The second solution is to make a deposit of at least 50% on a Colombian account.
I’ve never tried it.
Whatsapp contact: +57 310 49 78 272 | website
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 the hammock on the watchtower in Cabo San Juan 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 for Cabo San Juan in Tayrona? (+)
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
Avoid the high season in Parque Tayrona
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 in Tayrona in a few words
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 to add other stops while you’re visiting the National Park.
Start from Calabazo and spend the night – almost alone – on Playa Brava. The following day, wake up early and walk in the direction of Cabo San Juan. Once you’re there, book your hammock before enjoying the beach.
You’re traveling on the Coast for your Caribbean Holidays, and you wish to go camping in Tayrona Park. You still don’t know yet if you have to sleep in Santa Marta or near the entrance of the park and more importantly, how you shouldorganize your expedition in Tayrona National park.
Since I’m a kid, I camped many times with my family and friends – And I love the Crazy Uno games at night.
Let’s find out where you can stay in Tayrona National Park
For the next camps, you have to pay the regular Tayrona ticket (around 50 000 COP if you’re a foreigner)
B] Camping Los Castilletes – Tayrona
At the end of the dirty road – Where the shuttle drops you -, there is the camping the Castillete on your right. It’s a massive Finca where you can set up your tent and use the facilities.
Unfortunately, the currents are dangerous by there. It’s forbidden to swim. I don’t recommend you to book this accommodation in Tayrona park because it’s near the “2nd entrance”.
How to get to Los Castilletes (+)
You can take the shuttle at the park entrance (Zaino) – 3000 COP – or walk the 4 km. Then it will be on your right.
Price Camping Los Castilletes (+)
15 000 COP per pers. with your tent
Between 15 – 20 000 COP per pers if you’re renting a tent
C] Camping Carñaveral – Tayrona
The camping in Carñaveral is “far” from the beach, but it could be a good option if you’re trekking for 3 days in Tayrona Park. There is a lovely walk called the 9 Piedras hike, unknown among the tourists as this part is less visited.
Still, you can’t swim (Too dangerous).
How to get to Carñaveral (+)
Walk 10 min after the 2nd entrance – where the shuttle dropped you – in the direction of Arrecife
In Arrecife, there are two camps, Don Pedro and Yuluka. The good point is there are no many tourists. It’s a little too far for the lazy wanderers, and you still have to walk 50 min to get to the highlight of Tayrona.
20 min away from Arrecife, there is a great beach called la Piscina where you can finally swim!
Also, I’ve heard you can make a bonfire and cook in Don Pedro.
How to get to Arrecife (+)
Walk 50 min after the 2nd entrance (where the shuttle dropped you)
Prices camping in Arrecife (+)
Don Pedro: Around 12 000 COP per pers. but you have to bring your tent
Cabo San Juan is the FAMOUS beach in Tayrona park. Tourists are coming here by boat, horse or paragliding.
Because of it, the place can be crowded, especially on weekends, and travelers who are looking for peace and quietness could not appreciate it. However, the scenery is still extraordinary, and giant boulders protect the sea from the dangerous currents. You can swim!
I slept in a tent one night, and I got wet… So bring your tent if you wish to go camping in Tayrona Cabo San Juan 😉
How to get to Cabo San Juan (2 options) (+)
Walk from the 2nd entrance (where the shuttle dropped you): 2 hours
Or Boat from Taganga: 50 000 COP/ 1 h
Price camping in Cabo San Juan (2018) (+)
35 000 COP per pers. with your tent
40 000 COP per pers. if you’re renting a tent
F] Camping Playa Brava
Playa Brava is a secret beach, hidden from the ignorant. Between lush vegetation, raw landscapes and simple infrastructures, it’s the ideal place if you’re looking for authenticity – Without 10 tourists around taking a duck face selfie in bath suit.
Tourists are not going there as you have to hike a little mountain before going down to the beach. Also, you should stay 2 nights in Tayrona if you plan to get to Playa Brava.
How to get to Playa Brava (+)
Start from the secondary entrance – El Calabazo – and hike for 3 hours.
The Tayrona national park is a protected area. There are rules to follow, and you can’t do whatever you want to go camping in Tayrona.
