Tayrona National Park (Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona)
First established in 1969, Tayrona National Park is named after the Tayrona tribe and remains a sacred space for several indigenous groups in the region. Visitors can trek to Pueblito, the park’s largest set of archaeological ruins; tackle the Nine Stones trail, look out for animals like howler monkeys and jaguars; or go bird-watching—the park is home to more than 300 species of birds. If you want to escape the humidity, spend some time scuba diving or snorkeling.
Daily entries to the park are limited, so you’ll need to book admission in advance to guarantee access. Alternatively, book a hassle-free excursion; options range from half-day trips to multiple-day adventures and can include guided walks, beach hopping, and intimate encounters with indigenous cultures.
Things to Know Before You Go
Tayrona National Park is ideal for adventurous travelers and nature lovers.
The park only allows a limited number of visitors, so book in advance.
Admission fees vary depending on the time of year and nationality of the visitor.
Motorized vehicles, alcohol, plastic bags, polystyrene, and musical instruments are not allowed in the park.
Visitors must have medical emergency and evacuation insurance for each day spent in the park.
There is no WiFi, no ATMS, and limited cell coverage. Card payments are not accepted, so bring cash.
Tayrona National Park is neither stroller nor wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Tayrona National Park is situated on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, roughly 34 kilometers (21 miles) from Santa Marta. You can reach the El Zaino entrance to Tayrona National Park from Santa Marta by car or take one of the buses marked ‘Tayrona’ from the Santa Marta marketplace. Speed boats also run from nearby Taganga to Cabo San Juan. Alternatively, you can avoid the hassle of public transit entirely by choosing a tour that includes round-trip transportation.
When to Get There
Tayrona National Park is open from morning until evening, and last entry is an hour before closing. Indigenous communities sometimes request park closures around February. It’s more expensive to enter Tayrona National Park during peak seasons, which are typically mid-June to mid-July, around Christmas and Easter, and on three-day weekends. Trails can get especially muddy during the rainy season (roughly April–May and October–November).
Other Sights on the Colombian Caribbean
After seeing the best of Tayrona National Park, don’t miss the rest of the Colombian Caribbean’s sights. For some city life, head to lively Cartagena, known for its colorful buildings, year-round warm weather, and walkable city walls. Alternatively, you can venture into the La Guajira region, which shares a border with Venezuela, to visit the northernmost point of the continent, Punta Gallinas.
- Carlos El Pibe Valderrama Statue
- Santa Marta Historic Center (Centro Historico de Santa Marta)
- Tayrona Gold Museum (Museo del Oro Tairona)
- Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino
- Playa Blanca
- Lost City (Ciudad Perdida)
- El Rodadero
- Marine World Aquarium (Mundo Marino Acuario)
- Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park
- Crystal Beach (Playa Cristal)