[NEW TRAVEL GUIDE] Best Secrets In Tayrona National Park In Colombia

[NEW TRAVEL GUIDE] Best Secrets In Tayrona National Park In Colombia

I Bet Your Friends Will Love It!

The Tayrona National Park in Colombia is one of the most well-known places on the Caribbean Coast.

A vast green universe which meets an invincible ocean. There are many animals like howler monkeys, parrots, pumas (rare) you can observe.

And, it’s one of the 40 reasons why I love Colombia.

It’s such a big attraction that I don’t understand why there is so little information about it. It’s crazy that Many travelers don’t know how to explore the National Park of Tayrona.




10 Things You Should Take Into Consideration Before Coming To Tayrona National Park in Colombia



  1. A one-day trip is not enough, don’t do it
  2. You need your passport to enter
  3. Cabo San Juan is a fantastic beach, but it’s crowded
  4. Calabazo entrance is a better option
  5. Pueblito ruins are not “whaouou” at all
  6. Don’t go on a weekend or a public holiday.
  7. Go to Playa Brava if you want to be alone
  8. Don’t forget your repellent
  9. No, you can’t book in advance – Except in Playa Brava
  10. Don’t be stupid, let your big backpack in the storage of your previous hostel


Panoramic view cabo San Juan in Tayrona park, Colombia
Panoramic view Cabo San Juan in Tayrona national park, Colombia




 Table of Contents



  1. A little story
  2. Tayrona national park in few words
  3. The history of the Tayrona national park
  4. Accommodations around the Tayrona national park
  5. When to go
  6. How to get to Tayrona National Park
  7. What should you pack
  8. Safety advice
  9. Getting inside the Tayrona Colombia National Park
  10. The distances between the beaches
  11. How and Where are the beaches
  12. Accommodations in Tayrona National Park
  13. Other activities in the park
  14. The most accurate map of the Tayrona National Park
  15. Example of itineraries
  16. Where to go after Tayrona National Park in Colombia
  17. FAQ
  18. Conclusion



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I) A Little Story To Put You In Situation




You’re looking through the windows of a city bus. There is an intense green all around, and the only path is a straight road. Some drops splash on the glasses, it’s bad timing with the weather. But what the hell, it will probably pass if you kill a rabbit and two ants as an offering – why are you only chocked by the murder of this poor rabbit? Suddenly the bus stops and the driver nods at you. It seems you’ve arrived at Calabazo.

On the side of the road with no rain jacket, – Who would take a rain jacket on the Carribean Coast? – You are already lost. There is no sign. A fruit lady is behind you, brief eye contact, action.

Click HERE to read the story
– Disculpa. Donde estas la entrada del Parque Tayrona?
– Alli, corazon.

Indeed, there is a path behind an old house. 5 min later, you see a guard, a little chair – like the old ones in the kitchen – and a tiny table. There is no checked bags, videos or even tourists – they are too lazy, probably fat and have opted for the main entrance (easiest option).

1 hour later, you meet a cute old couple selling hot coffee. You jump on it. As you’re drinking your beverage, you take time to look around – We always forget to look up when we’re hiking. Your legs are a little heavy, you didn’t do much on the coast, except drinking cocktails on Isla Mucura or eating succulents foods in Minca. It’s not a hard walk, but with your day bag and the humidity in the air, it’s not simple either.

The path is becoming easier. You can focus on the many noises above your head. The huge green branches let you get some glimpses of the inhabitants of Taryona Colombia: A bluish-green lizard, unknown birds, a howler monkey trying to seduce a woman – If we could understand them, we could probably catch some lyrics as: “Despacito, el taxi or mi Corazon.”

Nobody told you about Playa Brava, so you turn right and cross Pueblito. The surrounding is cool, but you can’t call that “Ruins.” However, it’s a great spot to have lunch. 1h30 later, you start hearing the ocean. It’s calling you. At the arrival, a vast beach is waiting for you. Almost nobody is there. Tourists love to be squished like sardines – French expression – on the sand. You take off your clothes and jump in the cold water. The currents are strong. You decide to don’t play the game “Oh! Can I reach this big rock in the sea?”

