How to get from Santa Marta to Tayrona: Our recommendations

Like many other travelers, you have been seduced by the pictures of the Parque Tayrona.

Nestled on the Caribbean Coast, between Santa Marta and Palomino, Tayrona attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists annually.

And the simplest way to get access to the park is to first stop in Santa Marta.

The coast in the Tayrona National Park

Santa Marta is a tourist hub

Santa Marta isn’t a pleasant city – Except for the area around Parque de Los Novios. Or some beaches near Rodadero.

Still, there are excellent hotels & many highlights to visit all around:

  • Palomino
  • Minca
  • Tayrona National Natural Park
  • Taganga
  • The lost city
  • Cartagena
  • Gorgeous beaches

Over the years, more and more tourists have decided to stay in Santa Marta instead of Cartagena.

  • There is a national airport with flights from Bogota and Medellin | 1 hour
  • There are buses from
    • Cartagena: 4-6 hours
    • San Gil: 13 hours
    • Bogota: 18-20 hours
    • Medellin: 16 hours

Best Ways To Travel From Santa Marta To Tayrona

A) Take the public bus from Santa Marta – Tayrona

There are two places where you can take the bus from Santa Marta to Tayrona:

  • At the main bus station – Outside the city
  • At the Mercado Publico (Market) | Calle 11 con Carrera 11

Bus Santa Marta – Tayrona: 1 hour | Price: Around 8 000 COP

B) Take a bus to Taganga, then a boat to Tayrona

The boat Taganga – Tayrona is the fastest way to get to Cabo San Juan in Tayrona.

First, travel to Taganga:

  • Blue Public buses
  • Taxi

Blue Buses To Taganga – On the Carrera 5 | 25 min | Around 2 000 COP

Taxi Santa Marta – Taganga | 20 min | Around 12 000 COP

Once you’re in Taganga, you have to find a boat to Tayrona National Natural Park

  • Ask one of the boat companies on the dock. I recommend “Chez Boaz”.
  • The last boats leave before 9h30
  • The sea is rough from October to March. This boat ride is scary for people who are not used to it
  • Boats leave from Cabo San Juan around 4 pm

Boat Taganga – Tayrona | 1 hour | Around 50 000 COP (1 way)

C) Private transports from Santa Marta

Another easy way to travel to Tayrona from Santa Marta is to contact a private transport

  • Taxi in Santa Marta | Around 80 000 COP | 45 min

👉 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.

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I have been traveling around Colombia and Mexico since 2015 to discover new experiences and help travelers make the right choices.

4 comments

  1. Rahooligan says:

    Hi Tom. Fantastic work on this blog! I would like to ask, is it possible to leave Parque Tayrona (particularly Cabo San Juan) in the morning and reach Santa Marta Airport in time for a 12:30 p.m. flight? What are the options for transportation from Tayrona to Santa Marta airport? Thanks for your input!

    • Tom says:

      Hm, it’s maybe doable, but I won’t recommend it because everything can happen in Colombia ^^.

      – You need to walk 1.5 h to reach the end of the trail + wait for a shuttle to drive you at the Zaino entrance (or walk the last 4kms).
      – You need 1.5 h to get to the airport
      – It’s better if you arrive at least 1h before your flight departure.

      If you want to do it, you should:

      – Leave at 7 am from Cabo San Juan
      – Grab a taxi at the Zaino entrance and rush to the airport.

      Also, I’m not sure you will find a taxi ready to leave at 9-10 am. You will need to book it, just to be sure.

      Good luck 🙂

  2. Annemiek says:

    Hi! Thanks for the lovely tips. I am gonna try to do the boat from Tangana to Cabo. Do you know if I have to book ahead? Or I can just go to the dock in the morning and then find a boat to take me to Cabo.
    And how do you pay for the entrance of the park? Because then (by boat) youre not passing one of the entrances.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Tom says:

      Sorry for the late reply!!

      I think you will pay the park fees when you set foot in Cabo San Juan. It might be hard to book ahead as the boat companies aren’t big and don’t have an internet websites

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