Situated on a beautiful bay surrounded by hills, Playa Cristal is one of the gems of Tayrona National Natural Park. Many visitors simply relax on this secluded strip of sand, enjoying the beach chairs and the drinks and grilled fish served by several simple seaside restaurants. The clear water and abundant aquatic life, however, also make this one of the best places near Santa Marta to go snorkeling. Although it’s close to the city, the beach is farther into the park than some other options and is therefore less crowded. There is a fee to enter the park, and the amenities, including beach chairs, are an additional cost.

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