20 min far away, there is Cabo San Juan. Massive boulders keep the two beaches safe from the dangerous currents. People are walking back to the exit. A small cabana with hammocks overlooks this astounding scenery. It’s the VIP area. It’s important to arrive early if your only wish is to sleep there. You grab a hammock in the “Poor area” and go to the beach to watch the sunset: Pink, Purple, Dark blue. Many colors are dancing together to give a unique painting worthy of Felix Vallotton.


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Sunset in Grasse - Felix Valloton
Sunset in Grasse – Felix Vallotton




II) Tayrona National Park in a few words




  • It’s a vast national park with 150 square kilometers of land.
  • There is no hotel after Carñaveral in Tayrona National Park
  • There are two entrances, and you need to walk minimum 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 entrance
  • There are monkeys, birds, pumas, jaguars, caimans, etc… But don’t get too much expectation, it’s hard to observe the 3 last ones.
  • 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 – At the condition, you accept to walk.
  • It’s sweaty, humid and the path can be muddy. It’s not a complicated trip, 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 longer.


In my opinion, it’s not worth to do it in one day only.

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La Piscina




III) The History Behind El Parque National Tayrona




Tairona is the name of the people who were living in Colombia hundreds of years before the colonization by the Spaniards. Some of them could escape the genocide by going more deeply in the Sierra Nevada. Nowadays, the Kogi, Wiva, 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), and you can have a glimpse of it by going to El Pueblito.

Kogi and the others (as the Tairona before them) believe in Nature (the great mother, Pachamama). They consider the globalization of our world – and our way of living – is destroying the planet. They have right, no? It’s the reason why the National park closes one month every year, to let Tayrona lives and breaths as before, among its worshippers.

The city paper Bogota explains perfectly the gains from keeping the park closed for a month.


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IV) Where to stay before entering inside Tayrona National Park




It’s not convenient to hike in the Tayrona National Park with your huge Backpack. And it’s not nice to load it on a poor horse neither. You should assume your shits ;). To avoid dying under the weight of your bag, you should let it in your hostel.


In my opinion, it’s better to choose your accommodation near the national Tayrona park.



A] Where to stay in Santa Marta



If you plan to go back to Santa Marta after – Osh god, I don’t like this city – you can decide to sleep in the following hostels



1 – The dreamer hostel



It’s a small paradise outside of Santa Marta (Perfect if you don’t want to deal with the city). Great food, swimming pool, bar! In short, you don’t want to go out.

The Dreamer - Santa Marta



2 – Masaya hostel



Masaya is an upscale hostel with a fair price and a friendly staff. It’s in the center of Santa Marta. Tasty food and amazing swimming pool. It’s perfect to relax after a trek in La Sierra Nevada.


Masaya hostel Santa Marta



B] Hostels and Hotel Near the Tayrona National Park entrance



It can be a smart decision to book a place near the entrance. Thus, you can arrive early, avoid the other tourists and spend more time in the park.



1 – Eco Hostal Yuluka



This place will be a paradise, especially after your expedition to Tayrona National Park. Awesome restaurant, swimming pool, fair price (around 12 dollars for a dorm), a free shuttle to go to the main entrance, A/C. What do you want more? Ah yes, I forgot, they have hammocks too <3


Yuluka hostel Tayrona Colombia




2 – The Journey Hostel



Friendly staff, Cheap, Social with many trails and beach around. Be careful. It’s a trap. You book for 1 night, and 1 week later you are still there 😉


Journey Hostel Tayrona Colombia




3- La Mar de Bien hotel



Do you think you deserve a paradise after your long trek to the lost city or Tayrona national park? Welcome to La Mar de Bien where everything is perfect. It’s a little pricey for a Backpacker, but it’s affordable and worth it! Swimming pool, nature, beach access. Nothing is missing in La Mar de Bien. Piritta and Niina are big fans too!


