The Tayrona National Park (Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona) is said to be one of the most beautiful spots in Colombia. It offers a little bit of everything, but mainly a lot of peace and quiet in a slice of Paradise. Although, the farther you travel in the park away from civilization the better, because the beaches closer to towns tend to fill up with locals during weekends and holidays.
The park consists of 37,000 acres that offers a range of sights that include pristine beaches, coral reefs, mangrove forests, Tayrona Indian ruins and tons upon tons of wildlife and plants. (There are more than 770 species of plants in the National Park.)
Be warned when venturing out into the water that some areas of the ocean surrounding the park are rougher than others.
Various accommodation options are available inside the park. Book through Aviatar, the only agency with permission from the government to make bookings at the cabaĂ±as and lodges. Or, if you are more of the living-off-the-trail type, then good luck setting up your hammock in between two trees and hopefully you didnâ€™t forget your mosquito net. Take heed for the falling coconuts while sleeping or even while walking, standing or sitting. A bonus is, you might be able to reach a ripe mango from the comfort of your hammock.
It is a good idea to leave as much of your stuff in Santa Marta before heading into the park. Here, you donâ€™t have to worry so much about theft, but you arenâ€™t going to want to have to deal with having so much stuff since getting to places either requires walking or hiring a horse. Bring your own water, it gets pretty pricey. Also, donâ€™t forget: insect repellent, so you wonâ€™t be eaten alive; long sleeves, pants and socks, it could get a little cool at night and theyâ€™ll protect you from bugs; and, a flashlight, for when you wake up in the middle of the night to gaze at the stars in the clear sky. ENTRY:
The entry fee to Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona $20.50 for foreigners, $7.25 for Colombians, and $4 for children 5-12 years old and students with ID; those visitors under five and over 65 go in free. It is paid at El ZaĂno (access point for CaĂ±averal and Arrecifes), Calabazo and Palagana (access point for BahĂa Neguanje and Playa Brava). The park service issues plastic bracelets, allowing for multiple entries and exits of the park. Note:
It is not unusual for anyone entering the park to be searched for drugs. At one time, the park was a hotbed for narcotic activities. This should only happen at the entrance and you should be left alone the rest of the time in the park.