First, wilderness camping is prohibited. You have to camp in one of the 6 sites cited below. It’s also forbidden to make fire.
The treatment of the trash can be a real problem when a park is visited a lot. Please bring back your garbages to the main entrance to help the maintenance of Tayrona.
Also, your bag will be checked at the main entrance. Alcohol and drugs are prohibited too. Moreover, to preserve Tayrona’s wildlife, pets are not allowed inside.
As it’s a humid zone, you will probably sweat a lot. I know some tourists have problems dealing with this climate. You can easily buy food and water bottles in the camps. It means you don’t have to carry a heavy bag. And please, let your backpack – a day bag is sufficient – in your previous hotel near Tayrona.
If camping in Tayrona is not your thing, there are hammocks available for the same price or even cheaper.
To avoid the heat and a long queue with tourists in flip-flops, there is only one solution: leave early.
To do this, make your life easier and choose a hotel that is not too far from Tayrona Park.
Besides, resting on the beach with your back leaning against a palm tree is much nicer than sweating in the streets of Santa Marta.
There is a very nice offer of hotels and hostels close to the entrance of Tayrona Park. Which ones are really worth it? Where should you spend your Colombian pesos?
We tell you everything in this article.
Hotels near Tayrona: what you must know
Where is Tayrona: it is a national park located between Santa Marta and Palomino.
How to enter the park: There are two entrances to Tayrona – El Zaino and Calabazo.
Park opening hours: 8 a.m. for El Zaino and 6 a.m. for Calabazo.
Closure periods (2020): the park is closed from 01/02 to 28/02, from 01/06 to 15/06 and from 19/10 to 02/11.
How to get to the park entrance: the hotel can arrange a taxi for you. If not, you just have to stop a bus on the side of the road (there is only one). There are also many motorcycle taxis.
How to get to your hotel: take the bus that leaves for Tayrona from the Mercado Municipal in Santa Marta. Tell the driver the name of your hotel so that he thinks about pulling over (and double-check your GPS). You can also take a taxi (1 hour) for about 120,000 COP.anta Marta.
What are the areas where to book your hotel: near the entrance El Zaino, Playa los Naranjos (5 min), Costeño beach (20 min), Buritaca (25 min). Each area has a different atmosphere!
The outer gate doesn’t look like much, but everything changes once you’re inside. The mix of lush plants, stone steps, and individual huts built of bamboo and palm leaves is entirely successful. You will fall in love with the large bathtubs available in some of the rooms! The jungle atmosphere and the sound of the waterfall make you quickly forget the outside world. There is a restaurant with good food and prices, and you won’t find a better place to dine in the surrounding area.
Beautiful facilities built down the road so that you can barely hear the noise of cars. A stone staircase crisscrosses the property to bring guests to simple but comfortable rooms, brightened by large windows. The view from the pool over the immensity of the Sierra Nevada is captivating. This is also the case from the restaurant. Take the opportunity to order one of their delicious dishes.
You can’t expect to party there or go out looking for a little restaurant. Also, don’t plan on using the internet to watch Netflix on your phone.
Each hotel offers a quality restaurant and bar service.
These hotels are 5 minutes from Tayrona.
$$$ – Eco Hab los Naranjos – In a little committee
With only 8 bungalows for 2 people, Eco Hab Los Naranjos is the ideal hotel to come and relax in a quiet and pleasant place. A wooden deck makes it possible to walk barefoot and to move easily to the swimming pool and the restaurant (which serves delicious small dishes). The entrance to Tayrona Park is a 5 min drive away, and there is only a 10 min walk to a semi-private beach.
Eco-lodge built at the junction of the Rio Piedra River with the Caribbean Sea. There is a magnificent view of Tayrona Park and direct access to the beach. The buildings blend into the scenery, and it is delightful to move from one location to another. Take advantage of the many hammocks and deckchairs at the edge of the pool to take a nap, lulled by the sound of the waves. Meals are served on large tables so that you can socialize with other travelers.
Casa Tayrona is a boutique hotel by excellence. It is difficult to find a more magical place in Colombia. There are only 5 rooms, two of which have a 180-degree view overlooking the sea. A magnificent sight that you can also admire from the deck and the large L-shaped swimming pool. And, if you get tired of the freshwater, you just have to go down the stairs to get to the beach and pretend to be a dolphin in the waves. Don’t forget to take a look at the restaurant’s menu. The dishes are to die for.
