Tayrona National Park is one of the most iconic places in Santa Marta, so be sure to include this stop when planning your visit to this magical city. It is very easy to get to the park and the cost of visiting is very affordable, so be prepared to enjoy this natural wonder. Book now at our Hilton Garden Inn Santa Marta and visit the Tayrona National Park of Santa Marta.

Rustic huts can be found around Tayrona National Park. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

You should plan to arrive very early at the park, either with a hired tour company or an agency. We recommend arriving between 5 and 6 in the morning so you can make the most of the day as the park only allows a certain number of people to enter every hour, and they don’t let you in after 3pm since the park closes at 5pm. Once it’s your turn, you will have to wait about two hours to enter.

Once inside the Tayrona Park you will have to carry whatever you decide to take with you. This recommendation is especially important for those who decide to camp, as they must bring water, tents, toilet paper, soap, and other luxuries they consider necessary for their day to day. However, remember it is forbidden to bring plastic into the sanctuary. If you are only going to spend the day in the park, we recommend that you do not bring any books or anything that could weigh you down during the walk. After the first 20 minutes, you may start regretting taken too many things.

Wearing comfortable shoes is key. Believe it or not, we know cases in which people decided, for example, to wear sandals and suffered unnecessarily during the entry and exit route. This is why tennis shoes or sea shoes are your best bet. No matter what you choose to wear, just be prepared for your shoes to get wet in the sea and filled with sand. Do not forget sunscreen, cap, sunglasses and towels. Remember, these are virgin beaches, so you will not find any commercial establishments in case you forget something.

You should also consider the walk is approximately 2 hours long before you reach the first beach, entering through Zaíno, the main entrance of the park. Upon entering this side you will pass by Cañaveral, Arrecifes, Cabo de San Juan de Guía and Boca de Saco beaches. The road is muddy and uneven and includes slopes. With heat and humidity in mind, be prepared to sweat and make sure you bring water or buy some at the entrance. This walk requires a lot of physical effort, but remember that both children and adults do it all the time. However, this is just in case you decide to explore the Tayrona Park on foot. You also have the option to do it on horseback. The advantage of going by horse is you can enjoy the beaches longer and you will not get so exhausted by visiting each one.

You can taste the best egg arepa (arepa de huevo) in the world at the entrance of the park, where there is a shop where you can buy something to eat and drink before embarking on your excursion. The egg arepa at this place is the best breakfast imaginable, and it will not disappoint.

Tayrona National Park features some of the best beaches in Colombia. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

The Beaches of Tayrona National Park

Not only is it the largest bay in the Park, but it is the starting point for visiting other beaches by boat. The natives consider it sacred ground as it was used as a cemetery in the past. When you are ready to get into the water, make sure it is in one of the two places allowed, because this beach is characterized by its aggressive waves, as well as its underwater and coral life. You can snorkel here as well. The view from this beach is very special, and its beautiful sea and mountains will remind you of the greatness of nature.

Playa Cristal
The only way to reach this beach with calm and transparent waters is by boat from Neguanje beach. You will spend a day at the beach without a care in the world, just sunbathing and listening to the waves. Walk along the beach or do some snorkeling to savor this magical paradise to the fullest. Can you imagine a better plan? This is a full day tour, leaving at 7am and returning at 2pm, and you’ll be back in Santa Marta by 5pm.

Siete Olas
It is forbidden to swim at this beach because of its waves and strong currents, but you will have a unique opportunity to climb to a viewpoint and take some spectacular photos. Its name is due to the fact that 7 waves form upon reaching the shore. If you go to Neguanje you will surely pass by this beach.

Bahía Concha
It is a favorite for both its calm waters and easy access, since you can reach it by all types of vehicles. Here you will undoubtedly spend one of the most relaxing days, just sunbathing and spending time with your family and friends.

Boca del Saco
Although not legally declared as such, this is the nudist beach of Tayrona. The funny thing is that it is forbidden to swim in its waters for safety reasons. Therefore, it should not surprise you that it is not a very busy beach.

Bahía Chengue
It is one of the beaches that can only be accessed by sea and to enter it you must have authorization from the national parks because it is under conservation protection. It’s mainly a pitstop, one you simply hit along the way, but if you have the opportunity to see it, you will appreciate its little waves and dreamlike waters.

Bahía Gayraca
It is the favorite for diving activities thanks to the surrounding coral reef. Keep in mind that it can only be reached by boat and swimming is restricted after 4 in the afternoon.

Bahía Cinto
You must obtain authorization from the national parks to enjoy this natural jewel, which can only be accessed by boat. Because it is under conservation protection, it is not a popular beach, but this is precisely the same reason why it has a rich marine life.

It is mainly a beach for passersby’s and is characterized as one of the smallest beaches in Tayrona. Here you will not find developments or commercial establishments of any kind, just the calm of its waters and white sand.

Cabo San Juan del Guía
Definitely the most popular beach in all of Tayrona National Park as it is one of the best equipped areas for camping. For that same reason, you will find a concentration of foreigners and backpackers camping. On the other hand, it also has a restaurant and calm waters. Normally, those who decide to make the trek through the Tayrona end up on this beach enjoying a couple of hours to cool off by the sea and resting on the sand. In fact, several fall asleep in just second as they listen to the sound of the sea before starting their return. Enjoy some extraordinary views and take advantage of the chance to take some unique photos.

Cabo San Juan del Guía. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Playa Arrecife
It is the largest beach in the park and its name is due to the reefs and stones that abound in its waters. Its waves are considered dangerous, which is why swimming is not allowed.

La Piscina
It is a small beach where you can spend the day. You will notice that, despite its waves, the rocks that surround it allow for calm swimming. When you get into the water, you will realize that its shore is deep.

Between Arrecife and La Piscina you will find this stretch of beach. It is a small beach so the secret is to be one of the first to arrive to find a prime spot for sunbathing.

Playa Cañaveral
Although swimming is prohibited, on this beach you will find the Tayrona Ecohabs and next to it you have the Piscinita, where you can cool off in a relaxing atmosphere. Cañaveral is considered one of the most dangerous beaches in Tayrona Park.

Located next to Cañaveral beach, swimming is not allowed on this beach either due to its strong waves. However, you will find here one of the designated areas for camping as well as a restaurant and bathroom facilities.

Playa Brava
It is one of the main areas for camping and you enter it through the Calabazo sector. This path is quite steep and requires great physical effort, but its advantage lies in the fact you can see streams along your route.

Swimming is not allowed at this beach, but it is an ideal spot for those who want to go hiking and wish to eliminate the toxins from their bodies while connecting with nature. To get there, you will have to walk about 4 hours.

What most fall in love with at Tayrona is its diversity of beaches and its bohemian atmosphere that’s all about tolerance, peace, harmony and tranquility. It really is the best destination to escape from the daily routine, revitalize yourself and connect with nature in a paradise on earth. Do not miss it!

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