The Complete Guide To Visiting Tayrona National Park in Santa Marta, Colombia
Nov 20, 2015
About the Guidebook
The word ‘Paradise’ is over-used today. It is thrown around too lightly. A quick Google search gives over 95 million results for the word paradise…over-used much? Wikipedia describes paradise as a “place in which existence is positive, harmonious and timeless….in paradise there is only peace, prosperity and happiness…paradise is a place of contentment, but it is not necessarily a land of luxury and idleness.”
Tayrona was turned into a National Park in order to guarantee the protection of the region and preserve its unique ecological environment. With over 150 square kilometers (58 sq. miles) of land, you can spend as much time as you like walking the pristine beaches, hiking the steep mountain ranges and exploring the sea’s coral reefs. One of the unique things about this Caribbean-bordered park is the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range. It’s not everyday you can see tropical beaches overlooked by snow covered peaks. The Sierra Nevada, reaches and altitude of 5,700 meters above sea level just 42 km from the Caribbean coast, making it the world’s highest coastal range.
Local Knowledge & Cool Perks
Where To Camp in Tayrona
The main camping areas are: Cañaveral, Bukaru, and Cabo San Juan del Guia. All of these campsites have food and sanitary facilities.
Cañaveral is the campsite that is first reached when you enter the park. It is reachable by car and it situated close to the ecohabs and a nice beach.
Bukaru is the next campsite and beach you reach when you start the 1.5 – 2 hour hike through the jungle. Bukaru campsite is much quieter than Cabo San Juan, however the beach is strictly off bounds for swimming. Please do not ignore the signs. The currents are extremely strong and dangerous and have claimed many lives of visitors to the park, including the life of a man while we were in Tayrona. Arrecifes beach is beautiful and very long, with fantastic views of the jungle and mountains behind it. There are other nearby beaches where swimming is allowed.
Cabo San Juan del Guia is the most popular beach and campsite. The campsite is located directly opposite two beaches, split in two by a jutting formation of rock between them. On top of the rocks lies a wooden beach-house which contains a two rooms for rent ann an area of hammocks which can be individually rented also. Cabo San Juan has a restaurant and a small store with limited selection of products. The showers are outdoor, open and unisex and the toilet facilities are basic and almost always have a queue in the high-season.
La Piscina is another beautiful beach, used mostly for swimming and snorkelling. There is no campsite located at this beach.
About the Author
I'm a freelance travel writer and photographer from Ireland, who quit my job in January 2012 to travel the world. I've been to 20 countries in the last 6 years, and lived on four different continents, in cities such as New Delhi, Mexico City, Washington DC, Santiago de Chile and Cali, Colombia. Traveling makes me happy and photography makes me happy, so I intend to keep on doing both of them for as long as I can.