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Tayrona Nat’l Park
Travel Guide


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Tayrona at a glance

Tayrona National Park is one of Colombia’s true natural highlights. This protected park covers an area of land and sea to the tune of almost 200 square kilometers in total. Within the borders of the national park you will encounter wild Caribbean beaches that evoke thoughts of pirates and smugglers, with coral reefs, haunting mangroves, rivers, creeks and lush green vegetation that provides some leafy respite from the soaring temperatures common on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Tayrona park is located just 21 miles (34km) from the regional capital of Santa Marta, and many visitors use this quaint colonial city, one of the oldest Spanish settlements in South America, as a jumping off point from which to explore the park. Tayrona is a geographically and climatically diverse area, and coastal climes mingle with mountain conditions to produce unique microclimates unlike those found anywhere else in the country. The park is also one of Colombia’s most biodiverse areas, and there are reportedly over 300 species of bird, over 100 species of animals and more than 750 plant varieties native to the park. There is also a huge array of reptilian and marine life that make their homes in the coral reefs off the coast of the park, and Tayrona is one of three national parks in Colombia that can claim to have coral reefs among its territory.

Tayrona Bucket List - What not to miss!

    Experiences around Tayrona

    What not to miss

    As well as being home to a large amount of plants, animals, birds and fish, the park also used to house indigenous inhabitants of the area. The national park takes its name from the Tairona Indians, a prominent pre-Columbian civilization whose population in the region once exceeded one million people. This area was of strategic and economic significance to the Tairona, who used it as a major trading center. It is thought that the park was inhabited by the Tairona up until the 16th century, and archaeological remains providing evidence of this have been found within the confines of the park. Visitors to the park can see the ruins of some of these ancient settlements, as they have been excavated and revealed to be appreciated by guests to the park. Visit the Pueblito ruins, a Tairona settlement that can be hiked to in three or four hours.  Alternatively, spend a few days relaxing on the stunning deserted beach of Cabo San Juan del Guia, surrounded by the dense jungle teeming with wildlife.

    Fast Facts on Tayrona

    USEFUL TRAVELER INFORMATION

    This section is a quick overview to help in planning your trip to Tayrona.

    When to go

    The weather in Tayrona National Park is often hot and pleasant. The temperature varies between 77°F (25°C) and 86°F (30°C), depending on the location and elevation, making it ideal to visit all year round. The park sees much larger crowds in the busy months of June, July, August and September, so you may want to avoid these months if you prefer a more relaxed environment. Tayrona experiences two annual rainy season, the first in May and June, and the second from September to November, which can see monsoon conditions that bring heavy rains, so we will tell you what to pack to make sure you are prepared. However, the rain does mean that the park is particularly lush and green around these seasons, perfect for taking in the stunning landscapes that can be seen in this region.

    How to get there

    Visitors to Tayrona National Park often use Santa Marta as a base from which to visit it. Santa Marta is accessed by the Simón Bolívar airport, which receives domestic flights to and from Bogota and Medellin. It is located less than 10 miles (16km) south of Santa Marta, and all regional and domestic flights and transfers will be organised for you as part of your itinerary. To get to the Tayrona National Park, a bus leaves from Santa Marta to the park entrance and takes about one hour. Alternatively, we can arrange a private transfer for you, just speak to one of our travel advisors and they can assist you with this.

    Infrastructure

    The first point you will reach in Tayrona National Park will likely be Castilletes, which is ideal for campers and offers stunning sea views. More luxurious hotels and lodgings can be found in Cañaveral, while those traveling with children might choose to stay in the more family-friendly Arrecifes. Cabo San Juan del Guía is popular with budget travelers, as it benefits from having more affordable accommodation. Expect to pay more for food in Tayrona, but the food choices are varied, with everything from typical Colombian fare to more local dishes such as tropical seafood available. There are some bakeries and small shops dotted around the hiking trails for you to stock up at, but do try and bring a packed lunch with you if you go out for the day to keep you going until the evening.

    Tour Packages to Tayrona

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