La mar de bien Tayrona Colombia




4- Costeño Beach hostel


Big hostel. It’s a chill place with a dorm and hammocks everywhere. Plenty of activities. You are in the middle of nature on the coast, so don’t expect lots of technology. It’s directly on the beach. There is also Brisa Tranquila hostel next to it.


Costeno beach hostel Caribbean Coast Colombia



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V) Best Time To Visit Tayrona National Park




I guess you don’t like the rain. So avoid visiting the park in May, September, October, and November. If you’re there during this period, no worry, you can still do it – I did it in May, and I’m not dead.

As I said earlier, they usually close one month every year (around January/ February). You can try to send an email to one of this guy:


If it’s the case, don’t be sad, there are plenty of other activities to do around. And Tayrona sucks anyway – Just kidding, I was lying to console you. You can pick up some ideas in this article from Sarepa.

Also, I recommend you to AVOID the weekend, Easter holidays, Christmas holidays and Public holidays – Except if your secret dream is to swim among hundreds of Colombians.

Open hours: 8 am to 5 pm


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Other Fantastic Destinations Around Tayrona




VI) How To Get To Tayrona National Park




A] Traveling to Tayrona from Palomino



It’s easy. You just catch a bus Palomino – Tayrona on the road direction Santa Marta.

Time: 1 hours
Price: 7 000 COP



B] Traveling to Tayrona from Santa Marta



You have to take the bus Santa Marta – Tayrona from Calle 11 con Carerra 11. If you are lost, ask people. They will know.

Time: 1 hour
Price: 7 000 COP



C] Traveling to Tayrona from Taganga



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. The returns to Taganga are around 4 pm.

Time: Around 1h30
Price: 25 000 COP to go and 45 000 to come back – Hahaha little bastards.



D] How to get To Tayrona From Cartagena



There are no direct buses from Cartagena to Tayrona. If you want to use the public transport, you will have to stop in Santa Marta first:

  • Bus Cartagena – Santa Marta: 6 hours | 22 000 COP
  • Bus Santa Marta – Tayrona in the direction of Rioacha: 1 hour | Around 10 000 COP


However, there is another solution if you’re in a hurry.

Marsol is 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 Park: 5 hours | Around 60 000 COP


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Caribbean Coast+ Palm trees in Tayrona park, Colombia




VII) Tom, Tell Me What Should I Take To Go To Tayrona National Park




A list, A list, A list – Ok, I’m your humble servant. As any trek, you need to be prepared. Fortunately, it’s an easy one. You can let your ice pick and bow in your backpack.

  • Your passport – You have to show it at the entrance
  • Yellow fever certificate vaccination – I recommend you to be vaccinated for the Yellow Fever before going to Colombia. The Colombian Authority can ask it for the Pacific coast, The Amazon and some Colombian National Parks
  • 2 L of water – You gonna sweat like crazy
  • Some snacks for the energy
  • Swimming short and towel
  • Sunblock
  • Hat
  • Trainers – Don’t hike with Flip Flop!
  • Repellent – Against mosquitos and sand flies
  • No plastic bags – They are forbidden (Alcohols too)
  • A trash bag to bring back your garbage
  • A blanket – Nights can be coldish
  • A Jumper and socks – To survive to the sand flies
  • A torch
  • Toilet paper
  • A lock
  • Enough Cash! – No ATM
  • Snorkel


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VIII) Safety In Tayrona National Park




You should survive. Jaguars and Puma are very rare, go out at night, and they don’t attack humans. But, there are still some points you should be aware of.

  • You can’t swim everywhere. There are some signs where it’s forbidden because of strong currents. Don’t play with your life but you can still put your legs in the ocean 😉
  • Drink water. It’s humid, and you gonna sweat. Your body will need water
  • Cabo San Juan is a touristy place. It increases the chance to have your stuff stolen. It’s not often happening but don’t be this unlucky dude.
  • Bring a lock and ask if there is a locker
    • If not, always bring your valuable stuff with you – A small canvas bag is perfect
    • You can still lock your day bag – But keep your valuables with you. You don’t have to become a crazy paranoid person – Please don’t send a rock because someone is coming to speak to you 😉
  • I’m not a big fan of the Malaria pills, and you will not stay a long time, so it’s not worth it at all. But do your Yellow Fever injection before coming to Colombia – Just in case.