If the hotels in Playa Naranjos exceed your budget or you want to exchange with other travelers, the accommodations on Costeño beach should appeal to you.
It’s more of a backpackers’ and young adventurers’ corner. You have to take a motorcycle taxi from the roadside to get there. It is therefore much more convenient to travel with a backpack rather than a suitcase on wheels.
Don’t expect 4-star hotels with personalized customer service. On the other hand, if you like coconut flavors, cocktails, music, and beachfront cabins, then you should find what you need.
Costeño Beach is one of the first hostels in the area (and probably the best known). The establishment was built in the middle of the coconut trees and extends over a large part of the beach. There are many facilities for you to occupy yourself between your excursions to Palomino or Tayrona. Organize a beach volleyball tournament, improve your balance on the slackline or refresh yourself in a beautiful swimming pool surrounded by tall trees. It’s also the perfect spot to learn to surf. You can rent a lot of boards, and there are group lessons!
Located about 100 meters from the Costeño beach hostel, Blue mango is a hotel for those who travel as a couple and want to enjoy a pleasant setting on a reasonable budget, without being surrounded by a horde of party backpackers. The wooden cabins are painted in different colors, and the swimming pool faces the sea. Meals are served on small tables scattered in the shade of the trees. Please note that not all rooms have private showers.
Buritaca is a small fishing village. Some very pleasant establishments lead to the beach that surrounds the village. There is something for every budget.
In the end, it looks like a mix between Playa Naranjos and Costeño beach. The beach is more easily accessible than Playa Naranjos but there are not as many backpackers as in Costeño Beach. Hotels are of better quality (for higher prices).
Be careful, the currents are quite strong in the ocean. Don’t go too far away.
Each establishment offers a restaurant and bar service.
These hotels are 25 minutes from Tayrona Park.
$$ – Rio Hostel – River and parties
Rio Hostel is a meeting place for travelers who are willing to sacrifice a lot of comforts to live in the woods, with plastic buoys to float on the river and party. The beach is a 30-minute walk away, but you won’t feel the need to go there. Every Saturday, Hostel El Rio organizes unforgettable parties. And on the other days of the week, travelers can rest, enjoy the tranquility of nature and take part in some activities like yoga, rubbing, and kayaking. Get there before 6 pm otherwise you will have problems finding a motorcycle taxi. It’s not easy to drive on a dirt road when it’s dark.
Hostel Viajero has all the necessary facilities to make your stay pleasant. Many travelers can be there at the same time since there are 4 dormitories. So don’t expect fast and personal customer service. But, if you don’t mind waiting with your feet in the pool or in the sand, then it shouldn’t be a problem. The private cabins are huge and secluded so guests can enjoy their privacy. During the day, you can rent a surfboard or get a massage before you wiggle your hips on the dance floor at sunset.
Come to Hotel La Mar de Bien if you want to be pampered by the attentive staff and if you like to eat delicious dishes. This establishment with only 6 rooms is away from other hotels and travelers can enjoy a beautiful beachfront property with a swimming pool, sun loungers, and coconut trees. Customer attention is excellent and Sergio, the owner, will be able to give you lots of tips on how to visit the area. This is the ideal place to rest after an adventure to la Ciudad Perdida or Tayrona.
Because there is almost 0 good information about Tayrona National Park, 70% of travelers make the same mistakes when visiting it. I’m here to help you to plan the perfect itinerary for exploring Parque Tayrona. Let’s do it!
Tayrona National Park, Colombia: What you must know
It’s a vast national park with 150 square kilometers of land.
There is no hotel after Carñaveral in the Tayrona National Natural Park.
There are two entrances, and you need to walk at least 1h30 to get to the most beautiful beach (Or take a boat from Taganga).
Edit May 2018: You can book your hammock for Cabo San Juan at the Zaino entrance.
There are monkeys, birds, pumas, jaguars, caimans, etc. But you will probably observe monkeys and birds only.
It’s a touristy place with many Colombians over the weekend and the public holidays.
