Tayrona National Natural Park has become such a popular destination during typical vacation periods that authorities have had to limit admission. But an off-season visit offers singular luxuries like miles of all-but-solitary beaches, jungle trails, and a unique way to observe a variety of monkeys and tropical birds in every brilliant hue. Tayrona can be experienced as a day trip from Santa Marta or as a several-night stay at one of the park’s accommodations. From the main entrance at Cañaveral (El Zaíno), visitors can take a leisurely hike to the ocean while a donkey handles the luggage; horses are also available for those who prefer not to walk. This same park entrance also leads directly to high-roofed, native-wood cabins known as ecohabs, a slightly fancier option for staying in the park.

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Tayrona National Natural Park

Tayrona National Natural Park has become such a popular destination during typical vacation periods that authorities have had to limit admission. But an off-season visit offers singular luxuries like miles of all-but-solitary beaches, jungle trails, and a unique way to observe a variety of monkeys and tropical birds in every brilliant hue. Tayrona can be experienced as a day trip from Santa Marta or as a several-night stay at one of the park’s accommodations. From the main entrance at Cañaveral (El Zaíno), visitors can take a leisurely hike to the ocean while a donkey handles the luggage; horses are also available for those who prefer not to walk. This same park entrance also leads directly to high-roofed, native-wood cabins known as ecohabs, a slightly fancier option for staying in the park.

Colombia

My most recent trip was to Colombia and I loved every minute of it!! If you haven’t yet, visit it soon before the secret gets out and hoards of tourists flock to it. Just beware of the crocodiles in Tayrona National Park ;)

Camping in Tayrona National Park

Take a 2-hour hike through the jungle, along the coast, and emerge onto a gorgeous wild beach. Sleeping options are either a hammock or a tent. While the campsite is crowded the further you hike west the more secluded it gets. Until the nude beach at the end which also happens to be probably the most incredible stretch of sand of all. This park is on the cover of Lonely Planet Colombia for a reason. Easily reached by bus from Taganga or Santa Marta. Many people only hike in for the day but 2 nights are recommended. There is a restaurant and snack bar at the campsite.

Camp in Paradise at Tayrona National Park

Visit incredible Tayrona National Park for a day or stay as long as you like at one of the park’s designated campsites where tents and bed linen are pre-set-up and no booking is required. Walking from the main ticket entrance to the beach takes a few hours or alternatively, reach the beaches with a guide and horse for under $15 U.S. dollars each way. Do not skip this magical place.

Feasting on Coconuts in Parque Tayrona

East of the city of Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast of Colombia lies the gorgeous, rugged Parque Tayrona, a true feast for all of the senses. The park doesn’t have roads--you have to hike or go by boat in order to get past the entrance--so we had a local fisherman drop us off via boat on the beach at Cabo San Juan del Guia, where palm trees drop coconuts at regular intervals. We went to work right away and cracked one open on a nearby rock, quenching our thirst with its juice and perfect meat.

Sleeping in a Hamaca in Parque Tayrona

Travelers in Paque Tayrona on the Caribbean coast of Colombia have three choices when it comes to resting their heads: pitch a tent, sleep in a hamaca, or rent a high end cabana (to the tune of $200 US+ per night). We were feeling adventurous (and not excited about sleeping in a stuffy tent in the jungle heat, or blowing our budget on a cabana), so we rented hamacas at a small outfit near the beach at Arrecifes. It was a long, hot night punctuated by the occasional thud of coconuts falling from the palms outside the hamaca shelter and the sleep sounds of fellow travelers. Poetic though the experience was, when we emerged at dawn the next morning, we were ready to down a cup of coffee and trek onward and out toward the comfort of more “civilized” accomodations.

A Colombian Haven

After taking part in one of Barranquilla’s major carnival festives, Danza del Garabato, and enjoying the nightlife in Cartagena, we took off in a divergent direction – to Parque Tayrona, located in Colombia’s northern region of Santa Marta. Parque Tayrona is a place that gives you the freedom to make it whatever you want it to be. The 45 minute to three hour hike can be tiring - especially during the sun’s peak hours. But the trek is most certainly rewarding. Each beach dispersed throughout the park’s Caribbean Sea coast has unique beauty and charm. Tayrona is serene, yet equally wild. It wasn’t until recently that the park became a common tourist destination, as previous associations with the narcotics trade and the civil war hindered the parks remarkable natural beauty. Waking up on a swaying hammock to the soothing hum of the palm trees and the waves crashing just steps away was enchanting. As the sun set, the sounds of reggae music would entwine. The rhythms further embodied the warm vibrations during our stay – we never wanted to leave. The tranquil atmosphere that surrounds Parque Tayrona was a better de-stressor than any tidy hotel room could be. The most common accommodation in Tayrona is hammock rental (C$12,000-C$20,000). Renting out camping grounds is also very common and inexpensive. Most camping grounds do have public restrooms and some even have restaurants, however make sure to pack provisions.

Staying in Eco-Luxury in Tayrona Park Colombia

Perched atop a jungly hill overlooking Tayrona National Park’s Caribbean coastline and mountains, the Ecohabs are one of the few places to stay in the park if you’re not hiking in to camp or planning to sleep in a hammock. These are the jungle huts of your dreams, and have amenities like bathrooms, showers, and coffee makers, but be prepared to share them with your new jungle friends (we met frogs, bats, praying mantises, and all manner of other pre-historic looking insects). The scenery and proximity to the beach can’t be beat, but be prepared to work for the views by walking up and down a lot of stairs.

Beach - Mountain - Jungle

Definitively, Parque Tayrona is a magic place blessed by the sun. Is a perfect mix of nature, cultures, climates and people. In the morning you can explore the paths of the park watching monkeys, birds or butterflies. Then, take a bath in a multi colored sea with withe sands. Have a great lunch with pescado con patacones or ceviche. After a nap, you can enjoy the sunset walking across the beach. Finally, you spent the night playing cards, chating with friends from everywhere or resting in a hamaca listening the waves...

Agua de Coco

On Playa Bello Horizonte, cart vendors roll by and will crack open a coconut for you anytime you wish. Ask them to stop by on their way back down the beach, and they’ll carve out the inside so you can eat it :).

Sunset in Santa Marta

Bring your finest picnic eats, and head down to the beach to watch the sunset. It’s gorgeous, relaxing and a chance to mingle with the locals.

Jungle-Covered Coast

Mindblowingly beautiful. If you fancy the idea of falling asleep to the crashing of waves in a hammock for the night, then this is the place for you. Breathe deep and relax... there’s not much else to do.

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