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IX) Getting Inside The Tayrona National Park in Colombia




OK now, it’s the big topic. Crap, did I forget to tell you how long this article was? In the meantime, you can’t have the best-detailed guide about Tayrona National Park in only 1000 words. Don’t you think?


Path Calabazo Tayrona Colombia Park
On the way to Pueblito from Calabazo

Ok, if you have to read ONE thing, it’s this one: There are TWO entrances – Now you can stop reading. No please stay! The choice depends on what you would like to do.

Tayrona Park Entrance Fee: 42 500 COP ( in 2017) – It’s increasing every year. You can stay as long as you want.

Also, you should be able to buy Tayrona National park tickets online. But the official website doesn’t work well.

More explanation here (In Spanish)



A] Main entrance Tayrona Colombia: El Zaino




  • You are in a rush, and despite all my recommendation you want to do it in one day
  • You don’t like walking too much
  • You want to horse ride
  • You want to try to arrive first to book the hammocks on the rock

If you do not belong to the groups above, you should take the 2nd entrance.


Entrance process:

  • You have to watch a 20 min video (in Spanish) and wait in line
  • They will check your bag
  • Then you have to take another small bus (3000 COP) to go to the “real” entrance (Cañaveral). It’s 4km on a dirt road. You can decide to walk, but I don’t see the interest – Stop smoking or drinking if you want to save money
  • Walk a little more than 1h30 to arrive at the main beach (Cabo San Juan)


Other data:

It’s the easiest way = It’s crowded


EDIT MAY 2018: There is a possibility to book in advance your hammock for Cabo San Juan at the Zaino Entrance. It’s maybe not the case at the Calabazo Entrance.



B] The secret entrance of Tayrona National Park: Calabazo




  • You don’t like tourists
  • You want to increase your chance to observe animals
  • You like to walk
  • You want to visit Pueblito (Or just passing through)
  • You are looking for secret beaches
  • You want to hike a few days
  • You want to go to Playa Brava


Entrance process:

  • First, you need to tell the bus driver you want to stop at Calabazo – Not the Zaino Tayrona entrance, Calabazo
  • Cross the road and go a little up (and ask people). You will see one guard on a small chair
  • It will check your passport and maybe your bag
  • No video and no waiting line and probably no map. But I did one for you 😉
  • It takes 4 hours to arrive at Cabo San Juan or Playa Brava


Other data:

It’s steep the first hours but nothing insane. Most of the Colombians don’t like to walk. Use this advantage to be alone in the jungle!


They close the entrance at 3h30 pm.


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Path going to the beach in Tayrona
Path going to the beach in Tayrona



Other Fantastic Destinations Around Tayrona




X) TOM! Tell Me How Long It Takes To Go From A to B




In the end, the question matters a lot as my goal is to convince you to sleep minimum one night and opt for Calabazo’s entrance.

  • Time from Zaino entrance to Carñaval: 8 min with the shuttle
  • Time from Carñaveral to Arrecife: 50 min
  • Time from Arrecife to La Piscina: 20 min
  • Time from La Piscina to Cabo San Juan: 30 min
  • Time from Cabo San Juan to the nudist beach: 15 min
  • Time from Cabo San Juan to Pueblito: less than 2 h
  • Time from Pueblito to Playa Brava: Around 1h30
  • Time from Calabazo to Pueblito: Around 2 h
  • Time from Calabazo to Playa Brava: Around 3 h
  • Time from Playa Brava to Cabo San Juan: Around 3 h
  • Time from Zaino Entrance to Cabo San Juan: Around 1h30
  • Time from EcoHabs to Carñaveral: Around 15 min


Now, you’re a little lost because you have no idea where to go. Relax, have a cup of tea. I’m going to explain to you what are the different activities and where to sleep. Then, if you are nice, I will draw a shitty marvelous map to summarize everything.


