits above the water. Swimming isn’t permitted along all of the shore, but it is at Cabo San Juan. This is also where you will find camping, places to eat and horses ready to take visitors back to the entrance for a fee.
What to Pack
Passport – You need to show identification to enter the park.
Bug Spray – The walk through nature trails to get to the beaches means you’ll probably come in contact with a few mosquitos.
Sunscreen, bathing suits, towel – It is the beach, after all.
Change of clothes – For the people who don’t like to walk around in a wet swimsuit, bring an extra change of clothes to make the trek from the beach back to the entrance at the end of the day more comfortable.
Money – You’ll need money for the entrance, food and drinks. Remember, it’s extremely hot along Colombia’s Caribbean coast, so stay hydrated. Info for entrance prices can be found here.
Parque Tayrona is truly a remarkable experience for anyone who appreciates nature, wants to soak up the sun and hike through the Colombian jungle. Don’t miss your chance to see one of Colombia’s greatest treasures. If you're still not convinced, take a look at our Five Reasons to Visit Tayrona Park here.