You can do many hikes, and it’s not hard to avoid the horde of lazy tourists.
It’s sweaty, humid and the path can be muddy. It’s not a complicated hike, but some people can have little problems to cope with the heat, humidity and the mosquitos. Welcome to the jungle.
It’s a little pricey compared to other places in Colombia but still worth it – If you stay at least 1 night.
In my opinion, it’s not worth to visit the Parque Tayrona if you don’t stay overnight.
The History Behind Tayrona, Colombia
It's a sacred land for the indigenous (+)
Tairona is the name of the people who were living in Colombia hundreds of years before the colonization by the Spaniards. Some of them escaped the genocide by going more deeply in the Sierra Nevada. Nowadays, the Kogi, Wiwa, Arthuacos, and Karkuamo people are their direct descendants.
The most important ruins you can visit is a city named Ciudad Perdida (A five-day trek in the Sierra Nevada).
They believe in Nature (the great mother, Pachamama). They consider the globalization of our world – and our way of living – is destroying the planet.
It’s the reason why the National park closes one month every year, to let Tayrona lives and breaths as before, among its worshippers.
So avoid visiting the park inMay, September, October, and November. But, if you’re there during this period, no worries. You will still enjoy it – I did it in May, and we had loads of fun.
Also, I recommend you to AVOID the weekends, Easter holidays, Christmas holidays and Public holidays – Except if your secret dream is to swim among hundreds of Colombians.
The Zaino entrance opens at 8am, and the Calabazo entrance opens at 6 am.
The previous years,the Tayrona National Park was closing on February. It’s different this year 2020. The new closing dates are: 01 February to 15 February; 01 June to 15 June; 19 October to 02 November
How to get to Tayrona National Natural Park, Colombia
Bus Palomino to Tayrona (+)
It’s easy. Stop a bus Palomino – Tayrona on the main road, in the direction of Santa Marta.
Bus Palomino – Tayrona: 1 hour Price: 7 000 COP
Bus Santa Marta to Tayrona (+)
You have to take the bus Santa Marta – Tayrona from Calle 11 con Carerra 11. If you are lost, ask a local the direction of the Mercado Principal (Market).
It’s easy to walk there. Otherwise, take a cab for 5 – 7000 COP.
Bus Santa Marta – Tayrona: 1 hour Price: 8000 COP
The boat Taganga - Tayrona (+)
The boat leaves early from the beach and when they are full (Nothing after 9h30 am) – From what I heard. Look for other backpackers. They drop you directly to the most famous beach in Cabo San Juan. Boats return to Taganga at 4 pm.
Boat Taganga – Tayrona: Around 1h00 Price: 50 000 COP – one way
From December to the end of March, the sea can be extremely rough and it can be terrifying (and dangerous) to travel by boat to Tayrona. Check the waves before taking your decision.
From Cartagena to Tayrona (+)
There are 2 options to get to Tayrona from Cartagena.
1rst option:You can decide to stop in Santa Marta first (buses are more frequent):
Bus Cartagena – Santa Marta: 5-6 hours | 22 000 COP
Bus Santa Marta – Tayrona in the direction of Rioacha: 1 hour | Around 10 000 COP
Or you can grab a bus in the direction of Palomino and stop at the Zaino Entrance – Don’t forget to ask the driver first.
In this case, you should:
Leave early from Cartagena
Bus Cartagena – Tayrona: 6-7 hours | Around 30 000 COP
Use the 2nd option if you’re in a hurry:
Marsolis a private shuttle company. They will pick you up at your hostel in Cartagena to drop you at your accommodation near Tayrona.
Private Shuttle Cartagena – Tayrona National Natural Park: 5 – 6 hours | Around 75 000 COP
What to Pack For Tayrona National Park, Colombia
The Tayrona National Park is easy to explore and you won’t need many things in your day bag. You can let your ice pick and bow at home.
Essential stuff for Tayrona National Park (+)
Your passport – You have to show it at the entrance. A photocopy is enough.
Yellow fever certificate vaccination – The vaccine is usually not mandatory. However, I recommend being vaccinated for the Yellow Fever before going to Colombia.
2 L of water – You gonna sweat a lot.
Swimming shorts and towels.