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XI) Where Are The Beaches In Tayrona National Park




Playa Nudista Tayrona Colombia
Nudist Beach


You have many choices to get your butt tanned. There is an order; It’s from East to West

  • Playa Brava: You are alone on the beach, and it’s not forbidden to swim. But still be careful in case of big waves
  • Nudist beach: It’s nice, and there is nobody too. It’s a good way to escape from the crowd in Cabo San Juan. And it’s maybe the occasion to swim naked!
  • Cabo San Juan: It’s beautiful. Big boulders surround 2 little bays. There is no current, and you can snorkel. However, it can be crowded on weekends and holidays. You should wake up early to enjoy it.
  • La piscina: It’s a little bigger and still protected by many rocks – It’s like a natural swimming pool. There are fewer people compared to Cabo San Juan, but there is no Campsite.
  • Arrecife: Beach where you can’t swim – It’s dangerous because of the currents and aggressive mermaids.


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 XII) Tayrona National Park Accommodations




If you want to find an accommodation in Tayrona National Park, you have to be ready to sleep in a hammock (or tent).

Indeed, there is no hostel in Tayrona.

But, I’m sure you will enjoy the experience. The only reason why you should take one of the few expensive bungalows it’s because you’re on honeymoon – Congratz!!!


Are you looking to go camping in Tayrona?



A] Accommodation in Playa Brava



There is a hostel where you can eat and buy water. And it’s the only one where you can reserve a hammock in advance!! The facilities are basics – don’t be surprised, you are in the middle of nowhere – but the food is good.

Email: [email protected]

Price: Around 25 000 COP for a Hammock

Bonus: A cool waterfall 25 min far away



B] Accommodation in Cabo San Juan



You have the choice between hammock, VIP hammock (on the top of a “hill”), and a tent. I’m not a big fan of the tent – I tried once. You need to arrive early to book the VIP hammocks (Check out at 11 am I think) or stay 2 nights (to have more chance to get one).

EDIT MAY 2018: There is a possibility to book in advance your hammock for Cabo San Juan at the Zaino Entrance. It’s maybe not the case at the Calabazo Entrance.


The facilities are basics and there is a good restaurant – Around 25 000 COP (18 000 COP for Pasta). The sunset and sunrise are sensational.

Kelly took amazing pictures of this place

Price (Edit May 2018):

  • Hammock: 40 000 COP
  • VIP Hammock: 50 00 COP
  • Tent: 40 000 COP – Each


Cabo San Juan Tayrona Colombia



C] Accommodation in Arrecife



There are many camps, and you can cook with firewood.
You have the choice between Camping Dan Pedro and Yuluka for tent/hammock. There are also Cabanas


  • Hammock: 10 000 COP
  • Cabana: 350 000 COP



D] Accommodation in Carñaveral



There are two main reasons why you would like to sleep near the entrance. It’s because you fell in love with the Ecohabs’s picture or because you would like to hike the 9 Piedras trail before leaving the park.

The Ecohab Tayrona is the best hotel in Tayrona.

There is the option to sleep in the camping Castilletes also.


  • Ecohab Tayrona: Around 1 000 000 COP
  • Castilletes: There are cabanas (Not a great reputation) around 150 000 COP. And you can set the tent.


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XIII) Others things To Do In Tayrona National Park




There are not only beaches in Tayrona National Park: 

  • Walking to Pueblito. They are ruins of the Tairona people (Not fantastic) and typical houses where some Kogis are living. The walk and nature around are lovely. It’s 2 hours from Calabazo entrance or Cabo San Juan.
  • Horse riding to go to the different beaches between Carñaveral and Cabo San Juan (40 000 COP)
  • Snorkeling at La Piscina and Cabo San Juan
  • Do the 9 Piedras trail (Big rocks with a hole in the middle) near Cañaveral. There is the best point of view of the Tayrona Colombia, and it’s not touristy at all! 




XIV) The Most Accurate Tayrona National Park Map



Map Tayrona Colombia Park

I agree it’s ugly. But you will find all the information you need. Don’t hesitate to Pin It or Share it to help me to promote this blog to all the future Colombia’s lovers <3!

