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“Gorgeous National Park, AVOID Arcange Uriel boat at Cabo San Juan”

Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona
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Tayrona National Park and Beach Day Trip from...
Ranked #3 of 80 things to do in Santa Marta
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: This 37,000 acre ecotourism park includes reefs, beaches, mangroves and Tayrona Indian ruins.
Reviewed October 2, 2013

We just had a really nice day at Tayrona National park, which was left on a sour note after being ripped off on the way out of the park - ARCANGEL URIEL - these guys are at Cabo San Juan offering a boat ride to Santa Marta - note they do not go to Santa Marta, they took us to Taganga and pulled the boat up on the beach when we told them they had said they would take us to Santa Marta they just said 'no' and turned away, literally. This had cost us COP45,000 each. As a storm was brewing we decided not to take the 2 hour hike back the way we had come (via La Piscina and Arrecifes - which were stunning!) and take the boat back instead, it was pricey but we thought it would be worth seeing the coast. Which is amazing.

We did have a great time at the park, the walks are gorgeous - even if badly sign posted and no map is given despite if costing COP35,000 to get in (Columbians pay COP14,000), the only thing that ruined it for us was these guys on the boat. They were walking around the beach saying 'boat to Santa Marta' so it was not like we had misunderstood. It was more the attitude when we arrived at Taganga and they could not have cared less. Avoid them.

4  Thank retired_backpacker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"cabo san juan"
in 274 reviews
"la piscina"
in 92 reviews
"beautiful beaches"
in 112 reviews
"park entrance"
in 65 reviews
"main entrance"
in 39 reviews
"arrecifes beach"
in 23 reviews
"don pedro"
in 16 reviews
"day trip"
in 96 reviews
"eco habs"
in 15 reviews
"hour walk"
in 30 reviews
"horse ride"
in 15 reviews
"beautiful national park"
in 14 reviews
"per night"
in 21 reviews
"bus from santa marta"
in 25 reviews
"stay overnight"
in 15 reviews
"two nights"
in 23 reviews
"bring your own"
in 39 reviews

1,048 - 1,052 of 5,259 reviews

Reviewed October 1, 2013

I was there 2 years ago and loved every minute of it. 2 years later, still magical! I was happy to see that they have well maintained the stairs and wood structure in the trails. It's still a safe place to viist.

1  Thank Sameer-Maasarani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2013

I have travelled from Iceland to South Africa and I can honestly say that Tayrona has some of the most impressive coastal scenery I have ever seen. To my great and very pleasant surprise, given that Colombians are not bothered about throwing their rubbish around, the beaches at Cabo San Juan, Arrecife, etc were absolutely spotless. Not even a beer can or one single plastic bottle in the lagoons either or on the path to Cabo San Juan from Pueblito. Sorry to be so insistent on this fact but for me the ugliness of rubbish in beautiful natural sites can be a big holiday spoiler.

Cabo San Juan was busy in August but just a ten minute walk west took us to almost empty beaches (true, the waves were rougher) and the beach at Arrecifes was wonderfully dramatic and again almost empty. Pueblito, the archaeollogical site was more interesting than expected (but cannot be compared to the magnificence of Ciudad Perdida) The walk down to the coast from there is not that easy as it is composed of of very large rocks that have to be clambered over. A fall could produce nasty results. The wildlife (toucans and howler monkeys) was also great to see

I also loved Playa Cristal. Touristy yes, but the beachside café served good food and the snorkelling was great.

What makes all this so attractive too is undoubtedly the absence of any road traffic and the fact that you have to walk (or take a mule) to get to the most beautiful spots.

Thank phalarope55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2013

Very beautiful! We did the hike from calabazo to playa brava which takes a bit longer than the regular one but is much more beautiful and more quiet. The hikes takes about 3,5 hours and you need to be in good condition. Playa brava was veeeeery nice and beautiful. We were the only ones there and slept in hammocks near the beach. At night you hear the howler monkeys. The day after we did a 3hours hike to cabo san juan via pueblito (which is only 1 hut). The beach of cabo san juan is beautiful but the hammocks are bad (no moquito nets and no blankets wich we got at playa brava). I found that the accomodation and restaurant was not nicely done at all with so many hammocks and a restaurant where they are screaming your name when your food is ready.
I realy prefered playa brava! SO NICE!!

Thank Nicoline v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 28, 2013

It's a really scenic hike but some of the paths are steep and can be muddy, so it's best to wear closed-toe shoes. The paths aren't particularly clearly marked but there are other tourists and groups with guides walking the trail, so you shouldn't be too worried about getting lost even if you are walking on your own.
I used 50% DEET mosquitoe repellent and got only one bite, so it is not too bad, you don't need to cover up and can wear short sleeves (also a good idea because of the brutal heat, especially once you leave the jungle and walk on the beach). Didn't see any snakes, for those who may be worried.
While it may be better and more relaxing to spend several days at the park, it is definitely doable as a day trip. Just plan on leaving for the park (from Santa Marta) no later than 8:30-9ish and you can make it back before it gets dark. Bring a hat and plenty of water!

1  Thank InBxl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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