Tayrona National Park in Colombia: tickets, prices, opening hours

Visiter la Parc Naturel de Tayrona

Considered one of Colombia’s most beautiful national parks, a visit to Tayrona National Park is a must on any trip to the country’s Caribbean coast!

Colombia’s untouched tropical wilderness. That’s how to sum up this very special place on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Just a forty-minute drive from Santa Marta, Tayrona National Park takes you to discover its sensational beaches, where lush jungle embraces long, fine sandbanks. In addition to the lush flora that makes it so beautiful, Tayrona National Park is also home to over eight square kilometers of marine reserve.

Although not all of the 120 km of parkland is accessible, the seaside walks and hikes available through this natural treasure promise postcard-perfect memories!

History of Tayrona National Park

Histoire du Parc National de Tayrona en Colombie

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Micha Weber

The park’s name comes from the Tairona people. This aboriginal community lived in the Caribbean part of the country for hundreds of years before the arrival of the first Spanish settlers. Martyred by the latter – not to speak of genocide – a fraction of this people survived to take refuge in the heights of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, thus avoiding slavery and preserving their culture.

Direct descendants of the Tairona people, the Kogis, Aruacos, Wiwa and Kuarkuamos now perpetuate an entire culture and continue to write the history of a community in its own right. Today, the Kogis are the only indigenous people living in the Tayrona National Park, and their feet are concentrated around the village – and historic ruins – of Pueblito, one of the last remaining vestiges of the Tairona culture. Not far from the park are the ruins of the Lost City or Cuidad Perdida, accessible via a five-day trek through the jungle: an excursion that promises to immerse you in the heart of the Tairona civilization.

The culture of the Tairona people is still very much alive, and their descendants see our civilization and way of life as a threat to the nature they revere. To preserve nature, and above all to give it time to regenerate, the Kogis have therefore obtained the right to close the park to visitors for one month a year.

So you see, visiting Tayrona National Park is not just about discovering unspoilt nature. It’s also a journey in the footsteps of a vanished civilization – an unforgettable, immersive experience!

What to see and do in Tayrona National Park?

Que voir et faire au Parc National de Tayrona ?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / streetflash

Beaches to the east of the park

The park’s main activity is to visit its postcard-perfect sandy beaches. The jungle flowing directly into the sea is a major attraction. Access to the park is by road, via the main entrance at El Zaino. From here, the first beach you’ll come across is Canaveral Beach: ideal for relaxing, its dangerous currents will, however, deprive you of a refreshing swim.

A forty-minute walk along log paths will then take you to Arrecifes beach. The same battle. Signs warn you that over two hundred tourists have drowned here. We therefore advise you to continue on your way to La Aranilla beach, where you can finally go for a swim. Twenty minutes away is La Piscina beach. Perfect for snorkelling! With clear, deep water, it’s teeming with impressive underwater fauna!

The ultimate and main beach is a twenty-minute walk away. El Cabo de San Juan de Guia beach is the landmark of Tayrona Park. With its palm trees and dreamy landscapes, it’s the park’s number-one attraction.

Beaches accessible by boat

From Taganga, you can reach Playa Cristal and Bahia Concha. The latter is also accessible by mototaxi, but is often overcrowded. Playa Crital, on the other hand, is extremely secluded and ideal for snorkeling. As a bonus, in addition to the rich seabed, you’ll have a view of the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada in the background.

The ruins of Pueblito

A fairly strenuous four-hour walk from the seashore of El Cabo de San Juan de Guia will take you to the archaeological site of Pueblito. This is the remnant of a Tairona village, with its famous terraced buildings. It’s not the Lost City, but it’s definitely a point of interest. The walk through the jungle to get there adds a touch of magic to the place.

Scuba diving

As you may have gathered, in addition to its 120 km of coastline, the park also boasts eight square kilometers of marine reserves. And you can visit them too! To do so, you’ll need to visit one of Taganga’s many diving centers. If you don’t have the necessary qualifications, don’t panic! PADI rates are among the lowest in the world. Perhaps the perfect opportunity to start diving?

How do I get to Tayrona National Park?

There are several options for visiting Tayrona National Park: bus, cab or boat.

By bus

From Santa Marta, mini-buses leave every hour or half-hour in high season from the market square(Carrera 11, Calle 11). These will drop you off at the entrance to El Zaino, thirty-five kilometers away. This is the main entrance to the park. Expect to pay around 8000 COP (€2.20) for the trip.

By cab

By cab, it will cost you around 65,000 COP from your hotel in Santa Marta to get to El Zaino. But you’ll need to negotiate with your driver (your hotel staff should be able to help). To get to Bahia Concha, near Taganga, allow 15,000 COP/person.

By boat

Boats run between Taganga and El Cabo de San Juan beach. The trip takes around an hour, leaving at 10 a.m. each morning and returning around 4 p.m. The trip costs around 90000 COP.

For Bahia Concha, allow around 20 minutes for a price of 50,000 COP.

Finally, to reach Playa Cristal, allow 70000 COP/person for a 40-minute drive.

Tayrona National Park opening hours & fees

Horaires et tarifs du Parc national de Tayrona

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Diego Grandi

SCHEDULES

Tayorona National Park is open daily from 8am to 5pm.

While it’s possible to visit Tayrona National Park in just one day, we recommend that you spend at least two days in the park. It is possible to book accommodation on the various beaches (visit this hotel comparator to find the cheapest deals). If you don’t have your own tent and food, expect to pay an average of €50/person for two nights.

RATES

  • Park admission: 54500 COP
  • Bahia Concha beach: 6,000 COP

Please note: You will only pay the entrance fee once, no matter how many days you choose to stay. If you choose to do only the Bahia Concha beach, you won’t pay the park entrance fee.

GOOD TO KNOW

– Prices and times shown are for 2019.

– What to bring in your rucksack: good walking shoes, drinking water, food, sun cream, raincoat, mosquito repellent, cash, passport, yellow fever vaccination certificate, flashlight and, for snorkelers, mask and snorkel.

High season for the park is from December to January and June to July. The rest of the year, entry to the park is cheaper and less crowded.

Accommodation in the park consists of tents and hammocks. You should expect to pay between 20,000 and 30,000 COP for one, although you’ll pay less if you bring your own equipment.

– There are no kitchens in the park’s accommodation.

– Since March 2019, access to Pueblito has been closed.

Alcohol is strictly forbidden in the park and your bags will be checked at the entrance and inside the park.

– You can leave your bags at the El Zaino entrance.

Now you know all about the most popular destination on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. We hope you enjoy your visit to Tayrona National Park!