NB: An adventurer told me you can pick another trail on the way back from Playa Brava to El Pueblito. It’s a bit harder but it gives you the opportunity to use another path ;).


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XV) Examples of Day trips to Tayrona National Park




Excited to go to Tayrona National Park in Colombia? Awesome. Now it’s time to decide how long you would like to stay and how can you organize this adventure.



A] 1-day itinerary in the Tayrona National Park



Are you sure you don’t want to sleep one night? Ok, it’s your trip after all 😉

  • Sleep in Santa Marta at the Dreamer the night before and let your big Backpack
  • Leave around 6h30 – 7h00 am to catch a bus on the road.
  • Stop at Calabazo Entrance
  • Hike to Pueblito then to Cabo San Juan
  • Have lunch in Cabo and enjoy the surrounding (La piscina, the beaches) – You deserve it after your long trail!
  • Take the boat at Cabo direction Taganga around 4 pm – Ask the information when you arrive in Cabo San Juan
  • Take a bus/taxi to come back to Tayrona National Park


Budget for the National Park: Around 120 000 COP



B] 2-day itinerary in Tayrona National Park



  • Day 1: Start at Calabazo entrance at the opening (8 am)
  • Hike to Pueblito then to Cabo San Juan
  • Explore the surrounding and sleep in Cabo or Arrecife
  • Day 2: Hang out in the park, have lunch but think to leave Cabo around 3 pm max (The park closes at 5 pm)

Nb: If you want to sleep on the top of the rock in Cabo San Juan, you need to arrive around noon


Budget for the National Park: Around 130 000 COP




C] 3-day itinerary in Tayrona National Park



  • Day 1: Start at Calabazo entrance at the opening (8 am)
  • Hike to Playa Brava – Sleep there
  • Day 2: Playa Brava to Pueblito then to Cabo San Juan – Sleep there
  • Day 3: Hang out in the park. If you’re not too tired, you can hike the 9 Piedras trail (Around 1 hour) – Exit by El Zaino (Main entrance)


Budget for the National Park: Around 175 000 COP



Pueblito Tayrona Colombia
In Pueblito


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Other Fantastic Destinations Around Tayrona




XVI) Where To Go After The National Park




Check out our selection of hostels and hotels near Santa Marta and Tayrona National Park



A] Costeno Beach/ Brisa Tranquila/ El Rio



Do you want to chill at the beach and do nothing? Eat a delicious meal while your feet are playing in the water? Between Santa Marta and Palomino, you have plenty of hostels on the coast to grant your dreams. You should think to take a repellent; you’re in nature 😉

How to get there: Take the collectivo on the road direction Palomino

Prices and time: Bus from Santa Marta: Around 10 000 COP / 1h30



B] Palomino



Do you want to relax at the beach and do quick/chill activities? Do some tubing on a river with a beer in your hand? Stop at Palomino!

How to get there: Take the collectivo in the direction of Tayrona and stop at Palomino (1 hour later)

Prices and time: Collectivo from Santa Marta 14 000 COP / 2 hours


Discover the town of Palomino



C] Minca



Do you want to enjoy more the Sierra Nevada, swim in waterfalls, tasting an organic coffee and eat delicious food?

Minca is what you need. I wrote a detailed article about all the things to do in Minca.


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Hey! You’ve learned that Colombia is a paradise and now you want to know more about it? There are gigabytes of data about Colombia on the internet. But 80% of it is wrong or outdated. Save your time and energy. Check out my FREE Colombia courses.



XVII) Frequent 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 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 only 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?
Not the last time I was there. Take some repellent and wear long sleeves


Do I need mosquito repellent?


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 place (Beach time)


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 in the ocean!


How to avoid the 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


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XVIII) Conclusion




In my opinion, Tayrona National Park is a highlight if you’re doing it well. There are wildlife, beautiful nature and beautiful beaches.

You should avoid the weekends and the Colombian holidays. The crowdy 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 more than 1 day. It’s a perfect place to trek 2 or 3 days. It’s simple, you can buy food and water easily, and there are many accommodations. Be ready to sleep in a hammock.

Also, your experience will be better if you take the 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. 



