Tayrona National Park: Beaches + relics + ecosystems

Posted in South America | April 12, 2011 | Comment Now

South America is actually famous for its adventures, beaches, and archaeological sites. When all these features tend to reside together at one place, it surely becomes a paradise for the lovers of South America. And this is none other than the Tayrona National Park that is located at 34 km and is easily accessible from Magdalena’s Santa Marta. Although it is a national park, it is the home of many archaeological relics, adventurous excursions, and natural gems such as mangrove marshes, corals, cloud forests, algae prairies, and thorny scrubland along with the mysterious flora as well as fauna all offering an indulging day out!

Go surfing, sunbathe on the scenic beaches, or feel the soothing comfort of a rented nightly hammock – you are sure to come again in the Tayrona National Park. To grab this eclectic mix of fun, ensure that you come here as a part of a guided tour via which you can also discover the local villages that are scenically perched on the close by mountains.


With a variety of the ecosystems that thrive, the Tayrona National Park is an eco-tourism destination that promises not only interesting flora as well as fauna sights including bird spotting, but also endorses great diving and surfing opportunities. Coming to the archaeological sites, these are the remains that belong to the Pueblito Chairama’s indigenous folks. Call it Pueblito or simply Chairama, this site is reachable via the stone paths and it resembles Ciudad Perdida leaving besides the size that is smaller here. Come here via El Cabo from where an uphill stroll will lead you here in 3 to 5 hours.

El Cabo is also the base for several hiking tracks. Besides that, it is best known for its snorkeling with good visibility, but one needs to come with own gears so that no hurdle comes on the way of enjoying the plethora of marine life that thrive close to the reef as well as rocks. Many striking beaches flank El Cabo all of which are explorable just by walking. On my trip, I loved that 15 minutes stroll from the Arrecifes beach to reach the La Piscina lagoon edged by reef in front for relatively safe swimming. Some more points of interest include diving in La Cueva de Neguanje, Castilletes Beach, horseback riding, Playa Cristal, Quebrada Valencia (stream in west), Los Naranjos Trail, Chairama Archaeological Museum in Cañaveral, Cabo de San Juan de Guía where sea is loaded with stone monoliths as well as rainforest, and Riverbed of the Piedras River.

For the animal lovers, the park is the home of howling monkeys, reptiles, marine species, deer, condors, bats, pumas, turtles, dolphins, amphibians, sponges, and white eagles.


Costly! Yes, this one word will tell you all about eating here on which the average spent is between $10 and $25. Still, you can try a restaurant at Arrecifes where lulo as a Caribbean’s yellow fruit is famous.

Luxury and medium-range accommodations

For those who are looking for something unique in the park, but still luxurious; the Ecohab are the best option for them at Canaveral accessible only by drive. These are normally small or big huts that demand C$440,000. Alternatively, you can also camp here, but that is more preferable at Aviatur where kids stay in free at the price of C$11,000. If you do not want Ecohabs, sleeping options await you at a 45-minute amble to Arrecifes where there are restaurants too.

However, you will the most crowds at El Cabo that is accessible within half an hour stroll. This is where camping is possible, hammocks are rented for C$20.000, and eating is safe as well as tasty at the only sole restaurant. Light is supplied but is not for all 24 hours and that bathrooms are tolerable.

Budget accommodations

Are you a budget traveler? Well, I would recommend going outside the park where Las Pleyades at 10-minute drive from Pueblito and Canaveral will welcome you.


Non locals: $21.000 pesos

Children: $3.600 pesos

Rainy months

May to June.

September to November.


There are several like Canaveral, Calabazo, and Neguanje all accessible from Santa Marta from where you drive through the Troncal del Caribe.

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