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“Beautiful place but be prepared to hike a lot” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona

Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona
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Tayrona National Park and Beach Day Trip from Santa Marta
Ranked #1 of 68 things to do in Santa Marta
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: This 37,000 acre ecotourism park includes reefs, beaches, mangroves and Tayrona Indian ruins.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
25 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Beautiful place but be prepared to hike a lot”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 29, 2014

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.

Visited August 2014
4 Thank tourquelewith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
80 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Great natural reserve!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 22, 2014

Wonderful place with lots of nature, but in the end, it is just beaches and hiking trails. Not suitable for young children as you have to walk long distances (1.5 hrs) to reach the key beach, La Piscina. We had a small boy, 6 years old, with us so we did not make the hike. Instead, nearby the entrance there is La Piscinita beach which was good, but with slightly strong waves. Food service by the beach was good. Overall, it was an expensive trip to the beach, entrance was about $20 usd for foreigner adults. Make sure to bring insect repellent.

Visited August 2014
2 Thank Vincent C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boulder, Colorado
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Pretty cool place”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2014 via mobile

If you love beaches and want to relax on some cool ones tayrona could be a place for you to check out. That said, I wouldn't personally book a trip for this place specifically. It's rather expensive overall for a national park and a bit of effort to get to the beaches. The hike isn't that bad but the overall trip take a while, especially if there is a line at the entrance. In august 2014 the entrance fee was 38000 each. Pay the 2000 for the bus to the end of the road and then start hiking. The trails through the jungle are well maintained but not breathtaking by any means... Basically you just want to get to the shoreline to kick it on the beaches. The restaurant at arrecifes is a little nicer but the beach at cabo is pretty rad.

Cabo restaurant took a credit card for lunch and dinner but not breakfast. This might change depending on who is working and their mood. The food wasn't as bad or as expensive as we had read previously but if you're on a budget you might still want to bring your own. The shop took a credit card with minimum 20000 purchase. Water is kinda expensive so you might want to carry 4 or more liters in with you.

We heard you want to arrive early to get a spot to sleep but registration doesn't even start until 2pm. If you want a hammock in the hut on the hill on the point you might want to stand at the window at 130 and wait. Those were 25000 per person, same as renting a tent. The other hammocks by the tents were 20000 per night. The hammocks on the hill have a beautiful view and cool setting but it can get cold and windy at night. Best to bring at least a warm long sleeve shirt and pants to be comfy at night. Maybe even a hoody or jacket or fleece blanket or something. The hammocks are kinda gross and sticky but don't think about it and its fine.

Overall a pretty cool place but maybe not worth it vs other national parks and shorelines we have visited. If you come to enjoy the beaches and think of it like a kinda dirty summer camp experience you'll be pleasantly surprised.

1 Thank clayineuro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Worth a visit but don't stay at cabo San Juan ”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2014 via mobile

We went to Parque Tayrona after doing the lost city hike expecting a nice relaxing experience but it was anything but that.

We took the boat from Taganga and arrived around noon. It was really hot and we all walked to the reception area only to be told that we could not check in until 2pm. So then we walked back to the beach to wait. The beach by the restaurant has lots of flies but we sucked it up so we could check in. At 2 pm we got to reception to find a huge line of people. So we waited in line for an hour in the middle of the day heat which made no sense. Then we were told that they were out of hammocks (which have no Mosquitos nets by the way) so we had to get a tent that was under the sun all day. Sleeping here was unbearably hot. We were on the beach at 530 am to get some air. People already had their backpacks on getting ready to get out of there. I wanted to have breakfast in the morning but a friend told me not to bother as there were already a ton of flies.

Also, 4 bathrooms and 4 showers for over 200 people. They charge day trippers 500 cop to use the bathrooms but the person who checks (and they are strict) don't clean the toilets. Ever.

You also need Id of some sort to check in. Passport copies are ok (we heard theft is an issue there). The camp turned away a family with a kid bec they didn't have it.

The beach was nice in the morning. That's about it. If I had to do it again I would stay near arrecifes - the camps looked so much better. We saw them as we walked out. Spend the day at cabo San Lucas or la piscina and then go sleep elsewhere. The camps we stayed at during the lost city hike were 100 times better than cabo San Juan.

Hope this helps, I wish I would have known all this before going.

4 Thank Fedvatore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Marta, Colombia
Level Contributor
60 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2014

It's a very unique place where you can really disconnect from your rutine or the world.. it's better when you go on a time it's not tha crowded... the beach is beautiful, you can walk into the forest... try to have a hamack to sleep yes of course try to stay a little longer then 2 days to really feel it, there is many beaches in Tayrona... my favourite is playa cristal... enjoy

Visited September 2013
Thank Nathalie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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