Essentials about Tayrona National Park


Time: 3 days
Total Budget: 190 000 COP
Weather: Humid
Best time to visit: Mid-December to April; July to August
Backpacker profile: Indiana Jones who likes to tan on beaches



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Life is short and should be a fun game. So, I quitted my job to do what I like the most: Traveling. Then I fell in Love with Colombia.Now, I help the travelers to make the most of their adventure through Colombia.


  1. Tom the amount of work and time that went into this is absolutely incredible! We were in Tayrona National Park almost 2 years ago and find all of your information to be 100% spot on. The one thing that stands out in our minds about the experience was the fact that we stayed in a tree house suite just outside the park. Were some of the best mornings we’ve ever had waking up to a perfect temperature and breeze up in the trees!

  2. Jeremy says:

    Hola, thanks heaps for the info, it really made our trip easy to navigate our way round. We stayed at Yuluka Hostel the night before – what a place!
    I just wanted to update some information as we followed your plan and got to Cabo around 11 for them to say all the VIP hammocks were sold out at 9am! Bugger. There was a booth at the entrance which allows you to reserve your spot before walking in so in hindsight we should have done that. We managed to get a normal hammock which was still cool though! Also the prices have changed. 40000COP for normal, 50000COP for VIP.

  3. Hey Jeremy!

    I’m glad to hear it and thanks a lot for sharing the new info about Tayrona. I will update my article. The prices increased a LOT since last year. It’s crazy. 40 000 COP for a simple hammock in Cabo? And it’s not even the tourist season.


  4. Erika says:

    Although you have advised not to I am very limited in time and may have to do Tayrona in only a day – I would like to take the Calabazo entrance however and then leave via El Zaino – do you think this will be possible? I will be staying near the park so easier to have an early start in the morning – by my calculations its a lot of hiking but I could still fit in 3 hours at Cabo San Juan?

    • Hi Erika!

      It will be a long hike, but yes it’s doable ;). Try to start early – Around 7 am – and don’t go to Playa Brava. It should be Calabazo – El Pueblo – Cabo San Juan – El Zaino.

      And yes, you should be able to stay 2-3 hours in Cabo San Juan.

      Enjoy the National park!

  5. natasha says:

    wow you seem to have covered a lot of info in your blog of this park. What i also liked was that you mentioned the public holidays so that people can plan their trip there accordingly. Very informative blog

  6. Silvina says:

    Hey Tom! Greetings from Argentina!! I was looking for some info about Tayrona when y found your blog. I really want to ask you about the backpack situation. I have plans to stay in Tayrona for 3 days, and im kind of worry where should I leave my backpack, do you know any hostel that can keep my thinks in Santa Marta? And what is the cost?

    Thank you so much for all this information that Yo already post 🙂

    • Tom says:

      Hi Silvina.

      Sorry to answer you so late!!!

      You can let your big bag in your hostel or the reception at the Zaino Entrance (Main Entrance). I don’t know the cost though. Maybe it’s free 🙂

  7. Aline says:

    Wow, one of the best articles I’ve read in my research for our Colombia trip – thank you, this is super useful! Quick (maybe random?) question – would you recommend rabies shots for the hikes? We’ve done Sri Lanka without them but seems like in Tayrona the wild life is a bit closer to the trails?

  8. Alessandra Maria says:

    Hey! I am going to Tayrona via Santa Marta Jan 21 – 27. I was hoping to do Costeno Beach Camp, then Minca and maybe one more place? Do you have a suggested way to connect these places? Are there busses that connect all these places? Thanks if you can help!

    • Tom says:

      Hey Alessandra!

      Yes, it’s super easy. All these places are connected by the same road.

      From Santa Marta, Go to Minca.

      When you go down from Minca, tell it to the driver. He will drop you at la Bomba – It’s a Gaz station. Then wave at the bus going to Tayrona, it will stop to pick you up.

      Costeno beach is located after Tayrona. Once again, wait on the side of the road and stop the next bus!

      Then, you can go to Palomino – a bit further on the road – if you still have a few days left 😉

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