Really enjoyed our visit to Tayrona - beautiful beaches and nice hikes. Some tips though:
You have to hike a lot to get to the beaches. Once you are at the main entrance (el Zaino), you will be offered a collectivo ride for 2.000 pesos. Take them up on the offer. Otherwise you will be walking up a road for 45 minutes to an hour, with more hiking ahead of you. They take you to the trailhead for Arrecifes, which is the first real area (with camping and a restaurant). The walk/hike to Arrecifes from the trailhead takes about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on your ability to hike fast in the heat. From there, it is about 30 minutes to the first real beach, and an hour to the next main area El Cabo San Juan. To feel like you have your own private beach, you can take some of the trails leading from the El Cabo to further beaches with far fewer people. The hiking makes the beaches feel rewarding and cuts down on the number of people at them, but if you were expecting to walk in and plop right on to a beach, Tayrona may not be the place for you.
If you are going to do the Pueblito hike (to a small indigenous 'town' in the mountains in Tayrona), give yourself a full 7 hours in the park without stopping, and 8 if you want to spend some time at the beach, and bring plenty of water/some nourishment. The hike up to Pueblito takes an hour and a half from El Cabo (which is about two hours from where the collectivo drops you off, if you take the direct trail). It is a very difficult hike that begins with crawling in a crack between two boulders, and involves a lot of steep climbing over and between other boulders. About half way through, there is a large smooth boulder with crevasses on either side that you somehow have to scramble up. Had a relatively tall person not gone before us and given us a grab when my boyfriend and I ran up the boulder, I don't know if we would have been able to get past. Pueblito itself is not too interesting, but there is at least someone to sell you water. When you're done, you can either head back down the path you came (which would be very tricky, and likely impossible if it rained), or continue on to a new path. The new path takes you to the Calabazo entrance (and is easier than the path from El Cabo) and there is an initial fork, with the right fork taking you on a very steep downhill path to one of the beaches beyond El Cabo.
If you're a student, get an ISIC card. They cost $27 but are the only form of foreign student ID cards accepted in many places in South America and will save you 30.000 Pesos at Tayrona alone.
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