Cabo San Juan is the most famous beach inside the Tayrona national park.
It means tens of thousands of tourists dream of visiting it yearly.
As you know, a crowded beach is never pleasant.
So, what can you do to enjoy Cabo San Juan?
You have to be smart.
👉 Want to know everything about Santa Marta? Learn where are the best places, and avoid tourist traps and beginner’s mistakes? Nothing could be easier. I put it all together in our guide to Santa Marta.
Option 1: enter early by the Zaino Entrance
The main entrance – Zaino – in Parque Tayrona opens at 7 am.
Thus, you avoid most of the tourists, and you will buy your tickets faster.
To enter, you have to:
- Watch an induction video
- Present your passport and pay
- Empty your bag. No alcohol or plastic bags are allowed
Once inside, you still have to walk 2h along the coast before reaching Cabo San Juan in Tayrona.
Most tourists should be behind you when you arrive – Except the ones sleeping in Cabo San Juan.
Moreover, the boats from Taganga don’t show up before 10h30 am.
More than 3000 travelers have already used our Colombia travel guide
I’ve been exploring Colombia since 2015 and put all my knowledge into one Ebook. It’s free and accessible now. 👇
Option 2: leave early from Playa Brava
Playa Brava is another gorgeous Parque Tayrona beach accessible from the Calabazo entrance. It’s my favorite Tayrona’s entrance.
There, different accommodations are available for beachgoers.
The sun rises around 6 am. If you leave at 7 am, you should arrive at 9 am in Cabo San Juan.
Although this itinerary is doable in 2 days, I recommend you do it 3 days: 1 night in Playa Brava and 1 night in Cabo San Juan/Arrecife.
Where to stay: Cabo San Juan in Tayrona
The best way to appreciate Cabo San Juan in Tayrona is to sleep there.
The camp is quite vast, and there are numerous accommodations. Moreover, there is a restaurant, a little shop, toilets and showers.
- Tent 1 pers: 40 000 COP
- Tent 2 pers: 80 000 COP
- If you bring your own tent: 20 000 COP / Pers
- Private cabin: 200 000 COP / 2 pers | Only 2 cabins
- Hammock near the camping zone: 40 000 COP
- Hammock on the watchtower: 50 000 COP
The hammocks on the watchtower and the private cabins are popular and you should book them in advance.
I’m not a big fan of their tents. Many of them were soaked because of the rain.
Hammocks are rented with a mosquito net.
A. Booking in advance (+)
The easiest way is to book a hotel near the park and arrive at 8 am at the Zaino Entrance.
Then, book your hammock at the desk office.
In case you decide to enter by Calabazo, it won’t be possible to book it in advance. Therefore, you should leave early from Playa Brava and run at the Cabo San Juan’s reception.
B. Is it worth it? (+)
I’ve got mixed feelings. I don’t know if it’s worth the extra 10 000 COP.
The view is astonishing but it’s freezing up there because of the wind.
Don’t forget your blanket.
C. What should you pack? (+)
You don’t have to worry about water and food during your adventure inside Tayrona Park.
In Cabo San Juan, the restaurant serves many different meals (15 – 30 000 COP) and there is a shop where you can buy water.
However, the climate is very humid. Drink a lot.
- 2 L of water
- Blanket – There is a breeze at night
- Cash – There is no ATM
- Lock – There are lockers you can use for free
- Rain jacket
- Toilet paper
Avoid the high season in Cabo San Juan
Cabo San Juan in Tayrona is extremely famous and Colombians love the Caribbean Coast.
Therefore, avoid going to Tayrona during weekends, public holidays – There are seventeen of them! – and the holy week.
Cabo San Juan is a victim of its own success. The beach is gorgeous, but the experience isn’t the same anymore.
Fortunately, there are other beaches less frequented.
Yes, Cabo San Juan is still worth it. But I recommend you add other stops while visiting the National Park.
Start from Calabazo and spend the night alone on Playa Brava. The following day, wake up early and walk toward Cabo San Juan. Once you’re there, book your hammock before enjoying the beach.
So, would you like to add Cabo San Juan to your Colombia itinerary?
The 8 best experiences you shouldn’t miss
The best tours from Leticia (Colombian Amazon)
The best La Guajira Tours (biggest Colombian desert)
Visit Caño Cristales (the most beautiful river worldwide)
Explore San José del Guaviare (an off-the-beaten-path destination)
1 or 2-day rafting trips around Medellín
Breathtaking treks in Los Nevados National Park
Thanks for all the useful info. I’m planning on spending three days in Tayrona in July. I will arrive through the Calabazo entrance, taking a shuttle or taxi from Santa Marta. I booked a bungalow in Playa Brava for the first night and will hike in there the first day. I’m fit and an experienced hiker, but I have a terrible sense of direction. (Always go on guided hikes!) How good is the signage? In July, is it likely I will encounter other hikers walking the same trail from Calabazo entrance to Playa Brava in case I get lost?
The signage isn’t great but fortunately, there are not many paths so it’s hard to get lost :). Just turn left before arriving At El Pueblito. There are not many hikers going by the Calabazo entrance, but you can arrive early and wait a bit at the Calabazo entrance, then you follow them ^^. Or you can contact the guys in Playa Brava, they may have photos of the intersection 🙂