Trainers – Don’t hike with Flip Flop!
Repellent – Against mosquitos and sand flies.
Avoid plastic bags
A trash bag to bring back your garbage.
A blanket – Nights can be coldish.
A Jumper and socks – To survive to the sandflies.
Enough Cash! – No ATM.
Also, you can’t enter Parque Tayrona with alcohol bottles.
Is Parque Tayrona Safe?
Firstly, nobody gonna tries to kill you. Jaguars and Puma are very rare, go out at night, and they don’t attack humans.
However, there are still some safety points you should be aware of.
Our recommendations about Tayrona (+)
You can’t swim everywhere. There are some signs where it’s forbidden because of strong currents. Be careful.
Drink water. The weather is humid, and you gonna sweat.
Cabo San Juan is the most famous beach. More people = More chance to have your stuff stolen. Don’t let your valuables unattended
Bring a lock and use the lockers
I don’t take Malaria pills. The risk is low in Colombia and the secondary effects of the pills are annoying
Do your Yellow Fever injection before coming to Colombia – Just in case
The installations are very basics and hammocks are extremely close to each other. But, it’s a lot cheaper and less crowded than in Cabo San Juan. There is also a shop where you can buy food and beverages.
You don’t like hammocks? Book your room in the Ecohab located on the beach.
It’s expensive and the price doesn’t include the entrance ticket. But it looks gorgeous and you can sleep up to 5 pers in each cabin.
Prices accommodations in Arrecife:
Hammock: 15 000 COP
Cabin: 780 000 COP
#4 Where to stay in Cañaveral
There is one reason why you would like to sleep near the Zaino entrance.
Frequent Questions About Tayrona National Natural Park, Colombia
Read the answers to the common questions about Tayrona (+)
Should I book a Tayrona National Park tour? There is no interest to book a Tayrona National Park tour. The hikes are easy, and the trails are well indicated.
If you want to make it easier, you can book a boat from Taganga or ride a horse from the Zaino Entrance.
Any idea of how safe/secure the hammock option is? There are few lockers in Cabo San Juan. Otherwise, you should always keep your valuables with you in a small bag or give them to someone.
Were there cooking facilities at Cabo San Juan? No. There are some in Arrecife (bonfire).
If we have a rental car can we drive into the park all the way to the campsite? No. You will have to stop at Carñaveral.
Can we reserve/book in advance? Yes, there is a counter at the Zaino entrance where you can book your hammock in Cabo San Juan before entering in Tayrona National park.
Do hammocks in the Cabo San Juan campsite have mosquito nets? Yes. But, take some repellent and wear long sleeves at night.
Do I need mosquito repellent? YES
Do I have to take Malaria pills? In my opinion, no. But I recommend being vaccinated against the Yellow Fever.
Is it possible to visit Tayrona National Park in one day only? Yes, if you start very early. But it will be a long day, and you will not appreciate the park.
Is it difficult to hike in Tayrona National Park? Not really. The climate can make it exhausting because it’s hot and humid. You should take your runners and some water. You will cool down in the ocean!
How to avoid tourists? Use the Calabazo entrance and don’t go to Tayrona National park during the weekend and Colombian holidays
Do I need my yellow fever proof? It can be asked at the entrance
Can I bring alcohol? No, they will check your bag at the entrance
Can I let my big backpack at the entrance?
Yes, at the Zaino entrance
My 2 cents about Tayrona Natural National Park
In my opinion, Tayrona National Natural Park is ahighlight on the Caribbean coastif you’re doing it well. There are interesting wildlife, beautiful nature and gorgeous beaches.
You should avoid weekends and Public holidays. The crowded part will always be Cabo San Juan, but you just have to walk 15 min more to find a quiet spot.
The entrance fee is expensive – compared to other prices in Colombia – but you can stay as long as you want. This is why I recommend you to stay for more than 1 day. It’s a perfect place to hike for 2 or 3 days. It’s an easy trail, you can buy food and water, and there are many accommodations. Be ready to sleep in a hammock.
Also, your experience will be better if you start hiking from Calabazo entrance. Yes, it’s steeper and longer, but there is a high chance that you will be alone on the trail. I think it’s a no-brainer decision.